Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

MA Conflict, Development and Security

This interdisciplinary programme addresses the convergence of security and development issues, and its implications for analysing the reconstruction of war-affected societies.

The course bridges the themes of conflict, liberal styles of governance and aid policy. You’ll analyse the ways in which security, development and humanitarian agents adapt to instability. You’ll also examine the significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal conflict, and for the development of trans-border economics and the political dynamics they may support.

This unique programme gives you the opportunity to study regionally differentiated responses to conflict in, for example Africa and Afghanistan, and to discuss issues relating to humanitarian conditionality, containment and the role of international organisations and NGOs.

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. The research-led teaching you’ll benefit from is directly informed by the cutting-edge research that occurs within the interdisciplinary Centre for Global Development, which involves more than 60 academics from across the University, as well as the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS), an interdisciplinary centre that brings together scholars with an active interest in Africa from across different schools and faculties at the University of Leeds.

Colleagues working in the International Relations and Security research group participate in research clusters on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute’ and ‘Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism’ as well as the ‘Middle East Research Group’.


This programme offers you the most depth and breadth of any course that focuses on the increasing merger of development and security issues. It does so by unparalleled case-study expertise on political and social reconstruction from war-affected societies across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The compulsory and optional modules studied will give you the opportunity to:

  • take part in cutting-edge academic inquiry with a distinct policy relevance
  • study in an intellectually vigorous environment
  • participate in a dynamic research atmosphere
  • broaden your understanding of complex political emergencies
  • pursue a career in the humanitarian or social reconstruction sector.


The compulsory module examines the economic and political elements of contemporary internal and regionalised conflict. You’ll look at 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.

You’ll also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take one compulsory module and choose one optional module in your first year. You’ll then take the compulsory dissertation module and two optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

As a full-time student, you’ll study two compulsory modules – including your dissertation. You’ll also choose a number of optional modules from a wide-ranging list.

Compulsory modulesOptional modules
- Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance
- Conflict, Development and Security Dissertation
- Africa in the Contemporary World
- American Foreign Policy
- Contemporary Issues in Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Contemporary Politics in the Middle East
- Counterterrorism
- Democracy and Development
- European Defence and Security Analysis
- Gender, Globalisation and Development
- Global Justice
- Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity
- International Political Economy
- International Relations and the Environment
- Insurgency
- Policing Post-Conflict Cities
- Political Economy of Resources and Development
- Research Methods
- Terrorism
- The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- The Rise of China

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and guided weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You’ll also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.

Assessment

Within modules, assessment consists exclusively of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000 word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related discipline or an equivalent professional qualification.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Politics and International Studies admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Communication and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Communication and Society (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadlines

UK/EU students: 31 July

International students: 30 June

Documents and information you’ll need

A copy of your degree certificate or equivalent, as well as a copy of the transcript of your grades (or partial transcript if you’re still studying) certified by the awarding institution

Two references

Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English isn’t your first language.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Interviews

The School of POLIS doesn’t typically interview applicants; however, in certain circumstances programme leaders may invite you to interview as part of the selection procedure. This may allow us to further assess your aptitude and interest in the programme if your circumstances are not straightforward. If invited to interview, you’ll receive an email invitation from the School to attend an interview on a specific date. We’ll do our best to accommodate requests for an alternative date but this cannot be guaranteed.

Admissions policy

School of Politics and International Studies Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: £6,000

International: £15,000

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Scholarships and financial support

POLIS Scholarships

POLIS offers one full-fees and one partial-fees scholarship for UK/EU applicants wishing to study a full-time Masters.

For applicants who are nationals of China, Japan, Nigeria, India and South Korea and wishing to study a full-time Masters, POLIS offers up to five scholarships to the value of £3000.

Find out further details of the POLIS Excellence Scholarships schemes.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out if you can get help at Postgraduate funding.


Career opportunities

This programme provides you with an ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena.

Our graduates have pursued a range of exciting and high-profile careers within academia, think tanks and other organisations. These include: teaching and research positions at universities in the UK, US, Europe and Africa; the public sector in the UK (such as UK Border Agency), Europe (including the External Action Service) and Africa (such as police forces); globally operating consultancy and publishing firms; transnational civil society organisations; and the United Nations.

Many graduates continue to pursue their research interests as PhD students.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


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