Conflict, in its many forms, has been a permanent feature of human society. While not all conflict is destructive, the violent conduct of conflict has caused innumerable deaths and indescribable pain and suffering. It is this kind of deadly conflict that International Conflict Analysis addresses. It tries to understand its causes, to explain its effects and to describe its dynamics in order to prepare actors, be they state governments, international organisations or individuals, to better manage conflict peacefully, or to prevent it in the first place.
This degree examines the major theories and leading practices of conflict and conflict resolution in international affairs, supplementing theory with detailed case studies. Topics include risk analysis, negotiation, mediation, conference diplomacy, twin track diplomacy, third party intervention, peace keeping, peace making, and coercive diplomacy.
The programme includes simulation exercises. The programme draws on the vast pool of expertise on conflict analysis, management and resolution in the Department and benefits from the presence of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, a leading research centre in the field.
Why Study International Conflict Analysis at Kent?
About the School of Politics and International Relations
The School of Politics and International Relations is one of the most dynamic places to study Politics and International Relations. We combine high-quality teaching with cutting-edge research in a supportive environment that welcomes students from all over the world.
All lectures and seminars on postgraduate modules are informed by the latest research and scholarship, and are delivered by full-time academic staff who have internationally recognised expertise in their field.
We pride ourselves on our global outlook, which is reflected in the wide range of international partnerships. We are the only politics and international relations school in the country with a postgraduate centre in Brussels, which allows students on some of our programmes to follow part or their entire programme in Brussels.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Politics and International Relations was ranked 15th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact.
An impressive 96% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
The programme examines the major theories of conflict and conflict resolution in international affairs, supplementing theory with detailed case studies. Topics include negotiation, mediation, conference diplomacy, third party intervention, restorative justice, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and coercive diplomacy.
Full-time students complete the MA in International Conflict Analysis over twelve months. Study is divided between taught modules, which last for one term each, and dissertation work. For full-time students, a total of six modules must be taken over the first two terms. Supervised dissertation work, on a relevant agreed subject, is then undertaken during the remainder of the academic year.
The MA can be taken on a part-time basis, typically over two years but flexible arrangements are also possible. When taking it over two years, part-time students choose three modules in each academic year, and write a supervised dissertation thereafter.
The programme is also offered in a 120 ECTS format – comprising nine taught modules plus a dissertation over two years– and as a Postgraduate Diploma – comprising six taught modules only – worth 120 Kent credits (60 ECTS). Both the 120 ECTS version and the Diploma can also be taken on a part-time basis.
A two-year MA with the first year spent in Brussels and the second year in Canterbury is also available and is worth 120 ECTS.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
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PO828 - Theories of Conflict and Violence
This module will examine how conflict research has evolved within the field of political science and International Relations. It will initially investigate competing theories on conflict and violence highlighting specific case studies and new security concerns. The theoretical reflections will focus on the understanding of modern nationalism in world politics as well as different aspects of conflict ranging from inter-state to intra-state conflict. Moreover, students will be exposed to a detailed and critical analysis of the political and constitutional options in societies beset by violent ethnic conflict, with particular emphasis being given to mechanisms directed at the achievement of political accommodation.Read more
PO832 - Conflict Resolution in World Politics
The module aims to introduce current thinking and practice in the field on conflict resolution, conflict management and conflict transformation, including conflict prevention and peace-building. Can protracted violent conflicts be prevented, and how are they brought to an end? Is it possible to deal with the root causes of conflict? How do the wider conflicts in the international system impact on local and regional conflicts, and under what circumstances are conflicts transformed? We will explore these questions with reference to theories of conflict resolution, comparative studies and case studies. The module will focus mainly on international and intra-state conflict. There will be opportunities to discuss conflicts at other levels, such as the role of diasporas and the media in conflict and its transformation. You are encouraged to draw on your own personal knowledge of conflict situations.Read more
PO825 - Philosophy & Methodology of Politics and International Relations
Students of politics ‘have not been, in general, sufficiently reflective about the nature and scope of their discipline. They just do it rather than talk about it'’ (G.Stoker). Given that political scientists study people – individuals, groups, states, nations, cultures – rather than ‘things’, PO825 moves from the assumption that politics students ought to be reflective about their research. The module aims to provide an opportunity for reflection by presenting some of the key theoretical and methodological debates in politics and international relations. These debates deal with issues such as: the concept of ‘the political’ and the concept of power; the relationship between structure and agency; the causal and constitutive role of ideas and discourse; positivism and post-positivism; critical theory, emancipation, and the importance of normative questions; an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, to research design and research ethics.Read more
PO998 - Dissertation:Politics
This module is for students on Politics and International Relations MA courses. It offers introduction into writing a postgraduate dissertation, which forms a major assessed element of a Master's course. The dissertation, 12,000-words long, must be on a topic approved by a module convenor, and relevant to the MA programme, for which the individual student is registered. It is conceived as that part of the degree programme where students have considerable leeway to follow their own particular interests with guidance from staff. Supervision of work on the dissertation is concentrated in the second half of the academic year. The module offers a general overview of the dissertation components, and techniques of writing a successful workpiece.Read more
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is by coursework plus the dissertation.
