Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Post-war Recovery Studies (MA)

Overview Explore the challenges faced by conflict-affected societies, and learn how to bring solutions to war-torn communities.


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

With leading international experts you’ll explore how to bring solution-based approaches to conflict-affected societies. You'll learn how cutting-edge research is being developed and how to apply major theories of post-war reconstruction to current global challenges.

You'll develop specialist knowledge in the complexities of post-war recovery and gain a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. As the course progresses you'll develop your own specialist areas of interest relating to humanitarian aid, peace-building and post-war reconstruction. You'll gain real-world experience from a field trip to a post-war region and a work experience placement with a local, national or international organisation.

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.

Course content What you’ll study



You'll be taught by world renowned academics, policy makers and practitioners on five classroom-based modules. You'll have access to support from academic staff throughout the year.

Field trip

You'll undertake a field trip to a post-war region, led by experienced staff. You'll gain first hand, ground-level understandings of recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of war. You'll develop the methodological, logistical and ethical skills and sensibilities required to work in conflict-affected settings.

The field trip enables you to connect theory with practice in a complex and politically volatile environment, giving you well-rounded experience to take into the workplace. Previous students have been to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan, while more recent trips have focused on Northern Ireland, Jordan, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka.

Work placement

You'll also undertake a six- to eight-week work placement with a local, national or international organisation, working on a particular aspect of post-war recovery, humanitarian action, or development.


Core modules

Research in Conflict-affected Environments addresses the political, ethical, logistical and methodological challenges of conducting research in post-war contexts. You'll develop the awareness and skills needed to conduct fieldwork in a safe and ethical manner.

Theory and Practice of Post-war Recovery provides a broad introduction to the leading theoretical approaches, key concepts and core issues in post-war recovery, statebuilding, peacebuilding and stabilisation.

Planning and Managing Recovery Programmes introduces the issues, dilemmas and practical components of running and evaluating projects and programmes in conflict-affected contexts.

Understanding Conflict and Responses to Conflict explores armed conflict, war, and violence. You'll critically engage with theories and debates on the nature of war and peace, and gain an understanding of the complex and fluid nature of the relationship between the two.

Optional modules

You'll choose one optional module:


You'll write a 16-18,000 word dissertation based on an original research project. Although the dissertation officially starts in the Spring Term, you should begin discussing dissertation ideas as early as possible in the year.

You'll work independently to develop a plan, with support and guidance from a personal academic supervisor. Your work placement is an excellent opportunity to undertake research in the field. You'll write up your dissertation between May and September.

Your dissertation is a major factor in the selection of the Guido Galli award, which is given to each year's most outstanding student. All students who produce outstanding dissertations are given an opportunity to turn their dissertation into a published article, under the guidance of faculty staff.

There are very few courses that have the same ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This course attracts a rich and diverse student base and - coupled with the expertise of its academics - students are given the best opportunity to debate the challenges of post-conflict recovery.
Laura, MA Post-War Recovery Studies

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

Our teaching is based on a multi-disciplinary and analytical approach to the long-term challenges to post-war recovery. We'll introduce you to the core theoretical approaches in conflict and peace studies.

A core part of this teaching relies on in-depth critical discussion of contemporary case studies, many of which draw on our academics' experience in the field. We also welcome frequent guest lecturers: often high-level professionals in national and international organisations.


Most of your assessments will take the form of written essays and reports:

  • A 4,000-word essay for each taught module;
  • A 3,000-word written report and a 20-minute oral report following your work placement;
  • A 5,000-word report based on your field trip experiences, focusing on a particular aspect of humanitarian aid, reconstruction or reconciliation;
  • A 16-18,000 word dissertation based on an original research project.

Throughout the course you'll also complete formative assignments including presentations and literature reviews. You'll receive feedback on these to guide your development, but the marks don't count towards your final grade.

Taught by internationally acclaimed academics who are actively involved in ground-breaking research projects in peace building, aid and post-war reconstruction.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

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

  • Central or local government
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • Social enterprise
  • Universities
  • Accountancy and banking firms
  • Law firms
  • Media companies
  • International and global development organisations

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

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.

We will consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules or appropriate professional experience. If you are applying with a lower qualification, you must include an example of your written work with your application.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat 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.


How to apply for postgraduate study

International options

If you earned your undergraduate 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: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • CAE (before January 2015): 65, with 'Good' in Writing
  • CPE (before January 2015): C
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirements

Postgraduate English language requirements 2017/18

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Next steps

Apply now