Master of Science in Conflict and Development Studies
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 academically oriented approach.
In our current globalised world, conflict and development are closely intertwined. Disentangling the complexities of these conflict and development processes demands a critical stance and an interdisciplinary approach, combining 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. 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 understand processes of conflict and development better, and to formulate potential recommendations. This focus on fieldwork is especially valuable for those interested in pursuing a career in professional development aid, in the Global South as well 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.
The admission requirements vary. Depending on your preliminary training, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.
The Master in Conflict and Development Studies is an intensive full-year programme. Our students are offered a set of introductory course units to become acquainted with the politics of conflict and development. These course units 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. Elective course units are aimed at deepening your understanding of research-related or policy-oriented questions, as well as being able to deepen your area-specific knowledge. These course units 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. The course unit 'Methodology and Fieldwork Practice' will teach you about methodology and research design, and prepare students for doing their own fieldwork, whether in the Global South or in Europe. The final part of the programme is the Master's dissertation, in which you will develop your own research project in collaboration with a supervisor. These projects are interdisciplinary by nature, and aim towards a critical understanding of your research question. Many of these dissertations will be based on fieldwork, but students can also opt for a dissertation based on scholarly literature.
If you want to combine your Master’s degree with a Teacher’s degree, then there is the option of taking a Master's Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: 'Educatieve master') instead of the above described master. The Master's Programme in Teaching, however, is a Dutch-taught programme. More information can be found on www.ugent.be/educatievemaster.
Employability of our graduates situates itself in various fields, but primarily in the field of international development aid, national or international governments, on a European level, in UN-organisations such as UNDP, UNESCO, FAO and the non-governmental field (national or international development, ngos, peace institutions, information and research centers, such as 11.11.11., Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Peace Information Service…).
This study programme, however, does not limit itself to the traditional field of international development aid, but 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's) degree, your potential terrain or research experience, and your language skills.
At Ghent University, we strive to educate people who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow. For that purpose, we provide education that is embedded in six strategic objectives: Think Broadly, Keep Researching, Cultivate Talent, Contribute, Extend Horizons, Opt for Quality.
Ghent University continuously focuses on quality assurance and quality culture. The Ghent University's quality assurance system offers information on each study programme’s unique selling points, and on its strengths and weaknesses with regard to quality assurance.
Ghent University's Education Objectives
Unique Selling Points
- With its specific focus on the interaction between processes, and the many aspects of conflict and development, our programme covers a unique subject matter and ditto position in the Flemish, Belgian, and European education landscape.
- Our programme has an outspoken interdisciplinary character, combining methods from disciplines such as anthropology, history, political sciences, geography, and sociology.
- A set of course units with clear policy relevance prepares students for a career in professional sectors dealing with conflict and development.
- In our programme the interaction between the global and local plane, ethical and intercultural aspects of research in and on the global South, and the effects of development in the global South on Belgium and Europe occupy centre stage. This goes hand in hand with the analysis of complex issues within a conflict and development framework, with generating new perspectives, and with a revision of existing points of view. A critical attitude is a must.
- Topical thinking: our programme focuses on, and responds to topical processes, dynamics and events. These, in turn, are analysed and explained by means of existing theoretical frameworks.
- Conflict and Development Studies has become an increasingly international department and provides strongly research-based education. Students are confronted with ongoing debates and disciplines within the academic field.
- Our education is based on intensive coaching, and collaboration between students and lecturers. In the context of active learning, we offer a wide range of participative didactic methods in addition to traditional (ex cathedra) classroom lecturing.
- Field work is the bedrock of our programme. All of our research and education are based on field research conducted in the global South, as well as in Belgium and Europe. The curriculum contains independent exercises during which methods of data collection in relevant locations and surroundings are tested and applied.
- We place great store by communication. Students learn how to independently take up a well-considered, critical and applicable position on current debates and issues in the field of Conflict and Development.
- Cooperation is ace! This is why the curriculum leaves room for skill development in cooperation and consultation with fellow-students and stakeholders.
- Our academic field is undeniably global in character. For that reason, we want to invest further in internationalization, and in cooperation with organizations and networks in the global South and in Europe.
- Coordination: Our programme tries to strengthen the ties with the related professional field in order to increase labour market access for our graduates.
- It is our ambition to offer an English-taught programme. Our two main motives are: the ability immediately to respond to processes in, and relating to, the global South by means of direct on-site interaction; and the opportunity for wide, international student recruitment.
This study programme is accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch: NVAO). Accreditation was extended following the positive outcome of the institutional review in 2022. Programme quality was validated by a quality review, i.e. a screening of the Education Monitor by the Education Quality Board. The Quality Assurance Resolution (in Dutch) can be found here.
This information was last updated on 01/02/2023.
In case of questions or suggestions with regard to the publicly available information, please contact the study programme.