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MSc Conflict Studies

About the MSc programme

This programme is dedicated to the analysis of violent conflict and its management or resolution. It is based in the Department of Government and is the focus for the School’s provision in this growing area of study and practice. The core teaching will be based in the Government Department but will also be enriched by many optional courses in related departments The programme's interests range from the interaction of high-level international, domestic and local politics, to the ideological, cultural and political economy factors in violent conflict. We are pedagogical and methodological pluralists who are interested in explaining the causes, dynamics and outcomes of conflict and developing new perspectives on the institutional and non-institutional means by which conflicts can be better managed.

Conflict Studies has at its core some fundamental questions about what causes violent conflict? Why does it happen when it does and where it does? How can a conflict be characterised and understood? How and why do conflicts change over time? What can be done to manage or resolve a conflict? What is the role of international politics, or civil society? We aim to address these major questions that are pivotal to the comparative study of politics. The involvement of leading experts in the field at LSE provides students with insights and critical thinking on the latest theoretical developments, research, and policy best practices.

We aim to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on the study of conflict which will be a valued learning experience for those who wish to develop careers in the policy world in governments and public service, international organisations, security agencies, the media, NGOs, finance, as well as providing an excellent foundation for those students who wish to progress to a PhD programme. While many students who have taken our courses have gone on to successful careers in these fields, many have also come to us from such careers and with experience of work in major conflict zones, and have found their perspectives and skills enhanced by the in depth learning experience at LSE. Our goal is less to teach you how to think about conflict normatively, though this is an element in some courses, but more how to develop your skills to research and analyze conflict. The programme offers an array of extracurricular activities each academic year, including guest speakers, public lectures, colloquia and workshops, and film screenings.

Programme details

The programme has been designed to provide students with a range of options that offer in depth coverage of theories of conflict, political violence and civil wars, human security, terrorism and insurgency, including the implications for strategies of statebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation, peace processes and conflict resolution. Concepts and theories are analysed across a range of global, regional, national and subnational contexts, including detailed comparative case-studies. The programme includes as a compulsory element some basic methodological training in quantitative and/or qualitative methods, with provision for more advanced skills as required.

Students must take courses to the value of four full units as shown. All students are required to write a 10,000-word dissertation. Part-time students may take up to four courses in their first year.

Compulsory courses

(*half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one unit from a range of options.

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

Previous graduates have developed careers in the policy world in governments and public service, international organisations, security agencies, the media, NGOs, finance, as well as providing an excellent foundation for those students who wish to progress to a PhD programme.



Application codes: L2U2
(check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time  

Intake/applications in 2013: 33/345

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in any discipline with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions