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Humanitarianism and Conflict Response PhD

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Fact file

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy
Duration
48 Months. [Full-Time]
Entry requirements

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials. 

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Please visit our School's research pages for information regarding our staff, areas of interest, facilities and other information that will help you apply online.

Programme options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning
PhDYYNN

Programme description

The ways in which States, NGOs and individuals respond to conflict has become a particularly salient issue since the end of the Cold War. The global aid industry has experienced the dual pressures of rapid growth, accompanied by a significant expansion in the roles it is expected to fulfil and range of tasks it has tried to perform. This, combined with a considerable rise in the number of nation-states (and thus bilateral actors), governmental organisations and NGOs, has resulted in a fragmented geopolitical system in which there is little policy coherence and even less clarity of action. Decision-makers are therefore no longer able to interact exclusively with the diplomats, senior civil servants and international leaders who constituted the contours of global governance of yesteryear, but must instead entertain inputs from a diverse set of stakeholders.

Educational programmes looking at the ways in which these actors respond to conflict-affected contexts are still comparatively scarce. Unlike the better established fields of peace studies, conflict theory and war strategy, important work is required before governments, policy makers and citizens involved in organising humanitarian and other responses to conflict-affected contexts, are able to discern and incorporate academic research into functional outcomes. Without such inputs, there is, in an increasingly interdependent and information-rich world, an imminent danger that those seeking to intervene in conflict-affected contexts will merely replicate the errors of previous generations.

This structured PhD is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (inc. WHO, FO) and to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased accountability within a knowledge-gathering framework. We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching, to cater for the current needs of the aid industry and prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners; the programme will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing conflicts and crises. This PhD therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. Action research and reflective practice-inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The PhD will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience/context. This pedagogical approach enables students' professional context to become a primary research resource.

Open days

Postgraduate Open Days take place every year in October or November - for details of this year's event please see  http://www.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduate/opendays/

HCRI welcomes visits by potential students throughout the academic year - please email hcri@manchester.ac.uk to arrange a visit

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2014, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,900
    International students (per annum): £14,000
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £2,450
    International students (per annum): £7,000

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees. Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.

Scholarships/sponsorships

For more infromation on HCRI-specific funding, please visit the School website

Contact details

Academic department
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Telephone
+ 44 (0)161 275 3559
Facsimile
+ 44 (0)161 275 3031
Email
Website
www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/history/postgraduateresearch/research/

Academic department overview

See: About us

Related subject areas

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials. 

English language

Students whose first language is not English require:

an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component

or

a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test, 250 computer-based test, or 100 internet-based test

or

a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 overall with 70 in the writing component

English language test validity

Some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country.

Professional entry qualification

See 'Academic Entry Qualification' above.

Other entry requirements

Evidence of a competent level of professional expertise in one or more contexts relevant to Humanitarian and Conflict Response (for example, Aid work, humanitarian logistic, peace keeping, emergency medicine in war zones, health, community work, international development).

Professional experience must be equivalent to at least 36 months continuous employment. This base in professional practice will form the context for the candidate's practice-based research.

How to apply

Please visit our School's research pages for information regarding our staff, areas of interest, facilities and other information that will help you apply online.

Advice to applicants

We recommend all research applicants to attempt to find a suitable supervisor here at Manchester by searching the subject area of interest to you and looking at their staff list. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT TEACH EVENING CLASSES OR OFFER DISTANCE LEARNING COURSES.

Deferrals

Applicants may defer entry provided they have discussed it with their supervisor. Deferred applicants are subject to the fees of the year of entry onto the course.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Transfers

Requests for transfers will be considered individually

Programme description

The ways in which States, NGOs and individuals respond to conflict has become a particularly salient issue since the end of the Cold War. The global aid industry has experienced the dual pressures of rapid growth, accompanied by a significant expansion in the roles it is expected to fulfil and range of tasks it has tried to perform. This, combined with a considerable rise in the number of nation-states (and thus bilateral actors), governmental organisations and NGOs, has resulted in a fragmented geopolitical system in which there is little policy coherence and even less clarity of action. Decision-makers are therefore no longer able to interact exclusively with the diplomats, senior civil servants and international leaders who constituted the contours of global governance of yesteryear, but must instead entertain inputs from a diverse set of stakeholders.

