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5 Peace and Conflict Studies Masters in Europe

Peace and conflict studies often cover a wide range of issues regarding conflict and the conditions for peace. It tackles warfare and how it has changed over time. In addition, the questions these studies also cover concern distribution of power amongst states, inter-state war as well as modern warfare and comparisons between democratic states that are considered to be more peaceful than the authoritarian states. The wide range of issues and cases that the peace of conflict studies cover makes it very interesting for social science students who want to learn more. One of the ways to do that is to pursue a master’s degree in this field. Therefore, this article offers an overview of five peace and conflict studies masters currently offered in Europe.

  1. Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Oslo, Norway

The Master’s Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo in Norway is a two-year interdisciplinary programme that aims to equip students with skills and knowledge to analyze peace and conflict related issues through history and political science. Students are obliged to choose amongst these two disciplines at the beginning of the programme. The programme has a strong focus on methods and analysis where students acquire theoretical and methodological tools that enables them to analyze some of the most complex aspects of peace and conflict. The lectures are held by top researchers from the field and the programme cooperates closely with other important research institutions.

Classes are held in small groups in order to create an intimate study environment. By the end of the programme, students acquire an in-depth knowledge on the history of war and peace, causes of conflict and conditions for peace. After completing the programme, students are eligible to apply for jobs offered by the government agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and the media.

Course Syllabus

Students must take the compulsory courses and write a master’s thesis in the track they are admitted to (history or political science). It is not possible to switch track during the studies.

Mandatory Courses for the History Track

Mandatory Courses for the Political Science Track


The programme starts in August each year. EU, EEA and Swiss applicants can apply from 1 February until 1 March. Nordic citizens and applicants with a permanent or renewable residence permit in Norway can apply from 1 February until 15 April, while non-EU and non-EEA applicants can apply from 1 October until 1 December.

The admission requirements are following:

  • Higher Education Entrance Qualificationand a completed bachelor’s degree comparable to a Norwegian bachelor’s degree.
  • A specialization defined by the programme
  • A minimum grade average of C (in the Norwegian grading scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree.
  • A language requirement documented by one of the tests/exams below:
    a) Passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) with a minimum grade of 4 in Norwegian upper secondary school (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or passed examination in English from second and/or third school year in Norwegian upper secondary school, or
    b) An internationally recognized English language proficiency test.
  1. Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden

The Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Uppsala University in Sweden is an international programme offering students to acquire knowledge on advanced issues in peace and conflict research in order to be able to critically examine and analyze the origin, dynamics and resolution of armed conflicts on a scientific basis. Students can choose to attend the programme for one or two years. Students are trained in a variety of skills that will enable them to critically evaluate cases and create both national and international contacts. By the end of the programme, students learn and acquire skills that enable them to solve problems and conduct peace and conflict research independently.

The courses are designed as extensive lectures that include readings, seminar discussions, tutorials, and individual and oral and written work and presentations in order to get a better understanding and insight into the complexity of the subject. By the completion of the programme, students are expected to independently formulate and solve problems and present that in their master’s thesis research.

Course Syllabus

During the first semester the programme consists of compulsory courses in causes of armed conflict and methods. During the second semester, the programme offers elective courses enabling students to specialize in areas that fit their interests the most. Students who chose to study for one year can choose one elective course and then take the one year master’s thesis course, while students that follow the entire two year programme are able to choose from a range of courses throughout the semester.

The third semester relates to practice oriented courses where students can choose between internships or courses that are more practical. During the third semester, students are given an opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical experience. The fourth and final semester consists only of the master’s thesis course. All courses are conducted in English.


The admission requirements are following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognized university.
  • 90 credits in peace and conflict studies, or 90 credits in a related relevant discipline and 30 credits in peace and conflict studies or the equivalent
  • A summary, in English, of a Bachelor´s thesis or another independent academic work in peace and conflict studies or equivalent that your are the only author of (about 3000 words excluding references).

All applicants need to verify English language proficiency. This is normally attested by an internationally recognized test such as TOEFL or IELTS.

