In the spring of 2013, SSP launched a direct exchange program with the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews. The exchange has since been expanded to include the entire School of International Relations. St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the United Kingdom. The School of International Relations offers five master’s degrees in International Security Studies, International Political Theory, Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, and International Relations.

This exchange allows up to 5 students from SSP to attend St Andrews during the spring semester. Participants in the exchange earn 9 credits towards their SSP M.A. upon successful completion of the exchange. This opportunity is open to students of all concentrations. This exchange requires full-time enrollment and is open to students who will not be graduating during the spring semester or following summer term.

Acceptance to the exchange is competitive. Participation in the exchange is only possible in spring semester.


Participating SSP students will enroll full-time in 60 credits at St Andrews for the spring semester (the equivalent of nine Georgetown credits). St Andrews uses a module system for courses and in the past students have taken two modules. Examples of these modules are found below:

  1. Terrorism and Theories of Collective Action (30 credits)
    Increasingly, terrorism and political violence is coming to be seen in the wider theoretical context of political collective action, social movement theory and ‘contentious politics’, a process which has been assisted on the one hand by this field’s own growing interest in transnational activism, and recently by growing interest in civil resistance as a neglected area in the study of insurgency within the framework of conflict studies and IR.

    This module will address such issues as: What does it mean to take a ‘political collective action’ approach to terrorism? Social movement theory and terrorism; Terrorism and high-risk activism: understanding recruitment and mobilization; Terrorism and the Collective Action Repertoire; New Social Movements, New Terrorism? Terrorism in the Context of Transnational Activism

  2. Terrorism and Liberal Democracy (30 credits)
    This module addresses: conceptual and definitional issues concerning terrorism; the relationship of terrorism to other forms of political violence; the origins, dynamics and development of contemporary terrorism; the efficacy of terrorism as a political weapon; the dilemmas and challenges of liberal democratic state responses to terrorism; and case studies in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Please note that the available modules and/or elective topics may change from year to year and the choices available reflect the expertise of the CSTPV staff.

These courses will count for nine credits towards the completion of the MA in Security Studies. Students will work with their SSP Academic Advisor to ensure that program requirements are met while they are abroad. For more information on the School of International Relations, please visit their website at

Application Instructions

Interested applicants should plan to prepare the following:

  • A written statement of purpose (500-750 words) outlining your educational background and interests, career goals, and how you will benefit from your participation in the St Andrews Exchange
  • A current transcript reflecting all completed courses
    • First-semester students will use their transcripts from undergraduate and any previous graduate coursework, as applications are due during the fall semester
    • A current résumé or CV
      Contact information (name, email, and phone number) for three academic references. At least one reference must be from an SSP professor.

All documents must be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format via email to Annie Kraft by noon on Friday, October 5th, 2018. Decisions will be sent via email to applicants on Monday, October 15th.

Please direct all questions to Annie Kraft, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs She can be reached via email at or
phone at 202-687-4903.