Independent Study Portfolio (Security) SPS5027P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Full Year
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This portfolio will allow students to engage with research methods training and to undertake a period of independent study resulting in a combined portfolio that includes a reflexive methods paper, research proposal, and dissertation.



Requirements of Entry

Generic regulations apply

Excluded Courses



Students will complete a single combined portfolio consisting of:


Research Methodology reflection (1500 words) (10%)

Dissertation research proposal (1500 words) (10%)

Dissertation (22000 words) (80%)

Course Aims

The course aims to provide students with independent research opportunities. It will include engagement with research methods training leading up to a period of independent research and the production of a substantial dissertation that builds upon themes and issues covered within the MSc International Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies. Students will be encouraged to develop their own ideas and demonstrate their capacity for original thought and independent research. The dissertation element aims to enable students to identify and research particular issues or problems, linked to security, intelligence and strategy, at a deeper level than is possible within assessed essays and to develop a critical analysis of the existing body of academic work relating to their topic of choice. Students taking this course will be prepared for further research, study or professional careers through the development of their skills in data collection and analysis, use of original and secondary sources and the conducting and writing up of a detailed research project.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Devise a realistic programme of research on a topic reflecting the main themes of the programme;

Collect, select and critically analyse relevant background literature and arguments of a range of scholars;

Understand and select the appropriate methodology for dealing with information sources and data;

Apply these methods to gather and interrogate data in an open-minded, rigorous and undogmatic manner;

Be able to critically evaluate competing theories and apply relevant theoretical frameworks to guide the study

Organise the data collected and analyse the findings in a competent manner that allows for a fluid and logical argument to be presented ;

Be reflexive and self-critical about findings and the limitations of analysis.

Work independently, organising and maintaining own programme of study to meet academic deadlines so as to produce work containing a substantial element of originality.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply