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MA Conflict, Governance and Development

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

Year of entry: 2023 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

Online Open Day

Wednesday 7 June 2023
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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.

This course combines a strong focus on the major theories of development with empirical analysis of the experiences of particular countries and regions. You’ll 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

Experts on the global stage

Our staff advise governments and international organisations on a wide range of issues, and contribute to news media and current affairs programmes around the world

Course content

Enjoy vibrant discussions and debate across 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.

You may be studying alongside students with experience in conflict and development practice from around the world, and you'll learn and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience.


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 land grabbing 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 regard 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-Leste
  • 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:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of 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 (substantive knowledge).
  • 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 (disciplinary/methodological knowledge/critical thinking)concepts and methods to issues in world politics such as terrorism, forced migration, ethnic conflict or poverty, using advanced critical reasoning and empirical testing (where appropriate) to assess 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 (research skills).
  • Construct and clearly present written reflections, vital to graduate employment (communication skills)
  • 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 (Advanced disciplinary knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills).
  • Communicate as an academic citizen in ways that help to foster the inclusive sharing of ideas.
As part of a diverse postgraduate community I found that there was a wealth of different experiences and perspectives.
Andrew, MA Conflict, Governance and Development

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,990£22,250
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

You may incur some additional expenses for books, but these costs are optional as most of the texts you'll need are available in the University library. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans and order new books to our library for free.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

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.

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 beginning of Spring Term and three at the beginning of Summer 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 final term.

We offer the opportunity to present your dissertation at our research seminar presentation workshops. These are not formally assessed, 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

  • Civil Servant
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Management consultant
  • Refugee support officer
  • Researcher for a poverty action charity
  • Major donor and legacy manager for a charity

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

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. 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.
International pre-masters programme Pre-masters from our International Pathway College
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You will need to submit an example of written work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting written work.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator: Pass with 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language 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 English language test 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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Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Matthew Whiting

Learn more

Department of Politics

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