GV4B8      Half Unit
Contemporary Civil Wars: Comparative Case Studies

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr William Kissane CON5.06


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Conflict Studies and MSc in Women, Peace and Security. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course examines social science explanations of the origins, intractability and outcomes of civil wars. It does this through the comparative analysis of various cases. These cases may vary from year to year. Particular stress is on: The Concept of Civil War. Patterns of civil war since 1945. Large N approaches. Decolonisation, Democratisation, and State-Building as causes of civil war. The emergence of security dilemmas. Theories of conflict resolution, reconstruction and the settlement of civil wars.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the LT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay.

Indicative reading

Bill Kissane, Nations Torn Asunder; The Challenge of Civil War, OUP 2016.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.6
Merit 64.5
Pass 11.8
Fail 1.1

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication