Innovation, Defence and Security — two-year master's programme

This programme is unique in Europe. It was developed as a response to a demand for a partially new profession that supports communication between developers and users of systems in the defence and security industry. The programme focuses on analysing complex problems and possibilities from a systems perspective.

If you are looking for an analytical and creative job where you create new, smart solutions, this might be the programme you are looking for. It focuses on development and innovation for a stronger defence and strengthened security.

The programme was developed in close collaboration with government agencies and companies in the defence and security sector and provides an understanding of how technical systems are integrated with people and organisations to work in complex threat environments.

Degree of Master of Science in Systems Science for Defence and Security

Systems Science for Defence and Security is an interdisciplinary field in the intersection between engineering science and social science. The field has a sociotechnical focus and studies how complex technical systems for defence and security are initiated and designed in an interplay between technology and people.

Innovation, Defence and Security is a two-year international programme that leads to a Degree of Master of Science in Systems Science for Defence and Security. All courses are taught in English.

Future career opportunities

When you begin your professional career after graduating from the programme, you will most likely have a key role in development projects, and later in your career, you will be suited for leadership roles overseeing your organisation’s programmes and processes.

There are positions in your national government agencies or companies in the defence and security sector, in the crisis preparedness sector on municipal, regional and national levels, or at companies operating in critical infrastructure sectors, such as energy, communications and transport.

The programme has a holistic perspective that leads to opportunities outside the sector – there are no limits to where your knowledge and competence can be applied.

Examples of possible professional areas after graduation:

  • System development
  • Analysis work for agencies and companies
  • Capability development
  • Technology development
  • Risk management

The programme meets entry requirements for national and international Ph.D. studies.


The master’s programme Innovation, Defence and Security was and is being in collaboration with the following government agencies, companies and organisations:

  • BAE Systems Hägglunds
  • Consoden
  • FMV, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration
  • The Swedish Armed Forces
  • Knowit Defence Technology AB
  • The Swedish Coast Guard
  • Saab AB
  • SME-D (Small Medium Enterprises within Defence)
  • SOFF (Swedish Defence and Security Industry Organization)

About the programme

The programme focuses on understanding systems that contribute to or affect a society’s defence and security, how such systems 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 uses systems analysis as its primary problem-solving strategy. Methods and theories from fields such as social science and engineering will also be applied.

You will study the prerequisites for developing, procuring and using technology and material that provide defence and security capabilities. The needs of the nation-state are crucial when making decisions regarding systems and requirement specifications. Additionally, the studies take into consideration 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 these specific needs is often limited by several factors, primarily 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.

Your lecturers conduct active research in defence systems or related fields, and the programme was implemented in close collaboration with the defence and security sector.

The Swedish Defence University has well-established cooperations with the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and private-sector stakeholders who contribute to the programme and provide opportunities for internships at relevant workplaces.

Programme outline

The programme combines individual studies, lectures and seminars with exercises and the opportunities for internships. The first year focuses on a solid theoretical base in defence systems, scientific methods and systems development work.

During the second year, you will enjoy being able to choose your own specialisation in elective courses, either at the Swedish Defence University or the higher education institutions we collaborate with.

Leadership in the Officers’ Profession (7.5 ECTS credits)
Introduction to military thinking (7.5 ECTS credits)
Theory, Systems Science for Security and Defense (15 ECTS credits)

Methods in Systems Science for Defence and Security (15 ECTS credits)
Strategic Management of Capability Development and Defence Acquisition (7.5 ECTS credits)
Elective course (7.5 ECTS credits)

Usability and Design of Interactive Systems (4.5 ECTS credits)
Introduction to International Law, War and Technology (3 ECTS credits)
Master’s Thesis, Systems Science for Defence and Security (30 ECTS credits)
Elective courses (3x7.5 ECTS credits)

Examples of elective courses:

  • Cyber operations in an antagonistic environment (7.5 ECTS credits)
  • System perspectives on total defence (4.5 ECTS credits)
  • Threat and risk analysis (7.5 ECTS credits)
  • Critical security studies and technology (7.5 ECTS credits)
  • Logistics for defence systems (7.5 ECTS credits)
  • Tactical and ethical aspects of autonomous systems (7.5 ECTS credits)
  • Internship (12 or 15 ECTS credits)

The range of elective courses will be determined on an annual basis.

Student exchange schemes

The Swedish Defence University takes part in the Erasmus programme, which allows our students to spend a semester of their master’s training at a university abroad. Being an exchange student is an excellent ways of broadening one’s perspectives and acquiring new experiences at prestigious universities such as the University of St Andrews (Scotland), Sciences Po (France) and the University of Bologna (Italy). Our partner universities offer a wide selection of relevant courses, which means that your master’s degree may come to include several different specialties. Read more at our study abroad webpage on the Student Web.