  1. MA Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Manchester, The United Kingdom

The MA in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manchester is an interdisciplinary program that explores the process through which the actors have attempted to define and build peace in areas affected by violence. During the program, the students have an opportunity to critically address the concept of peace by drawing on expertise from the fields of political science, international relations, anthropology and similar. The aim of the program is to enable students to show a critical understanding of key issues and debates related to the theories of peace and practices of peacebuilding, state building, conflict management, resolution and transformation. By the end of the program, students are able to analytically assess peacebuilding, international governance structures and the role of the key actors such as NGOs and military actors. Students will be able to evaluate the historical context of peacebuilding since the end of the Cold War by using the examples of the Balkans, Cambodia, Afghanistan and various others.

Course Syllabus

All students are required to attend mandatory courses throughout the program while they are also given to opportunity to choose amongst the optional courses in accordance with their interests.

Mandatory Courses

  • Peace and Social Agency, Security and Intervention: Theories and Practices
  • Practical Approaches to Studying Conflict Affected Societies

Optional Courses

  • Border-Crossings: Comparative Cultures of Diaspora
  • Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquires
  • Humanitarianism Protection
  • Introduction to Critical GIS
  • Anthropology of Violence and Reconstruction
  • Global Health and Food Insecurity
  • Armed Groups and Humanitarian Aid
  • Humanitarian Diplomacy and Negotiation in Practice


All applications are received online. All applicants need to verify English language proficiency. This is normally attested by an internationally recognized test such as TOEFL or IELTS.

The admission requirements are following:

  • Evidence of qualifications (certificates or transcripts) to show that you meet or expect to meet the entry requirements;
  • Evidence of English language ability, if English is not your first language
  • Two references
  • A copy of your passport (if you will need a visa to study here).


  1. MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Kent, The United Kingdom

This two-year international and interdisciplinary program focuses on violent conflict and its prevention and management. The program is jointly offered by the University of Kent in the United Kingdom and the Philips Universitat Marburg in Germany. During this program, students get an opportunity to acquire and advance knowledge in peace and conflict research drawn from the insights of politics, international relations, sociology and psychology. During the studies, students examine the major theories and leading practices of conflict and conflict resolution by using case studies. Topics that are typically covered by the program include risk analysis, negotiation, mediation, conference diplomacy, twin-track diplomacy, third-party intervention, peace-keeping, peace-making, and coercive diplomacy. Students gain skills through exercises such as conflict simulations, while additional practical skills are learned through an internship that is usually undertaken between the first and second years of study.

Course Syllabus

The students start program in Canterbury at the University of Kent and spend the second year in Marburg where courses are taught in English. After completion of the spring term at Kent, students undertake an eight to twelve-week internship during the vacation period from April until early October.

During the second year of studies in Marburg, students take one required module and two optional modules.

Required module

  • Intergroup conflicts

Optional modules

  • 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

During the summer term students write the master dissertation of 12.000 words.


The admission requirements are following:

  • A first or upper-second class honors degree in a relevant subject or equivalent.
  • 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.
  1. Master in International Conflict Management, Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany

This master program was launched in 2002 and it was influenced by the notions of the Kosovo war in former Yugoslavia in 1998 and 1999 with an aim to prepare experts for work in conflict prevention, resolution and management. The program is designed to provide students from different cultural backgrounds with a deep understanding of the linkages between democracy, participation, social exclusion, human rights and conflict management theory and practice. The curriculum prepares students to work in governmental and non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and humanitarian aid agencies that promote social development and deal with existing and upcoming conflicts.

Course Syllabus

The program is taught in English and/or Spanish. The curriculum consists of four modules that are based on on theorethical and methodological studies and the application of practical skills.


  • A social world and Power Relations
  • Research, Action and Networking
  • In-depth Specialization
  • Thesis and Research Colloquia


The admission requirements are following:

  • An undergraduate degree in social sciences, law, humanities and cultural sciences;
  • One year of practical (including internships and/or voluntary work) or professional experience in fields related to conflict, human rights, humanitarian aid, voluntary or forced migration, social work or relief work, teaching a relevant subject;
  • Referees to be contacted by the Alice-Salomon-University such as university instructors or employers willing to support the your application;
  • Proficiency in English and computer competence;
  • Motivation and interest to study Intercultural Conflict Management;