MA Peace and Conflict Studies

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We require a UK bachelor's degree with a First or Upper Second classification or the overseas equivalent, in any discipline.

When assessing your academic record we consider your degree subject, grades you have achieved and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

This course is an in-depth study of peace and conflict theories. It allows for an analysis of peacebuilding practices and the challenging of key assumptions.

This is complemented by additional optional modules in International Relations, Development Studies and Humanitarianism, as well as a very rewarding field trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

William Reynolds, UK / MA Peace and Conflict Studies graduate
  • Study in a leading programme for critical approaches to peace and conflict studies.
  • Develop a sound understanding of the international peace architecture in terms of its international interventions (e.g., peace negotiations, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, statebuilding and conflict resolution), its actors and mixed outcomes.
  • Learn about grassroots peace agency in various parts of the world and how it connects with international interventions.
  • Benefit from a course with a working fieldtrip that teaches conflict-sensitive methodology and critical approaches to fieldwork.

Open days

The University holds regular open days, where you will have the opportunity to find out more about our facilities and courses.

On this day, you will learn more about the School, our resources, and meet academic and admissions staff who will be able to answer any questions you have.

For more information, see open days and visits .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £16,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £26,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £8,250
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,250

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year 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 .

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme:

The Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a first-class bachelor's degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

Manchester Master's Bursary:

The University of Manchester is committed to widening participation in master's study and allocates 75 awards of £4,000 each year.

Postgraduate loans for master's students

If you're coming to Manchester this year to begin postgraduate study, you could qualify for a loan from the UK government.

For more information on our awards, see fees and funding or search the University's postgraduate funding database

Contact details

School of Social Sciences
Contact name
School of Social Sciences Admissions Office
+44 (0) 161 804 9198

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require a UK bachelor's degree with a First or Upper Second classification or the overseas equivalent, in any discipline.

When assessing your academic record we consider your degree subject, grades you have achieved and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English should meet the following language requirements:

  • IELTS Academic test score of 7 overall, including 7 in writing with no further component score below 6.5
  • TOEFL IBT 100 with 25 in writing and no further score below 22 in each section. TOEFL code for Manchester is 0757
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 76 overall, with 76 in writing and no further score below 70

Pre-Sessional English Courses

We will consider applicants who do not meet these scores but you will be required to complete a pre-sessional English language course at the University of Manchester prior to the start of the course.

To be considered for a pre-sessional English language course for this programme we require the following minimum IELTS (Academic) scores:

6 Week Pre-Sessional Course : IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and no more than one sub-skill of 6.0.

10 Week Pre-sessional Course : IELTS 6.0 overall with 6.0 or above in each sub-skill 

If you have not yet completed your current academic study and are interested in studying a pre-sessional course, you must hold an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test certificate to ensure that you are eligible for a separate visa for the English language course.

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.

Applicants from Majority English-speaking countries

If you are a national of a   majority English-speaking country   (or have studied for a full bachelor's degree or higher from one of these countries) you may be exempt from submitting further evidence of English language proficiency.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from across the globe. To help international students, the university provides specific information for many individual countries. Please see our  country-specific information page   for guidance on the academic and English language qualifications which may be accepted from your country.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

Please note, due to the high volume of applications we receive the course may close before the advertised deadline and as such, early application is advised.

If you meet our entry requirements but we are unable to make you an offer you may be placed on a waiting list. Candidates on a waiting list will receive an offer only if places become available.


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.


Requests for transfers will be considered individually.

Course details

Course description

This interdisciplinary MA explores the processes through which actors have attempted to define and build peace in areas affected by war and violence, particularly since the end of the Cold War.

Drawing on expertise from the fields of politics, history, anthropology and the arts, this newly revamped course will offer you the opportunity to engage with conflict management, conflict resolution, conflict transformation, peacebuilding and statebuilding theories and practices.

Moreover, the programme will critically address 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.

