The School of International Studies of the University of Trento, a beautiful alpine city in the north of Italy, is excited to join the consortium of universities offering the International Master in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies (IMSISS), offering students a new ‘track’ within the degree from 2020.
The International Master in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies (IMSISS) is a 24 month Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) awarded by a consortium of European universities – University of Glasgow (UK); Dublin City University (Ireland); Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic) and from 2020, the University of Trento (Italy).
Students in this degree program examine both the causes of conflicts and a broad range of contemporary security challenges, such as terrorism, civil war and conflict, mass migration, energy supply security, cybersecurity, and new technologies, and transnational and serious organized crime. Students will also explore the intelligence and strategic approaches used by governmental and non-governmental actors to combat these threats.
The degree adopts a unique approach to the study of security by combining theoretical, applied, and empirical knowledge and skillsets. Students will have the opportunity to meet with and work alongside a range of academics and researchers from international partner universities and think tanks from around the world, as well as practitioner experts from governmental and industry security and defense sectors.
Why Study IMSISS?
This Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree brings together European and international partners to provide an integrated study program engaging with theoretical, empirical, and applied approaches to security, intelligence, and strategy. You will study in locations across Europe and will have the opportunity to apply for work-based learning placements with practitioner organizations.
International security presents complex, challenging realities for a wide range of actors - from nation-states and international organizations to multinational corporations. Globalization and increased interdependency have radically changed the way we understand security in relation to the state, society, the economy, and even the biosphere. There is a growing demand for greater attention and coordinated responses from the international community, including not only individual countries but also international organizations such as the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and security alliances such as NATO.
To support these organizations there is a need for knowledgeable, well-informed experts with the skills not only to react to crises but to identify and anticipate the threats and challenges that create crises. These experts can and should come from civilian (for example academia, governmental, non-governmental, and private sectors) as well as military backgrounds. Bridging these ‘expert’ security communities and ensuring opportunities for dedicated training and shared knowledge, experiences, and best practice is the purpose of the IMSISS degree program.
The University of Trento
The charming city of Trento is located in the Dolomites (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the north-east of Italy and is the destination for those IMSISS students selected for the ‘Causes of Conflict’ study track (pathway B). The University of Trento is a dynamic middle-sized University and one of the top Italian universities in terms of both teaching quality and research. It ranks highly in both national and international rankings (1st for scientific production according to the Italian National Agency for Evaluation of the University System and Research; 1st in Italy in the Times Higher Education (THE) Europe Teaching 2018; a top 10 institution in Italy in THE and QS World University Rankings). In recent surveys by La Sapienza University in Rome for Italia Oggi and national newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Trento was ranked as the city with the best quality of life in the whole of Italy.
The School of International Studies
IMSISS students on the Trento track are based at the University’s School of International Studies, an advanced center for interdisciplinary studies founded as a result of close and continued cooperation between the University’s departments of Law, Humanities, Economics, and Sociology and Social Research. Due to the variety and expertise of its staff, the School of International Studies is ideally placed to investigate the root causes of conflicts as well as factors that impact their continuation and resolution. Students will study four core modules dealing with the causes of conflicts from the perspectives of different disciplines (sociology, law, economics/geography, history). These modules include practical elements, and students will also have the opportunity to choose remaining credits from a variety of optional modules.
When arriving in Trento, IMSISS students also enjoy access to guaranteed, modern university-run accommodation. The University of Trento has dedicated staff who support incoming students, assisting them both before and during their time in Trento on matters including obtaining visas, reserving accommodation, obtaining residence permits, information sessions, administrative matters, social integration, welcome activities, guided tours, and excursions, and much more. Discover UniTrento Services
The city is located in an alpine valley around 1 hour’s travel from Verona and Lake Garda and is close to both Austria and Switzerland. The city is also a neighbor of the Italian Alto Adige/Südtirol Province, and consequently the German-speaking areas of Italy. The region has a complex history, including South Tyrol’s pursuit of self-determination between the end of the 1950s and the 1980s. As a result of these historical and geographical features, the University of Trento is particularly committed to scholarship on the maintenance of peace, the self-determination of peoples, the protection of minorities, and the prevention of inter-ethnic conflicts. The School of International Studies regularly cooperates with the Universities of Bozen and Innsbruck and has partnership agreements with a host of local, national, and international think tanks, NGOs, and other organizations.
The School of International Studies contributes to the organization of events for students and researchers, as well as the general public. In addition to Conferences, Research Workshops, and other events for the general public, the School organizes a lively series of Guest Lectures held by academics of international standing, Conversations with professional practitioners working in distinguished international organizations, and Professional Workshops and Labs.
IMSISS is innovative in delivering learning:
Specialist masterclasses and webinars (online seminars) provided by practitioners and visiting academics give students a broad understanding of security themes.
