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Advanced Practice in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution

Duration: 1 year
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: MA
Suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Social Sciences
Apply Prospectus downloads


Are you interested in advancing your knowledge of contemporary conflict studies, and developing the skills and qualities needed for professional conflict and peace practice?

Do you want to spend a year studying in a stimulating academic environment, working with staff who are at the forefront of their field and with students from all over the world?

Are you looking for a challenging learning experience, solving real-world problems, addressing complex ethical dilemmas, undertaking independent research projects, and practicing advanced skills for conflict engagement?

Would you like to build a portfolio of work that demonstrates your achievement of a set of professional competencies relevant to employment in the peace, conflict and development fields?

The MA Advanced Practice in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution is offered by the internationally recognised Department of Peace Studies and International Development, drawing on over 40 years of experience as a leading centre of peace research and education.

The programme will develop your understanding of the causes and dynamics of social conflict, with a strong focus on case-study analysis. It will allow you to develop informed judgements about when and how to engage constructively with conflict, recognising the strengths and limitations of different approaches to intervention. And you will consider critical questions surrounding and problematising efforts to build peace in different contexts, and in the light of contemporary trends, including converging environmental, economic and political developments.

Through a diverse programme of study, including a significant applied, practical element, you will develop and demonstrate knowledge and recognised competencies essential to effective, ethically-aware practice within conflict engagement and peace practice - locally, nationally or internationally.

Why Bradford?

The University of Bradford has been pioneering and teaching Peace Studies and International Development for over 40 years: we have excellent library collections and our academic staff are experts in their field. We don’t sit in an Ivory Tower – we make knowledge work by collaborating with governments and organisations around the world such as the United Nations, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Africa and the China Development Banks, the Aga Khan Foundation, the UK Ministry of Defence, Saferworld, and the Oxford Research Group, to name but a few.

Our research in politics and international relations was ranked 7th out of 56 universities in the UK in terms of its impact on society and public policy (Research Excellence Framework, December 2014). Our International Development programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings. Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of only six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide.

So, the content of our brand-new degree programmes is informed by the up-to-date expertise of our lecturers and enriched by the experience of practitioners in our field, including our many alumni, with whom we partner inside and outside the classroom. Our students can also engage with detailed policy work by attending our research groups and extracurricular talks, conferences, and training events, on and off campus. Our interdisciplinary degrees reflect the key research theme of Sustainable Societies at the University of Bradford.

Our teaching is interactive and focussed on professionalism and employability. You will have the opportunity to study in groups and teams, develop your own research projects, go on field trips in the UK and abroad, engage in extended simulation games, do ‘immersion days’ on key topics, and develop a wide range of tangible skills directly applicable to careers in politics, international relations, peace and conflict and international development.

You will also learn from your fellow students and from the city. The Division is diverse – on our Master’s programmes you will meet the world in your classroom and learn a huge amount from your peers, many of whom already have significant practical experience in the fields of peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development. Bradford itself is a fascinating and very multicultural city, as well as being one of the cheapest cities to live and study in the UK, and we make the most of all the city and its beautiful surroundings have to offer by working with community groups.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an undergraduate qualification at 2:2 or above (or equivalent).

Relevant professional or voluntary experience would be desirable.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.0.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Semester 1

Module Title



Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes Core 20
Applied Conflict Research Core 20
Elective (choice of a range of relevant options within or outside of PSID) Elective 20

The first semester provides a foundation in two key areas: skills for conflict research and analysis, enabling students to develop advanced understanding of the contexts and conditions of social conflict at different scales, and skills for designing appropriate responses to conflict, through an understanding of conflict dynamics and the potential and limitations of various intervention methods. Optional modules allow further specialisation in relation to a number of key areas, including peacebuilding and social-ecological resilience.

In addition, you will be able to choose an elective module from across the University’s provision, giving you plenty of scope to develop and pursue your own interests.

Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes provides opportunities to learn about options and methods for intervening constructively in conflict situations, and about the ethical, political and practical questions that surround conflict interventions of different types. The module will develop your ability to make informed judgements about the timing and nature of appropriate conflict intervention processes. Through practical engagement in designing responses to a range of conflict situations, you will develop insight into the needs of people in conflict and the strengths and limitations of different processes/methods. The module relates closely to the Applied Conflict Reseach module, linking the process of conflict analysis to the design and assessment of conflict intervention processes.

