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Undergraduate Postgraduate
Colchester Campus
Saturday 20 June 2015 (booking opens 25 Apr)
Saturday 19 September 2015 (booking opens 25 Jul)
Saturday 24 October 2015 (booking opens 29 Aug)
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Saturday 18 July 2015 (booking opens 23 May)
Saturday 10 October 2015 (booking opens 15 Aug)
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Course Finder

MA Conflict Resolution

Location: Colchester Campus
Qualification: Master of Arts
Mode of study: Full-time
Duration: 12 months
Tuition Fee: Home/EU, Overseas
Funding available: Find out using our scholarship finder Department: Government
Facebook: University of Essex
Further information: For more information, please e-mail us or see for yourself by booking a place at one of our open days.

About the course

How do you put an end to war? What are the benefits and consequences of intervention? What role do international and non-government organisations play in the prevention and resolution of conflict?

Our MA Conflict Resolution provides an overview of the evolving field of international conflict resolution, exploring methods like mediation, negotiation, arbitration, collaborative problem solving, peacekeeping operations, and other applications. Our approach is interdisciplinary, combining traditional approaches in conflict management with contemporary theory and practices of non-violent methods. You can also take modules that include methods, international relations, security studies, global and comparative politics, international development and the study of human rights.

We have developed this stimulating new course following the launch of our flagship Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR). An exciting element of our course is the opportunity for you to undertake an internship with our new IDCR and work alongside our academics, who are world leaders in this field. An MA Conflict Resolution can lead to a career in areas such as; non-governmental organisations, international and national government, and the private sector. You will develop key employability skills including analytical reasoning, research design, communication and report writing.

Why study MA Conflict Resolution at Essex?

Our Department of Government is one of the largest and most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are the only political science department to have achieved the highest rating in all six assessments for the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF), since national rankings began in 1986. More than three-quarters of our research is rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014) making us top in the UK for research.

Our staff distinguish themselves in various ways; by acting as media commentators, by writing textbooks used by students across the world and with involvement in practical training. In addition, our students have access to academic staff and a constant flow of distinguished visiting scholars from abroad. Our research interests are wide ranging but we host the British Election Study, a major Economic and Social Research Council-sponsored survey of attitudes and opinions of the British electorate, with other significant research projects studying foreign policy attitudes, corruption, and civil wars and peacekeeping.

Our facilities

As a student on this course you will be able to take advantage of our extensive learning resources, including laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis, as well as our University library, which provides access to a variety of politics journals as well as multiple copies of textbooks, e-books and materials to support your learning.


A Masters course is an academically rigorous programme during which you explore your subject in depth, reaching a high level of specialist knowledge. You draw on knowledge and skills from your undergraduate study or your professional life to produce work of a high academic standard, informed by current thinking and debate.

This course lasts twelve months (full-time), starting in October, and consists of taught modules during your autumn and spring terms and a research-based dissertation to be submitted in September. Your research-based dissertation counts for 60 credits and you will take 120 credits of modules, a 30 credit compulsory module and a further 90 credits made up from a selection of 30 and 15 credit modules. (If you are from the EU, then our Masters courses are regarded as ‘second-cycle’ qualifications under the Bologna Declaration and consist of 90 ECTS credits).


Core modules

Ma Dissertation

Compulsory modules

Conflict Resolution

Compulsory with options modules

Advanced Research Methods
Political Explanation

Core modules must be taken and passed.
Core with options modules selected from limited lists must be taken and passed.
Compulsory modules must be taken.
Compulsory with options modules selected from limited lists must be taken.
Optional modules are selected from course specific lists.


Your postgraduate study at Essex gives you an opportunity to develop your own ideas and interests, and to engage with thinking at the leading edge of your subject as part of the research community in our Department of Government, and our wider academic and professional community.

As a student of politics your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes. Some statistical modules will include computer-lab classes.

Assessment for modules taught by the Department of Government includes written coursework, assignments, end of term tests and an exam at the end of the year. Your grade for each module is calculated with a 50 per cent weighting for both coursework and exam. During the summer, you will work on a dissertation that’s included in your final grade.

Teaching methods and styles

Our courses are designed to provide you with an advanced understanding of contemporary theory, research and methods, plus knowledge of either the politics of a geographical area or an aspect of the discipline. Our courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations. The modules you take employ a variety of teaching methods with lectures that inform you and classes, which allow you to consolidate your learning through discussion and problem solving, accompanied by lab sessions that allow you to improve your technical skills.

Your dissertation

If you are taking a Graduate or Postgraduate Diploma, you do not need to do the dissertation.

If you are taking a Masters course, you are expected to start work on your dissertation early on in the academic year. You are given guidance on how to prepare a Masters dissertation by our Graduate Director in the spring term. There is a rigorous support system in place for the dissertation process, linking you with an appropriate supervisor at the earliest opportunity. We also have progress checks throughout the year to ensure you are on track. Our part-time students prepare their dissertation during their second year.

Methods of assessment

Within our Department of Government, most of our taught modules comprise of coursework and exams, although some are 100 per cent coursework. Your coursework comes in the form of essays, simulations, presentations and in-class tests, with a dissertation required for all taught courses.

Seminars and conferences

Our Department of Government runs workshops and seminars that are attended by staff and students, as well as national and international conferences and research workshops. These give you exposure to cutting-edge research on topical issues, provide a role model for your own presentations and give you the opportunity to meet up with speakers and discuss your own research and ideas with them.

Career destinations

Our graduates go on to enjoy influential careers in British, European and international politics. This includes working as an MP, being the Speaker of the House of Commons and employment as political lobbyists or staff assistants to MPs and MEPs. Our graduates also work in the Civil Service and in local government, hold posts with the World Bank, the United Nations, NATO, YouGov and YouGov America, work for the armed forces or in finance and business, or undertake further research and teaching.

Our graduates acquire a wide range of methodological, analytical and statistical skills that make them highly adaptable and attractive to employers. Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Your employability

A postgraduate qualification is a major achievement and greatly valued by employers. Recent surveys show that higher degree graduates are more likely to obtain jobs at professional or managerial level and less likely to be unemployed. For some jobs a postgraduate qualification may be essential, for others it offers a competitive edge. Our graduates go into a variety of jobs, where the key employability skills and knowledge they have gained through postgraduate study are put to good use.

Our Languages for All programme lets you study a language, alongside your course, at no extra cost. You can take one of 50 taught language modules on a part-time day-time basis, or undertake flexible web-based learning, or opt for a language module taught in the evening. As employers can struggle to find graduates able to speak more than one language, Languages for All places Essex graduates in a very advantageous position.

If you achieve your Masters, you may wish to extend your knowledge with a research degree and many who graduate from Essex choose to stay here for research study. Some of our Masters may be taken as the first part of an Integrated PhD, leading to your PhD after a further three years of full-time study.

Support for postgraduates

Our University has a range of support services designed to help you to achieve your full potential and get the most out of your studies. These form a co-ordinated network of support, and are an important part of your overall student experience at Essex.

Our staff operate an 'open door' policy so are available to discuss any concerns with you throughout the year.

Research study opportunities

Within our Department of Government, we offer supervision for PhD and MPhil. We have steadily consolidated our reputation as the best politics department in the UK and in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We offer research supervision in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.


Our applicants should have a 1st, 2:1 or high 2:2 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant social science like politics, international relations, economics, political economy or sociology. Degrees from other subjects may be considered where there is evidence of some mathematical training, statistical background and relevant work experience, although you will be required to submit a personal statement with your application form.

If English is not your first language, then we require IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Open Evenings

Come to one of our Open Evenings in Colchester or London to discover what makes Essex an outstanding place to study. Our Open Evenings are your chance to find out what it’s like to be a member of our thriving postgraduate community. Meet our academics and talk informally to current students to find out more about postgraduate life and study at Essex.

Campus Tours

If you can’t make one of our Open Evenings then don’t worry, we offer regular Campus Tours at our Colchester and Southend campuses. Please let us know which campus you want to visit using the email addresses below and we’ll organise a tour with a current student for you.

Please try to give four working days' notice and if you or any of your guests have any specific individual needs. Please include details in your email and we can arrange to tailor your visit accordingly.

Colchester Campus

We offer campus tours from Monday to Friday at 12.30pm. Please email scl@essex.ac.uk letting us know when you would like to come.

Watch our Colchester Campus tour on Vimeo.

See our videos on our University of Essex Vimeo channel.