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MSc Conflict Resolution

Why we're great

  • We have been ranked first in the UK for political science research since national league tables began.
  • You have unrivalled one-to-one access to the best minds in politics and international relations.
  • We are the only political science department to receive the prestigious Regius Professorship.

Course options

Duration: 1 year
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Government
Fee (Home/EU): £7,950
Fee (International): £15,500

Duration: 2 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Government
Fee (Home/EU): £3,975
Fee (International): £7,750

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

We are world leaders in political science, asking difficult questions to find important answers. How do you put an end to armed conflict? What are the benefits and consequences of intervention? What role do national and international non-governmental organisations play in the prevention and resolution of conflict?

Our course helps you to understand the evolving field of conflict resolution, exploring the causes and effects of destructive conflict across the world, and scrutinising the theory and practice of how this can be managed peacefully. We provide you with a framework for understanding conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues, focusing on topics including:

  • Mediation, negotiation, and collaborative problem solving
  • Using conflict data sets and drawing geographical maps
  • International development and human rights
  • International relations and security studies
  • Global and comparative politics

You additionally might have the option of studying an extracurricular module on non-violent movements, offered in collaboration with Slobdan Djinovic and Srdja Popovic of the Centre for Nonviolent Action and Strategies in Belgrade. This exciting course, previously offered at many US universities including Colorado College, Harvard University and New York University, has never been offered anywhere else in Europe.

Our dynamic, interdisciplinary approach combines traditional methods with contemporary theory and practices of non-violent movements, and we encourage you to experience the practical as well as the theoretical application of these topics through examining real case studies of international conflict.

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. You benefit from staff expertise in both conflict studies and international relations, with conflict and cooperation forming a core part of our Department of Government.

Our key teaching staff for this course are Professor Han Dorussen, Professor Ismene Gizelis, and Professor Kristian Gleditsch.

Professor Dorussen is Associate Editor for the Journal of Peace Research, and specialises in the relationship between trade and conflict, the use of economic policies in international politics, the governance of post-conflict societies, and policy convergence in the European Union. He has recently completed fieldwork examining the impact of the UN mission on the perception of security in Timor Leste.

Professor Gizelis specialises in conflict dynamics, peacekeeping, gender equality and post-conflict reconstruction, and communicable diseases. In addition, Professor Gizelis is acting as Core Investigator on a new research project, ‘Armed Conflict and Maternal Health in Sub-Saharan Africa’ (2014-16), with the innovative aim of going beyond consideration of the direct effect of interventions to also consider relevant political, socioeconomic and cultural factors.

Professor Gleditsch’s research focuses on conflict and cooperation, democratisation, and spatial dimensions of social and political processes. He is the director of a large EU-funded research project on non-violent actions. He is also the director of the Michael Nicholson Centre of Conflict and Cooperation.

Specialist facilities

  • The Michael Nicholson Centre for Conflict and Cooperation is distinctive in its scientific approach to the study of conflict, emphasising rigorous formal theory and the development of systematic data and statistical methods for evaluating theory
  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
  • Make use of web-assisted learning, simulations, and challenging role-playing exercises
  • The ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
  • We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
  • A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our MSc Conflict Resolution will prepare you for a career in areas such as non-governmental organisations, international and national government, or the private sector.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:

  • The Civil Service
  • Local government
  • The World Bank
  • The United Nations
  • NATO
  • YouGov and YouGov America

We also offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.

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.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

One Masters not enough for you?

We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

In this module you focus on conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues. You gain experience in the practical as well as in the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, exploring the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem-solving real cases of international conflict, and making use of negotiation and mediation techniques in role playing exercises and other types of simulations.

Master the quantitative methods which are essential to test hypotheses. You study hypotheses testing, hypotheses testing using Least Squares, and some classic violations of the Gauss-Markov conditions, before continuing to learn some more advanced models ubiquitous in political science.

Teaching

  • Courses are designed to provide you with an advanced understanding of either the politics of a geographical area or an aspect of the discipline
  • Courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations
  • Learn through discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • We encourage students to attend national conferences to meet researchers and discuss their work

Assessment

  • Your coursework comes in the form of essays, simulations, presentations and in-class tests

Dissertation

  • You are given guidance on how to prepare a Masters dissertation by our Graduate Director in the spring term
  • We link you with an appropriate supervisor at the earliest opportunity

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A degree with an overall high 2:2.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

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