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Peace & Conflict Studies

This internationally renowned programme is offered by leading academics from the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. The course offers 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 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 Northern Ireland ensures that there is an open door between classroom and experiential learning.

The demand for well-trained individuals to work on the myriad of peace and conflict issues continues to rise.

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.



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



Ruth McKeegan

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6134


Grainne Kelly

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6934


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

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 20 February 2020

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