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 five master’s degrees in peace studies in the UK.
Manchester University, founded in 1824, is not only one of the leading universities in the United Kingdom, but it is also one of the leading institutions in the world. The university has a global reputation for education and innovation which resonates across the world. One of the standout programmes offered by the university is the Master of Arts degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. The MA offers specialist training in critical approaches to peace and conflict studies. The programme incorporates field trips and on-campus conferences and seminars with an enviable list of great visiting speakers throughout the year.
The programme critically addresses the conceptualization of peace and the implementation of peacebuilding projects by global, regional, national and local actors, including the UN, the International Financial Institutions, development agencies and donors, INGOs, and local organisations in conflict-affected environments.
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 combine 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.
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.
The University of St. Andrews is one of the UK oldest and leading universities. Founded in 1413, the university has been consistently rated amongst the top 150 global universities. The university’s MLitt in Peace and Conflict Studies explores the foundations of peace and conflict theory, as well as the broader challenges that arise in areas of peacebuilding, peace processes, reconciliation, and post-conflict reconstruction. Students admitted into the programme have the opportunity to choose two optional modules from exciting courses such as terrorism and liberal democracy, conflict and peace in post-communist Eurasia, religion and international politics, identity and collective violence, political economy of conflict, gender and terrorism: explores gender as a tool for the construction and maintenance of power, the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping, political order and violence in the Middle East, political philosophy and world Order, conflicts, Security and democracy in the greater Caucasus, etc.
King’s College London’s MA in International Conflict Studies combines cutting-edge developments in the study of conflict and security with the skills of rigorous and reflective research. The programme prides itself as one of the few in the world devoted exclusively to the study of war as a human phenomenon. Its multidisciplinary approach means that all aspects of war and conflict, and the broad remit of international relations are researched and/or taught. The department has an excellent reputation as a graduate training institution and is recognised by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council as a training institution for war studies.
The University of Nottingham in Nottingham, United Kingdom, offers a Master of Arts degree in International Security and Terrorism. With a full-time course of study, students spend one year completing two, 20-credit course modules and writing a 15,000-word dissertation as a part of the campus-based program. A 2-year, part-time version of the program is also available. To qualify for admission to the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and a record of academic excellence. Fluency in English as evidenced by IELTS or TOEFL test scores is required for applicants from outside of the UK.
Vesalius College in Brussels, Belgium, offers a Master of Arts degree program in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies. All students in the program take courses in Theory and Practice of International Relations and Geopolitics, Theories and Applied Issues of Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies, The Role of International and Regional Organizations, Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Analysis, Research Methods and Networking and Professional Skills. A dissertation is also required, and students have the opportunity to complete a semester-long internship. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree and satisfactory scores on the TOEFL or IELTS English fluency examination.
The Faculty of Sciences at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, offers a master’s degree program in International Security Studies. A full-time course of study, the program lasts for 2 years and is taught entirely in English. All students complete classes in Security and Defence Integration in Europe, Research design, Applying Security Concepts in International Politics, Seminar in Security Concepts, Energy Security, Human Security in Contemporary World, Comparative Counterterrorism and Regional Security Studies. In addition, students must write a master’s thesis. For consideration for admission, students must have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to security and be fluent in English.
Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, offers a master’s degree in Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. The full-time course of study requires 18 months to complete and includes a mandatory master’s thesis research project. Students are free to select courses that are relevant to their specific interests and career goals, and internships are available to supplement classroom training. To qualify for admission, students must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field or have significant work experience related to counter terrorism or intelligence gathering. As the program is taught entirely in English, non-native speakers will be required to submit IELTS or TOEFL scores.
The Peace and Conflict Studies, M.A. is a two-year program that incorporates a number of different ways to help in the field of lasting social change. This includes both the resolution and the analysis of social conflicts; strategies for building up communities; the promotion of social justice; peace research that looks at the true roots of social conflicts and more.
This course will touch upon subjects such as problem solving, trust building and other interpersonal communications; theories of conflict resolution; violence prevention and intervention; international human rights and security; intercultural peace building and conflict resolution; international peace building and conflict resolution; and special topics that center around specific issues within peace and conflict studies.
Those who are applying to study for this M.A. are required to have a four-year baccalaureate degree or a four-year honors degree. The degrees need to be in either conflict analysis and resolution or peace and conflict studies. Degrees can also be in another related focus.
The Joint Peace and Conflict Studies, M.A. is a program that analyzes the social conflicts in the world. This includes looking at the foundations of social divisiveness and inequality along with strategies that help transmute conflict into the promotion of social justice.
This program is offered by the University of Winnipeg in Canada. The program takes advantage of interdisciplinary and holistic approaches that can assist students in the preparation of pursuing their own research and practice at the global, national and local levels. This degree comes with the option of a comprehensive examination or a thesis.
Students that are completing this program will be enrolled full time. In order to apply, students need a high academic standing at the university they attended. A four-year baccalaureate or honors degree is required along with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
The Human Security and Peacebuilding, Postgraduate Diploma is an interdisciplinary, one-year long graduate program that responds to the leadership demands in social reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding and conflict management in international settings. This degree will teach students about social transformation with the integration of development and sustainable peace initiatives. This program will give professionals who are working a chance to sharpen both their theoretical and practical skills that are necessary for the promotion and restoration of peace and a generally civil society in post-conflict environments.
Those interested in the program will have a four-year undergraduate degree in a field that is related to the program with a GPA of at least 3.33 in order to apply for the Human Security and Peacebuilding, Postgraduate Diploma.
The Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program aims to help students foster a civil societal environment. The program will do this by teaching the holistic and sustainable peace initiatives that empower students with the practical skills, research and knowledge they need to help with nonviolent peace building initiatives. This program combines learning with action to give scholars the necessary tools for understanding conflict and contributing to its resolution. Students will attend workshops such as Peacemaking Circles, Understanding Conflict, Narrative Mediation, and Mediating Groups in Dispute.
While in this program, students will work with the community of students around them as well as the faculty members. They will complete core courses along with any elective courses that pertain to their specific areas of interest.