New Course For Coventry

Coventry University announce 1 year Online MA in Maritime Security.

Maritime Security Review visited Coventry University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (CPRS) last week to meet the team and understand the thinking behind their new online MA in Maritime Security. Ioannis Chapsos, a former Greek Naval Officer, was the inspiration behind the MA, pitching the idea to the CPRS in November 2011. By May 2012 he had joined the faculty as a Research Fellow in Maritime Security.

Chapsos, who retired from the Hellenic Navy with the rank of Captain, told MSR, “having a long experience in the Maritime Security domain as a Naval Officer, and more than four years of lecturing at the Supreme Joint War College on Security and Strategy issues, I identified a huge gap – non-existence actually- of Maritime Security Studies. Given its significance in terms of challenging contemporary security and economy, but also the vital need to bring together policy-makers, professionals and academics in order to interact and define the best practices for coping with insecurity at sea, I devoted myself and my future objectives and initiatives on launching a postgraduate course for experienced mid-career professionals in this domain. The CPRS adopted my proposal right away and the enthusiasm of the Directors, the Dean and the Vice Chancellor of Coventry University provided all the support and encouragement to develop the project.”

Dr. James A. Malcolm arrived from the University of Warwick in August 2012 as a Lecturer in Maritime Security, in order to deliver the MA programme and bring additional academic insights to the centre’s Maritime Security work. Dr. Malcolm specialises in port security, specifically in the context of responses to international terrorism. He has served as a Data Analyst at the Centre for Studies in Terrorism and Political Violence in St Andrews, and has undertaken a range of training and consultancy work, including with UK police forces.

The MA programme is designed for middle and senior managers in a wide range of fields related to maritime security such as shipping, security sector, law, insurance, development, international relations and diplomacy. A great deal of thought and effort has gone into developing the content and delivery of the programme.

Dr. Malcolm explained, “The programme’s ethos can be captured in three words: holistic, strategic and applied. Holistic because we believe it is important to study all the dimensions of Maritime Security and the connections between them, not simply those issues which have the widest publicity at any one time. Strategic because it is essential to dig into how Maritime Security impacts upon Global Security and vice versa. Applied, where we are proactive in ensuring the programme remains salient, draw upon our own research in our teaching and ensure it is relevant to our students, their work and lives. Indeed this is one of the principal reasons why we chose to deliver the programme online; we wanted students to bring fresh insights to discussions and take away new insights and put them in to practice as soon as possible.”

Coventry University sits within the West Midlands, an area with a proud tradition of providing many recruits for the Royal Navy. The emphasis on applied research is at the heart of both the University and Centre’s work. Indeed the University has a successful Boat Design Innovation Research Group, while CPRS has over ten years of experience researching and teaching about conflict and peace in various parts of the world. The CPRS has exciting plans for the future as Captain Chapsos explained: “Our future vision is to promote applied research in this domain and create a hub in Coventry for all maritime security components. We wish to highlight Coventry University as the epicentre of Maritime Security Studies and applied research.”

The MA programme runs over the course of a year. There is an induction workshop at the University in January 2013, which is close to Birmingham Airport and a further workshop in Istanbul in June 2013. The first part of the programme is taught with students covering a range of topics including the Maritime Security/Human Security nexus, the law of the seas, modern piracy and port security. Students are then given the opportunity to undertake independent research in the second half of the year by writing a dissertation. Throughout the programme full support is provided by the tutors via Moodle, Skype and email.

Early applicants for the MA programme come from all walks of life: Diplomats, Lawyers and several Maritime Security professionals. The joining process involves an application form and a telephone/online interview, so that if you have few formal qualifications, but good professional life experience you can apply and qualify. All applicants are assessed individually using the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). This involves submitting a portfolio detailing professional achievements which demonstrate practical experience. There is some discretionary scholarship funding for tuition fees available to applicants from lower income economies, but the deadline to apply for these scholarships is 14 November.

MSR will be looking into the Maritime Security educational offerings in a forthcoming InDepth, until then more information on Coventry University’s MA programme can be found here.


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