Applied Conflict Research develops core knowledge and competencies for conflict analysis, with a focus on the practice of conflict research in professional and policy settings. The module will develop your capacity for critical inquiry into contexts where conflict occurs, the causal mechanisms driving or sustaining conflict, the conflict sesntivity of programmes or activities in fragile or conflict affected areas, and the nature and impacts of conflict experience. It emphasises practical and applied learning, through exercises and activities that build understanding of conflict research processes in relation to real cases.

Semester 2

Module Title



Skills for Constructive Conflict Engagement Core 20
Creative Conflict Transformation Option 20
Natural Resource Governance Option 20
Movements for Social and Ecological Justice Option 20
Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Option 20
Gender, Conflict and Development Option 20
Africa Study Visit Option 20

In your second semester, you will take one core module and two optional modules. The core extends the practical, applied dimension of the programme. This builds directly on the previous core modules, using knowledge about conflict analysis and intervention design, but focuses more closely on process management – for example, in mediation, dialogue or negotiation. Optional modules again afford opportunities to specialise in areas related both to conflict analysis or processes for addressing conflict and promoting social change.

Please note: African Political and Security Dynamics is offered as an optional module in semester one and it is advised that students going on the Africa Study Visit either take or audit this module.

Skills for Constructive Conflict Engagement provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate competence in core skills and qualities needed in peace and humanitarian work. Building on the modules Applied Conflict Research and Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes, it continues to develop insight into conflict situations and intervention processes, but with a focus on the direct practice of negotiation, facilitation and mediation in different conflict situations. The module will combine training methodologies with critical insight into the application and limits of peacemaking skills, developing a basis for informed, reflective practice.

Semester 3

In semester 3, the 15,000 word dissertation is a chance to pursue and develop your interests by designing and carrying out your own research project.

A member of academic staff will supervise and support you in choosing a topic, devising an appropriate methodological approach and structuring your work.

Module Title



Dissertation Core 60

Elective (Semester 1)

Alongside your core modules in semester 1, you will have the opportunity to choose any module offered within or outside Peace Studies and International Development as your elective. Within PSID, relevant modules include the following: African Politics and Security Dynamics, Applied Conflict Research, Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes, Contemporary Security Challenges, Governance for Development, Issues in Development Theory, Sustainable Development, The International System in Theory and Context, and Security and Development in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Areas.

Options (Semester 2)

Creative Conflict Transformation explores some intriguing questions posed by John Paul Lederach in his book 'The Moral Imagination': 'What happens to peacebuilding practice if we shift from a guiding metaphor that we are providing professional services to one that we are engaged in a vocation to nurture constructive social change? What happens to process design if we think of ourselves as artists [as well as] professional specialists with technical expertise? What happens if building intuition and art are included in conflict resolution, mediation, and peacebuilding training?' This module invites you to explore some of these questions, and to look beyond the most familiar peacemaking processes to include the arts (e.g. music, applied theatre, literature), memory work, and critical/peace education. It starts from the assumption that much work to address conflict and its legacies requires a capacity to both envision and act for change. How might we cultivate this capacity in ourselves and others? While this module can and should not provide final answers, it will draw inspiration from existing experiences and experiments and encourage you to reflect both creatively and critically on how they might help you shape your own approach to conflict engagement.

Natural Resource Governance will enable you to gain an advanced knowledge and understanding of the key concepts, theories, characteristics, challenges, and strategies and programmes for reform of natural resource governance in developing countries, and particularly in fragile or conflict-affected contexts. This module also introduces professional guidelines and methods and their application to help ensure conflict sensitivity, gender sensitivity or consistency with wider sustainable development goals.

The module examines issues and challenges for natural resources governance, generically and through a wide range of experiences and case studies from across the world. It focuses systematically on different sectors, particularly on: land; water, forests, river basins, fisheries, seas and mineral resources (including oil, gas, gems and metals); and on their relationship with governance, conflict risks and processes, state fragility and societal resilience and gender relations. The module examines the roles of state regulation, community initiatives and governance; and international aid, trade, or environmental agreements.

Movements for Social and Ecological Justice examines the role of social movements in defining, challenging and transforming injustice in a variety of socio-cultural, political and economic domains. A particular emphasis will be on how contemporary movements are tackling the intersections between these domains in a period of ecological crises: What does social justice mean in a context in which economic growth has become deeply problematic and thus can no longer be considered a sustainable route to addressing shortfalls in provision for human needs? How are social and environmental justice issues being framed in contemporary movements for change? What is the potential of ideas and initiatives that are trying to tackle social and ecological issues simultaneously, and what might be the trade-offs involved?