In particular, it will focus on social agency for peace, the question of the nature of the `peaceful state', and the ever-fraught question of the reform of the international system.

The dynamics of these various contributions to peace will be the focus of a guided research visit with the range of peace and conflict management actors present in either Bosnia Herzegovina or Cyprus (in Semester 2).


You will be able to develop a critical understanding of:

1. Key issues and debates related to the theories in Peace and Conflict Studies such as conflict management, conflict resolution, conflict transformation. We will investigate how thinking about peace has changed across the different generations of theorising, with particular reference to the main debates in International Relations theory.

2. Concepts and practices used within the international peace architecture, especially peace negotiations, mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and statebuilding. We will examine how these practices are supposed to work together and explain why peace processes stagnate or falter despite such concerted efforts.

3.  The range of international actors and organisations, their policies and practices, and the benefits as well as shortcomings of their interventions. Here, we will also analyse the factors that are blocking international and localised efforts to promote peace.

4. The range of social science topics that influence peacebuilding, statebuilding, conflict management, etc., (including political, historical, anthropological understandings of peace and related programming strategies). Students will become familiar with the methodological and normative underpinnings of these disciplines.

5. The analytical and policy literature concerning peacebuilding, international governance structures, statebuilding, and the role of key actors and institutions including NGOs and military and other security actors. Students will be able to evaluate the theory and policy tools in the context of the recent history of peacebuilding and statebuilding since the end of the Cold War.

6. An understanding of local approaches to peacebuilding, including an awareness of the problems and critiques associated with `bottom up' approaches. Students will examine current debates on the nature of everyday peace and hybrid forms of peace, related questions about `local agency' and forms of resistance, activism, and social mobilisation.

7. You will experience the on-the-ground realities of peacebuilding and statebuilding through a research fieldtrip to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Cyprus. You will encounter the range of actors involved in the peace process (from international to regional, national, and local actors) and you will be able to conduct your own research.

Special features

I was scared and excited at the same time since it meant moving abroad for the first time. Now, I can say that, although challenging, this was one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

I had a chance to meet many interesting people, both professors and students from all over the world. I also had the opportunity to undertake many inspirational experiences and above all, the fieldtrip research in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the fieldtrip, I had the opportunity to meet and interview local peacebuilders. The meetings were so interesting that I decided to focus my dissertation on one of the topics of the interviews. Besides, I believe that talking to people who work to create peace every day is fundamental to understand local peacebuilding and I believe it is an essential step for those who want to work in the field of peace and conflict.

Irene Baraldi, Italy / MA Peace and Conflict Studies graduate

The programme is developed to offer a novel configuration for research and teaching which will uniquely associate perspectives of practitioners, non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, theoreticians, policy makers and analysts in sustained intellectual engagement.

Additional voluntary workshops and events throughout the year further enhance study including:

  • case briefings (e.g. Timor Leste, Sri Lanka, Arab Uprisings);
  • policy sessions:UN system and INGOs;
  • Manchester Peace and Social Justice Walk; and
  • workshops with key thinkers in the field

You will also benefit from additional activities, such as:

  • student organised trips;
  • case study internships;
  • attendance at the annual peacebuilding conference in Manchester and participation in student panels.

Research trip

The fieldtrip is a working research trip. It is linked to the semester two core course unit on conflict sensitive research methods. The fieldtrip will take place towards the end of second semester and is designed to allow you to use, in a safe space, the research methodologies you've discussed in class.

The fieldtrip is to challenge the notion of conflict tourism, and instead to encourage research responsibility. That means that the fieldtrip is largely student organised, with students taking responsibility for organising meetings, being on time, making sure that research subjects are consenting to talking etc.

Experience of this research organisation is an important learning opportunity. The fieldtrip is not primarily about the information (data) gathered during the trip but also about the processes whereby the data is gathered.

These encourage us to think about the responsibilities of the researcher, the ethics involved and the sensitivities required in dealing with others.

Accommodation and travel costs are covered by The University of Manchester.