The programme aims to:
- provide a programme that will attract, and meet the needs of both those seeking to prepare for careers in fields concerned with international conflicts and those with a general intellectual interest in international conflict analysis
- provide you with a research-active teaching environment which gives you a good grounding in the study of study of international conflict and war, co-operation and peace
- examine how state, non-state and supra-national actors behave and interact in conflict situations
- ensure that you acquire a solid knowledge of the theories of the causes and dynamics of different kinds of conflict and the means to overcome them
- ensure that students who specialise in regional conflicts acquire an advanced understanding of the historical, cultural, social and institutional context of the area to be studied
- prepare students for various careers in jobs related to international conflict analysis as well as for career changes in the spirit of lifelong learning
- develop your general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills).
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- key historical and theoretical issues in international conflict and the study of war and peace, together with familiarity with appropriate bibliographical sources
- how to apply general theoretical and conceptual frameworks to the analysis of specific conflicts
- the nature and distribution of power in the international systems, problems of political order and the social, economic, historical and cultural context within which actors operate
- the different kinds of actors on the international scene, their respective interests and influence in conflict situations
- key theoretical problems of war and peace
- current political challenges to international peace and security and possible strategies to address them
- the changing role of the state in the context of globalisation and regional integration and the implications for international peace and security
- how to design and conduct a research project demonstrating awareness of epistemological and methodological principles
- how to carry out an independent research project and write in a scholarly manner demonstrating familiarity with academic conventions.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- general research skills, especially bibliographic and computing skills
- gathering, organising and deploying evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- identifying, investigating, analysing, formulating and advocating solutions to problems
- developing reasoned arguments, synthesising relevant information and exercising critical judgement
- reflecting on, and managing, your own learning and seeking to make use of constructive feedback from your peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
- managing your own learning self-critically.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- understanding the nature and significance of conflict as a human condition
- applying concepts, theories and methods used in the study of conflict to the analysis of political events, ideas, institutions and practices
- the ability to critically evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events
- the ability to collect, analyse and present information about conflict and political events
- an awareness of the main epistemological issues relevant to research in the social sciences, including the major theoretical and epistemological debates in the social sciences as they bear on international conflict analysis.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including, where appropriate, the use of IT), organise information clearly and coherently, use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information
- information technology: produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases
- working with others: define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function, collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals
- improving your own learning: explore your strengths and weaknesses, time-management skills, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop autonomy in learning, work independently, demonstrate initiative and self-organisation
- important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research, with clear starting and finishing dates (through a dissertation), presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research, and developing appropriate means of estimating and monitoring resources and use of time
- problem-solving: identify and define problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability Coordinator who organises employability events within the School as well as providing students with assistance in securing graduate opportunities. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.
Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in the UK for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.
Students have access to an excellent library and extensive computing facilities. You also have access to online resources; inter-library loans; video library; online book renewals and reservations; laptop and netbook loan facilities; more than 1,300 study spaces/seats; more than 27,500 books and 10,500 bound periodicals catalogued under politics and international relations and related class marks plus British Government Publications and 50,000 online journals also available off-campus.
