Security Studies is presently gaining momentous attention around the world. Formerly identified as a sub-field of International Relations, gradually Security Studies has emerged as a discipline in itself. World over eminent universities are offering courses and degrees whose core lies in the theory or practice of Security Studies.
It’s not surprising that the discipline has become popular. New threats have always challenged the conventional understanding of security, driving the need for developing solutions. However, overtime the realisation that security is not merely the domain of those working within or for the armed forces and security agencies has grown stronger.
There are several unexplored opportunitiesin this field, as those trained in the discipline can provide services to both the public and private sector through different means.
It has been widely understood that disciplines like history, political science, economics and public policy should be studied through the lens of security. This can lead to a better understanding ofthe domestic and international security issues. This realization is the rationale behind the development of Security Studies, which is an interdisciplinary field. Security Studies combines various theories and methodologies and deals with the natural as well as man-made threats to security.
Ultimately, the final aim of the subject is to help in maintaining safety and security, by understanding the hazards to the world. Moreover, helpinthe creationof organizations and systems that can fight a range of threats. It includes the study of topics like organized violence, wars, military conflict, national security, offence and defence related studies, health security, economic security, and cyber security.
There are a variety of courses that one can pursue to get the knowledge and training in International Security Studies. While some courses clearly mention security in their title, there are others that make subtle references to it even though the subject matter mostly directly or indirectly deals with security.
There are a number of universities that offer bachelors, masters and Ph.D. degrees particularly in Security Studies. However some universities focus on the offshoots of the main subject and offer specializations in intelligence, history of warfare, defence studies etc. Sometimes departments are also merged to form a single school that deals with the discipline in its entirety, for instance the course on Security Studies at King’s College London. Moreover, universities like Princeton offer lengthy graduate and doctoral courses in the field stretching for a number of years and dealing with issues like strategies, major powers, nuclear weapons and military technologies. Universities like Harvard offer shorter courses on the subject.
This subject has become popular in the last decade. Bachelors and masters degrees on the subject involve the study of topics like contemporary armed conflicts, transitions from war to peace, post-war problems and peace building. However some universities focus on negotiation and mediation, which have implications and application not only for countries but also for the corporate sector. Some courses at universities like Oxford, particularly focus on peace studies that involve strategies involved to restore peace and security.
There are courses that introduce students to particular geographical regions and deal with the security issues of those areas. Often such courses also involve studying the politics, economy or sociology of the countries or continents under study. These area experts can later help government or companies while making policies on particular countries and regions as such courses usually have a policy dimension as well. Some of the renowned degrees in this sub-field of Security Studies are masters and Ph.Ds. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, America and Latin-American Studies, South Asia, East Asia and Chinaat the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford.
According to latest QS rankings, some of the best universities to pursue security studies and related subjects, like politics, are:
A degree in Security Studies and related subjects open a number of avenues for students to pursue their career in.
Students can study further and get academic degree in the discipline to later work as professor and teachers in colleges and schools. Many armed forces also have universities where academics and security experts often find jobs. Moreover, there are various roles in government departmentswhere the knowledge of security is always appreciated.
There are many research organizations and think tanks that work on different security issues ranging from conventional topics like wars, nuclear politics, conflicts to unconventional subjects like water security and health security. Such think tanks can either be owned by the public sector or the private sector. Some of famous security think tanks are CSIS, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Brookings, Observer Research Foundation and RUSI.
Many companies and banks employ the services of security firms to conduct risk analysis of countriesthey want to invest in. Security experts often conduct such studies. Consequently this sector has developed significantly in the last decade and offers a range of services from assessing security risks to ascertaining political and economic risks as well.
Students of Security Studies often go on to become journalists who cover particular regions or countries as official reporters as well as work on international security issues. Moreover they can also work independently as consultants taking on projects on security from the government or the private sector.
To sum up, it can be said that there are a plethora of opportunities that a student of Security Studies can explore. Given the uncertain global world order and ever changing security concerns, the demand and openings for security experts in only expected to surge.
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