Peace & Conflict Studies

Ulster University - Belfast

Peace & Conflict Studies

This internationally renowned programme is offered by leading academics from the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. It is a unique opportunity to undertake an interdisciplinary graduate programme characterised by academic excellence, within the context of a vibrant and culturally rich society emerging from conflict. Attracting students from a range of countries and a wide variety of academic backgrounds, it has a strong focus on critically assessing the causes and consequences of conflict and examining the theories and practices of post-violence peacebuilding.

You will work to address the causes and consequences of conflict locally and internationally, and to promote better peace making and peacebuilding strategies. The experience of engaging with leading academics and practitioners in the field is a hallmark of the programme and the location of Northern Ireland ensures that there is an open door between classroom and experiential learning.

Work placement / study abroad
INCORE has strong working relationships with a range of organisations working on issues of peace and conflict, and can help facilitate internship opportunities for those students who wish to gain practical work experience during, or after, the programme.

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Foundations of Peace and Conflict Studies
This module will provide an advanced introduction to key concepts, ideas and debates in this field of study of peace and conflict studies. The student will develop the analytical and theoretical skills to understand the origins of conflict and war, approaches to peace and the different theoretical traditions that underpin the field. The module will develop reflective skills so students can position their own thinking within the continuum of understandings of peace and conflict so are able to apply knowledge to understand contemporary conflicts and peace interventions.

Conflict Analysis
Students will be introduced to contemporary debates and approaches to conflict analysis and intervention. The module will be use both theoretical and applied methodologies to apply this knowledge to real-world cases, as well as in-depth analysis of case studies.

Foundations of Social Science Research
This module will introduce students to some of the key concepts, ideas and debates in social science research. The module will also introduce students to the main stages in the research process, the main approaches and methods and will give students a firm foundation in the basics of social research that will prepare them for other research methods modules.

Peacebuilding: Concepts and Approaches
The purpose of this module is to provide students with a thorough grounding of the academic field of peacebuilding and the different approaches and interventions employed within it. Drawing on a range of international examples, the student will gain an understanding of the various definitions and theoretical understandings of peacebuilding and will develop a broad understanding of the various structural, economic, social and psychological impacts which require attention following violent conflict.

MSc Dissertation
This module enables students to develop and apply research skills in a 15,000 word dissertation, that rigorously explores, critically analyses, and systematically addresses a research question or issue in the interdisciplinary field of peace and conflict studies.

Social Action for Peace and Justice: A Community Development Approach
This module is optional
This module is designed as an integrated social sciences paradigm infused with a co-production theme.

The content is fashioned to raise the awareness of students to injustices oppression and discrimination that are embedded in personal, cultural and structural frames of reference. They will be challenged to explore how to tackle these issues using a community development approach that leads to sustainable social action.

The module is primarily focused on emancipatory praxis to promote critical dialogue and social action using a community development lens.

Memory, Identity and Dealing with the Past
This module is optional
This module will provide the development of the analytical and theoretical skills to understand the importance of memory in constituting identities and how it can be used constructively to transform conflicts at individual, group and political levels.

Survey and Quantitative Methods
This module is optional
This module provides students with a thorough knowledge of survey research and quantitative analysis. It takes students from an introduction to the principles and practice of elementary techniques through to use of advanced quantitative methods. Topics covered include survey methods and sampling as well as univariate, bivariate and multivariate techniques. Practical applications are used to give the student experience of data handling, analysis, inference and results presentation.

Qualitative Research Methods
This module is optional
The module will introduce students to essential features of qualitative research through: conceptualizing research, constructing appropriate and effective data collection instruments, accessing archived data, interpreting and presenting research findings. Throughout, the module explores issues of ethics, access and accountability; and issues of application and limitation of different qualitative approaches in different exampled research contexts. This module is designed to introduce participants to approaches to research with groups who are most impacted by social inequality and to understand the ethical issues that apply to research with 'vulnerable groups', a term that is used here in the sense in which it is used by ethics approval committees. By the end of the module, students are expected to be conversant with qualitative research perspectives and methods, skilled in the techniques of qualitative research design and data collection, and competent in both manual and computer-aided qualitative data analysis (Nvivo), and will be required to demonstrate their newly acquired competencies through coursework.

Entry requirements

A second class Honours degree or above or equivalent recognised qualification in Social Sciences, Humanities, Law or a cognate discipline. Allowance may be made for special qualifications, experience and background, and students with other academic backgrounds will be considered, where applicants can demonstrate their ability to undertake the programme through the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) or accreditation of prior learning (APL).

English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language this course requires
a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band
score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).

Enrolment dates

Start Date: September 2023.

Post Course Info

Career options
Students of an interdisciplinary programme such as the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies are well placed to follow a number of distinct career opportunities, based on their specific interests and core strengths. The past decades have seen tremendous changes in the global context. As a result, the demand for well-trained individuals to work on the myriad of peace and conflict issues continues to rise. The knowledge and capacities developed by INCORE peace and conflict studies students are transferrable across sectors and regions, making their skill set mobile and flexible within a globalised job market.

Graduates of the programme will have key research and practice skills which will equip them to pursue careers in a wide range of fields, including conflict resolution, human rights, community and economic development, social justice, psychosocial interventions, education, law and politics among others. Development and humanitarian organisations, in particular, are increasingly recognising the value of employing staff with a strong understanding and knowledge of conflict resolution and peacebuilding issues, particularly given the prevalence of tensions and conflict in developing countries. The knowledge and skills gained during the programme also has applicability and desirability for employers within the public and private sector, particularly in the areas of negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution.

Past graduates have gone on to complete doctoral research and to develop careers as specialists working in multi-lateral organisations including the UN and the EU.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7,Degree - Masters at UK Level 7,Postgraduate Certificate at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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