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Peace & Conflict Studies

Summary

This internationally renowned programme is offered by leading academics from the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. The MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies offers the student 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.

This programme attracts students from a number of countries and a wide variety of academic backgrounds. This programme has a strong focus on critically assessing the causes of consequences of conflict and examining the theories and practices of post-violence peace building, which is appropriate given that it is rooted in a society emerging from decades of protracted violence.

The past decades have seen tremendous changes in the global context. This has included the rise in ethnic conflict and increasing demands for their peaceful resolution and the reconstruction of affected regions and states. As a result, the demand for well-trained individuals to work on the myriad of peace and conflict issues continues to rise. The geographical scope of INCORE's work in research, policy and practice is both local and global and this is reflected in the modules offered on the programme and this course is designed to enhance student employability within the academic and applied field of peace and conflict studies.

About

One of the core strengths of the MSc programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at Ulster University is its location. Northern Ireland is a society emerging from conflict and students on the programme has an opportunity to explore not only the theoretical and practice debates of conflict transformation and peacebuilding in the classroom but to see how peace is negotiated and delivered at both political and community level on a daily basis. With exit points at PgCert and PgDip levels, this programme provides a structured learning opportunity to analyze the dynamic and constantly changing field of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Focusing on the latest research and concepts in peace and conflict studies and practice, participants are invited to compare, contrast and learn from different contexts and perspectives.

The emphasis of the INCORE programme is consistent with the vision of Ulster University to be a leading provider of professional education for professional life and the geographical scope of INCORE's work in research, policy, and practice is both local and global.

The programme stresses the development of skills relevant to graduates who want to go on to be practitioners, researchers and policymakers in the peace and conflict field. The overall approach seeks to develop the critical, theoretical and analytical skills necessary for working in conflicted societies – in ways that are grounded in real life application and case studies.

Students in the programme have access to leading academics and practitioners working to address both the causes and consequences of conflict locally and internationally, and to promote better peacemaking 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 the programme in Northern Ireland ensures that there is an open door between classroom and experiential learning.

The knowledge and capacities developed by students are transferable 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, social work 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 MSc. in Peace and Conflict Studies also has applicability and desirability for employers within the public and private sector, particularly in the areas of negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution.

Teaching and learning assessment

Weekly lecturers, seminars and workshops. Assessment is by coursework (no exams), including essays, critical reviews, conflict analyses, presentations, proposal writing and dissertations.

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.

Entry requirements

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

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Duration

Attendance

Taken in part-time mode, the MSc takes three calendar years to complete. You will normally be expected to attend class for 4-5 hours on one day per week during Semester One (Sept- Jan) and Semester Two (Jan - May). Students conduct their dissertation during Year Three (Sept - May). The programme will be supplemented with seminars and lectures by visiting academics and practitioners, as well as field visits.

Careers or further progression

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.

Further enquiries

Course Director: Grainne Kelly
E: g.kelly@ulster.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6934

Admissions Contact: Ruth McKeegan
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6134
E: rm.mckeegan@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Service
T: +44 (0)28 9036 6309
E: admissionsjn@ulster.ac.uk

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, as well as introduce the student to contemporary debates and approaches to conflict analysis and intervention. Students will develop a theoretical grounding as well as the analytical skills to analyse, understand and apply different approaches and interventions in peace and conflict.

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.

Year two

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.

Researching Conflict and Peace
This module will bring students to the point where they can understand the basic ethical and methodological issues involved in conducting research in divided societies. In particular the module will provide students with an in-depth understanding of key concepts across research methodologies and key issues in researching certain groups. The module will assist students in devising a research proposal and in the selection and application of relevant methods through which research questions outlined in the proposal can be addressed.

The Northern Ireland Conflict
This module is optional
This module on the Northern Ireland conflict aims to give students a detailed overview of the historical roots and longevity of the Northern Ireland conflict. It will also seek to provide the student with an understanding to enable them to explore and analyse the various participants in the conflict, their motivations, objectives and tactics. In addition it will seek to explore the role and use of political violence in the escalation and maintenance of the conflict, to identify the turning points, and to examine and critique the various components of the 1998 peace accord. Finally the module will offer an opportunity to examine some of the social and economic issues facing Northern Ireland society as it emerges out of decades of conflict.

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.

Policy in Divided Societies
This module is optional
Policy debates are central to the way societies make sense of social and political conflicts in their midst. Drawing on a wide range of policy fields and country case studies, this module critically appraises how such policy dynamics unfold in the particular contexts of divided societies.

Racial politics of conflict and migration
This module is optional
The study of migration and 'race' is an essential element to scholarship in peace and conflict today. This module traces the legacies of colonialism, imperialism and historic migrations through engagement with case studies from around the world, identifying and understanding contemporary challenges.

Year three

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.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2019

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