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INCORE: Courses: PGDip/MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies

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Now Accepting Applications for 2018/19

The Programme

This internationally renowned programme based on the Jordanstown campus, just outside Belfast city, is offered by leading academics from the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), at Ulster University.  

The emphasis of the INCORE programme  is consistent with the new vision of the University to be a leading provider of professional education for professional life.  There is a strong focus on post-violence peacebuilding, which is appropriate given that the programme is rooted in a society emerging from decades of protracted violence.  However, the geographical scope of  INCORE’s work in research, policy, and practice is both local and global.Picture og John Hume andHilary Clinton

The programme stresses the development of skills relevant to graduates who want to go on to be practitioners, researchers and policymakers in the peace and conflict field. The overall approach seeks to develop the critical, theoretical and analytical skills necessary for working in conflicted societies – in ways that are grounded in real life application and case studies.

INCORE staff have been engaged in peacemaking and peacebuilding activities as both practitioners and researchers. This experience and expertise is a hallmark of the programme which is reflected in the classroom experience.   The location of the programme in Northern Ireland ensures that there is an open door between classroom learning and experiential learning.  Practitioners from Northern Ireland and abroad are important components of  the programme, as are site visits, e.g. to the Northern Ireland Assembly and to community groups working on peacebuilding issues.

The INCORE MSc. in Peace and Conflict Studies offers the student a unique opportunity to undertake a graduate programme characterized by academic excellence within the context of a vibrant and culturally rich society emerging from conflict.

Students in the programme have access to leading academics and practitioners working both to address the causes and consequences of conflict locally and internationally, and to promote better peacemaking and peacebuilding strategies.  INCORE is honoured to host Honorary Professor of Peace Studies, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, John Hume. Professor Hume’s tenure has been notable for an array of high-profile Peace Lectures by prominent global policymakers involved in peace and conflict issues. These include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, former EU Commission President Romano Prodi and the Irish President Mary McAleese.


Students of an interdisciplinary programme such as the MSc. in Peace and Conflict Studies are well placed to follow a number of distinct career opportunities, based on their specific interests and core strengths.  The past decades have seen tremendous changes in the global context, with the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the rise in ethnic conflict, the global spread of radicalisation and the increasing demands for peaceful resolution of conflict and the reconstruction of affected regions and states. As a result, the demand for well-trained individuals to work on the myriad of peace and conflict issues continues to rise.  The knowledge and capacities developed by INCORE peace and conflict studies students are transferrable across sectors and regions, making their skill set mobile and flexible within a globalised job market.  

There are a range of career paths available to students undertaking the MSc. in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies. The course is designed to enhance the students’ employability within the applied field of peace and conflict studies, which can take a wide variety of forms, both locally and internationally.

Read more about:

Employment Options
Stories from our Graduate

Course Structure

The format of the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies is outlined below. 

The formal teaching is supplemented by an informal programme of lectures, seminars and study visits, and students have access to a range of events organised by the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) and other associated institutes at Ulster University.


The year-long programme for full-time students is:

Semester One:

  • Foundations of Peace and Conflict - (Compulsory 30 credits)
  • Foundations in Social Science Research - (Compulsory 15 credits)
  • Options

    • The Northern Ireland Conflict - (Optional 15 credits)
    • Racial Politics of Conflict and Migration - (Optional 15 credits)

Semester Two:

  • Peacebuilding: Concepts and Approaches - (Compulsory 30 credits)
  • Researching Conflict and Peace - (Compulsory 15 credits)


    • Memory, Identity & Dealing with the Past - (Optional 15 credits)
      • OR
    • Policy in Divided Societies - (Optional 15 credits).

Semester Three/Four: MSc Dissertation (individual supervision) - (60 credits).


Background and Achievements

The MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies started in 1987 on a part-time basis. The target cohort was opinion formers in Northern Ireland - educators, clergy, business, community activists - indeed anyone who might have a role in helping to control conflict.

Substantial overseas interest arose after the ceasefires in 1994. Initially this came from the US, Japan and Scandinavia. Since then, participants have enrolled from Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, Colombia, Rwanda and Nigeria, among others. Further information for international applicants can be found at: http://international.ulster.ac.uk/

The diversity of intake has been matched by quality: Rotary, Chevening (British Council) and Mitchell Scholars have all graduated from the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies in recent years.

Click Map to enlarge

Many graduates have been involved in community activity in Ireland and the United Kingdom.Graduates have gone on to work for NGOs in Kosovo, the DRC (Congo) and Colombia. Others have gone on to complete PhDs and a number of these have entered academic life.


The John J Sweeney Scholarship at Ulster University’s International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) is now OPEN for applications. For more information click here.

For any queries, please contact Sinead Grant – s.grant@ulster.ac.uk

How to Apply

For more information on the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies and to answer any queries on enrolment, contact the Course Director, Ms Gráinne Kelly (g.kelly@ulster.ac.uk) or telephone on +44 (0)28 90366934.

For additional information on the MSc in Peace and Conflict Studies and information on how to apply for the 2018/19 academic year, please click here.


The Programme | Employment Opportunities | Success Stories | Scholarships | Online Prospectus | Apply

Disclaimer: © INCORE 2010 Last Updated on Tuesday, 20-Mar-2018 12:42
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