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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Conflict, Governance and Development (MA)

MA Conflict, Governance and Development

Investigate the challenges that face our rapidly evolving but delicately balanced world

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Development is an inherently political process of change that tests human relationships.

By exploring these relationships you’ll see the connections between violent and non-violent conflict, processes of development, and how they relate to the governance of our modern world.

You’ll get to examine key conflict and development case studies and apply major theories of international development to deepen your understanding of local, national and global processes of change as part of this dynamic course.

The course has allowed me to follow my interest in development across the world, and given me the theoretical and analytical tools to adapt myself to different situations.
Solene, MA Conflict, Governance and Development

International experts

Our academics lead research in many political areas, including conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy. Our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes.

Course content

Enjoy vibrant discussions and debate across two core modules that are designed to draw the very most from our department’s in-depth research experience, which spans the Middle East, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

It’s a course that attracts students with experience in conflict and development practice from around the world, so you also learn and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience.


You'll study two core modules: 

Plus, four optional modules from a range of subjects:

Our choice of modules lets you develop expertise, in the areas that you feel most passionate about.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


During the summer term and vacation you will consolidate your interests in a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Previous dissertation titles include:

  • To what extent do non-democratic-institutions foster civil wars?
  • Using hunger as a tool to advance political gains: An investigation into deliberate political actions to explain the causation of contemporary famine in the conflict zones of Ethiopia and Sudan
  • Women's Social Movements, Art and The State: An Analysis of Femen Movements' Tactics and the reaction by The State
  • The impact of corporate landgrabbing on rural communities in Guatemala
  • The resource curse, institutional quality and social policy in Venezuela
  • Women, conflict and security in the Republic of Lebanon - have Lebanese women contributed to the quest for peace during and following the Civil War (1975-1990)?
  • Thai immigration policy: addressing the balance between security and humanity with regards to the Rohingya people
  • Measuring good governance using the World Governance Index Framework: a case study of Jordan
  • Do policy outcomes change policy networks? A case study of state-building and security sector reform in Timor-L'este
  • The Common Agricultural Policy: working towards food security? A critique of the CAP's claims to ensure European Union and global food security
  • 'They did not even want to know I was human': the effect of sexual violence during the Liberian civil war on the construction of female identity
  • Ethnic dynamics during the Bosnian civil war: a case study of Sarajevo and Prijedor municipality

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • understand the origins and evolution of the discipline in order to achieve an in-depth knowledge of historical and contemporary political issues in development and conflict issues 
  • apply different theoretical perspectives, methods and concepts to specific aspects of Politics of Development, and use masters level intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
  • undertake independent research relating to the field of conflict governance and development by conceiving and operationalising research questions, by selecting and justifying the use of appropriate theories and concepts, gathering and interpreting data, and arriving at appropriate and justified conclusions 
  • construct and clearly present written reflections, vital to graduate employment 
  • demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of literature within a sub-field of conflict governance and development and establish the foundations of an empirical and/or conceptual contribution to the sub-field through original work.
  • communicate as an academic citizen in ways that help to foster the inclusive sharing of ideas

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You may incur some additional expenses for books. These costs are optional - our university library is well stocked. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans or order new books to our library for free.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental scholarships

We have a number of scholarships and funding opportunities available. Find out about postgraduate funding.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervision. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups.

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of political areas such as conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy. As international experts in their field, our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes. Our expertise and experience feed directly into our teaching. 

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics in Derwent College on Campus West. Around half of your teaching will take place in Derwent College; the rest of your contact hours will take place nearby. 

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You submit six essays; three are submitted at the end of the Autumn term and three at the end of the Spring term (essays are usually around 4,000 words long).

Your final dissertation of between 10,000 - 12,000 words is submitted at end of your last term.

We offer the opportunity to present your dissertation at our research seminar presentation workshops. These are not formally assessed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

Careers and skills

From political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a Masters degree in Conflict, Governance and Development leads to a broad range of career opportunities.

Our students have found work in central or local government, non-governmental organisations, community and voluntary organisations, social enterprise, higher education, accountancy and banking organisations, law firms, media companies and international and global development bodies.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates from the department work as university lecturers, parliamentary assistants, librarians and television producers. Other popular employers include:

  • Local councils
  • Civil Service / Home Office/ House of Commons
  • UN
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NHS
  • Professional services / Accountancy firms - notably PwC, EY, KPMG
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Barclays
  • Universities
  • IBM
  • Development charities including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Transferable skills

  • Reflective independent learning
  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • The capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • Excellent written and oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamworking skills
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work.
The best thing about studying at York is the learning environment. The classes are such engaging settings for discussing and analysing the debates being had between academics in the field, and the courses are very well organised, with comprehensive reading lists and carefully structured module content.
Peter, MA Conflict Governance and Development

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

We typically ask for a degree at 2:1 or above. You must also include a written work sample with your application.

We are willing to consider applicants with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. Additional information may be requested.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

If you earned your Bachelors degree outside of the UK, you should check that it is equivalent to a 2:1. Our country-specific pages can help you to find out.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English may need to satisfy language requirements.

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirements

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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