This programme is designed for students interested in a competitive MSc degree that combines academic and practical training on how to mitigate and eliminate conflict and violence in world politics. We offer research-led teaching at the intersection of International Relations, Political Psychology and Security Studies, combined with a 5-day training programme in ´Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation´.
Our students can follow a flexible programme with a wide choice of modules (part-time students are also welcome). In addition to our three core modules, we encourage students to take our new optional module in the Political Psychology of Conflict and Cooperation. Overall, our programme offers interdisciplinary training focused on the role of values, emotions, and beliefs in shaping the possibilities of conflict, cooperation and security at the international level.
In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.
For the MSc programme you require a good Honours degree or its equivalent. For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS Certificate is required. Entry at Graduate Diploma level is possible for those with a reasonable first degree. Graduate Diploma students can upgrade to the Msc on satisfactory examination performance.
For international students:
Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications
English language requirements: You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
Our MSc degree is designed for students interested in international relations, political psychology and security studies. Our students share a common goal: to advance their academic training, establish a policy-related career, work in government, international organizations and NGOs, or serve as mediators, negotiators and diplomats to address intractable conflicts at all levels of world politics.
This degree comprises the following modules:
Compulsory core modules:
Dissertation MSc students to submit a 13,500 word dissertation (not applicable to Diploma Students)
Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (20 credits)
In this cutting-edge module, our students develop an informed appreciation of how fear, cooperation and trust shape the contours of world politics. The module explores the obstacles to building cooperation and trust, using a series of case studies. It also investigates whether these obstacles can be overcome through institutions, norms, and personal diplomacy between leaders. A key focus of the module is to introduce students to trust-building strategies and techniques, including the potential for face-to-face diplomacy to build trust and transform conflicts. The module is taught through interactive role-play scenarios in which students take on the role of policy advisors and diplomats in crisis and multilateral negotiation situations (for example, the Cuban Missile Crisis, US-China relations, nuclear non-proliferation, and global climate change).
Global Cooperation in Practice (20 credits)
This advanced module provides our students with the skills to understand and explain how the rule of law, institutionalisation, and governance creates structures under which cooperation can flourish. It examines how academic debates on cooperation and policy-making stand up against the actual experience of implementation. The module explores this issue by identifying models of policy and decision-making, and then testing them against practitioner experience. This will entail an examination of case study evidence derived from primary sources (communiques, memoirs, documentaries) and will draw upon policy cases from multilateral settings, including formal international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union, and NATO.
Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation (20 credits)
This exclusive module is offered as a unique 5-day training programme which provides students with the opportunity to learn directly from specialists about the complexities and nuances of different approaches to conflict transformation in International Relations. The training programme equips our students with the advanced skills to understand how high-level practitioners wrestle with the dilemmas of trust/mistrust in their practical negotiating settings.
The module offers:
Practical training in communication and mediation skills with the Birmingham-based NGO Responding to Conflict
Specialist lectures with internationally-renowned academics
Networking with high level practitioners in the field of conflict resolution
Professional development though a Harvard role play simulation game
Students are encouraged to take the following module to complement the programme. This is a module that we believe best fits this degree, complementing an expanding knowledge gained in our core courses.
Political Psychology of Conflict and Cooperation (20 credits)
This fascinating module is the new addition to our programme. It complements the core Fear, Cooperation and Trust module by engaging students in theoretical and empirical applications of political psychology that address stimulating debates in International Relations. With a particular focus on processes of conflict and cooperation at the international level, this module cements your interdisciplinary training and provides you with an overview of fascinating puzzles and central debates in political psychology. This includes the psychological processes of decision making for political actors, elites, social groups, and mass publics in environments that generate conflict and cooperation. We will also examine the role of emotions in crises, identities of religion, nationalism and gender, and the psychological processes behind extreme politics like radicalization, terrorism and political violence. While the course is grounded in political psychology and IR, we also draw on insights from political communication, sociology, and social neuroscience. As part of this module we engage in the design and implementation of a political psychology research project
We also offer you the opportunity to choose from our much longer list of Optional Modules
40 credits - Asia Pacific Security
20 credits - Civil War, Conflict Management and Peacekeeping
20 credits - Developments in Contemporary Political Analysis
40 credits - Diplomatic History of the Twentieth Century
20 credits - Ethical Dimensions of Terrorism, Political Violence and War
20 credits - Gender and Global Governance
20 credits - The Geopolitical Economy of Energy
20 credits - Global Environmental Governance
40 credits - Globalisation and Governance
20 credits - Global Ethics 1
20 credits - Global Ethics 2
40 credits - International Political Economy
40 credits - International Relations Theory
20 credits - The Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
20 credits - Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and International Order
20 credits - Rising Powers and Global Order
40 credits - Security Studies
20 credits - Sex, Death, Gender and (in) Security
20 credits - Social Theory and Critique: Contested Knowledge
20 credits - Social Theory: From Marxism to Post Marxism
20 credits - Terrorism and Political Violence
20 credits - Terrorism and Contemporary Conflict
20 credits - Theory and Ethics of Terrorism and Political Violence
40 credits - US and Foreign Defence Policy
20 credits - Migration, Superdiversity, Policy and Practice (IASS)
20 credits - Globalisation, International Migration and Citizenship (IASS)
Our MSc students can pursue exciting and stimulating career opportunities with a range of organisations including government agencies, international organisations, the armed forces, NGOs, think-tanks, the media, the political world, and multinational corporations. Our excellent academic training is complemented by networking opportunities and voluntary work placements either at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS) itself, or at one of our partner organisations. All our placements are offered on a competitive basis, over the summer term for a maximum of 20 days in order to allow sufficient time for the completion of your dissertation.
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