The Strategic and Defence Studies (MSDS) is an advanced academic study that combines the theoretical and practical expertise of leading academics and policy-makers to deliver Malaysia's foremost strategic studies program. It is suitable if you plan to progress to a career with an international focus. The programmed is designed to develop the analytical frameworks you need to tackle the regional and global strategic and security challenges of your career, and graduate a leader in your field.
The MSDS programme at the Department of International and Strategic Studies first started in November 1999 with an impressive intake of more than 40 students. Since then, the programme has continued to attract both local and international students who wish to further their studies in the field of International Relations, Defence and Strategic Studies. Applicants for the programme come from various academic disciplines and professional backgrounds including politics, law, economics, humanities, military and science. The Department’s empirical focus revolves around Malaysia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Africa and the Great Powers. Currently emphasis is also placed on the study of conflict resolution, human security, human rights, climate change, environmental politics, regionalism, international development and managing peace in post-conflict areas.
At the end of programme, student should be able to achieve the following Programme Learning Outcome (PO):
PLO1 - KNOWLEDGE
Master knowledge in the field of Strategic Studies and Defense covering various aspects in the working place.
PLO2 – PRACTICAL SKILLS
Demonstrate concern for international phenomena in performing social responsibilities in the career and daily life.
PLO3 – SOCIAL RESPONSBILITY AND SKILLS
Apply knowledge from the field of Strategic and Defense Studies to analyze international phenomena.
PLO4 – VALUES, ATTITUDES AND PROFESIONALISM
Possess communication skills, have leadership skills and teamwork ability in a multicultural and racial environment.
PLO5 – LEADERSHIP, TEAMWORK AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Possess communication skills, leadership attributes and the ability to work as a team in multicultural and multiracial environments.
PLO6 – PROBLEM SOLVING AND SCIENTIFIC SKILLS
Possess the skills to contribute ideas and suggestions as well as make analysis in dealing with international issues.
PLO7 – INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING SKILLS
Possess the skills in the application of knowledge and competitiveness in the involved field and in the process of lifelong learning.
PLO8 – ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Practicing values, ethics and professionalism when dealing with issues in international relations.
Many students ask “What type of job could I get with a degree in International and Strategic Studies?” The answer depends on your choice of specialisation, interests, experiences, skills. The discipline of International Relations, creating a literal world of opportunity. Your task, as a scholar, is to define your area of expertise and map out how You want to make a difference. Do you want to study the military and terrorism as they influence foreign policy, or observe factors that contribute to a credible peace process in war-torn society? Are you interested in the role international organisations play in agenda-setting and the creation of international norms? Do you think culture and society are the key drivers for current events? Do you want to work in public sector for the government or semi-governmental agency in the private sector for a multinational corporation, bank, or firm, or in the non-profit sector for a non-governmental organisation or research institute? Whatever your personal philosophical endeavours, opportunities abound.
Since 1998, we have produced the first batch of graduates who specialised their degree programme (either at the undergraduate and postgraduate level) in International and Strategic Studies. The ability of our students to master various fundamental and soft skills with global outlooks, lateral thinking and international concerns (see the Programme Outcome) in resolving various tasks and issues has allowed them to secure a better job prospect within 6 months after graduation. The diversity and interdisciplinary nature of the discipline, namely the International and Strategic Studies have allowed students to secure a working attachment in various organisations and corporations.
Some opted for a career path in diplomatic services and foreign affairs, attached as the civil servants in various governmental ministries (both at the federal and state governmental levels), defence and intelligence sectors, various local, regional and international branches or agencies under the United Nations system, banking and financial sectors, and private firms, especially in human resource division, marketing strategists and insurance companies.
Others opted for more challenging yet global working environments, including working with multinational corporations (MNCs), international and local non-governmental agencies, civil societies, and charity works, professional and freelance writers, volunteer services, further studies and teaching options in various local and international universities, and as well as in pursuing study or professional development enhancement upon completion of their study in UM.
With the growing numbers of international students, the biggest ratio amongst all of the departments in Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in UM and Malaysia, many of our international students secured the job attachments and intern placements at either their respective embassies or diplomatic missions in Malaysia or major firms and banking sectors at their home countries. Our strength lies in the ability to offer a degree programme with similar international recognises universities that specialised in International Relations with a strong encouragement to master more than one language or medium of instruction.
Additionally and apart from rigorous academic training, we focus on providing the extra-curricular activities among the Department’s multinational students, including the public lecture from retired diplomats and foreign services, one-day study visit to various public, diplomatic and think-thank organizations and the diplomatic simulation games of the Model United Nations (MUN) Conference. You may find out more about this from our Department’s website.
Given the competitiveness of working market and intense competitions of labour forces from other local universities, the Department has taken a step further in having a compulsory and an additional course that provides industrial training exposure, aiming at providing students with the pre-professional degree experience before the actual graduation. The course is compulsory upon all of our final year students (undergraduates). You can find out more about the syllabus and assessment from our Department’s webpage.
