This Belfast-based degree is an innovative cross-border programme which takes an inter-disciplinary approach to the challenges of social reconciliation in the aftermath of armed conflict. The programme grows out of and addresses the needs and experiences of people in Northern Ireland. Particular attention is given to ethnic conflicts and the role of religion in such conflicts. It is designed to address the challenge of developing a fuller, more complex and more systematic understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to reconciliation. Thirty years of violence have taught people some costly wisdom about reconciliation, which needs both to be consolidated and further applied in Northern Ireland and to be offered to others who have experienced similar conflicts. Reciprocally, the Reconciliation Studies programme will also be probing conflicts around the world for lessons to be applied in Northern Ireland and more widely. The programme also includes a one-week Spring School in Dublin.
Students take at least five of the eight courses offered and are assessed on four of them. The courses include Dynamics of Reconciliation; Theology of Reconciliation; Conflict Transformation; Northern Ireland – Conflict and Reconciliation; Social Research Methods; Resources of Reconciliation in World Religions; When the Fighting Stops: Transitional Justice and Truth Commissions; and Conflict and Collective Identity: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Religion. Students also participate in a one-week Spring School in Dublin, which varies in content from year to year. In addition seminars will be organised in support of the programme.
Assessment: The assessment consists of four 5,000-6,000 word essays: students submit an essay on the first course ‘Dynamics of Reconciliation’, at least one from courses 2, 3 or 4, and two others – to be completed by 1st May, and an 18,000-20,000 word dissertation to be completed by 15th September.
All students are registered on a common Masters programme and follow the same assessment procedures for the four essays required. Subject to satisfactory performance in the four essays, students may proceed to submission of a dissertation for the M.Phil. degree. Students who do not reach that standard, but who nonetheless are judged by the Court of Examiners to have reached a satisfactory level of performance, may be recommended for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma, without further assessment.
Admission Requirement: Applicants should normally have an honors degree at second-class level or above. Students not meeting these criteria may exceptionally be considered at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies.