Master of Science in Conflict and Development Studies

Course content

In our current globalised world, conflict and development are closely intertwined. Disentangling these complexities of processes of conflict and development demands a critical stance and an interdisciplinary approach, with insights from various academic disciplines such as political science, anthropology, development studies and sociology.

The Master in Conflict and Development Studies allows you to gain insight into the broader thinking about conflict and development related issues, and how to analyse these in a critical manner. You also learn to analyse policy interventions by governments and (inter)national organisations in this domain.

The programme structure allows you to choose to put an emphasis on a more policy oriented or a more scientifically oriented approach. Grounded in fieldwork, the Master in Conflict and Development Studies wants to provide a timely and in-depth understanding of the interrelations between conflict and development. Fieldwork as a method is used to better understand processes of conflict and development and to formulate potential recommendations. This focus on fieldwork is especially valuable for those with an interest in a potential career in professional development aid, as well in the Global South as in the Global North (asylum centers, intercultural and interreligious questions…).

Located in the heart of Europe, the one-year master programme also allows an international body of students to connect to both research and policy-making in this growing field..

Course structure

The Master in Conflict and Development Studies is a full-year intensive programme.

In the first semester, a set of introductory courses will be offered to get acquainted with the politics of conflict and development. These courses do not merely offer an introduction to ongoing debates, but start from a critical reading of influential authors in the field. They provide the conceptual and theoretical groundwork necessary to engage in more specific debates in the second semester. In the first semester you will also be able to deepen your area-specific knowledge. These courses will focus on processes of conflict and development in these specific regions, but also allow you to improve your knowledge of area-specific literatures and debates.

Courses in the second semester are aimed at deepening your understanding on either research related or policy-oriented questions. These courses will take the form of research seminars or more direct policy applications. This will allow you to customise your own programme according to your academic and professional interests.

As fieldwork is a central starting point of teaching in the master programme, you will join one of three fieldwork courses. These will allow for a confrontation between theory and practice, whether in the Global South or in Europe. Past fieldwork trips in the South have focused on Uganda, India, Jordan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Morocco and Kenya, while work in Europe has focused on migration.

The final part of the programme is the master dissertation, in which you will develop your own research project in collaboration with a supervisor. These projects are by nature interdisciplinary and aim towards a critical understanding of your given research question. Many of these dissertations will be fieldwork based, but students can also opt for a literature based dissertation.

If you want to combine your master’s degree with a teacher’s degree, then there is the option of following an ‘Educatieve master’ instead of the above described master. The ‘Educatieve master’ however is a Dutch taught programme. More information can be found on www.ugent.be/educatievemaster.

Career perspectives

Employability situates itself on various terrains. Primarily in the domain of international development aid, the national or international governmental field, on a European level, in UN-organisations such as UNDP, UNESCO, FAO and the nongovernmental field (national or international development NGO’s, peace institutions, information and research centers, such as 11.11.11., Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Peace Information Service…).

This education however does not limit itself to the classical terrain of international development aid, and also has a value for professions with a focus on the Global South in Europe (asylum centers, organisations that focus on intercultural/interreligious matters, refugee organisations…). Your individual employment options depend on your (master) degree, your possible terrain- or research experience and your language skills.

Want to know more about your career opportunities after this Master’s degree? Take a look at our job guide: www.ugent.be/ps/conflict-ontwikkeling/nl/onderwijs/jobwijzer.