During their industrial training placement, Students develop many widely transferable skills during their studies including excellent written and verbal communications skills, research skills and notably, an understanding of complex political and cultural issues. Particular skills gained include the ability to research using a variety of sources. Students can create, evaluate and assess a range of options, sift material and weigh up arguments. Students are able to critically analyse information and can assess problems and arguments, reach conclusions and discuss them clearly. You may find out more about our recent graduates and alumni testimonials from the Department Website, and check on the Alumni and Development section at https://ir.um.edu.my
This programme comprises 2 parts, a mixed/combination mode of 5 courses and a dissertation. The structure of the programme as follows:
AOF7003 Defence Analysis (3 credits)
AOF7004 International Relations Theory (3 credits)
AOF7005 Modern Warfare (3 credits)
AOF7006 International Security (3 credits)
AOF7001 Research Methodology in Strategic & Defence Studies (3 credits)
AOF 7002 Dissertation (35 credit hours)
The length of time required for the completion of the MSDS programme is between the minimum of 3 semesters (1.5 year) and the maximum of 8 semesters (4 years)The length of time required for the completion of the MSDS programme is between the minimum of 3 semesters (1.5 year) and the maximum of 8 semesters (4 years).In order to gain thirty-five (35) credit hours from writings of the dissertation, students are expected to produce an original dissertation up to 30,000 words in length.
By average, most of our students completed their MSDS programme in 3 semesters (1.5 years). Most importantly, it depends on the progress of the individual candidate.
Examination for the Degree: MSDS (by Coursework & Research)
1. Examination for the Degree
1) ) The Examination for the degree of Master of Strategic and Defence Studies by coursework and dissertation shall be the:
a. Part I Examination
b. Part II Examination
2) The Part I Examination shall consist of an examination or examinations in each of the courses, prescribed for Part I of the Master of Strategic and Defence Studies degree programme
a. Five core courses, each of three (3) credits, totaling 15 credits.
3) The Part II Examination shall be an assessment of a dissertation of thirty-five (35) credits, submitted by the candidatee.4) No candidate shall be permitted to submit his or her dissertation for examination unless he or she has passed the Part I Examination.
2. Examination Components and Allocation of Marks
Allocation of Marks
End of Semester Examination
The Components and marks to be allocated to the components of the courses listed below shall be:
Allocations of Marks
End of Semester Examination
International Relations Theories
2) Part II Examination
The dissertation shall be examined and assessed as prescribed in paragraph 2 of the Second Schedule.
The Senate may on the recommendation of the Faculty, amend the allocation of marks to the components of a course for the Part I Examination.
3. Course Grade Requirements
1) The pass grade for any course prescribed for the Part I Examination (written examination at the end of the semester) shall be grade B and above as provided in the Marking Scheme of the amend Second Schedule (see below timetable).
GRADE MARKS (GPA)
80 – 100
75 – 79
70 – 74
65 – 69
60 – 64
55 – 59
50 – 54
45 – 49
40 – 44
35 – 39
0 – 34
2) A candidate who achieves grade B- and below for any course prescribed in the Part I Examination shall be considered to have failed and must re-register and re-sit for the failed course(s) in the semester where the course(s) is offered by the Department.
These regulations shall apply to candidates admitted to the programme in the academic session 2016/2017 and thereafter.
The University of Malaya Regulations (Master’s Programme) 2001
Thirteenth Table: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Part 2 (for Master of Strategic and Defence Studies)
1. Course Registration
2. Appointments of Supervisor, Co-Supervisor, Advisor and Consultant
3. Field Selection and Research Report/ Dissertation Title
4. The Period and Format of Submission
The main medium of instruction for all courses in our Department is in English. The University of Malaya expects all postgraduate candidates to be proficient in the English language. All applicants must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively. Usually this mean that you have to achieve either ONE of the following categories of the English Language test:
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with total score of either 550 and above for the Paper based Test (PBT), OR 213 and above for Computer-based Test (CBT), OR 79-80 and above for Internet-based Test (IBT), OR
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with total score of Band 6 and no lower than the said band for every each of the section of the test, OR
The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), University of Cambridge with a credit pass in either Ordinary (GCSE O) Level or Advance (GCSE A) Level.
Without IELTS or TOEFL, applicants must attend and pass the English Language Proficiency Programme (ELPP) conducted by University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education (UMCCed). For more information, please visit: https://www.umcced.edu.my/
Subsequently, the Institute of Graduate Studies does provide the in-sessional supports of mastering the Malay Language proficiency for the international students.
Meanwhile, the exit requirements for local and international candidates following courses and/or writing dissertation in other languages EXCEPT English, the applicant must provide evidence of a Band 5 (academic category) of his or her IELTS, OR total score of 500-549 of his or her TOEFL.
Students applying for the MSDS must meet the University’s admission requirements, and should have relevant Bachelor’s Degree (with Honours, normally second upper class) or its equivalent in the related field.
A strong preference will be given to applicants having a Bachelor’s Degree with CGPA 3.0 and above or its equivalent. The minimum CGPA 3.0 and above is required for the application of the MSDS programme.
The Department considers the applicant with the CGPA below 3.0 if only the applicant obtains their first degree from UM, or the applicant has the outstanding academic publications, or the applicant has professional working experiences in broadly relevant field to politics and international relations.
The application deadline for MSDS programme as follows:
Admission in Semester I (September)
The intake is between April and May, before the starting of Semester I
Please check with the University website for the up-to-date advertisement.
Application must be submitted online at: http://pgadmission.um.edu.my
Firstly, please complete online application form from http://pgadmission.um.edu.my. Secondly, upload all the required supporting documents as needed.
Finally, once all the online procedures is completed, kindly go to ‘Click To Confirm Application’ button to get the complete application form. Please keep the documents for your own record.
You are not allowed to edit your online application after pressing ‘Click To Confirm Application’ button.
You may check your application status from two months after the date of you application as the following link: http://pgadmission-status.um.edu.my