Educational programmes looking at the ways in which these actors respond to conflict-affected contexts are still comparatively scarce. Unlike the better established fields of peace studies, conflict theory and war strategy, important work is required before governments, policy makers and citizens involved in organising humanitarian and other responses to conflict-affected contexts, are able to discern and incorporate academic research into functional outcomes. Without such inputs, there is, in an increasingly interdependent and information-rich world, an imminent danger that those seeking to intervene in conflict-affected contexts will merely replicate the errors of previous generations.

This structured PhD is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (inc. WHO, FO) and to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased accountability within a knowledge-gathering framework. We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching, to cater for the current needs of the aid industry and prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners; the programme will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing conflicts and crises. This PhD therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. Action research and reflective practice-inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The PhD will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience/context. This pedagogical approach enables students' professional context to become a primary research resource.

Aims

01. Support the continuing professional development of reflective NGO and policy making bodies practitioners across a range of contexts pertaining to conflicts and humanitarian assistance, and contribute to the development of a range of critical and analytical competencies enriching their professional practice

02. Provide a structured programme of action and reflection on practice at an advanced level in order to support candidates' contributions to the development of new methodologies, techniques and concepts relevant to their practice

03. Support the development and transformation of existing professional experience and expertise into research outcomes that will extend knowledge, understanding and practice in responses to conflicts and humanitarian assistance issues or organisations.

04. Provide candidates with opportunities to deepen and broaden knowledge and understanding of the historical, social, political, medical and ethical dimensions of their practice.

05. Generate new perspectives on the engagement between NGO workers, governmental agencies and academic disciplines such as history, applied arts, emergency medicine and global health, development studies, politics and anthropology, on the basis of field work and case studies.

Special features

The newly created Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute brings together medical practitioners and academics from the humanities and social sciences. It is inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises in a way which does not limit cross-disciplinary engagement. Led by the ex-president of Médecins Sans Frontières, Rony Brauman, it aims to combine the research and teaching of academics working in a considerable variety of disciplines, to offer an exceptionally diverse learning environment.

The Institute has close links with other, similarly, multi-disciplinary centres of learning across the university - most notably, the Institute for Development Policy and Management, the Centre for the Cultural History of War, the Brooks World Poverty Institute, the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and the Manchester Medical School's Medical Education Research Group.

Specifically, the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute's Masters programme will, uniquely, blend courses on the history and politics of humanitarian and state intervention into conflict and disaster affected countries with the latest research from clinicians working in the field of Global Health. As such, students - from both a medical and non-medical background - will be encouraged to think critically about the motives, logistical difficulties and outcomes of organising such interventions.

Teaching and learning

Residentials involving workshops and discussions with peers; One to one academic supervision; Professional mentoring; Reflective practice conducted via enquiry based learning, including online reflective conversations; Independent research with supervision and mentoring; mini-conference.

Student development and skills training will be closely monitored in individual supervision, which will include annual skills audits and Personal Development Plans, in accordance with the University of Manchester's Postgraduate Research Code of Practice.

Students will be able to access SAHC's Skills Awareness for Graduate Education programme (SAGE) which offers generic training programme for postgraduate students. However, due to the fact that students are unlikely to live locally SAGE's online resources will be developed and adapted by the Programme Director to form three online training workshops offered during each first three years of the programme (e.g. literature searches, accessing online resources, bibliographic referencing, critical summarising and analysing skills and academic writing) further opportunities will be offered by the Manchester Doctoral College training programme as appropriate for individual students according to their PDP.  Students will have access to Faculty of Humanities training programmes as well as relevant training programmes from the Global health programme of the Medical School.

The taught course elements of the programme will include workshops which will involve students working with their peers, fostering the concept of a cohort who can share experiences and expertise.  It is the aim of HRCI to provide online support growing from basic online supervision and webcam meetings to a fuller online support provision inspired by that offered in the school of Nursing.

Coursework and assessment

Taught Unit 1 - 6000 word literature review of a key concept or debate in humanitarian and conflicts response, allowing students to demonstrate research and retrieval skills, and critical summarising and analysing skills e.g. contextual understanding based on history or development theories.

