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;

Dr Alistair Shepherd

Senior Lecturer in European Security

Department of International Politics

Contact Details


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. He has recently completed a monograph, The EU Security Continuum: Blurring Internal and External Security, to be published by Routledge in September 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 areas of teaching include the European Union, European security and NATO, terrorism and counterterrorism and international security studies. He was shortlisted for Lecturer of the Year in 2021 and 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.


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Course Builder

Alistair teaches primarily in the areas of European and Transatlantic security, EU and European Politics, and international 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.


Alistair’s main research interests are in the fields of security studies and the European Union. In particular: contemporary transboundary security challenges such as regional conflict and crises, terrorism, cybersecurity, and organised crime; Europe’s role in international security; Transatlantic security; EU internal and external security policies; conceptualising EU actorness and power, and UK-EU security relations. 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. More recently, Alistair has been working on a number of research projects.

First, he has just completed a monograph that critically examines the nexus between European Union internal and external security threats and responses – the EU security continuum. This project examines the extent and implications of the blurring of internal-external security for the EU. 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 September 2021.

Second, Alistair is working on an article on EU Counterterrorism, Collective Securitisation, and the Internal-External Security Nexus. The article examines the ways the EU has collectively securitised terrorism as a transboundary threat that blurs the traditional divide between internal and external security, requiring a multidimensional EU counterterrorism policy that transcends its institutional and capability silos. This collective securitisation of terrorism as a transboundary threat reshapes the nature of the EU as a security actor.

Third, Alistair is working on an article on US policies towards the European Union's security and defence policies, in the post 9-11 era. The article seeks to examine claims that the Trump administration signified 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 is 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 EU foreign, security and defence policy.


Departmental Management Team, Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing 2021-22

Research Groups

Office Hours (Student Contact Times)

  • Tuesday 11:30-12:30
  • Thursday 10:30-11:30


Efstathopoulos, C, Kurki, M & Shepherd, A 2020, 'Facing human interconnections: Thinking International Relations into the future', International Relations, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 267-289. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047117820948587
Shepherd, A 2016, The European Security Continuum and the EU as an International Security Provider. in A Peen Rodt, R Whitman & S Wolff (eds), Theorising the European Union as an International Security Provider. Taylor & Francis, pp. 8-16.
Shepherd, AJK 2016, The Internal-External Security Nexus and CSDP. in L Chappell, J Mawdsley & P Petrov (eds), The EU, Strategy and Security Policy: Regional and strategic challenges. Routledge Studies in European Security and Strategy, Taylor & Francis, pp. 87-103.
Shepherd, AJK 2015, EU Military Capability Development and the European Defence Agency: Ideas, Interests and Institutions. in N Karampekios & I Oikonomou (eds), The European Defence Agency: Arming Europe. Routledge Studies in European Security And Strategy, Taylor & Francis, pp. 65-83.
Shepherd, AJK 2015, 'The European Security Continuum and the EU as an International Security Provider', Global Society, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 156-174. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600826.2015.1018146
More publications on the Research Portal