The School’s resources include a European Documentation Centre, with all official publications of the EU institutions, and a specialised collection on international conflict and federal studies as well as the University’s collection of political cartoons. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with 12 computer terminals.
Dynamic research culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Contemporary Political Theory; International Political Sociology; Journal of Human Rights; New Political Economy; Political Studies; Telos. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests section.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
A first or upper-second class UK honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant subject.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC) and the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT).
In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK. Further details can be found on the South East DTC website.
Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)
Kent has been at the forefront of conflict negotiation and resolution for almost 50 years. The Conflict Analysis Research Centre brings together academics working on different aspects of conflict and security as well as PhD and Master’s students studying International Conflict Analysis, International Law and International Relations. Current research includes an investigation into how migrant communities can support peacebuilding in their home society and how South Africa and the UK treat refugees and security. The Centre is also at the forefront of trying to resolve actual conflicts – for example, it played a role in the Moldova-Transnistria peace process and has supported reconciliation efforts in Africa.
Global Europe Centre (GEC)
The Global Europe Centre is a pioneering research-led learning centre focusing on the study of Europe and its relations with the outside world. The GEC’s research focus is on contemporary policy challenges to Europe and its nation states, the engagement with policy-makers and policy-shapers is at the core of its activities. The GEC mission is to promote excellence, through innovative research and knowledge exchange and to facilitate research-driven impact through its learning and teaching activities. The GEC’s activities include dissemination of policy-relevant research via publications, research-led knowledge transfer workshops, conferences and public lectures, and keynote addresses by leading public figures. The Centre has a strong commitment to the creation of the next generation of ideas innovators and policymakers and pursues these through its learning, teaching and knowledge exchange activities and via the Global Europe Student Forum. GEC is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming to develop synergies across Politics and International Relations, Economics, Law, Business, History, and European Languages and Culture.
Centre for Critical Thought (CCT)
The Centre for Critical Thought is an exciting multidisciplinary initiative across both the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculties, co-ordinated by staff in Politics and International Relations, Law and Italian Studies. It enables staff and students interested in cutting-edge critical thought to discuss their work together and to explore the insights of interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, it serves as a forum for distinguished lectures, seminars and an annual workshop. The Annual Kent Lecture in Political and Social Thought is the headline lecture series and recent speakers have included Professor Bernard Stiegler, Professor Chantal Mouffe and Professor William Outhwaite. All students interested in contemporary critical thought are encouraged to become members while at Kent.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Feargal Cochrane: Professor of International Conflict Analysis
Conflict studies; Northern Ireland conflict; Irish American diaspora.View Profile
Dr Philip Cunliffe: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict
IR theory; sovereignty; peacekeeping; liberal interventionism; Marxism and critical theory; political theory; social theory.View Profile
Dr Paolo Dardanelli: Senior Lecturer in European and Comparative Politics
Federalism, devolution, secession; nationalism; democracy; state formation and dissolution; European politics.View Profile
Dr Andrea den Boer: Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Human rights and ethics; international political theory; continental political philosophy; feminism.View Profile
Dr Charles Devellennes: Lecturer in Political and Social Thought
Political theory; history of political thought; international relations theory.View Profile
Dr Frank Grundig: Lecturer in International Relations
Power, interests and institutions; regime and rational actor theory; international environmental politics; hegemonic leadership.View Profile
Professor Elena Korosteleva: Professor of International Politics
European politics; EU as a global actor and EU foreign policies studies; Eastern partnership and the new eastern Europe; the concept of democracy and democracy promotion.View Profile
Dr Pak K Lee: Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations
Chinese politics; non-traditional security threats in China (especially energy security and public health security); China’s engagement with global governance.View Profile
Professor Neophytos Loizides: Professor of International Conflict Analysis
Federalism; ethnic conflict; international politics; conflict analysis; negotiation and mediation; referendums.View Profile