Gender, Conflict and Development: Gender matters in understanding the social roots of violent conflict, how that violence is conducted, and how societies recover. Gender relations and identities are, arguably, the deepest rooted and most personal that we experience, and therefore understanding violent conflict requires a gender analysis (which also intersects with culture, religion, ethnicity, class and other variables). This module explores the linkages between gender roles (masculinities and femininities constructed through identity, ideology, behaviours, attitudes, cultural practices) in different societies at different times have contributed to either the breakdown of social relations into violent conflict, or the construction of stable and peaceful societies. We look at the impact of conflict factors on men as well as women in order to move from a ‘women in conflict/development’ lens to ‘gender and conflict/development’ perspective. Gender analysis implies looking not just the differentiated, gendered experiences of men and of women, but also at the way gender as an idea of masculine/feminine values is deployed discursively and strategically in the roots, conduct and resolution of violent conflict, and in post-conflict development policy.

Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding focuses on countries of the Global South which have experienced conflict. You will explore the changes that have taken place in peacekeeping on the ground, and analyse the different evaluations that have been made by academics, practitioners, campaigners and politicians. You will interrogate the concept of peacebuilding and analyse the ways in which its varying objectives have been addressed by different actors over time in different parts of the Global South. You will explore these themes in the context of country case studies. You will undertake research, using both academic sources and accounts from international organisations, ranging from the United Nations to international Non-Governmental Organisations.

Africa Study Visit: The centrepiece of this module is an intensive two-week study visit in an African country, consisting of a schedule of meetings, interviews, lectures and seminars. You will gain theoretical and historical knowledge of African politics and security, with specific reference to the country you will visit. Once in the country, you will use your historical and theoretical knowledge in what are effectively interview settings to formulate and ask questions of key players, supported by the academic leader. This is in many ways a preparation for PhD or work-based fieldwork, research and writing. You will visit important sites and institutions, and meet with state and local government ministers, politicians, civil servants, members of the security forces, national and international NGO staff and activists, the media, academics and other students. The amalgamation of theory, knowledge and primary research makes this module one amongst the very few of its kind. Please note that there is an additional cost for participation in this module.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Career prospects

There is an increasing demand for professional education relating to careers in peace and humanitarian work internationally. You’ll develop the skills required by employers in this area, such as conflict analysis, leadership and decision-making, making you highly employable as a graduate.

The programme also designed to meet the needs and expectations of early/mid-career professionals looking to take the next step in their career.


The teaching and learning in Peace Studies and International Development happens in a variety of spaces: lecture theatres, seminar rooms, flexible spaces with moveable furniture where students can work in groups.

We reach outside the classroom – for example, inviting guest speakers from around the world to debate via Skype to debate, and organising study sessions that make use of our innovative eco-friendly campus, and the diverse city of Bradford. We also take students on field trips, in the UK and abroad (for example, around Yorkshire, to Northern Ireland, to The Hague, and to a different African country each year), and extended role plays (in a youth hostel somewhere picturesque).

We have a lot of extra-curricular activity, guest speakers, seminars and training sessions. Our Student Liaison Officer also organises lots of social activity - our central, cosy common room is a great place to meet and learn from fellow students and host to quiz nights, international potluck suppers, free breakfasts, coffee breaks. And don’t let’s forget the annual Peace and Development Ball, and our very own Peace football team…

The JB Priestley Library has excellent resources, especially for Peace, Politics and Social Change, and International Development, in which the university specialises - see details of our Special Collections.

The library is open 24/7, as are other safe, welcoming and interactive spaces around campus designed for students’ to meet and study together.

The University and the Division are very global in outlook, and so are the students we attract. For that reason we offer free Modern Foreign Language classes for beginners in Arabic, French, German and Spanish. These two-hour weekly classes are led by experienced language teachers and result in a certificate of attendance. A much wider range of languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese or Korean, is taught – also for free – under a peer-to-peer scheme. Often PSID students get involved both as teachers and learners.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £6,680
  • International: £15,650

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

You may be eligible to apply for the government's new Postgraduate Loan to put towards your fees and living costs. Find out more on our Fees and Financial Support website.

Every year the University of Bradford awards numerous non-repayable scholarships to UK, EU and international students on the basis of academic excellence, personal circumstances or economic hardship. These include:

  • Postgraduate bursary
  • Alumni discount scheme (for current students moving onto a higher degree)
  • Country specific scholarships
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Half Fee Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students
  • Sanctuary scholarships to enable forced migrants seeking asylum, or those already granted refugee status who cannot access student finance

Rotary Peace Fellowships

Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide, set up to develop leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. All Rotary Fellows take our extended MAs lasting 15 months, which includes Applied Field experience.

Rotary fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses. There is a separate application and selection process.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.