Peace and Conflict Studies

Interdisciplinarity. Internationality. Diverse. Theoretical, yet practical. These are the cornerstones of the Master’s programme Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS).

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24 months

Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg

Location The Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg was founded in 1993 and is one of the youngest universities in Germany. With 9 faculties and almost 13,800 students, it is a vibrant centre of teaching and research. Magdeburg, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt, has developed into a city of business, science and culture. Favourable study facilities and conditions, such as a well-equipped library, a low cost of living, rich historical and cultural heritage and the surrounding green scenery of Magdeburg attract students from around the world.
Course focus Interdisciplinarity. Internationality. Diverse. Theoretical, yet practical. These are the cornerstones of the Master’s programme Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS).

The PACS programme attaches great importance to theory. At the same time it discusses and demonstrates, the practical relevance of these concepts and methods in the seminars. The courses analyse specific conflicts and cases and offer practical skills of conflict management. PACS focuses on human rights issues, conflict analyses and normative issues of a global peace order. It offers students a broad education in theories and methods of Peace and Conflict Studies and enables them to develop the strong analytical and practical skills.

The programme is aimed at teaching theoretical and methodological skills and concepts from various disciplines, institutions and instruments of peacebuilding, conflict transformation and human rights policies as well as the development of analytical and practical skills of constructive conflict management. After completing the programme, students will be able to analyse complex conflicts from different perspectives, to evaluate policies and ongoing projects in the fields of security, peace and promotion of human rights and to develop alternative methods of conflict resolution. The programme consists of five compulsory and four optional compulsory modules, of which three have to be completed.

Compulsory Module 1 – Theories and Approaches of Peace and Conflict Studies: includes key concepts of Peace and Conflict Studies, different theoretical approaches to the field from various scientific disciplines and perspectives, and deals with the relation between theory and practice; the module lays the ground for further independent study of international literature and theories.

Compulsory Module 2 – Concepts of Securing Peace: includes concepts of democracy, democratisation, organisation and legislation, policy development and the advancement of human rights as well as the use of military force in the promotion of the above.

Compulsory Module 3 – Conflict Analysis and Theories of Conflict Management: students learn to systematically categorise and analyse various types of conflicts, political processes and transformations and connect theory and practice in exemplary studies.

Compulsory Module 4 – Applied Conflict Management: this module centres on strengthening practical conflict competences, including negotiation and mediation techniques, through practical elements (e.g. simulations).

Compulsory Module 5 – Methods of Peace and Conflict Studies: centred on qualitative research, students will acquire skills to conduct their own surveys; the module also teaches research ethics, different methods of surveying and other elements relevant to empirical social studies.

Optional Compulsory Module 6 – Regional and Global Order: explores the creation of order beyond the nation state and in non-European regions as well as international and regional institutions; students also learn to understand and analyse processes of (inter)regional cooperation and learning.

Optional Compulsory Module 7 – Sustainable Development and Resource Management: students will be able to discuss and critically evaluate the boundaries of quantitative growth, global warming and various controversial approaches on sustainability.

Optional Compulsory Module 8 – Violence and Media: focuses on the relationship between violence and the (new) media and how representations of self and other influence the potentional of peace and conflict.

Optional Compulsory Module 9 – Global Justice: focuses on the correlation between justice and peace and war, conflicts as the collision of normative claims and the development of appropriate solution strategies.

Module 10 – Master’s Thesis: should reflect the students’ capability to apply the learnt elements of the study programme.

Extra Module – Internship / Language certificate: includes a mandatory internship that should be done in an area relevant to the study programme (e.g. media, work in foundations, ministries and offices, NGOs, research institutions, as well as political parties and associations, and so forth) / or a language course at the OVGU (UNICERT certificate – non english)

Target group The course is aimed primarily at BA graduates of the Social Sciences and Humanities but the degree is also open to applicants from other disciplins. As the Master ‘Peace and Conflict Studies’ is a postgradute degree students are expected to be familiar with scientific research methods.
The course is designed explicitly for international applicants. The acceptance to the degree itself does NOT include a scholarship. Applicants have to provide their own funding.
Course language English
Some optional courses are held in German, however, no proficiency in German is required to complete the program.
Entry requirements
  • Bachelor’s certificate (or proof of similar degree) with average grade “good” (2,5 GPA in the German system) or better and with at least 180 ECTS
  • 30 ECTS within the field of social science
  • English language proficiency on C1-level: Either via an official language certificate or a high school or Bachelor degree taught in English (restrictions apply)
  • relevant academic or professional experience in a foreign country of 3 months or more
Degree Awarded  Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies
Course Begins October
Course Duration 24 months
Course Structure module-manual_PACS_en

PACS vom 07.09.2016-2

Duration of German language course prior to beginning of programme No course obligatory though basic knowledge of the German language is recommended
Remarks Information about applying to the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme at Magdeburg University is available at:

Faculty for Human Sciences
Department of Political Science
Zschokkestr. 32
D-39104 Magdeburg
Prof. Dr. Alexander Spencer (Head of Programme)
Phone: +49 (0)391 / 67-56657
Fax: +49 (0)391 / 67-46575