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Top 10 Masters Degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies

The field of peace and conflict studies has grown remarkably over the last seven decades since the first programme was offered in 1948 at Indiana’s Manchester College. The programme, which started shortly after World War II, has impressively expanded from its former narrow specializations, to areas such as human rights, justice, individual rights and well-being, gender issues, as well as intersections between peace and socioeconomic development. Today, peace scholars consider many factors: how food security impacts on peace, the relationship between inequality, poverty, and peace, as well as how media impacts on democracy across the globe. The field of peace studies has become so multidisciplinary to the extent that virtually anyone interested in global peace, would find a place in the field, irrespective of academic background. This article explores top ten master’s degrees in peace studies, with the aim of providing interested peace scholars and practitioners ample options for graduate studies. Suffice to add that the list is not exhaustive as institutions offering masters studies in peace and conflict are growing daily in numbers, and in quality.

  1. Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies— Master of Arts in Peace and Justice (MAPJ)

Programme Information: The University of San Diego is inspired by a deep catholic mission which seeks to educate the whole person—intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally. The university provides character-building education that fosters independent thought, innovation, integrity, analytical thinking and open-minded collaborative world view.

The Master of Arts in Peace and Justice (MAPJ) prepares students from diverse backgrounds for careers ranging from conflict resolution and mediation, to human rights, social entrepreneurship, development, and advocacy. The university prides itself as the only institution providing masters programmes in peace and justice.

Admission Requirements:

  • 0 (4.0 scale) in all undergraduate coursework Additional Requirements
  • Current Resume
  • Four Short Essays
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official sealed transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, including community colleges
  • Application Completion of the online application: http://sandiego.liaisoncas.com
  1. Georgetown University’s Master of Conflict Resolution

Programme Information: Since its inception in the 2005/2006 academic session, the conflict resolution programme at Georgetown University has grown to become one of the leading master’s programmes in peace and conflict studies globally. Recent graduates from the institution, which is housed in the School of Government, have established successful careers in government, non-governmental organisations, the non-profit sector, and private sector businesses. The programme’s curriculum is designed in such a way as to address issues such as interpersonal, intergroup and interstate conflicts, using methods, practices, and processes to transform the way conflict is approached.

Admission Requirements:

  • TOEFL or IELTS scores and GRE scores
  • Official Transcripts from every university attended
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words)
  • Academic writing sample (10-20 pages)
  • Resume/CV
  • Application fee ($90)
  1. University of Groningen’s Master of Religion, Conflict, and Globalisation.

Programme Information: the University of Groningen offers a unique master’s programme in Religion, Conflict, and Globalisation. The programme takes into cognizance the intersections between religion, conflict, and globalisation through a detailed interdisciplinary track that seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Investigate the consequences of globalization for religion, migration, peace, and conflict, and gender dynamics
  • Examine how secular frames and identities are implicated in a conflict involving religion
  • understand the relationship between religion, conflict, and peace-building
  • Analyse national and international conflicts, and learn how they are interwoven with religious interests and opinions

Admission Requirements:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Overview of results of your bachelor program
  • CV
  • Writing sample of academic paper.
  • Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided.
  1. University of Oslo’s Master of Peace and Conflict Studies

Programme Information: University of Oslo’s Peace and Conflict Studies programme is arguably one of the world’s most prestigious peace and conflict studies programmes. The master’s programme is interdisciplinary in nature, providing students with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to unbundle and understand the multifaceted nature of peace and conflict. The programme is unique in the sense that it offers analysis of peace and conflict through two study tracks—history and political science. Students in the programme have the added advantage of direct mentorship from experienced academics, given the small class-size nature of the programme. The programme’s focus on methods and analysis equips students with theoretical and methodological tools that enable detailed analysis of complex aspects of peace and conflicts.

Admission Requirements:

Admission to master’s degree studies requires:

  • Higher Education Entrance Qualificationand a completed bachelor’s degree comparable to a Norwegian bachelor’s degree. Applicants with foreign education, please refer to the country list.
  • 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 recognisedEnglish language proficiency test.
  1. University of Uppsala’s Master of Peace and Conflict Studies

Programme Information: The University of Uppsala offers a very comprehensive master’s programme in peace and conflict studies, tailored towards preparing graduates for positions as analysts or researchers in both the private and public sector. The programme attracts students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. The degree, which was rated as one of the master’s with the highest quality by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education in 2012, qualifies graduates for doctoral studies in Peace and Conflict Studies or International Relations.

Admission Requirements:

The studies require that students admitted to the programme have basic knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods before the courses begin. Before undertaking the final thesis, you will have to acquire more advanced methodological skills. Other requirements are:

  • A Bachelor’s degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised.
  • 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; and
  • Documented written independent academic work (i.e. one or several academic essays or papers in English, Swedish, Danish or Norwegian, or translated into any of these languages).
  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
  1. University of Sydney’s Master of Peace and Conflict Studies

Programme Information: The Master of Peace and Conflict Studies of the University of Sydney focuses on the intersections between peace, conflict, justice and human rights. The course explores issues such as conflict transformation after mass violence, and the intellectual and practical challenges of attaining peace with justice. One of its standout focus is on the role the media plays in peace building. It is one of the few programmes that explores the intersections between media reportage (on a lack of it) and social peace.

