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MA Peace and Conflict Studies

Investigate the nature of war and peace

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of contemporary armed conflicts, transitions from war to peace, and challenges of post-war peacebuilding.

Explore the context of contemporary armed conflict and war, and subsequently how peace is forged at local and national levels, taking into account the interplay between domestic and international actors.

You'll have the opportunity to undertake a fieldwork placement, where you'll apply your skills to a professional setting and conduct research to inform your dissertation. This is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand understanding of, and approaches to, conflict resolution and peacebuilding in war-affected contexts.

You'll graduate with both an understanding of conflict and post-war development, and a clearer appreciation of the difficulties confronted by practitioners and policy makers.

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

Through core modules, you'll develop your understanding of the nature of contemporary armed conflict and war with attention to contextual variation. You'll gain insight into the complexities of contemporary armed conflicts and peace-making with access to a wide range of optional modules in areas such as security, gender studies, and development. In addition to your module curriculum, you will be invited to take part in a range of activities that our team organises as part of the York Centre for Conflict and Security.

You will also have the option to expand your practical skills through an organised field trip with a project placement in South Africa or the UK in the autumn term. In addition, you will have the opportunity to conduct an independent fieldwork placement (as part of your dissertation) in a peace and conflict context in the summer term.


Core modules

Option modules

You will also study four option modules:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


For your independent study project during the summer, you can choose between writing a dissertation or a policy report. The policy report draws on primary data collected during a fieldwork placement in a peace and conflict context during the summer term. Both policy report and dissertation are up to 12,000 words in length (60 credits) and on a research topic to be agreed with your tutor. Throughout your independent study project, you will have the support of your supervisor. Where possible we'll allocate you someone who is familiar with your chosen topic.

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:

  • Identify and understand the relationship between peace and conflict, specifically the complex political, economic, and social challenges of post-war recovery at a local, national, and international level. (Substantive knowledge)
  • Critically engage with the theory of post-war recovery, including concepts like conflict, peace, peacebuilding, state-building, and humanitarianism, and how these are applied in practice in order to identify gaps and improve existing practice. (Analytical skills and critical thinking)
  • Design and undertake advanced research which addresses and rises to the significant political, ethical, logistical, and methodological challenges of research in, or relating to, conflict-affected environments. (Research skills)
  • Effectively communicate analytical and reasoned arguments that show awareness of multiple narratives and understandings of conflict, and engage with both theoretical and empirical material in verbal and written forms. (Communication skills)
  • Research and work safely, ethically, and effectively in relation to complex and unpredictable conflict-affected environments. (Professional skills)
  • Demonstrate the inter-cultural awareness, mindfulness, patience, and sensitivity to opinions different to their own required when working on contentious conflict issues. (Interpersonal skills).

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student 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

If you choose to undertake a placement in South Africa you will need to budget around £1,200 to £1,400, over and above MA tuition fees and living expenses. You'll need to cover the cost of flights, accommodation and sustenance.

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 2024/25 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.

Depending on your pathway choice, you'll have the chance to put your learning into practice on a practical placement and an organised field trip. You'll be supported by your personal tutor throughout the placement.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics and International Relations 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

Depending on which pathway you choose, you'll be assessed through essays, group projects and reflective diaries. Your final dissertation of 12,000 words is submitted at end of your final term.

We'll be looking for evidence of your ability to communicate across cultures, bearing in mind diverse cultural and political viewpoints. You should be able to speak knowledgeably about unfolding international events to a range of audiences, and collect and interpret qualitative data to support your arguments. 

As well as your assessed work, you'll be given assignments which don't count towards your final grade. The feedback you receive for this work will help you develop your skills and identify areas for improvement.

Careers and skills

Our graduates have gone on to leading roles in governmental and non-governmental organisations and charities, working in areas affected by conflict around the world. Their work spans the post-war recovery spectrum, from organising emergency education provision to overseeing land-mine removal.

Others use the skills they have developed in a broad range of industries from disaster relief to business consultancy. Many go on to further study at York and other leading universities.

Career opportunities

  • Political risk analyst
  • Civil Service Fast Streamer
  • Conflict manager
  • Community relations specialist
  • Public Relations executive
  • Government social research officer

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

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

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
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 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 haven't 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 online. 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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Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Christoph Dworschak

Learn more

Department of Politics and International Relations

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