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.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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.
Do you ever wonder why mothers are more likely than fathers to work part-time and care for their children? Or why some countries oblige unemployment benefit recipients to follow strict activation requirements while others do not? Maybe you’ve thought about what the expected and real-life benefits and challenges of the decentralization of care are? Or how societies are changing as a result of increasing cultural diversity and social inequality?
If you are interested in studying such issues, this one-year Master's programme is for you. You will develop knowledge about interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on social policy and interventions, which will help you gain in-depth insight into the methodology and skills needed to research social policy and intervention issues in the domain of health and wellbeing, in particular related to work, care and participation. More specifically, you will look into problems such as:
You will also study people's strategies for dealing with social risks, including:
This will be done by combining knowledge from the behavioural and social sciences.
The academic staff in our faculty participate in a wide variety of research projects into the problems that are central to this Master's programme, including themes as diverse as:
Our Master’s programme is truly an international programme, in both its teaching and its orientation. Many of the problems focused on in this Master's programme have a strong European or global dimension, such as: ageing and care, migration and ethnic relationships, individualization and solidarity, gender and sexual diversity, and social environments and health. The same goes for the policy and intervention approaches that are used to tackle these issues. You will find that this international perspective is a key feature of the programme. You will learn to take this international perspective in a global teaching environment, with staff and students from the Netherlands, Europe and beyond.
In addition to its international, comparative perspective, the programme is also characterized by its interdisciplinary and multi-method approach. This international, interdisciplinary and multi-method focus also applies to the research you will undertake for your master’s thesis, as well as in the exploration of professional practices. In your research, you will draw on a combination of scientific perspectives from the behavioural and social sciences, in particular psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. In exploring professional practices, you will also draw on a combination of scientific perspectives, through a focus on social policies, mostly informed by social science, and interventions, mostly grounded in behavioural sciences.
This Master's programme is intended to enable you to become an academic professional. As a graduate of the Social Policy and Public Health programme, you will be able to study social problems from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. You will also have acquired the professional and academic skills necessary to design, implement, and evaluate social policies and interventions. These skills will allow you to pursue a career as a social scientist, working with government agencies, social service organizations, civil society organizations, or private sector companies.