Taught Unit 2 - 6-8000 word critical review of the key elements of the literature corresponding to the research case study or field experience: eg. Political analyses, historical understanding of conflicts, survey of practices, eg. applied theatre practice with child soldiers.

Taught Unit 3 - 8-10,000 word research proposal, including statement of methodology

50-65,000 word thesis containing: a presentation of the research as a contribution to the academic understanding of humanitarian and conflicts response; a critical evaluation of this research in relation to its specific context of professional practice; an exploration of ethical issues of research and practice; a statement of methodology

Programme unit details

Taught Unit 1 - 6000 word literature review of a key concept or debate in humanitarian and conflicts response, allowing students to demonstrate research and retrieval skills, and critical summarising and analysing skills e.g. contextual understanding based on history or development theories.

Students will follow a dedicated induction workshop on the first residential (taught unit 1) this will include a Speed PhD adapted to the programme (based on SAGE, SAHC programme).

Taught Unit 2 - 6-8000 word critical review of the key elements of the literature corresponding to the research case study or field experience: eg. Political analyses, historical understanding of conflicts, survey of practices, eg. applied theatre practice with child soldiers.

Taught Unit 3 - 8-10,000 word research proposal, including statement of methodology

50-65,000 word thesis containing: a presentation of the research as a contribution to the academic understanding of humanitarian and conflicts response; a critical evaluation of this research in relation to its specific context of professional practice; an exploration of ethical issues of research and practice; a statement of methodology

Programme content for year 1

Part-time students:

Taught Unit 1: Humanitarian and Conflict Responses- debates and contextualisation of practice(6,000 words)

Full-time students should have completed Taught Units 1 and 2 by the end of their first full-time year:

Taught Unit 1: Humanitarian and Conflict Responses- debates and contextualisation of practice(6,000 words)

Taught Unit 2: Presentation and publication of research -preparing your research (6-8000 words)

Programme content for year 2

Part-time students:

Taught Unit 2: Presentation and publication of research -preparing your research (6-8000 words)

Full-time students:

Taught Unit 3: Establishing an advanced research proposal (8-10,000 words), while researching the thesis.

Programme content for year 3

Part-time students:

Taught Unit 3: Establishing an advanced research proposal (8-10,000 words)

Full-time students:

Students should proceed to the completion of their thesis by the end of year 4

Programme content for year 4

 Part-time students:

Advanced research (years 4,5,6): 50-65,000 word thesis containing: a presentation of the research as a contribution to the academic understanding of humanitarian and conflicts response; a critical evaluation of this research in relation to its specific context of professional practice; an exploration of ethical issues of research and practice; a statement of methodology

Full-time students:

Completion of thesis.

Programme content for year 5

Part-time students only: see year 4

Programme collaborators

See 'Associated Organisations'

What our students say

Visit http://www.hcri.ac.uk/ to find out more about our current PhD students

Facilities

Manchester's learning resources are world-famous. The  University of Manchester Library, with over 4.5m books and vast archives of historical material and rare volumes, is second to none.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: disability@manchester.ac.uk

Career opportunities

HCRI offers a doctoral programme inspired by the need to conduct rigorous, in-depth research and analysis on the impact and outcomes of contemporary and historical crises. It is driven by a desire to inform and support policy and decision makers (including WHO, FO) and to optimise joint working between partner organisations, and to foster increased accountability within a knowledge gathering framework. We will offer a flexible approach to the provision of teaching so as to cater for the current needs of the aid industry as well as prepare the next generation of crisis response researchers and practitioners, these programmes will seek to engage directly with people affected by situations of ongoing conflicts and crises. The PhD programme in Humanitarian and Conflict Response therefore reflects the need for structured forms of professional development and dynamic knowledge practices that function effectively across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. The action research and reflective practice inspired pedagogy can respond to and influence the complex, unpredictable and shifting social, political and cultural contexts within which professional practitioners operate. The programme will introduce students to a range of dynamic and challenging concepts and methods with which to reflect critically and constructively on their current professional experience and context.  We anticipate students to be engaged with the NGO world and to prepare them to further their role in the field of humanitarian and conflict response.

Associated organisations

The HCRI has developed a wide network of associate fellows based in relevant organisations and academic institutions around the world. See www.hcri.ac.uk/network/