Syllabus for Conflict and Peacebuilding

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  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 5RT980
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: International Humanitarian Action A1F
  • Grading system: Fail, Sufficient, Satisfactory, Good, Very good, Excellent
  • Established: 2019-03-06
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-11-10
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Theology
  • Applies from: week 25, 2021
  • Entry requirements: The course on Conflict and Peacebuilding is only available to exchange students from partner universities in the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) or to students who have been admitted to the Master Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict.

    Students who have been admitted to the Master Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict must have earned at least 15 credits from first-semester programme courses.
  • Responsible department: Department of Theology

Decisions and guidelines

The course on Conflict and Peacebuilding is only available to exchange students from partner universities in the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) or to students who have been admitted to the Master's Programme in Humanitarian Action and Conflict.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the module provide a conceptual and theoretical frame for the analysis of political, social and cultural dimensions of humanitarian disaster situations, with particular emphasis on conflict analysis and conflict resolution/peacebuilding. After the course the student is expected to have:

  • an ability to apply the main schools of conflict theory and related concepts to concrete conflict and disaster situations in order to achieve a deep and broader understanding of such contexts;
  • a broad understanding of the theory and practice of peace-building;
  • an awareness of the everyday life of war and armed conflict and how it affects local populations, including an awareness of gender dimensions;
  • an understanding of and sensitivity to cultural differences on individual and group levels and how this can affect the policies and implementation of humanitarian activities;
  • an ability to conduct an independent analysis of a conflict;
  • an ability to communicate advanced knowledge of conflict issues to a non-academic target group, in both written and oral form;
  • justified and applied methodology and scientific methods correctly in an original piece of humanitarian research;
  • studied a research topic in depth, and conducted and completed a medium-length research project largely self-directed;
  • a critical understanding of the humanitarian principles and standards and the problematic nature of the dilemmas involved;
  • demonstrated the ability to formulate adequate and ethically sound recommendations for humanitarian action grounded in the humanitarian principles and values, translating these in innovative, practical terms to policies, strategies and programme management;
  • highly specialised knowledge and a critical understanding of humanitarian concepts and theories; innovative expertise on a particular current theme in humanitarian action with an interdisciplinary understanding in terms of its political, legal, anthropological, public health and management aspects;
  • specialised skills to conceptualise, interpret and critically analyse complex humanitarian crises and interventions on the basis of a variety of sources, generating new interdisciplinary expertise to help solve complex humanitarian problems;
  • demonstrated the ability to position one's own research findings in the broader context of humanitarian action;. developed an open attitude towards acquiring new knowledge and understanding about professional and academic developments in humanitarian action;
  • specialised problem-solving skills to promote the best and safest response in humanitarian emergency contexts in terms of personal and social implications and foreseeable harm by humanitarian interventions;
  • a critical understanding of opportunities and threats of current trends in the humanitarian sector;
  • demonstrated a range of coaching and management skills to carefully assess the relevant factors for decision-making in terms of operative context, possible effects and risks and the best way for successful implementation of strategic decisions;
  • demonstrated the ability to act on decisions made; adopted the reflective practice of analysing personal learning goals and ways to achieve them; the ability to stimulate the involvement and development of team members and partners to achieve a successful humanitarian project;
  • highly specialised knowledge of the diversity of actors and stakeholders, their interaction and competition, and a thorough understanding of the importance of coordination between different levels in the humanitarian system;
  • demonstrated the ability to listen to beneficiaries and stakeholders and taking into account their considerations, to communicate humanitarian expertise and research findings in a structured, intelligible way to specialists and non-specialists in a multi-cultural humanitarian setting; the ability to cultivate relations of sensitive respect in terms of cultural and gender diversity and to cooperate in a quest for mutual benefit or compromise;
  • the ability to involve partners and team members in different levels of decision-making and to act in a responsible and accountable manner concerning one's own decisions;
  • a highly specialised knowledge and critical understanding of the impact of various humanitarian action interventions on the needs and rights of crisis-affected people and their interaction with the interests of relevant actors in a certain professional regional context;
  • problem-solving skills combining interdisciplinary knowledge and an understanding of the range of needs and capabilities of crisis-affected people in a certain regional context toward relevant, evidence-based solutions for effective response;
  • the ability to learn from past experiences, identify opportunities to overcome humanitarian dilemmas and propose new work methods for increased efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder accountability in complex and unpredictable humanitarian environments.


The module focuses on: concepts and theories of conflict resolution; peacemaking/peacebuilding with specific relevance to humanitarian disaster situations; and the conditions and consequences of humanitarian action in conflict situations.


The teaching on this campus course includes both lectures and seminars. Attendance at seminars and at least 75% of lectures is compulsory. Students who miss seminars must compensate for this absence. In general, students who miss more than 25% of lectures must also compensate. However, students who are absent for substantially more than 25% of lectures must instead take part in lectures the next time the course is provided. Participation in all lectures is highly encouraged since the lectures facilitate reading and analysis of the course literature.

The language of instruction is English.


The course is examined through written exams, papers, individual and group presentations.

Grades: Fail (F), Sufficient (E), Satisfactory (D), Good (C), Very Good (B) and Excellent (A).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

All work to be assessed must be in English.

Transitional provisions

Students retain the right to be examined on the course according to this syllabus for 3 semesters after their course instance has ended. Normally, instruction will be given according to the latest version of the course syllabus only.

Syllabus Revisions

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 25, 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Barnett, Michael N. The empire of humanity : a history of humanitarianism

    Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2011

    Find in the library


  • Kriesberg, Louis.; Dayton, Bruce W. Constructive conflicts : from escalation to resolution

    4th ed.: Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, c2012

    Find in the library


  • Ramsbotham, Oliver; Woodhouse, Tom; Miall, Hugh Contemporary conflict resolution : the prevention, management and transformation of deadly conflicts

    Fourth edition.: Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2016

    Find in the library


  • Solnit, Rebecca. A paradise built in hell : the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster

    New York, N.Y.: Viking, 2009

    Find in the library


  • Wallensteen, Peter Understanding conflict resolution

    4th ed.: Los Angeles: Sage, 2015

    Find in the library


  • Article compendium

    Teologiska institutionen,