Master’s studies

Syllabus for Peace and Conflict Studies B

Freds- och konfliktkunskap B


  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 2FK010
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Peace and Conflict Studies G1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG).
  • Established: 2007-01-24
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Social Sciences
  • Revised: 2014-11-03
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 02, 2015
  • Entry requirements: Peace and Conflict Studies A, 30 credits, or equivalent
  • Responsible department: Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Decisions and guidelines

The course is offered during the spring semester. It can be a part of the Bachelors’ programmes in politics (politices kandidatprogrammet), social sciences (samhällsvetarprogrammet), Peace and Development Studies (kandidatprogrammet i freds- och utvecklingsstudier). The course is also open for students following freestanding courses.

Learning outcomes

After the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe general patterns in the causes, development and resolution of conflicts at various levels of analysis
  • explain and discuss central questions and theories on causes, development and resolution of conflicts
  • compare and critically evaluate different explanatory models for the onset and development of armed conflict
  • independently seek, gather, and evaluate information and scientific texts on armed conflicts
  • identify empirically and critically evaluate central obstacles and problems for conflict resolution, conflict management, and durable peace
  • independently conduct a basic analysis of central obstacles and problems for conflict resolution, conflict management, and durable peace in an ongoing armed conflict as well as identify and motivate strategies to manage these obstacles and problems
  • actively and independently take part in seminar discussions, do short presentations as well as opposing and defending an independently written thesis
  • recognise and formulate a relevant scientific question and relate this question to relevant scientific literature
  • separate descriptive, explanative and normative studies
  • independently describe various methods and techniques for analysis, especially forms of comparative methods
  • understand the need to define concepts – theoretically and empirically
  • be familiar with different strategies for generalizing knowledge
  • use and distinguish between primary and secondary sources as well as literature
  • use and distinguish between methods for social science data collection
  • use basic knowledge and techniques on source criticism
  • discuss scientific texts from a methodological perspective
  • independently solve assignments within allotted time


The aim of the course is to deepen the students’ understanding of theoretical and empirical problems in the study of the outbreak, development and resolution of armed conflicts. Focus is directed upon conflict processes within and between states and different analytical levels – individual, group, state, and regional – are considered. The course further aims to introduce theoretical and methodological issues in Peace and Conflict Studies as well as develop the ability to independently analyse empirical issues and scientific texts.

The course consists of three modules.

Module 1. Theories on the causes of armed conflict (7.5 credits)
Theories of the causes and dynamics of armed conflict within and between states is the centre of attention in this module. Causes and escalatory processes are analysed theoretically and empirically. Particular attention is given to the decision to use force to solve incompatibilities. During the module, different theoretical perspectives and levels of analysis are contrasted with each other.

Module 2. Conflict Resolution (7.5 credits)
During this module, structural, strategic, and psychological problems and obstacles to conflict resolution and durable peace are examined. Furthermore, the module also includes training the ability to independently conduct a theoretically grounded analysis of a current conflict.

Module 3. Methods and thesis (15 credits)
The module begins with lectures, practices, and seminars about the research process and scientific methods. After this general introduction, all teaching is done in smaller supervising groups, where all students are allotted a specific time for supervision. The aim of the module is to provide students with a basic knowledge in scientific methods, to train the ability to independently conduct a smaller scientific study, and – at the same time – further the student’s knowledge within a limited field of study. The module ends with the students writing a thesis of 9 credits that is defended in a public seminar as well as the student acting discussant on an another student thesis.


Teaching is done through lectures and seminars. While all lectures are done in English, students can choose if they want to conduct their examinations in English or Swedish.


Examination is conducted primarily through written assignments. The final module – Methods and thesis – is examined through workshops, seminars and a written independent thesis that is defended orally in a seminar as well as through being discussant on a fellow student’s thesis.

Students can choose if they want to do tests in Swedish or English. Grades are Fail, Pass, and Pass with distinction. Grading criteria are handed out at the start of course modules. To acquire the grade Pass with distinction on the entire course, one needs to acquire Pass with distinction on at least 50% of the course credits.

Reading list

Reading lists

Applies from: week 02, 2015

1. Causes of Armed Conflict

  • Khong, Yuen Foong Analogies at war : Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam decisions of 1965

    Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, cop. 1992

    Find in the library


  • Pruitt, Dean G.; Kim, Sung Hee Social conflict : escalation, stalemate and settlement

    3. ed.: New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004

    Find in the library


Compendium and articles will be added.

2. Conflict Resolution

  • Pruitt, Dean G.; Kim, Sung Hee Social conflict : escalation, stalemate and settlement

    3. ed.: New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004

    Find in the library


Articles will be added.

3. Methods and Essay

  • Evaluating methodology in international studies

    Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002


    Find in the library


  • Powner, Leanne C. Empirical research and writing : a political science student's practical guide

    Thousand Oaks, California: CQ Press, an imprint of SAGE, 2015

    pages 1-80, 109-134, 241-243

    Find in the library


The course reading consists of a course reader, articles and B-theses from previous years.