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Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding - Master of Arts


Duration of study program:
4 semesters
Language of instruction:
Study start:
Winter semester
Master of Arts (M.A.)

What characterizes the degree program?

The Master's program in Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding focuses on linking research and practice. The aim is to provide students with a broad understanding of social science theories and the methods of conflict studies, while at the same time familiarizing them with the practical fields of peacebuilding.

Students learn fundamental concepts, terms and approaches from peace, conflict, and violence research, whether from the perspective of political theory and the history of ideas, on the basis of comparative studies, or from the angle of international relations. Students address the role of different conflict actors, the causes and dynamics of conflicts and violence, and the practices of conflict mediation and peacebuilding on the part of international, state and non-state actors. They investigate different political systems, institutions, and societies, inquiring about state-society relations as well as international and global interrelations. They examine power and violence relations as well as economic and social contexts. They learn to apply qualitative as well as quantitative methods in the analysis of concrete conflicts or peace processes. The study of violent, intra-state conflicts ("civil wars") is one empirical focus.

The program also integrates knowledge and experience from professional practice. Students learn to apply academic knowledge and methodological approaches to problems and fields of action in peacebuilding. Practitioners present their organizations and work methods in a regular course. Further seminars provide instruction on practice-oriented instruments – for example, project management, program evaluation methods, or academic policy consulting. With the help of corresponding teaching formats and a mandatory internship, students gain structured insights into practical fields in conflict analysis, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding.

As an M.A. program taught in English, the course is intended for students who wish to pursue a professional career in an international environment.

What kind of career can I have with this degree?

In addition to preparing students to conduct research at universities and non-university institutions in the field of peace and conflict studies, the Master's program also qualifies graduates for various positions in federal ministries, government agencies, and international organizations, among others. They can, for example, work in diplomacy; in academic consulting in the field of foreign, peace, and development policy; and in conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and development cooperation projects. Other areas of work include positions in international and national non-governmental organizations or foundations as well as in national and international media and public relations organizations.

How is the degree program structured?

The program is divided into five compulsory modules (50 CP) (M1: Methods in Conflict Studies & Peacebuilding, M2: Concepts in Conflict Studies & Peacebuilding, M3: Political Theory & History of Ideas in Conflict Studies, M4: Conflict, State &Society, M5: Conflict, Politics & the Global Economy), a unit for professional and research practice (24 CP) and a free elective unit (22 CP). The program concludes with a Master’s thesis (24 CP).

Studienverlaufsplan: MA Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding (MA CSP)


Module 1
Methods in Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding
(10 CP)

Module 2
Concepts in Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding
(10 CP)

Module 3
Political Theory and History of Ideas in Conflict Studies
(10 CP)

Module 4
Conflict, State &
(10 CP)

Module 5
Conflict, Politics &
the Global Economy
(10 CP)

Professional and
Research Practice
(24 CP)

(22 CP)


Research Design in Conflict Studies
(6 CP)

Concepts & Theories in Conflict Studies
(4/6 CP)

The Modern State in History and Theory
(4/6 CP)

Political Institutions and Peacebuilding
(4/6 CP)

Conflict Issues in Contemporary Societies (4/6 CP)

Obligatory advisory session in the 1st semester

Professional skills
e.g. block seminars by practitioners, methods of project management or evaluation, study trips
(2 or 4 CP)

Mandatory 2-month internship in the area of Conflict Studies and Peacebuilding
(6 CP)

Research Seminar
(8 CP)

Colloquium for Master's Thesis
(2 CP)

Elective courses may include:

  • Courses in other MA degree tracks of the Institute of Social Sciences
  • Master's level courses within programmes at the UOS


Practical Approaches to Peacebuilding & Conflict Management
(4 CP)

Concepts & Theories in Peacebuilding (4/6 CP)

War and Peace in History and Theory
(4/6 CP)

Political Violence and Peacebuilding
(4/6 CP)

Conflict and Power in the Global Economy
(4/6 CP)


Master's Thesis (24 CP)

Course timetable (PDF) (PDF, 0.94 MB)

Regulations for the program

What are the admission requirements?

A Bachelor's degree in social sciences or political science or a comparable degree with a specialization in social sciences or political science is required. Bachelor’s graduates in other related subjects (history, social geography, ethnology, social psychology, international law, and economics) can also be admitted if they can prove that they have a basic knowledge of social sciences or political science. In addition, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of English at the B2 level under the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). If English is not the applicant's native language, the required level of English language proficiency is given if

  • the applicant has already acquired the corresponding level of English language proficiency as an entrance requirement for their previous Bachelor's degree programme
  • or the applicant has successfully completed an English-language undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme
  • or English was the language of the applicant’s education system at the time they earned their higher education entrance qualification
  • or the applicant has passed a language test at level B2 (CEFR). Possible language tests

For further information on the admission requirements, please refer to the relevant admission regulations.

How do I apply?

Please be sure to find out well in advance about possiblerestrictions on admissions and the application deadlines for this degree program.

German citizens with German transcripts (Abitur) should apply directly via the University of Osnabrück’s online portal. The same applies to international applicants with German transcripts (foreign students who completed school in Germany: Bildungsinländer*innen).

The application requirements may be different for international applicants with foreign transcripts.

Am I expected to study abroad?

The study program does not require a compulsory stay abroad; nevertheless, an internship abroad or at institutions that undertake international activities is recommended. Semesters abroad are also possible within the framework of the various exchange programs (e.g. Erasmus partnerships) and are supported by the Institute of Social Sciences. The flexible structure of the program allows students to spend a semester abroad without extending the duration of their studies. Study credits acquired abroad can be recognized, especially as part of the free elective unit. For advice and further information, please contact the International Office and the institute's Office for Internships and Study Abroad.

Where can I get more information?

Study Counseling Service

You can obtain general information about studying, admissions requirements, and the structure of your degree program from the Study Counseling Service.

The counseling service offered by your department can answer concrete questions about the program content.

Program directors

Prof. Dr. Alexander De Juan, Professor of Comparative Politics

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schneckener, Professor of International Relations & Peace and Conflict Studies