The program addresses a wide range of challenging intellectual questions, as well as the policy and ethical dilemmas that arise when state and non-state actors seek to resolve threats ranging from traditional interstate conflict to diverse contemporary issues such as terrorism, organized crime, and insecurity and vulnerability associated with technological and cyberspace advances.
Students gain experience of the methods and products (linked to intelligence gathering and analysis, diplomacy, and strategic communications) used by states as well as international political and economic/business communities to advance their security.
Students on this degree program have the opportunity to study in locations across Europe – the University of Glasgow, the University of Trento or Dublin City University, and the University of Prague. The student body is highly international, and the degree is taught entirely in English with extensive opportunities for language learning. IMSISS students examine, analyze and learn about the practical implications of a broad range of contemporary security challenges, such as terrorism, civil war and conflict, mass migration, energy supply security, cybersecurity, and new technologies, and transnational and serious organized crime. They also explore the intelligence and strategic approaches used by governmental and non-governmental actors to combat these threats.
The degree offers its students the opportunity to meet with and work alongside a range of academics and researchers from international partner universities and think tanks from around the world, as well as practitioner experts from governmental and industry security and defense sectors.
Semester 1: September-January (University of Glasgow) 30 ECTS
International security & strategic studies*
Intelligence analysis & policymaking
European and International Security Studies
Research design and methodology
Language (optional): Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian (choose one, subject to availability)
*Students who can demonstrate that they have completed a similar module in International Relations or Security Studies at an A grade may be exempted from taking this module and will be required to take one of the following modules instead:
Comparative Approaches to Warfare and Violent Conflict
Qualitative Methods Analysis of Russian Social Science Text
PG Beginner Russian
PG Beginner Chinese (Mandarin)
Semester 2: January-August (University of Trento) 30 ECTS
Geographies of Security
Conflict, Human Rights and Natural Resources
Civil Societies and Contentious Politics
History and Politics of the Middle East: Conflicts, Ideologies, and Democratisation
Individual Options (choice of one from the following):
National Security and European Security Law
Global Economic Policy
Minorities, Regionalism, Borders
Peace and Conflict Studies: Theory and Methods
People, Politics and the Environment
Democratizing Security: Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Age of Uncertainty
Science, Technology and Global Affairs
Italian Language (for students with competent Italian language skills you will be required to undertake an academic writing course)
*Please note that applicants to this pathway will have to show competence in 2 languages (not including Italian) at the point of application.
Semester 3: September-February (Charles University Prague) 30ECTS
Students must choose one specialist themed concentration and complete a minimum of four courses (including the core courses).
Students may also choose the fifth course from any of the options offered to make up the required number of credits. (Additional courses may be added to concentrations. All courses are subject to availability and courses which may replicate courses completed in Year 1 may be substituted.)
Language classes are available on a non-credit basis subject to availability.
Concentration A – Strategic Studies
Strategic Studies (core)
Arms Control & Disarmament
Insurgency and Counterinsurgency
Technology and Warfare
Concentration B – Regional Security
Regional Security (core)
US Grand Strategy
Middle East Security
Concentration C – Security & Technology
Security and Technology (core)
Technology and Warfare
Artificial Intelligence and Security
Human Artificial Intelligence Needs
Sociology of Technology
Concentration D – Conflict Studies
Advanced Conflict Studies (core)
Ethics and Violence
Peacekeeping and Peace-building
Terrorism and Counter-terrorism
Radicalization and De-radicalisation
Territorial Non-State Actors
Semester 4: March-August (Independent Study Portfolio) 30 ECTS
During this flexible mobility period, you will work under the supervision of your primary supervisor to follow an agreed independent study learning program. We encourage students to locate themselves in the location of their primary supervisor’s institution which will count as your official academic home for this period. During this period, all students have to complete their independent study portfolio which includes a dissertation. Depending on your research topic you may be able to spend some time during this mobility period in a fourth location at one of our associate partners. Some students will also have the opportunity to undertake a 6-8 week work-based placement linked to their dissertation topic. These are offered by our associates as well as external partners and are available on a competitive basis. (We do not guarantee that all students on the program will obtain a collaborative work-placement, however, students are welcome to source their own placements to supplement the program of study).
22 January, Scholarship Application
23 July non-EU, 27 August UK/EU, Program Application
How to apply
Access the online application form
Upload the required documents
Submit your online application by the deadline
Qualification equivalent to a UK 2:1 honors degree in international relations, political science, or related social science disciplines;
or an interdisciplinary degree that includes security/ terrorism/ intelligence as a significant component
Primary degrees in other disciplines, including languages, computing science, and humanities are also very welcome, while candidates with practical/professional experience will be strongly considered
English Language proficiency level
A language other than Italian at B2 level for the UniTrento study track
Assessment of previous studies and their coherence with the MSc