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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Conflict, Governance and Development (MA)

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


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

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 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

Course content What you’ll study


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, South-East 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 let's you develop expertise, in the areas that you feel most passionate about.


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 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

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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. 


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 assessessed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

We are ranked eighth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, confirming York’s standing as a centre of world-leading and internationally excellent research, with major global and national impact.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

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

You might find yourself working for:

  • Central or local government
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • A Social enterprise
  • A university
  • Accountancy and banking orgs
  • Law firms
  • Media companies
  • International and global development bodies / organisations.

Career opportunities

Popular employers:

  • 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.

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

Eligible applicants have, or are soon to complete, a Bachelors degree at 2:1 or above. Eligible applicants have, or are soon to complete, a Bachelors degree at 2:1 or above. We are willing to consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules/ or appropriate professional experience. If you are applying with a lower qualification, you must include a written work sample with your application.

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


You can apply online. You'll have the option to save your progress and return later to complete your application.

Applying for postgraduate study

Start your online application

International options

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.

The Department of Politics has a higher minimum level than the University more generally because of the more difficult nature of the literature that Politics students must engage with. The departmental requirements are:

IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component)

The University accepts other evidence of English language attainment; please see the Postgraduate Admissions web pages.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Next steps

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