Security is the insurance policy of the nation. It is a responsibility that we all must share. The M.A. in International and Civil Security program at Khalifa University will prepare you to be a leader in this field.

The 21st century combines the promise of great progress with the resurgence of old dangers and the emergence of new ones. Those dangers include terrorism, warfare, weapons of mass destruction, and natural disasters. Some of these dangers are rooted in technology, others in society, and still others in nature itself. Attaining the strategic vision of the UAE will require deep understanding of those threats, and the knowledge and skills to address them.

This unique Master’s Program is being offered by Khalifa University’s Institute of International and Civil Security. The Institutes’ mission is to become a leading academic center for supporting research, teaching and policy analysis in the field of security studies. In addition to what takes places inside the classroom, the institute hosts speakers, workshops, events, and works with other institutions- within government, academia, and the private sector –  to advance security research, education, training, and policy-making.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and are professionals working on their graduate qualification part-time in order to specialize in civil and regional security fields. They work at a range of government agencies, including the police force, military, and government ministries.


Institute of International & Civil Security

Room: L02014, L Building, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Dr. Athol Yates

Acting Program Chair

Email: athol.yates@ku.ac.ae

Goals & Outcomes

Duration of Study

The program is taken on a part-time basis. The program typically takes 2.5 years to complete. 

Program Structure

Program Components

The MA in International and Civil Security is equivalent to 30 credit-hours. The program consists of two main components:

Taught Courses Component

The core coursework is a common curriculum for all students that covers the basic dimensions of both civil security and the broader security context in which civil security planning and policy must occur. It consists of four courses which focus on the major aspects of security including threats and hazards, terrorism, intelligence, and governance. Each core course is three credits, for a total of 12 credits.

Upon completion of the core coursework, students must take an additional two elective courses also worth three credits each. The elective courses may be in one of two tracks: Civil Security or Regional Security.

  • The Civil Security Track focuses on preparing current and aspiring civil security professionals.
  • The Regional Security Track focuses on preparing current and aspiring policy analysts and senior civilian and military officials.

Master’s Thesis Component

The Master’s Thesis Workshop (IICS 698) is a three credit course taken after the completion of eighteen credits, including the four core courses. IICS 698 is a pre-requisite for IICS 699: Master’s Thesis. This workshop is designed to help M.A. students develop a well-crafted Master’s Thesis, sustaining their research and writing agenda throughout the process, and learning about the academic profession as a whole. The Thesis Workshop is intended to be an in depth look at how the students’ particular theses will be developed as well as an overall writing and support group – keeping students in touch and on track while they are writing up their thesis. As such, it is relatively informal. There will be a short presentation at the beginning of each session by the instructor, but the bulk of the class will consist of students sharing their theses, their problems, and their successes for structured and constructive criticism. The Thesis Workshop is a 3 credit course.

Students will then be required to write a Master Thesis which makes an original contribution to the field. The thesis will be based on original research, supported with evidence from relevant secondary sources. The Master Thesis is a 9 credit course.

Curricular Offerings

The following is a typical study sequence for a student enrolled in the M.A. in International and Civil Security program:

Core Coursework (4 courses, 12 credits)
IICS 601: Introduction to International Relations and Security Issues (3 credits)
IICS 602: Introduction to Civil Security (3 credits)
IICS 603: Social Science Research Methods (3 credits)
IICS 604: Regional Security and the Terrorist Threat (3 credits)
Track and/or Elective Options (2 courses, 6 credits)
Civil Security Track Options
If a Civil track is selected, choose at least two of the following courses:

  • IICS 622: Technology and Civil Security (3 credits)
  • IICS 624: Creating Integrated Civil Security (3 credits)
  • IICS 626: Comparative Civil Security Systems (3 credits)
Regional Security Track Options
If a Regional track is selected, choose at least two of the following courses:

  • IICS 621: Technology and International Security (3 credits)
  • IICS 623: Regional Security Challenges and Policy Options (3 credits)
  • IICS 625: Globalization and Middle East Security (3 credits)
Other Electives
Note: An elective course can be any IICS course not used to complete track requirements.
This list changes frequently as new electives are under development at all times.
IICS 645: Policy Analysis (3 credits)
IICS 646: Intelligence and National Security (3 credits)
IICS 647: Exercise Design and Technology (3 credits)
IICS 648: The Changing Nature of War and Conflict (3 credits)
IICS 649: Cyber Security and its Implications for Statecraft (3 credits)
IICS 651: Comparative National Security (3 credits)
IICS 690: Civil Infrastructure Protection Design (3 credits)
IICS 691: Nuclear Security (3 credits)
IICS 692: Computer and Network Security (3 credits)
IICS 693: Wireless Network and Mobile Security (3 credits)
IICS 694: Information Security Management (3 credits)
Research Design and Thesis (2 courses, 12 credits)
IICS 698: Thesis Workshop (3 credits)
IICS 699: Master’s Thesis (9 credits)
Total: 30 credits
Study Plan