Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a social science, humanities, or related discipline.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£12,250 (Total)
International fees
£24,500 (Total)

Course overview

Students in a study pod

Our MA in Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding will introduce you to the key challenges faced when security and development issues converge, and what this means for the reconstruction of war-affected societies. This course is ideal if you are interested in exploring the complexities of societal conflict and peacebuilding around the world.

By bridging themes of conflict, liberal styles of governance and aid policy, you will analyse the ways in which security, development and humanitarian actors adapt to instability. You’ll also examine the significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal conflict, and for the development of trans-border economics and the political dynamics they support.

Furthermore, this course gives you the opportunity to study regionally differentiated responses to conflict in – for example – Africa and Asia, and to discuss issues relating to humanitarian conditionality, containment and the role of international organisations and NGOs in peacebuilding.

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. The teaching on this programme is research-led and supported by our Centre for Global Security Challenges. This comprises 60 experts from around the University of Leeds focusing on six research themes – environment, health, gender, conflict, terrorism, and global order.

Your learning will also benefit from the cutting-edge research which takes place within our Centre for Global Development and the Leeds University Centre for African Studies. Both are leading research centres which address the politics of global challenges.

The programme directly addresses the increasing merging of development and security issues in international stabilization policies, and the challenges involved in reconstructing war-affected societies. It also explores the difficulties and controversies inherent in international activities aimed at building peace and stability within societies. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge required for employment in the expanding field of humanitarian response and social reconstruction, as well as practitioners wishing to study relevant issues in more depth.

You’ll benefit from a course that occupies a bridging position within politics and international studies and – through the wide range of optional modules – draws upon the School's rich diversity of approaches and experience.

Security at Leeds

This course is part of a suite of three postgraduate courses in the School of Politics and International Studies with a focus on security issues. You may also be interested in our specialist MA Global Security Challenges and MA Terrorism and Insurgency.

Course highlights

This course features research-led teaching in the crosscutting, dynamic fields of conflict, peacekeeping, development and security. It is directly informed by the innovative research that occurs in the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, recognised internationally for its work on atrocity prevention, the leading Centre for Global Security Challenges, and the interdisciplinary Centre for Global Development.

Our research culture is one of open academic enquiry, which embraces normative and empirical approaches in the study of conflict, development and security.

School of Politics and International Studies

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Course details

This course offers you case study and theoretical expertise on political and social reconstruction, with insights from war-affected societies across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This allows you to explore the depth and breadth of development, peacekeeping, and security issues.

The compulsory and optional modules studied will give you the opportunity to:

  • take part in cutting-edge academic inquiry with a distinct policy relevance
  • study in an intellectually vigorous environment
  • participate in a dynamic research atmosphere
  • broaden your understanding of complex political emergencies
  • pursue a career in the humanitarian or social reconstruction sector.

The two compulsory taught modules examine the economic, social and political dimensions of contemporary internal and regionalised conflict. You’ll look at humanitarian, development and security policy responses, and investigate the organisational adaptations that are emerging among state and non-state actors in relation to such instability. You’ll also explore peacekeeping theory and practice in the contemporary world.

You’ll be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an in-depth independent piece of research on your chosen topic. The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding MA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30
Civil War and Intrastate Conflict 30
Dissertation 60

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Africa in the Contemporary World 30
Education in Emergencies 30
Gender, Globalisation and Development 30
European Defence and Security Analysis 30
Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30
Insurgency 30
Global Security Challenges 30
Global Security: Concepts and Debates 30
International Relations and the Environment 30
Counterterrorism 30
Terrorism 30
The Responsibility to Protect 30

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods to help you make the most of your studies. These will include lectures, lively seminar discussions, online learning and guided weekly readings.

We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You will also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Within modules, assessment consists primarily of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000-word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or a non-UK equivalent in a social science, humanities, or other related discipline. Relevant experience will also be taken into account.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Politics and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Sciences and Arts: Politics and Society (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

International – Friday 28 June 2024

UK – Friday 16 August 2024

If you intend to apply for funding, you should submit an application for a place on your chosen course at least one month before any specific scholarship deadline.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you will need include:

  • original or certified copies of your transcripts

  • original or certified copies of your degree certificate

  • original or certified copy of your IELTS/TOEFL results (if English is not your first language).

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact us

School of Politics and International Studies



UK: £12,250 (Total)

International: £24,500 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School usually offers a number of scholarships each year. Find out more about our scholarship opportunities.

Career opportunities

This course provides you with ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena. It equips you with critical thinking, research and communication skills and in-depth knowledge sought after by employers.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in the UK and overseas in charities, non-governmental organisations, think tanks and beyond. For example, some of our graduates have progressed to career experience in organizations such as the Home Office; Hudson Institute; Macmillan; The Mines Advisory Group; and the Delegation of the European Union to Uganda, amongst others. Many also pursue further study by commencing PhD research.

Careers support

The School of Politics and International Studies has a dedicated Careers Consultant who is on-hand throughout the year to support and advise you in regards to your career. The School also arranges a number of guest speaker events where you are able to engage with prospective employers, and hear from leading figures in the field.

Find out more about how we support your career development.

In addition to the School-specific careers support, you will also have access to the University’s award-winning Careers Service. The Careers Service offers one-to-one appointments, advice on starting your own business, careers events, mentoring schemes and support with your CV, applications and interviews.

Find out more about the Careers Service.