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Private Security


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can join this course.


The provision of security is traditionally seen as a public monopoly. Nowadays however private parties are increasingly engaged in it. The public sector becomes one of several actors, part of a network that has as its goal the provision of security. It is for crisis and security management students therefore imperative that this perspective is studied. The changing relationship between the public and the private sector also brings a shift from a governance point of view. What can the public security sector learn from its private partners in terms of innovation, efficiency and efficacy? How can private actors be engaged in providing security to citizens while maintaining democratic accountability, and preventing a loss of civil rights? Are there possibilities of hybrid structures to be set up? Students will get acquainted with the multitude of private security actors, ranging from corporate security to security guards, private intelligence, private military companies and security consultants. By studying relevant theoretical insights and research papers students will get familiar with the theoretical debate concerning the privatization of security and its main empirical findings.

Course objectives

The main goals of the course are:

  • To provide students with skills which help them to analyze the complex and ever-changing relationship between public and private security.

  • To provide students with theoretical notions and practical examples in order to better understand the essence of security and the history and potential of private security.

  • To present and critique various theoretical approaches to understand the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

  • To challenge students to develop their own analysis of the privatization of security by writing a paper on specific issues related to the changing relationship between public and private security.


Block II, further details to be announced.

The (provisional) timetable is on the first page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The sessions are dedicated to lectures and discussion.

Assessment method

Students will be asked to write a policy paper in which academic insights concerning the governance of public and private security form the foundation of a well-structured and well-reasoned advice regarding an actual example of privatization of security. Further, students are expected to work on two small mid term assignments, which build on discussions held during the sessions.
Students will be evaluated as follows:

  • Quality of two small mid-term assignment equaling 30% of the total grade.

  • Quality of the final policy paper equals 70% of the totalgrade.


To be announced


Instructor uses Blackboard.



Contact information