War and Conflict

Peace and Conflict Studies (International Joint Award) - MA

2019

The MA in Peace and Conflict Studies is an exciting international and interdisciplinary two-year programme focusing on violent conflict as well as its prevention and management. It is a unique programme which is jointly offered by the University of Kent and the Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany and is taught in English.

2019

Overview

You gain advanced knowledge in peace and conflict research, designed to help you understand the causes of violent conflict and to explain its effects and dynamics. As befits the complexity of violent conflict, the programme is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on insights from politics and international relations, sociology and psychology. It examines the major theories and leading practices of conflict and conflict resolution, supplementing theory with detailed case studies. Topics typically covered within the programme include risk analysis, negotiation, mediation, conference diplomacy, twin-track diplomacy, third-party intervention, peace-keeping, peace-making, and coercive diplomacy.

The programme draws on the large pool of expertise in the field of conflict analysis at Kent and Marburg, concentrated in the Centre for Conflict Studies at Marburg and the Conflict Analysis Research Centre at Kent, both leading research centres in the field.

You develop your high-end analytical skills, along with more practical capabilities in areas such as mediation. Valuable skills are gained from dedicated research exercises such as conflict simulations, while you learn additional practical skills from an internship that is usually undertaken between the first and second years of study. Overall, the programme provides you with an outstanding basis from which to pursue a variety of careers, including in government, international organisations, NGOs, media, business, and consultancy and research. 

Postgraduate study in Politics and International Relations 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.

The School has grown significantly in the last few years and now has over 30 academic staff based at two locations, in Canterbury and Brussels. The School is cosmopolitan, with staff originating from eight different countries, and well over half of all postgraduate students come from outside the UK.

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.

Programme fees

Please contact polirpgadmissions@kent.ac.uk for details of current tuition fees.

Please note that this programme does not qualify for the UK Government postgraduate loans as more than 50% of the programme is studied in another country.

National ratings

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.

Course structure

This programme offers the opportunity to study at the University of Marburg. You will start the programme in Canterbury at the University of Kent and spend the second year in Marburg where courses will be taught in English. Due to the joint institutional nature of this programme its term dates are non-standard, the term dates are outlined in more detail below. 

After completion of the spring term at Kent, you undertake an eight to twelve-week internship during the vacation period from April until early October.

Please note that some spring term assessment deadlines may fall in the first week of Kent's summer term.

Modules

In your second year, studying in Marburg, you take one optional module and two optional modules. 

Winter Term (October-March)

Required: 

  • Intergroup Conflicts

Optional: 

At least three of these courses will be offered in English

  •     Critical Approaches to Peace and Conflict Studies 
  •     Violent Conflicts and Peace Processes in World Society 
  •     Development and Peace 
  •     Mediation
  •     Social Structures of Conflict and Peace
  •     Project management
  •     Language courses

Summer Term (April-August)

  • Master dissertation of 12,000 words (due mid-August)
Modules may include Credits

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.

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20

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.

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20

This module is used for the School's MA year abroad marks, where applicable.

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60

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.

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60

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by coursework plus the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide a programme that will attract, and meet the needs of, 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 international and domestic 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  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 you 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)
  • provide an opportunity to study abroad in a different academic environment
  • contribute to your learning experience by offering you the opportunity to approach the study of international conflict analysis from a different intellectual and cultural tradition
  • enable you to apply your knowledge and skills while interning with organisations working on peace and conflict-related issues.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key historical and theoretical issues in international and domestic 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 in 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.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • general research skills, especially bibliographic and computing skills
  • the ability to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
  • the ability to identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems
  • the ability to develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
  • the ability to reflect on, and manage, your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from your peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
  • manage your own learning self-critically.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • an advanced understanding the nature and significance of  conflict as a human condition
  • the ability to critically apply 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 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.

Transferable skills

You will 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 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, demonstrating 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.

Careers

The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Internships, Placements and Alumni Manager who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. 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.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

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 publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: 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.  

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent.

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. 

International students

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.

Research areas

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 core research groups: Conflict, Security and Human Rights; Comparative Politics; and Political and Social Thought. We also host three University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC). and the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT).

All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information.

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.

Dr Albena Azmanova: Reader in International Relations

Political traditions and democratisation; globalisation and political identities; European integration.

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Dr Ingvild Bode: Lecturer in International relations

United Nations peacekeeping; thematic mandates at the Security Council; US use-of-force policy; conflict narratives

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Dr Tom Casier: Senior Lecturer in International Relations

EU as an international actor; EU-Russian relations; Russian foreign policy.

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Professor Feargal Cochrane: Professor of International Conflict Analysis

Conflict studies; Northern Ireland conflict; Irish American diaspora. 

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Dr Philip Cunliffe: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict

IR theory; sovereignty; peacekeeping; liberal interventionism; Marxism and critical theory; political theory; social theory.

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Dr Paolo Dardanelli: Senior Lecturer in European and Comparative Politics

Federalism, devolution, secession; nationalism; democracy; state formation and dissolution; European politics.

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Dr Andrea den Boer: Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Human rights and ethics; international political theory; continental political philosophy; feminism.

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Dr Charles Devellennes: Lecturer in Political and Social Thought

Political theory; history of political thought; international relations theory.

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Professor Trine Flockhart: Professor of International Relations

International order; European security and transatlantic relations; constructivist theory

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Professor Matthew Goodwin: Professor of Politics and International Relations

Political parties; electoral behaviour; Euroscepticism and immigration.

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Dr Frank Grundig: Lecturer in International Relations

Power, interests and institutions; regime and rational actor theory; international environmental politics; hegemonic leadership.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Professor Neophytos Loizides: Professor of International Conflict Analysis

Federalism; ethnic conflict; international politics; conflict analysis; negotiation and mediation; referendums.

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Dr Iain MacKenzie: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Critical political theory and philosophy.

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Dr Luca Mavelli: Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

International relations theory, social theory; security and political violence.

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Dr Sean Molloy: Reader in International Relations

Realism; international ethics; democratic peace theory; cosmopolitanism.

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Dr Edward Morgan-Jones: Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics

Parliamentary and semi-presidential regimes; Cabinet composition and termination; West and East European Politics.

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Dr Jane O'Mahony: Senior Lecturer in European Politics

European integration; EU policymaking; Europeanisation; Irish politics.

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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.

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Dr Stefan Rossbach: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Political theory and methodology; history of political philosophy; religion and politics.

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Professor Richard Sakwa: Professor of Russian and European Politics

Russian government and politics; communism and postcommunism; democratisation. 

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Dr Bojan Savic: Lecturer in International Relations (Brussels)

Game theory; qualitative and quantitative research strategies in relation to conflict and development.

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Dr Ben Seyd: Senior Lecturer in British and Comparative Politics

Political institutions; electoral systems; public attitudes to the state and trust; British politics.

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Dr Laura Sudulich: Senior Lecturer in Politics

Effects of new media on electoral behaviour; electoral campaigns; election forecasting and processes of politicisation.

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Dr Harmonie Toros: Senior Lecturer in International Conflict Analysis

Conflict resolution, conflict transformation, terrorism studies.

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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.

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Professor Richard G Whitman: Professor of Politics

European studies; international relations; international role of the European Union.

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Dr Andrew Wroe: Senior Lecturer in American Politics

Direct democracy; trust in politics; immigration; race/ethnicity; American politics and government.

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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.

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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.

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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 politics

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Peace and Conflict Studies (International Joint Award) - MA at Canterbury and Marburg:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time TBC TBC

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 information@kent.ac.uk

Additional costs

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

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

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