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5 Fully funded PhDs in peace and conflict studies

Doing a postgraduate study is very exciting. It provides a great opportunity to move closer to the level of expertise in one’s area of interest, and it provides a sense of accomplishment and self-worth for many. This feeling of pride is even further heightened if the postgraduate studies is for a PhD.  Expectedly, there is always a great euphoria that accompanies the realisation that a research proposal has been accepted by a University and that a PhD journey is about to begin. However, the euphoria can quickly give way to panic when one considers the possible challenge a lack of funding can pose to the pursuit. Most doctoral students either work part time to fund their studies or find a mixture of smaller grants from charities, organisations or industry. This article highlights institutions that offer fully-funded PhD programmes in peace and conflict studies, with the hope that it would encourage students to undertake courses in peace and conflict studies, thereby helping to build a critical mass of peacemakers, peacebuilders and conflict resolution experts.

  1. Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

Programme Information: The Durban University of Technology’s Peacebuilding Programme is arguably the biggest and most exhaustive of its kind on the continent of Africa. With close to 50 doctoral students enrolled in the programme, it is one of the most diverse on the continent, and one of the most hands-on PhD programmes worldwide.  The degrees start with a compulsory on-campus component of one month during which time students attend classes and submit assignments on peace theory, receive training in practical peacebuilding and learn the details of writing a research thesis. Students are encouraged to work on action research topics which directly build peace among individuals and communities.

Programme Requirements:

  • A Master’s degree with a research component, normally at an upper class level (70%) or above.
  • Strong written and spoken English
  • Relevant life experience beyond studying at the university
  • A commitment to attend the university full-time at the start of the academic programme, and a week at the start of the second year.
  • A commitment to devote a minimum of 12-15 hours per week to thesis work, on average, following the on-campus period.

Funding Information: DUT offers tuition free studies for doctoral students for the first three years. It also supports cost of data collection and for the preparation of the final version of the thesis for submission.

Link: Professor Geoff Harris and Dr. Sylvia Kaye, peacebuilding@dut.ac.za

  1. University of Notre Dame’s PhD in Peace Studies.

Programme Information: The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace regularly offers PhD scholarships in the field of Peace Studies for students willing to study in the United States. Graduates are fully credentialed in one of the six disciplines as well as in peace studies. They are prepared for positions in research and teaching — in anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, theology, or peace studies — and for contributions to peacebuilding practice.

Programme Requirements:

Each of the six partner departments (anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, and theology) has specific requirements for earning a dual Ph.D., while the requirements in peace studies are similar for all doctoral students. Doctoral students typically:

  • Meet course requirements and pass a comprehensive examin one partner department as well as in peace studies.
  • Take a minimum of 6 required peace studies coursestaught by Kroc Institute faculty as well as departmental courses with significant content relevant to peace studies
  • Study core peace studiesliterature and research design
  • Submit a peace studiesarticle to a scholarly journal to be considered for publication
  • Submit at least one proposalto an external funding agency for doctoral research
  • Complete a teaching assistantshipin “Introduction to Peace Studies”
  • Complete one or more research or teaching assistantshipswith Kroc Institute faculty engaged in scholarship related to the Institute’s research themes, and
  • Conduct dissertationresearch and writing under the guidance of Kroc faculty and fellows

Funding Information: The University provides admitted students with full financial support in the form of fellowships, graduate assistantships, and tuition scholarships, plus stipends for living expenses for five years.

  1. University of Uppsala’s PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies

Programme Information: The Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the University of Uppsala in Sweden offers a PhD programme that lasts for 4 years, including compulsory course work corresponding to about 1 year of fulltime studies. PhD candidates are often involved in teaching or administration up to 20% of their time, so it may take up to 5 years to complete the PhD programme.

Programme Requirements:

The application should be in English, except for writing samples which could be in either Swedish or English. The documents submitted should consist of the following:

  • A completed application form for doctoral studies
  • A short personal letter (1‒2 pages)
  • CV
  • certified transcripts of academic records
  • A project plan (3‒5 pages)
  • Letters of reference/recommendation (max 2 letters) or a list of references (max 2) which can be contacted by the admission committee.
  • Writing samples (1‒3 samples)

Funding Information: It is important for prospective applicants to note that PhD candidates at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, as with most Swedish universities, become employees of the university, that is, they are not seen as students. A consequence of this is that there are no tuition fees, but normally there are also no scholarships available.

  1. University of Hamburg’s PhD in Peace and Security Studies

Programme Information: The aim of the PhD in Peace and Security Studies at the University of Hamburg is to facilitate both academic and practical career-oriented learning through an integration of young scholars into the activities of the centre’s activities. The programme has a comprehensive programme that includes seminars, research workshops and fieldtrips that help students deepen and broaden their knowledge of theories and methodologies, while gaining insights into current problems in peace research. Doctoral students also have opportunities to present their work-progress to a forum of professional experts during the seminars and workshops regularly organised by the department.

Programme Requirements:

Requirements for the programme include:

  • An above-average science, social science or humanities degree at master’s level or higher. The IFSH conducts its own selection procedure.
  • A good knowledge of the fundamentals of peace research,
  • And a dissertation topic in line with the current research program of the IFSH are expected. Doctoral students at the IFSH participate in working groups and research projects and are assigned personal advisors according the topics of their dissertations. A program director is responsible for the overall management of the program.

Funding Information: The PhD programme is tuition free. The IFSH does not offer funding itself, but suitable candidates are often provided with support in applying for scholarships.

  1. University of Otago’s PhD in Peace Studies

Programme Information: The University of Otago offers a fully funded PhD programme themed: Trusting the Enemy: Understanding Intergroup Trust in Conflict and Peace Studies through Social Psychological Approaches. The programme is built on the core belief that trust is the glue that holds relationships together. This project focuses on furthering our understanding of the multidimensional nature of trust. It aims for researchers and practitioners alike to better understand how conflict persists through distrust, how peace building can be empowered through trust, and how fragile intergroup relations can be strengthened through systematic trust building. This work intends to build on the Intergroup Trust Model, which hypothesizes that trust between groups is shaped by the five dimensions of competence, integrity, compassion, compatibility, and security.

Programme Requirements:

Acceptance as a candidate for the PhD degree depends upon the University being able to provide adequate expert supervision in the intended area of research.

The University considers the following criteria when making an internal assessment:

  • Academic standard: Prospective students must meet the highest academic standards. A first class Honours degree or Master’s degree including a significant research component is required; research publications (peer-reviewed articles in academic journals or book-chapters) are desirable.
  • The project proposal must fit well with our research profile and appears manageable and feasible within a three-year time frame and given financial and other constraints.
  • The project must be likely to generate high-quality, publishable work in peer-reviewed journals.
  • A Master’s degree with a focus on peace and conflict studies is highly desirable.

In order for us to make internal assessment, the University needs four things from the applicant:

  1. Full academic transcripts highlighting which course is your thesis or dissertation and / or details of research publications.
  2. Where possible, an electronic copy of the piece of independent research submitted for examination.
  • A curriculum vitae which includes publications, at least one reference letter and the contact details of referees (a minimum of two)
  1. A preliminary research proposal (about 5 pages) which identifies the contribution of the project to the discourse, a description of its theoretical framework, research design, methodology and time plan.

With this information, the University can assess the likelihood of scholarship funding and the ability of the Centre to provide adequate supervision for the project.  The candidate may be invited to a Skype interview as part of the selection process.  If an applicant is successful in this internal screening process, he / she may then proceed with a formal application.

Funding Information: The PhD programme is fully funded.

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