MA Peace and Conflict Studies

Year of entry: 2021

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Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Entry requirements

UK 2:1 (Hons) degree, or international equivalent, in a social science subject. We will consider students who have taken other subjects on a case-by-case basis.

When assessing your academic record we take into account the grades you have achieved, your academic references, 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

William Reynolds

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
  • Progress at a leading centre for critical approaches to peace and conflict studies
  • Benefit from a course with a working fieldtrip that dissects the notion of 'the field'
  • Delve into study at a vibrant University with lots of great visiting speakers throughout the year

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 2021, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £15,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £22,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £7,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £11,000

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).


We offer a number of postgraduate taught scholarships and merit awards to outstanding applicants and international students .

In addition, 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.

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

Contact details

School of Social Sciences
Contact name
Zoe Woodend

Courses in related subject areas

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

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

UK 2:1 (Hons) degree, or international equivalent, in a social science subject. We will consider students who have taken other subjects on a case-by-case basis.

When assessing your academic record we take into account the grades you have achieved, your academic references, and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

English language

  • IELTS - overall score of 7, including 7 in writing with no further component score below 6.5;
  • TOEFL IBT 103 with 28 in writing and no further score below 25 in each section. TOEFL code for Manchester is 0757.
  • Pearson - overall 73 with 73 in writing and no further score below 66
  • Other English tests are also considered.  Please contact us for further information -  

Scores are valid for 2 years.

Please note that CAS statements are issued only when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, PDF copy of passport received and the offer accepted.

Applicants from certain countries may be exempt from having to provide an IELTS or TOEFL score. For further advice please email  

Pre-Sessional English Courses

If you are eligible to do a pre-sessional English course (either 6 weeks or 10 weeks, depending on your English score), you will need to successfully complete the course at the required level before you are permitted to register on your academic 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.

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 .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You need to ensure that you submit your supporting documents with your online application as it may delay us processing your application.

We can accept your application before you complete your undergraduate studies; please submit your latest transcripts with your online application. 

Please note: 

  • Meeting the minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an offer.
  • If you are a current undergraduate student at The University of Manchester, you may be eligible to apply via the 'Fast-Track' scheme, email for further information.
  • For a copy of the postgraduate prospectus, email .

Part-time students complete the full-time course over two years. There are no evening or weekend course units available on the part-time route.  

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory units and then select your optional units to suit your requirements.  

Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your unit choices during induction week with your Course Director.

How your application is considered

All applicants must submit:

  • an online application form;
  • supporting statement;
  • transcripts of degree;
  • two references.

Overseas applicants will need to submit a satisfactory IELTS certificate (or equivalent) at the time of application. A minimum IELTS overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in each component.

Applications will not be considered if documents are missing.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of an overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS or 93+ in the iTOEFL with a minimum writing score of 23.

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:
Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.


Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact the course administrator before September 1st. Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


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 show a critical understanding of:

1. Key issues and debates related to the theories of peace and practices of peacebuilding, statebuilding, conflict management, resolution, and transformation. They will become familiar with the range of international actors and organisations, their policies and practices, and their pros and cons.

2. 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.

3. 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. Concurrently, 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, in a range of examples, including across the Balkans, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, the recent and various Arab Revolts.

4. 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.

5. You will experience the on-the-ground realities of peacebuilding and statebuilding through a guided research visit to the range of actors involved in Bosnia-Herzegovina or Cyprus. This will form a key part of one of the core modules of the programme and will be run in association with local partners.

6. The development of a range of academic and professional/transferrable skills through both independent and group-based work.

7. A detailed understanding of a specific conceptual and/or policy-related area of peacebuilding along with the implications and limitations of research findings on this subject, and of how to produce an original piece of academic research. This will be delivered via written assignments in your coursework and dissertation.

Special features

Studens visiting Tito's bunker
Students visiting 'Tito's bunker', a secret nuclear bunker converted into contemporary art space hosting a rich art works collection, based around the topics of peace and conflict - Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Students at the Youth Centre in Mostar
Students in conversation with a representative of the Youth Cultural Centre 'Abraševi¿' - Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Students visiting Nansen Dialogue Centre in Mostar
Students visit the Nansen Dialogue Centre Office - Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Irene Baraldi

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
Students in conversation with an MP from the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Students in conversation with an MP from the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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 (eg 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 tool box 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

This 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) (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 - MA Peace and Conflict Studies POLI79000 60 Mandatory
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Optional
GIS and Disasters: A Critical Introduction HCRI60071 15 Optional
Anthropology of Violence and Reconstruction HCRI60131 15 Optional
Humanitarian Diplomacy: Examining the Actors, Issues and Norms HCRI60221 15 Optional
Disaster Governance HCRI60261 15 Optional
The Politics of International Intervention, Conflict, and Peace HCRI60612 15 Optional
Reconstruction and Development MGDI60402 15 Optional
Power and Resistance in Postcolonial Societies POLI60092 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
Ethics in World Politics POLI70451 15 Optional
Debating Justice POLI70611 15 Optional
Critical Environmental Politics POLI70921 15 Optional
The Arab Uprisings and Revolutionary State Formation POLI70981 15 Optional
The United Nations and International Security POLI71112 15 Optional
The Politics of Global Climate Change POLI71141 15 Optional
Borders, Identities, Citizenship POLI72021 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 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

Fakhri Mansour

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 .