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Conflict, Development and Security MA

Course Description

This interdisciplinary programme addresses the convergence of security and development issues, and its implications for analysing the reconstruction of war-affected societies.

The course bridges the themes of conflict, liberal styles of governance and aid policy. You will analyse the ways in which security, development and humanitarian agents adapt to instability. You will also examine the significance of globalisation for the emergence of internal conflict, and for the development of trans-border economics and the political dynamics they may support.

This unique programme gives you the opportunity to study regionally differentiated responses to conflict in, for example Africa and Afghanistan, and to discuss issues relating to humanitarian conditionality, containment and the role of international organisations and NGOs.

Our academics are widely recognised as leading experts in their field. The research-led teaching you will benefit from is directly informed by the cutting-edge research that occurs within the Centre for Global Development, which involves more than 60 academics from across the University, as well as the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS), which brings together scholars with an active interest in Africa from across different schools and faculties at the University of Leeds.

In addition, colleagues working in the International Relations and Security research group participate in research clusters on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Protect’ and ‘Contemporary Democracy and Authoritarianism’ as well as the ‘Middle East Research Group’.

Course content

This programme offers you the most depth and breadth of any course that focuses on the increasing merger of development and security issues. It does so by unparalleled case study expertise on political and social reconstruction from war-affected societies across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The compulsory and optional modules studied will give you the opportunity to:

  • take part in cutting-edge academic inquiry with a distinct policy relevance
  • study in an intellectually vigorous environment
  • participate in a dynamic research atmosphere
  • broaden your understanding of complex political emergencies
  • pursue a career in the humanitarian or social reconstruction sector.

The compulsory module examines the economic and political elements of contemporary internal and regionalised conflict. You will look at humanitarian, developmental and security policy responses and investigate the organisational adaptations that are emerging among state and non-state actors in relation to such instability.

You will also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you are a part-time student, you will take one compulsory module and choose one optional module in your first year. You will then take the compulsory dissertation module and two optional modules in your second year to complete your programme.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • The Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity 30 credits
  • Africa in the Contemporary World 30 credits
  • Gender, Globalisation and Development 30 credits
  • Political Economy of Resources and Development 30 credits
  • European Defence and Security Analysis 30 credits
  • The Rise of China 30 credits
  • American Foreign Policy 30 credits
  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30 credits
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 30 credits
  • Insurgency 15 credits
  • International Political Economy 30 credits
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities 15 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Terrorism 15 credits
  • Counterterrorism 15 credits
  • Civil War and Intrastate Conflict 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Research Methods 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Conflict, Development and Security MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Conflict, Development and Security MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through a combination of lectures, lively seminar discussions and guided weekly readings. We expect you to participate fully in taught sessions and to study independently, developing your skills and preparing for lectures and seminars. You will also be able to benefit from an impressive range of research talks and seminars led by outside speakers or colleagues from within the department and University.


Within modules, assessment currently consists exclusively of assessed essays. At the end of your studies, a 12,000 word dissertation will allow you to pursue your own research interest under close supervision by one of our expert colleagues.

Career opportunities

This programme provides you with an ideal preparation for a career in the international political arena.

Our graduates have pursued a range of exciting and high-profile careers within academia, think tanks and other organisations. These include: teaching and research positions at universities in the UK, US, Europe and Africa; the public sector in the UK (such as UK Border Agency), Europe (including the External Action Service) and Africa (such as police forces); globally operating consultancy and publishing firms; transnational civil society organisations; and the United Nations.

Many graduates continue to pursue their research interests as PhD students.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Visit the Conflict, Development and Security MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Lisa Steciuk

1438.jpg The University has a great reputation and the Politics course in POLIS particularly appealed to me because of its wide diversity of modules and large focus on development and international politics. After visiting the University I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff I met and the facilities available…especially the libraries!

For me, Leeds represented the perfect combination of an excellent quality learning environment coupled with an active social life and opportunities for extra curricula activities which I deemed important in ensuring an enjoyable and balanced experience. I enjoyed the experience of my BA so much, loved living in Leeds and was so impressed with the department that I chose to return to complete my postgraduate programme.

Studying my MA has really helped me to work out what my core interests are and really find aspects of politics and development that I am passionate about and eager to continue to learn more about. Both my BA and MA provided me with a broad knowledge of general development issues and the politics and development of various countries.

Whilst at Leeds studying for my MA I applied for a 5 month internship with the British NGO Development in Action (DIA) and was accepted as intern toa researcher in the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation unit of one of DIA’s partner organisations, Seva Mandir in Udaipur, India.

Development in Action is a youth led organisation aimed at promoting development education and global citizenship. The aim of my placement in India is to give me adequate experience of living and working in a developing country so that on my return to the UK, I will be able to contribute and be involved in the organisations work in promoting development issues to school age children in the UK.


Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related discipline or an equivalent professional qualification. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. English language requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Last Updated

19 August 2017

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