Dr Iain MacKenzie: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Critical political theory and philosophy.View Profile
Dr Luca Mavelli: Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
International relations theory, social theory; security and political violence.View Profile
Dr Sean Molloy: Reader in International Relations
Realism; international ethics; democratic peace theory; cosmopolitanism.View Profile
Dr Edward Morgan-Jones: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics
Parliamentary and semi-presidential regimes; Cabinet composition and termination; West and East European Politics.View Profile
Dr Jane O'Mahony: Senior Lecturer in European Politics
European integration; EU policymaking; Europeanisation; Irish politics.View Profile
Dr Adrian Pabst: Reader in Politics
Political theory and political economy; political philosophy and history of ideas; European thought; religion, politics and ethics, with a special focus on Christian social teaching.View Profile
Dr Stefan Rossbach: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Political theory and methodology; history of political philosophy; religion and politics.View Profile
Professor Richard Sakwa: Professor of Russian and European Politics
Russian government and politics; communism and postcommunism; democratisation.View Profile
Dr Ben Seyd: Senior Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics
Political institutions; electoral systems; public attitudes to the state and trust; British politics.View Profile
Dr Harmonie Toros: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis
Conflict resolution, conflict transformation, terrorism studies.View Profile
Professor Richard G Whitman: Professor of Politics
European studies; international relations; international role of the European Union.View Profile
Dr Andrew Wroe: Senior Lecturer in American Politics
Direct democracy; trust in politics; immigration; race/ethnicity; American politics and government.View Profile
Dr Albena Azmanova: Reader in International Relations
Political traditions and democratisation; globalisation and political identities; European integration.View Profile
Dr Tom Casier: Senior Lecturer in International Relations
EU as an international actor; EU-Russian relations; Russian foreign policy.View Profile
Dr Toni Haastrup: Lecturer in International Security
Human security discourses; gender and feminist international relations; regional security; EU external relations and African peace and security architecture. Recent publications include: Charting Transformation through Security: Contemporary EU-Africa Relations (2013).View Profile
Dr Ingvild Bode: Lecturer in International relations
United Nations peacekeeping; thematic mandates at the Security Council; US use-of-force policy; conflict narrativesView Profile
Professor Trine Flockhart: Professor of International Relations
International order; European security and transatlantic relations; constructivist theoryView Profile
Professor Matthew Goodwin: Professor of Politics and International Relations
Political parties; electoral behaviour; Euroscepticism and immigration.View Profile
Dr Yvan Guichaoua: Lecturer in international Conflict Analysis (Brussels)
The dynamics of insurgency formation; rebel governance and state responses in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger since 2004.View Profile
Dr Bojan Savic: Lecturer in International Relations (Brussels)
Game theory; qualitative and quantitative research strategies in relation to conflict and development.View Profile
Dr Laura Sudulich: Senior Lecturer in Politics
Effects of new media on electoral behaviour; electoral campaigns; election forecasting and processes of politicisation.View Profile
Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels: Senior Lecturer in Migration and Politics
Dr. Klekowski von Koppenfels' current research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and transnational engagement of migrants, in particular with respect to Global North migrants, although she remains interested in the phenomena more broadly.View Profile
Dr Nadine Ansorg: Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis
Post-conflict transformation and institutional reform, Security sector reform, Regional dynamics of conflict and violence and Conflict analysis.View Profile
Dr M. Malksoo: Senior Lecturer in International Security (Brussles)
Main research interests: The intersection of security, memory and identity politics, and critical IR theory. Previous research has covered social theoretic perspectives of the EU and NATO’s eastern enlargements, liminality in IR, and the conflicts over historical memory between Russia and its former Soviet/East European dependants. Current research focuses on (i) the nexus between transitional justice and foreign policies on the example of post-communist Russia and (ii) NATO’s ‘back to the roots’-policy in re-strengthening its collective defence arm and its eastern flank.View Profile
Dr Yaniv Voller: Lecturer in Politics of the Middle East
The geopolitics of the Middle East, the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states, ideology and practices in shaping international politicsView Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|International Conflict Analysis - PDip at Canterbury:|
|International Conflict Analysis - Taught MA at Canterbury:|
|International Conflict Analysis 120 ECTS - MA at Canterbury:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.
General additional costs
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