Defence and Security Systems Development — two-year Master's Programme

This is an interdisciplinary, international Master’s programme at the intersection of social sciences and engineering. The programme has been developed in close collaboration with public authorities and companies in the defence and security sector in order to provide you with knowledge about how technical systems are integrated with people and organisations in order to deal with a complex threat environment.

Defence and Security Systems Development is a two-year programme that leads to a Degree of Master of Science in Systems Science for Defence and Security. The programme is intended for those who have attained a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or s bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 credits, including a minimum of 90 credits in the field of defence, crisis management and security.

Future career opportunities

This programme has few counterparts in Europe and meets the needs of what is in part a new professional category of individuals who support communications between developers and users of defence and security systems. Your early career as a graduate of the programme will probably involve a central role in development projects, while later in your career you will be suited to leadership roles governing your organisation’s programmes and processes.

Jobs are available with your national public authorities or companies operating in the defence and security sector, as well as at your national municipal and regional levels of society, or with companies operating in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, communications and transport.

Examples for possible professional roles after graduation:

  • Usability manager
  • Usability analyst
  • Usability engineer
  • Interaction designer
  • Interaction modeler
  • Requirements manager

Later in your career you are probably working in a senior position within your organization controlling or developing business processes, development programs and collaborations.

The programme meets entry requirements for national and international third-cycle studies.

About the programme

The programme provides you with an understanding of systems with the capability to contribute to or affect a society’s defence and security, how these are developed and used, and how technical and social components interact within these systems.

The main field of study is Systems Science for Defence and Security, an interdisciplinary subject with a sociotechnical perspective that utilises systems analysis as its primary problem-solving strategy. Methods and theories will also be borrowed from fields such as social science and engineering.

You will study the prerequisites for developing, procuring and using technology and materials that provide defence and security capabilities. The needs of the state are crucial in deciding which systems are to be delivered and the requirement specifications that are to be met. Consideration must be given to the demands of each unique activity – for example, armed conflict and physical environments – but also to traditions, antagonistic threats and international law. The ability to meet needs is often limited by a number of factors, particularly financial and industrial. You will therefore learn to critically review, evaluate, analyse and communicate needs, requirements and technical solutions pertaining to defence and security capabilities.


The Master programme for defence and security systems development has been developed, and is further developed, in cooperation with the following public authorities, companies and organisations:

  • BAE Systems AB
  • Consoden
  • FMV, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration
  • The Swedish Armed Forces
  • Knowit Defence Technology AB
  • The Swedish Coast Guard
  • Saab AB
  • SME-D
  • SOFF

Outline of the programme

The programme combines individual study, lectures and seminars with exercises and the opportunity for work placement. The first year will provide you with a solid theoretical grounding in defence systems, scientific methods and systems development work. During the second year you will enjoy considerable freedom to choose your own specialisation through elective courses, either at the Swedish Defence University or the higher education institutions we collaborate with.

Our teachers conduct active research into defence systems or supporting fields, and the programme is implemented in close collaboration with the defence and security sector. The Swedish Defence University enjoys well-established cooperation with the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and private-sector stakeholders, which contributes to the practical focus of the programme and provides opportunities for placements at relevant workplaces.

Introduction to Engineering for Social Scientists, 15 credits
(For those with a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 hp/ECTS credits, including a minimum of 90hp/ECTS credits in the field of defence, crisis management and security).

Leadership within the Officers’ Profession for Engineers, 7.5 credits
Introduction to Military Thinking for Engineers, 7.5 credits
(For those with an engineering background.)

Theory, Systems Science for Security and Defense, 15 credits
(Common course.)

Methods for Defence and Security Systems Development, 15 credits
Strategic Management of Capability Development and Defence Acquisition, 7.5 credits
Elective course, 7,5 credits

Usability and Design of Interactive Systems, 4.5 credits
Introduction to International Law, War and Technology, 3 credits
Master’s Thesis, 30 credits
Elective courses, in total 22,5 credits

Examples of elective courses:

  • A Systems Perspective for Total Defence, 4.5 credits
  • Cyber Operations in Antagonistic Environments, 7.5 credits
  • Critical Security Studies and Technology, 7,5 credits
  • Internship, 12 or 15 credits
  • Logistics Supporting Defence Systems, 7.5 credits
  • Operational and Ethical Aspects of Autonomous Systems, 7.5 credits
  • Threat and Risk Management, 7.5 credits

Tuition fees and scholarships for non-EU applicants

Applicants who are not citizens of EU/EEA countries or Switzerland need to pay application and tuition fees.

  • Application fee: SEK 900
  • Tuition fee: SEK 105 000 per year (60 credits)

If you have applied for a course at the university, which requires the payment of fees, you may apply to the university for a scholarship.

Obtain more information about our Master programme

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Advanced level





Start week

Week 35

End week

Week 22


Alternative one: Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or equivalent. Alternative two: A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 credits, including a minimum of 90 credits in the field of defence, crisis management and security. Your previous academic degree must include a graded, written thesis work corresponding at least 15 ECTS. Students without a thesis in the Bachelor curriculum cannot meet the requirement. There are additional requirements for proficiency in Mathematics equivalent to Ma 3b or 3c, Physics equivalent to Fy 2 and English equivalent to English B/English 6 (See for internationally recognised English tests. Your results in writing and speaking should be equivalent to IELTS 6.5 or more).

Form of teaching






Course fee

Application fee: SEK 900. Tuition fee: SEK 105 000 per year

Study pace



Selection is based with equal weight on grades obtained in qualifying university courses and a personal letter.

Other things

When applying via you should upload all the documentation necessary to support your qualification for the programme. You should also upload a personal letter in English, maximum 500 words, describing why you are applying for the programme and your assessment of how your previous education and/or professional experience can contribute to the defence and security sector after graduation. All supporting documents must be uploaded by 1 February 2022 latest. Proof of Mathematics 3b or 3c as well as Physics (Fy 2) has an extended deadline to 1 August 2022. If you intend on completing mathemathics and physics after 1 February 2022 you need to mention that you are actively completing these subjects in time for 1 August in your personal letter. Application period opens 18 October 2021 and closes 17 January 2022.



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Published 2019-02-20 Updated 2022-01-17