Syllabus for Master's Thesis in Peace and Conflict Studies

Masteruppsats i freds- och konfliktkunskap

  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 2FK018
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Peace and Conflict Studies A2E
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2007-01-24
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Social Sciences
  • Revised: 2017-10-09
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: week 01, 2018
  • Entry requirements: A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is (1) 90 credits in peace and conflict studies, or 90 credits in a related relevant discipline and at least 30 credits in peace and conflict studies or the equivalent and (2) Causes of War, 15 credits, Methods I, 7,5 credits, and Methods II, 7,5 credits. Methods II may be replaced by Advanced Quantitative Methods, 7,5 credits.
  • Responsible department: Department of Peace and Conflict Research

Decisions and guidelines

The course is only given during the spring semester.

Learning outcomes

To receive a grade of pass for this course, the student is expected to independently position their thesis within the standards of the research field within a given time frame with regard to the following components central to the competent execution of scientific research:

  1. Problem: why is the problem important to study; what is the aim of the thesis in relation to previous research, with a focus on the contribution to the research field.
  2. Theoretical framework: how to independently develop a theoretical frame of reference; how are the key concepts defined; deriving testable implications (research question, hypotheses) from the study’s theoretical framework.
  3. Structuring the empirical investigation: how to independently devise an appropriate research design in which case selection, temporal domain, data, and methods enable a systematic empirical testing of the thesis’ research question or hypotheses.
  4. Analysis: what are the most important results; how do the choices in research design influence the results; what variation in the empirical patterns are relevant in relation to previous research; to what extent do the findings suggest that the theoretical framework be re-tested or revised.
  5. Summary and Conclusions: what was the purpose of the study and to what extent it has been accomplished; how do the results relate to the general research field; what are the implications of the thesis’ results for future research; what are the thesis’ implications for policymaking.
  6. Adhere to the Department’s Policy on Ethical Guidelines for Student Work.


The course starts with lectures and workshops on the craft of research. The main share of the course consists of individual or group supervision. Parallel to the supervision, and as a complement to it, a series of workshops are organised, which address the central components of the research process. Mid-way through the course, drafts of the thesis are presented and discussed during the Mid-term seminars. The course ends with the presentation and defence of the thesis during the Final seminars.


The course is taught through lectures, seminars, workshops, and individual or group supervision.


Examination consists of three parts:

  1.  Completion of a Master Thesis
  2. Acting as discussant for a thesis at the Final seminar
  3. Attendance at all lectures, seminars, workshops and completion of the accompanying assignments
The Master Thesis will carry most weight in the overall course mark. The basic criterion in the grading of the Master Thesis will be the demonstrated ability to design and execute with competence a major piece of research. The grade consists of a summary of how the following components of the Master thesis are assessed: independent identification of a research gap; independent formulation of a theoretical framework; independent formulation of a research design with specifications of how case selection, time period, material and methodology promote a viable systematic empirical testing of the thesis’ research question or hypothesis; independent analysis of how the result relates to previous research.

Two examination opportunities are offered every time the course is given. The grade can be impacted if the thesis is submitted after the assigned deadline without prior approval from the course convenor.

Grades: Pass with Distinction (VG), Pass (G), Fail (U).

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.