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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Law

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year

  • Course Type

    MA

  • Course Fees

    2018-2019
    - EU/EEA: € 2,060
    - Non EU/non-EEA : € 15,575

  • Last Updated

    13 December 2017

Course content

Conflict Studies and Human Rights: Theoretical analysis and grounded research

Why has ’nationalist’ violence erupted in Ukraine? Will cities become the war zones of the future? How is the term ‘human rights’ used and abused in times of violent conflict? What role did social media play in the rise and subsequent collapse of the Arab Spring? What are the ethical and political issues associated with the use of drones in zones of conflict - and what impact does this have on the subjects of surveillance? Who defines ‘evil’ and what does ‘doing good’ mean? How do ‘humanitarian wars’ affect the everyday lives of the ‘victims’ they protect?

These are just some of the pressing questions arising from the complex interconnectedness of today’s world. A solution to these questions can only be found through systematic analysis of processes of inclusion and exclusion, mobilisation, and collective violence. Addressing these topics properly demands critical reflection on the national and international policies developed to contain, manage, resolve, or transform violent conflict.

Our Master's programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights is a selective, international graduate programme combining the study of theory with in-depth case study analysis.

The programme focuses on both the dynamics of violent conflicts and the problems associated with national and international military or humanitarian intervention by agencies such as the UN, NATO, or non-governmental organisations.

The Master's programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights will equip you with the necessary analytical and theoretical skills to engage with global and local challenges in insightful and innovative ways. You will acquire solid theoretical, analytical, and methodological expertise in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, as well as field experience in conflict and post-conflict regions.

You will learn about and develop mastery in three key areas:

Subject knowledge 

You will gain in-depth knowledge of theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining contemporary conflict and human rights. You will also obtain a general understanding of international policy approaches to contemporary conflict and human rights, as well as an understanding of the political contexts in which they are used. 

Evidence-based social research 

You will learn to undertake research that consists of systematic analysis and synthesis and is based on a dialogue between ideas and evidence. In the course of this dialogue, you will be able to identify “sensitising concepts” from theory to facilitate your data collection. You will also use theory to gain an understanding of the evidence you gather and to explain your findings.

Critical attitude towards received wisdom

You will have the conceptual and analytical skills necessary to question conventional ideas and accepted courses of action while defining your own viewpoint. You will also be able to assess the problem of violent conflict and human rights by considering interrelated issues of identity, perception, discourse, and practice.

After graduation

The Master’s programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights offers good preparation for careers in any sector involving conflict analysis, including the public sector, business, non-governmental and international organisations. Read more about possible career prospects.

Judged best in the field

The highly regarded Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2017 ranked Utrecht University’s Conflict Studies and Human Rights programme as the best in the field in the Netherlands.

In this year's Elsevier Best Studies Survey, students have also rated Conflict Studies as the best programme.


Visit the Conflict Studies and Human Rights page on the Utrecht University website for more details!

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