Teaching and learning

Delivery of the course will take a range of forms, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, directed reading, a research/field trip and independent study. Much of the delivery will be problem based/enquiry-based learning.

This MA will be influenced and informed by the research of both staff and postgraduate research students at the department including research projects on:

  • political space in the aid industry;
  • local/hybrid approaches to peacebuilding;
  • the contribution of BRICS nations to peace and security programming;
  • critical peace studies;
  • the role of the state in peace and security programming;
  • ethnographic approaches to understanding violence;
  • refugees and internally displaced persons;
  • the political economy of conflict;
  • performance in conflict zones.

Coursework and assessment

Students will be assessed through several methods, with the aim of building up numerous academic and professional skills. 

Forms of assessment will include:

  • research essays (3,000+ words);
  • the running of group workshops;
  • reflective journals/learning logs;
  • contribution to group discussion boards (electronically);
  • oral presentations;
  • literature reviews/research design.

Course unit details

Students will take all of the following Core Modules (15 Credits Each): 

  • Peace and social agency:

This module will introduce students to key theories and concepts related to the study of peace, security and conflict. It will expose students to key debates related to these topics (both conceptual and practical) and provide students with an appreciation of the diversity of relevant policies at the international, regional, national and sub-national levels. It will provide them with an analytical toolbox which can be used to explore issues related to peacebuilding in theory and practice-tools which can be used in this module, other modules on the degree and in their professional lives. 

  • Practical approaches to studying conflict-affected societies

TThis module explores issues of epistemology, positionality and research methods associated with field research in peacebuilding environments. This unit will involve a compulsory research trip that is intended to challenge the notion of a conventional field trip and to expose students to the practical and ethical dilemmas of field research.

  • Dissertation (12 000 - 15 000 words) which is worth 60 Credits.

Optional Modules: Students are expected to choose 90 credits (45 per semester) from the list of optional course units.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Peace and Social Agency, Security and Intervention: Theories and Practices POLI70991 15 Mandatory
Practical Approaches to Studying Conflict Affected Societies POLI71102 15 Mandatory
Dissertation POLI72000 60 Mandatory
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Optional
Anthropology of Violence and Reconstruction HCRI60131 15 Optional
Humanitarian Diplomacy and Negotiation in Practice HCRI60222 15 Optional
Governing in an Unjust World: Justice and International Relations POLI60182 15 Optional
The Ethics Of Killing POLI60221 15 Optional
Global Governance POLI70422 15 Optional
Debating Justice POLI70611 15 Optional
Democracy: Theory & Practice POLI70872 15 Optional
Critical Environmental Politics POLI70921 15 Optional
Comparative Democratisation in Eastern Europe and Latin America POLI70952 15 Optional
Gender, War and Peace POLI70962 15 Optional
The Arab Uprisings and Revolutionary State Formation POLI70981 15 Optional
The Politics of Global Climate Change POLI71141 15 Optional
Borders, Identities, Citizenship POLI72021 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units


Manchester's learning resources are world-famous. The John Rylands University 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 Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Before taking this postgraduate course, I have always considered myself to have a solid professional experience in a variety of areas related to this course as I spent more than 9 years working with different UN agencies in conflict-affected countries.

The top-quality learning methodologies and the excellent teaching cadre have turned this programme into an eye-opener and a thought-provoking experience theoretically and practically. Indeed, the excitement in this postgraduate programme from the discovery through the process of in-depth learning and interaction is immensely satisfying.

Fakhri Mansour, Syria / MA Peace and Conflict Studies student
The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .

Students completing this MA may consider a wide range of career choices, including:

  • Civil Service (working within various government ministries, including the foreign office, international development office).
  • International Institutions (such as the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and regional bodies such as the European Union, African Union, Organization of American States).
  • NGOs (local and international) working on peacebuilding initiatives.
  • Academia/Research Institutes/Think-Tanks.

For more information, see Careers and Employability .