ASTK18180U Maritime Security: Research at the Ocean Frontier

Volume 2023/2024

Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH

  • Master Programme in Social Data Science


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students

Maritime security is a thriving field of international activity. Issues such as piracy, extremist violence at sea, the smuggling of people and illicit goods via the sea, or environmental crimes such as illegal fishing have become major international political concerns, and in consequence are increasingly seen as priority issues on the international security agenda. While there is a growing level of activity to respond to maritime security challenges, the field of maritime security remains one of the least studied areas of international security and global governance.

In this seminar, we review the problems, institutions, actors, and responses of maritime security in the light of contemporary international relations theory. The course provides a concise introduction to security problems at sea, and how to situate and analyze them. It also discusses why we should pay more attention to the oceans as a field of international activity.

In the course you will practice how to analyze a maritime security issue and how to present your results to a wider public. The course draws on and is related to the work of the international research network SafeSeas (see and the Ocean Infrastructures Research Group.

Learning Outcome


You will gain an in-depth understanding of contemporary maritime security challenges, how different international actors respond to them, as well as gain knowledge about the core approaches for the analysis and interpretation of security practices.


You will learn and practice core analytical skills including summarizing, processing, interpreting and presenting information and dealing with a large number of data and texts as well as how to write integrative literature reviews and encyclopedic articles.


You will learn how to conduct small-scale research project on a contemporary security challenge in writing a literature review and a research report.

Bueger, Christian. 2015. What is Maritime Security?, Marine Policy 53: 159-164, http:/​/​​10.1016/​j.marpol.2014.12.005


Urbina, Ian. 2015. The Outlaw Ocean, New York Times Series, available at https:/​/​​interactive/​2015/​07/​24/​world/​the-outlaw-ocean.html


Bueger, Christian and Tim Edmunds. 2017. Beyond Seablindness: A New Agenda for Maritime Security Studies, International Affairs 93(6): 1293–1311, http:/​/​​10.1093/​ia/​iix174

Nye, Joseph S. 1975. “Ocean Rule Making from a World Politics Perspective.” Ocean Development & International Law 3(1): 29–52, https:/​/​​10.1080/​00908327509545557


Havice, Elizabeth, and Anna Zalik. 2018. “Ocean Frontiers: Epistemologies, Jurisdictions, Commodifications.” International Social Science Journal 68(229–230): 219–35.


Voyer, Michelle et al. 2018. “Maritime Security and the Blue Economy: Intersections and Interdependencies in the Indian Ocean.” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 14(1): 28–48.


Steinberg, Philip E. 2001. The Social Construction of the Ocean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Teaching and learning is through seminars, presentations, and the development of a research project.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment

Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner