MSc Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding
The focus of governments and humanitarian NGOs has progressively shifted towards conflict prevention and building sustainable peace. Yet to prevent conflict or to build a secure and inclusive state and society after conflict involves a complex set of skills straddling conflict analysis, conflict mediation and negotiation, peace processes, state stabilisation, post-conflict reconstruction, peace building and early warning.
This inter-disciplinary, custom-designed MSc offers the opportunity to develop operational and vocational skills for conflict prevention and peacebuilding within the context of the latest theories on conflict and conflict prevention. Students will acquire the analytical skills to map conflict dynamics, design conflict sensitive projects and develop early warning mechanisms, enabling them to better predict, and so avoid, the outbreak of violent conflicts. They will also gain the skills necessary to assess and evaluate the impact and outcomes of interventions.
The MSc is designed for practitioners looking to enhance their existing skills, as well as graduates with a career in conflict prevention, conflict mediation, or post-conflict reconstruction in mind. It is particularly aimed at those seeking to work or already working in the (I)NGO sector, governmental departments or inter-governmental organisations.
While rooted in peace and conflict studies, the MSc draws on strategic and security studies as well as development studies, enabling much needed cross-fertilisation between these traditionally divergent perspectives. It draws on real-life case studies as well as interactive role plays, and exposes students to both cutting-edge academic developments and the latest practitioner experience, with a particular focus on bottom-up approaches.
Courses are taught by a mixture of academics and practitioners, and cover both critical and problem-solving approaches. Conflict dynamics are analysed drawing on multiple disciplines, including security studies, peace studies, anthropology, law, archaeology, history and political theory. Modules include both traditional, term-long modules and short, usually more skills-oriented continuing professional development courses as well as fieldtrips (e.g. fieldtrips have been organised to Nepal, Kenya, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Kosovo).
L2K909 Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding MSc Postgraduate Taught 2019
The MSc will provide you with advanced knowledge of the complex and specialised areas of peacebuilding, among it conflict analysis, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and conflict transformation, community driven reconstruction, peace processes within the context of contemporary conflicts and in the context of broader international (humanitarian) interventions. Integrated into the MSc structure are opportunities to develop operational and vocational skills for example in negotiations, conflict mediation, conflict sensitive programme design and programme management, or urban peacebuilding. You are provided with theoretical and empirical knowledge and with practical skills that are helpful for current and future employment opportunities. The courses are thus attractive to both graduates and mid-career practitioners. Whilst the academic and applied focus of the MSc comes through a peace and conflict studies analytic lens, course material will also draw from traditional strategic/security and development studies, enabling cross fertilisation between different perspectives. It allows the exploration of unique and new paradigms and practices in the fields of conflict, peace, security, defence, diplomacy, development and humanitarian intervention.
Five core modules worth 75 credits plus a Dissertation worth 60 credits plus three optional modules to the value of 45 credits.
- Defence, Development and Diplomacy in Conflict: Evolving Actors, Factors and Paradigms
- Conflict Prevention and Sustainable Peace
- Responses: Peace Processes and Political Negotiation
- Recovery and Reconstruction: Consolidating Peace after Violence
- Capstone Exercise: Humanitarian Intervention Simulation (in MSc-specific roles)
Optional modules in previous years have included:
- Religion, Culture and Conflict
- Conflict Mediation
- Conflict Sensitive Programme Management
- Re-thinking Counter Terrorism
- Urban Violence - Urban Peacebuilding
- International Negotiation as Instrument in Conflict Management
- Policing Post-Conflict Cities
- Defence Engagement
- Conflict Analysis.
To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.
Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.
Learning and Teaching
Course Learning and Teaching
At the beginning of the academic year, as well as the general induction programme offered by the School and the University, Durham Global Security Institute (DGSi) students are invited to a programme specific induction. This induction provides an overview of the course an opportunity to meet members of the team and an opportunity to discuss optional module choices.
The 180 credits one-year MSc degree course is divided into five core and three optional modules of 15 credits each. You also have to submit a dissertation (60 credits) of not more than15,000 words. Practitioners have the option of writing an in-depth policy document as their dissertation.
Most of the modules are delivered during the first two terms and students spend the remaining time to write the dissertation. Assessment methods include an examination, essays, presentations, reflective journal, reports, article reviews and policy briefs.
Although all modules have 18/19 contact hours, the core modules are spread over 9/10 weeks and 132 hours of self-directed learning. The modules are mainly delivered through weekly 2-hour sessions which take the form of a one hour lecture and a one hour tutorial. The form in which seminars are conducted can differ from one module to another. Typically modules would have elements of lectures, discussions, and presentations from students—the extent of each of these components would differ from one module to another. The optional modules of the course are either delivered over two full days, through a mixture of lectures, Q&A sessions, seminar discussions, and role plays or over a single term in 2-hour seminar sessions. There is also the opportunity to participate in a study visit which provides an opportunity to investigate issues ‘in the field’ concerned with conflict prevention, conflict resolution, state and peace-building. Of particular interest is the theory-practice linkage.
You can also meet your module coordinators or course coordinator during weekly contact hours or by making an appointment. When you are working on your dissertation during the latter half of the year, you are required to attend two 4-hour workshops. In addition, you have the opportunity to meet your assigned supervisor for an average of 6 meetings. You will also have access to the MSc Programme Director and the School’s Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies whenever there is a need.
The School hosts events throughout the year which all postgraduate students are invited to attend. You are also fully integrated into the Durham Global Security Institute which also hosts guest lectures and seminars throughout the year. These events provide opportunities to engage with, and debate, the most important issues in current political and international studies, and in conflict, peace and security studies.
Towards the end of the course students can contact the Careers and Enterprise Centre of the University to get advice on available job prospects and assistance on applying for these.
Subject requirements, level and grade
UK 2.1 Bachelor degree, or equivalent. The degree should be in the field of social sciences, but we will actively consider significant relevant experience in lieu of this requirement.
Two satisfactory academic references. In cases of applicants who have significant relevant experience, one work-related reference and one academic reference would be considered appropriate.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£11,550.00 per year|
|Home Student||£11,550.00 per year|
|Island Student||£11,550.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£20,790.00 per year|
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Postgraduate Prospectus 2018
Interested in postgraduate study? Click to register and download our 2018 prospectus.