Dr Alistair Shepherd PhD in Political Science, 2003, University of Aberdeen; M.Litt in Stratgeic Studies, 1996, University of Aberdeen; MA (Hons) in Geography & International Relations, 1994, University of Aberdeen; PGCTHE 2006, University of Wales, Aberystwyth;

Senior Lecturer in European Security

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Aberystwyth University
International Politics Building
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Alistair’s main research interests are in the fields of security studies and the European Union. In particular: internal and external security threats; Europe’s role in international security; Transatlantic security; EU and national security policies; and conceptualising European power. Previously his research focused on the civilian and military aspects of the EU’s security and defence policy and its implications for the EU’s role as a security actor. Alistair is currently undertaking two research projects. First he critically examines the nexus between internal and external security threats and responses – the European security continuum. This project examines the extent and implications of the blurring of internal-external security. In particular, it studies the political, institutional, and ethical tensions the transboundary nature of security creates in formulating policy and identifying capabilities and its impact on the nature of the EU as an international security actor. This will be published as a Routledge monograph in 2021.

Second, Alistair is working on an article on US policies towards the European's security and defence policies, in particular in the post 9-11 era. The article seeks to examine claims that the Trump administration signifies a significant rupture in US-European security relations, with particular implications for the EU’s Commons Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It examines the what extent and in ways the discourse of different US Administrations differ in relation to European security and the EU’s CSDP, the way that rhetoric reflected in policy, and what might explain change and continuity in US attitudes to greater European security and defence cooperation with in the EU?

Finally, Alistair is in the early stages of developing a project on post Brexit European foreign, security and defence policy, identifying key themes around the UK’s exit from the EU on both internal and external security policies (and the connections between them). For the EU the departure of the UK and its military capabilities and expertise is a loss to its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). For the UK Brexit may mean significant challenges in countering terrorism, cyber-threats, and organised crime.


Alistair Shepherd joined the Department of International Politics in 2003 as Lecturer in European Security and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2013. He obtained his PhD in Political Science at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, specialising in the EU's security and defence policy. His research interests focus on European and international security and the European Union. Currently he is working on a project examining the nexus between internal and external security threats and responses within the European Union, to be published as a monograph in 2021. He is also the co-author of Toward a European Army: a Military Power in the Making? (Lynne Rienner), co-editor of the volume The Security Dimensions of EU Enlargement (MUP) and author of numerous articles and chapters.

His teaching interests include security studies, terrorism, the EU, European security, and NATO. He received an Award for Teaching Excellence from Aberystwyth University in 2007. He is an Associate Editor of the Sage journal International Relations, is on the editorial board of the Routledge journal European Security and is a Fellow of the High Education Academy. He has also contributed to courses for the MoD and the Jean Monnet Spring Seminars on European Security, as well contributing to Parliamentary Committee Reports and local, national and international media. Alistair has also served as the Department's Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing three times and also as Deputy Director for Undergraduate Studies, as well has having been External Examiner for MA and Undergraduate degree schemes at two UK universities.


Alistair teaches primarily in the areas of European and Transatlantic security, EU and European Politics, and the wider field of security studies. His undergraduate modules include: Contemporary Security: Theories and Threats; NATO: from Cold War to Hybrid War; Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: Policing, Intelligence and War; Contemporary European Security; and, The European Union: Politics, Policies, Problems.

At Masters level his module include: Security Policy in the European Union, and The European Union in Crisis: Integration and Fragmentation

PhD Supervision areas: security studies, European & EU politics, Internal and external security challenges in Europe; EU foreign, security and defence policy; European approaches to internal security policy (terrorism, immigration, organised crime); NATO & Transatlantic security; National foreign, security and defence policies.