Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies

120 credits

Why is there armed conflict? How do we reach sustainable peace? Peace and Conflict Studies is a relatively young research field addressing crucial issues in a troubled world. The Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies gives you a broad skill-set with specialised knowledge in conflict management and peacebuilding at both a national and global level.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

The Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University has established itself as a key producer of cutting-edge research and a provider of high-quality data on conflict. Upon completion of this well-reputed Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, you will have acquired knowledge and skills that provide you with the capacity to solve problems independently and the ability to monitor and critically evaluate the development of knowledge within peace and conflict research independently.

During the programme you can expect to

  • learn how to critically examine, assess and analyse the origin, dynamics and resolution of armed conflicts on a scientific basis
  • engage with a vibrant research environment
  • obtain an individual skill profile by specialising in areas of interest to you.

As a student at the department, you will engage in a vibrant research environment and thrive among motivated high-performing fellow students. All classes are taught in English and you will be part of a diverse student body, with students coming from all corners of the world.

With a range of elective courses to choose from, you can create a more individual profile by specialising in themes such as Emerging Security Threats; Gender, War and Peace; International Interventions and Protection of Civilians; or Causes of Peace. You will have the opportunity to undertake a semester-long internship, where you can gain valuable practical experience.

You will be trained in numerous generic skills to gradually develop your methodological skills and your ability to critically evaluate cases of the onset, the dynamics and the resolution of armed conflicts using different social scientific approaches.

Student profile

You have been studying political science, international relations and global studies and as part of your education, you have also taken some courses in peace and conflict research. Working on your Bachelor's thesis or similar academic work gave you experience in analysing facts, applying methods learned and using statistics to interpret the data you collect. This means that you already have basic knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods.

A future PhD education is a possibility you might have thought about, but starting to work right after graduation is also something you are considering. You like to keep your options open for now and would value the possibility of applying your knowledge in an internship in Sweden or abroad during your education.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Social Science (120 credits) with Peace and Conflict Studies as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Social Science (60 credits).

During the first semester, all students are enrolled in mandatory coursework, including the course "Causes of War" and two courses in methods. The second semester starts with the elective course "International Conflict Resolution" (15 credits), alternatively elective courses of 15 credits at another institution, and for the second half of the semester, you choose two out of the various elective courses offered. Note that some courses are offered in parallel in five-week blocks and programme students are guaranteed a place in one course in both of the five-week blocks.

In the third semester, you can choose to do an internship (whole or half semester) or study courses offered by the Department. The elective courses offered in the second and third semesters may vary from year to year.

In the fourth semester, you will enrol in the Master's thesis course, where you write a thesis while learning about the craft of research through lectures, seminars, and supervision sessions.

Courses within the programme

Compulsory courses

  • Causes of War, 15 credits
  • Methods I, 7.5 credits
  • Methods II, 7.5 credits or Methods II Advanced, 7.5 credits
  • Master's thesis, 15 credits or Master's thesis, 30 credits

Elective courses (may vary)

  • International Conflict Resolution, 15 credits
  • War and Development, 7.5 credits
  • Social Psychological Foundations of Intergroup Conflict, 7.5 credits
  • Non-violent Conflicts: Causes, Strategies and Outcomes, 7.5 credits
  • Negotiation and Mediation in Practice, 7.5 credits
  • Emerging Security Threats, 7.5 credits
  • Gender, War and Peace, 7.5 credits
  • Peace from Below, 7.5 credits
  • International Interventions and Protection of Civilians, 7.5 credits
  • Causes of Peace, 7.5 credits
  • Advanced Qualitative Methods, 7.5 credits
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods, 7.5 credits
  • Reviewing a Research Field, 7.5 credits
  • Internship in Peace and Conflict, 15 credits, or Internship in Peace and Conflict, 30 credits
  • Research Ethics, 7.5 credits
  • War and Peace on Film, 7.5 credits

At the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, the teaching staff goes to great lengths to anchor their teaching in research. In doing so, teaching is of the highest academic quality, while retaining its strong focus on relevant and topical practice-related issues. Much emphasis is placed on deepening your knowledge of research methods and the scientific approach.

You are expected to take greater responsibility for your learning as the programme progresses, and to gradually acquire professionally relevant and research-based knowledge and skills. You are encouraged to create and develop both national and international contacts for your future career. Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, extensive readings, seminar discussions, tutorials, and individual oral and written work. Throughout the programme, considerable weight is placed on developing both written and oral presentations.

The progression of the Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies aims at leading to a higher degree of intellectual maturity and deepened insights into the complexities of the subject. This, together with the ability to integrate knowledge and skills and to formulate and solve problems, is evaluated in the Master's thesis. You are expected to have basic knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods upon admission to the programme. For the Master's thesis, more advanced methods skills are required.

The programme is offered in Uppsala and all instruction is in English.

The Master's Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies is a world-leading programme in its field. As a graduate of the programme, you are well prepared for a professional career as an analyst or researcher in the private and public sectors, both nationally and internationally. You gain broad competence in the field with special knowledge of how to moderate conflict and build peace and justice at national and global levels.

Our alumni work at international organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, various national ministries and governmental agencies in Sweden and abroad, as well as in various national and international non-governmental organisations. Job titles include:

  • Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR in Colombia
  • Foreign Policy Officer at New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Information Analyst at United Nations Mission in South Sudan, etc.

The programme also prepares you for research and teaching and is a qualification when you apply for doctoral studies in Peace and Conflict Studies or International Relations.

Our graduates are completing their PhD studies at, for example, Columbia University in New York, Oxford University in Oxford, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, King's College in London, European University Institute in Florence, and the University of Otago, New Zealand as well as various Swedish universities.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career.