Application fee and scholarships

Students coming from a country outside the EU must pay an application fee of 900 Swedish kronor and a tuition fee of 105,000 Swedish kronor per year. However, students from outside the EU may also apply for scholarships to cover the cost of tuition. Read more about the scholarships available at the Stockholm Defence University.

Checklist for complete application

  1. Application period opens 16 October 2023 and closes 15 January 2024.
  2. Degree certificate, transcript/grades and supporting documents must be uploaded on with your application. All documents must be in Swedish, English, Danish or Norwegian or translated to any of these languages by an authorised translator. Please note that the original documents should be uploaded as well.
  3. If you are in your final Bachelor year, you can still apply. Please provide a signed and stamped document from your home university stating that you are likely to graduate before the semester start at SEDU. Please read more and use the statement of enrollment status form and upload it under your personal account on . If admitted, you will be admitted with the condition that you submit proof of your degree before the start of term.
  4. If you do not hold a Bachelor’s Degree when applying, you must provide a signed and stamped document from your home university stating that you are likely to graduate before the semester start at SEDU. Please read more and use the statement of enrollment status form and upload it under your personal account on . If admitted you will be admitted with the condition that you submit your degree certificate before the start of term.
  5. Upload your Bachelor's thesis. You must upload a graded, written independent work (Bachelors's thesis) in its entirety together with your application. For students who are waiting for their thesis to be graded, an extended deadline is given until February 14, 2024. The thesis must be written in Swedish, English, Danish or Norwegian, or translated into one of these languages. Please note that the official grade must be clearly visible and documented in your application.
  6. Grade point average (GPA), check if your GPA is stated on your degree certificate. If not, you must upload a document showing your grade point average (GPA). Further instructions on how to calculate your GPS can be found at the bottom of this page.
  7. Personal letter Please upload a personal letter of not more than 500 words in English, 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.
  8. Proof of Mathematics
    The mathematics requirement (3B or 3C) is based on a certain level of Mathematics in Sweden. The exact corresponding level in a foreign system is hard for us to assess prior to your application. We therefore ask that you upload documents showing your highest level of Math.
    The Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) administers a page that shows the equivalent in most countries. This page- so far only in Swedish- can be found here. If you intend on completing the mathematics requirement after February 1 2024 you need to mention this in your personal letter. You can be admitted with the condition that you need to show proof of mathematics prior to the start of term.
  9. Proof of English. Please upload proof of English eligibility (equivalent to English 6/English B in Sweden). Many upper secondary studies meet the requirement; you can find out more here.
    check your specific country here.
    For test levels you need to consult for rules and regulations regarding Toefl, IELTS or other systems to prove your level of English
  10. All supporting documents must be submitted February 1, 2024
  11. Admission notice will be published on March 21.
  12. Accepting your offer After you receive your admission notice, we will contact you via email asking you to confirm or decline your seat. Note that you cannot accept your seat through Universityadmissions.

Selection of eligible candidates

For the Master’s programme Innovation, Defence and Security a selection is based on grades obtained in qualifying university courses and a personal letter.

Application and Tuition Fees (for applicants outside the EU)

  • Application fee for citizen outside of EU/EEA/Switzerland: SEK 900
  • Tuition fee for citizen outside of EU/EEA/Switzerland: SEK 105 000 per year (60 credits)

Grade point average (GPA)

Please upload a separate summary sheet stating your average grade. It must contain the following four parts:

1. Calculated average grades

The average grade can be calculated from your grades in your bachelor’s degree.

Average grade = (The sum of (course grade x the course credit)) divided by total amount of course credits in your bachelor’s degree.

If your course grades are given as letters, formulate them as numbers. Example: Grade scale A-E, where E is the lowest passing grade: A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1.

2. Minimum passing grade in your local grade system

3. Maximum grade in your local grade system

4. Your signature and statement confirming that the above information given is true and correct as to the best of your knowledge

Many diplomas from international universities already have calculated values and then it is enough to state the GPA (Grade Point Average) value directly.

Application Code


Study Pace




Starting Term

Autumn Term 2024

Study Period

2024-09-02 -- 2026-06-07


Advanced level

Study Mode





A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 credits. The degree should include a documented, graded, written thesis project including a minimum of 15 credits, or equivalent. The degree should be in either social sciences, engineering science, natural science or other relevant area or subject. There are additional requirements for proficiency in Mathematics equivalent to Mathematics 3b or 3c, alternative Mathematics C, and English equivalent to English 6/English B. Certain elective courses have specific entry requirements in order for the student to benefit from the education.



Language of Instruction

The teaching is conducted in English.


If you have questions about the programme, contact by e-mail:

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