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MA Conflict, Development and Security

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry requirements for POLIS MA programmes

    If you wish to apply for these programmes, you should normally hold a good honours degree (upper second class or first class) in a Social Science discipline, or an equivalent professional qualification. Relevant experience will be taken into account.

    However, if you have a good degree in, say, the natural sciences, humanities or languages, you may also apply, particularly if you have appropriate work experience.

    If you narrowly missed securing an upper second result, you should inform us of your circumstances so that your case can be considered on an individual basis.

    Language requirements

    Successful completion of a postgraduate degree demands facility in English. It is a requirement that essays and dissertations be well-written. Prospective and intending students whose first language is not English will need to ensure that their linguistic proficiency is adequate. They may need to undertake some language training in the University or elsewhere.

    The School has a minimum requirement.

    * TOEFL score on the paper-based test: at least, 580 with 4.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE).

    * TOEFL score on the internet-based test: 94, with minimum scores of 20 in listening, 23 in reading, 23 in speaking and 24 in writing.

    * TOEFL score on the computer-based test: at least, 240 with 4.0 on essay rating.


    A minimum IELTS (academic) score of 6.5 with at least 6 in all components.

    University Language Centre

    The School keeps its requirements under review and may request a higher level of proficiency.

    The University's Language Centre offers specialised pre-sessional English language programmes, which are suitable for students going on to study in the Institute. These programmes are also useful in helping students acclimatise to the UK academic environment.
  • Course description

    This course offers you ...
    • an opportunity to investigate the changing nature of war.
    • the chance to study the challenges surrounding conflict and humanitarian intervention.
    • an insight into an area of growing topicality and concern.
    • the ability to examine the use of aid as a tool of conflict resolution.

    If you …
    • want an academically-cutting edge course that is policy-relevant.
    • wish to broaden your understanding of complex political emergencies.
    • are considering a career, or currently working, in the humanitarian or social reconstruction sector.
    • want an interdisciplinary approach with a wide range of optional modules.

    … then MA Conflict, Development and Security could be the right course for you.

    Conflict, Development and Security addresses the merger of development and security issues, and its implications for analysing the reconstruction of war-affected societies.

    This programme bridges the themes of conflict, aid policy and liberal styles of governance. You will analyse the ways in which security, developmental and humanitarian agents adapt to instability. You will also examine the significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal conflict, and the development of trans-border economies and the political dynamics they support.

    The course gives you the opportunity to study the regionally differentiated responses to conflict in, for example, Africa and the Balkans, and to discuss issues relating to humanitarian conditionality, containment, and the role of IGOS and NGOs. In analysing the relationship between aid and politics in 'new' wars, this inter-disciplinary programme draws upon the department's rich diversity of approach and experience.

    MA Conflict, Development and Security is available on a 12-month full-time basis or 24 month part-time basis.

    The course has two compulsory modules, with an additional 90 credits of optional modules to total 180 credits.

    Compulsory Modules
    Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance (30 credits) examines the economic and political elements of contemporary internal and regionalised conflict. You will examine humanitarian, developmental and security policy responses and investigate the organisational adaptations that are emerging among state and non-state actors in relation to such instability.

    Dissertation: Conflict, Development and Security (60 credits) leads you through the process of developing a deeper understanding of a particular topic in conflict, development and security through independent research and the preparation of an extended piece of writing. You agree a research topic with your supervisor and write a 12,000 word dissertation that demonstrates your research skills, your ability to assess information, and appraise relevant concepts and theories.

    Optional Modules
    In addition to the compulsory modules, you also choose 90 credits worth of modules from the following list:
    • Contemporary International Security (15 credits)
    • Contemporary Issues in Nuclear Non-Proliferation and WMD (15 credits)
    • The Situation Room (15 credits)
    • Policing Post-Conflict Cities (15 credits)
    • International Law and the War on Terror (15 credits)
    • European Defence and Security Analysis (15 credits)
    • Politics of Intelligence (15 credits)
    • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance (30 credits)
    • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East (30 credits)
    • International Law and Ethics in the War on Terror (30 credits)

    Please note module options may be subject to change and are subject to availability.

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