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65%) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, with a major in the humanities or social sciences; or an equivalent qualification.
  • Completion of the requirements for the embedded Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies with a minimum credit (65%) average, or an equivalent qualification; or
  • An Honours degree in a relevant discipline; or
  • Relevant professional work experience and a bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65%) average or an equivalent qualification.

If you do not meet the requirements listed above for direct entry to the Master’s degree, you may be able to enter via a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in the same subject area and upgrade to the Master’s after successful completion of the shorter course.

  1. University for Peace Integrated Master’s Programmes

Programme Information: The Department of Peace and Conflict Studies is an integrated grouping of programmes that affiliate, interrelate and synergize around core themes and perspectives in conflict analysis and the challenges to peacebuilding. The programmes share a common goal of providing a critical understanding and analysis of root causes of conflicts and violence in diverse local, national, global and societal contexts, while specifically focusing on various dimensions, strategies, sectors, institutions and levels of conflict resolution and transformation to build a peaceful world.

The Department offers the following Master of Arts Programmes:

Over the past several years, alumni have drawn upon the knowledge, skills, vision and commitment gained from these programmes to serve effectively and creatively in a wide range of peacebuilding-related roles in their societies and in the wider international community.

Admission Requirements:

8. University of Dublin’s MPhil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict

Programme Information: The MPhil in Race, Ethnicity and Conflict offered by the University of Dublin is one of the most unique postgraduate degrees offered in peace and conflict studies globally. Established in 1997, the programmes combines a focus on race-critical theory, population movement, conflict and resistance, making it arguably one of the most comprehensive master’s programmes in peace studies. Offered as a one-year course, the MPhil examines techniques used by states and international agencies to manage peoples and conflict, their social and cultural impact and the responses they elicit.

Admission Requirements:

Candidates should have an Honors Bachelor degree (preferably upper-second class honors or equivalent, GPA of at least 3.2) in one of the social sciences or a degree that includes social science as a component. However, consideration will also be given to applicants with other relevant academic qualifications, work experience in the fields of population movement or conflict and/or publications that demonstrate analytical skills. Applicants seeking admission in this category may, where practicable, be called for interview. In all cases the quality of the candidate’s statement of interest and their academic references are important and will be taken into account as part of the admission process. All applicants whose first language is not English or who have not been educated through the medium of English will need to present evidence of English language competency.

  1. University of Bradford’s Master of Advanced Practice in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution

Programme Information: The University of Bradford’s MA in advanced practice in peacebuilding and conflict resolution draws on over 40 years of experience as a leading centre of peace research and education. The programme is structured in a way to help students recognise the strengths and limitations of different approaches to intervention by equipping them to consider critical questions surrounding efforts to build peace in different contexts. Students in the programme develop and demonstrate knowledge and recognised competencies essential to effective, ethically-aware practice within conflict engagement and practice.

Admission Requirements:

  • Applicants should have an undergraduate qualification at 2:2 or above (or equivalent).
  • Relevant professional or voluntary experience would be desirable.
  • IELTS 6.0. Candidates who do not meet the IELTS requirement, can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course.
  1. University of Innsbruck’s Master of Peace Studies 

Programme Information: The Master of Arts in Peace Studies offered by the University of Innsbruck provides students with a holistic approach to peace studies that explores every important layer in the multidisciplinary field of peace studies. The programmes’s rich curriculum helps students think outside the box and challenges students to consider diverse and oftentimes, unconventional approaches to understanding conflicts and interventions that would suit contextual situations. The programme which was established in 2001 draws a lot of inspiration from UNESCO’s six cornerstones underlined in its year 2000 manifesto. The cornerstones are:

  • Respect the life and dignity of each human being
  • Practice active non-violence
  • Share time and material resources
  • Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity
  • Responsible consumer behaviour
  • New forms of solidarity.

Admission Requirements:

  • Students admitted to the MA program must hold a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
  • Students are required to provide an application essay, stating the basis of their interest in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation, and how this relates to their career objectives.
  • Priority in selection is given to students with relevant professional experience and high grades in previous education.
  • Students, whose native language is not English must provide official English language test scores (TOEFL or IELTS). This requirement may, under certain circumstances be waived for students who are non-native English speakers but have completed their third-level education in English.

About Global Peace Careers

Global Peace Careers is a website dedicated to career related information in the sectors humanitarian aid and action, international development, peace and conflict studies, negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy and international law. On our website we collect and distribute information about entry level jobs, paid internships, affordable master degrees, free online courses and other opportunities.

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