MA Conflict, Governance and International Development


The State, Governance and Conflict research cluster at the School of International Development (DEV) investigates the characteristics, origins and effects of different types of power relations in the global South. Using evidence-based approaches, our research asks how both domestic and international factors shape political regimes, forms of governance and developmental outcomes.

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Questions of effective conflict management are among the top priorities of international development agencies.

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Working in the international development sector requires not only academic knowledge but a wide range of professional and technical competencies and practical skills

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This course focuses on the political development goals of sustainable peace, good governance and stable democracy. Drawing on different theoretical approaches and various empirical examples throughout the degree programme, it asks students to critically assess alternative suggestions for establishing peace and inclusive, durable democracies in developing countries.

Key topics include inter alia the possible definitions, arguable causes and consequences of democracy; the political, social and economic effects of different political institutions; and the typically contested origins of violent intrastate conflicts as well as the suggestions that have been made to help overcome them.

The course adopts a unique interdisciplinary approach which is grounded in the acknowledgment that it is extremely difficult to meet international development targets in states experiencing endemic political instability, violent civil conflict, gross human rights abuses and acute crises of governance.



The MA Conflict, Governance and International Development focuses on the political development goals of sustainable peace, “good governance” and stable democracy. Drawing on different theoretical approaches and various empirical examples throughout the degree programme, it asks students to critically assess alternative (and often competing) suggestions for establishing peace and inclusive, durable democracies in developing countries. Key topics in the course include inter alia the possible definitions, arguable causes and consequences of democracy; the political, social and economic effects of different political institutions; and the (typically contested) origins of violent intrastate conflicts as well as the suggestions that have been made to help overcome them.

The course adopts a unique interdisciplinary approach which is grounded in the acknowledgment that it is extremely difficult to meet international development targets in states experiencing endemic political instability, violent civil conflict, gross human rights abuses and acute crises of governance.  

In addition to core modules covering issues of conflict, governance and development perspectives, students also will be able to choose from a range of optional modules covering topics such as e.g. contemporary world development, international economic policy, media and international development, perspectives on globalisation and water security for development.

The MA Conflict, Governance and International Development degree is offered over one year full-time, or two years part-time.

Course Profile

Our Masters courses require students to undertake 180 credits:

  • Compulsory and Optional modules (120 credits)
  • Examination (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (40 credits)

Students will receive detailed module outlines, including information about lectures and seminars, full reading lists and assessments once they have registered at the beginning of their course.

Professional, Employability and Practical Skills

A range of optional seminars and workshops are offered during your Masters programme for the teaching and strengthening of student skills. Sessions to support learning - in particular essay and dissertation writing - occur throughout the year. Development practice training is also provided. Please click to access further information about the Skills Training and Development Practice programme.

International Development Research Groups

Research in the School of International Development addresses contemporary challenges in developing and transition economies via disciplinary and multi/interdisciplinary approaches. Please click to access further information about our International Development Research Groups and our current research projects.

Student Testimonial

“My experience has been a very positive one. The lecturers are extremely knowledgeable and supportive, and I liked being able to integrate modules with different specialities.”

Victoria, MA Conflict, Governance and International Development

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 80 credits:

Name Code Credits


The number of violent intrastate conflicts has outweighed the number of violent interstate conflicts for more than five decades. Yet it was only with the end of the Cold War that academics and policy-makers started paying more attention to the possible causes and consequences of large-scale intrastate violence. Today, questions of effective conflict management, especially of large-scale civil wars, are among the top priorities of international development agencies. The aim of the "Conflict, Civil Wars and Peace" module is to critically assess the possible causes and consequences of violent intrastate conflicts as well as their implications for the wider development agenda. Key topics to be discussed in the module include causes, dynamics and consequences of different types of violent conflict, strategies and causes of terrorism, the role of gender during and after violent intrastate conflicts, the (contested) relationship(s) between natural resource wealth and civil wars, institutional approaches to conflict management, the rationale and possible effects of third-party intervention in civil wars, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including state- and peace-building as well as transitional justice. Throughout the module, you will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as the role of gender during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or the performance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-civil war power-sharing arrangement.




This is a 3 hour exam taken by all students on the MA Conflict, Governance and International Development.




You will explore different theoretical ideas and debates about development, and place these in their historical and political contexts. You will critically assess the various ways in which development has been conceptualised, from the end of the Second World War to the present day. You will cover topics including modernisation theory; dependency theory; the role of the state; neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus, neo-institutionalism and the post-Washington Consensus; poverty and basic needs; human development and capabilities; equity and justice; rights and empowerment; and sustainable development. A key point of the module is to show how ideas in development emerge and how they shape policies and practice in development in the present day.




"Good governance" and durable democracy are key items on the international development agenda. However, despite their prominence in the development discourse, it remains contested not only how to achieve these political development goals, but also how to define them in the first place. The aim of the "Governance, Democracy and Development" module is to critically assess the possible definitions, contested causes and arguable consequences of "good governance" and democracy. Key topics to be discussed in the module include how to define and measure democracy and "good governance", explanations for the emergence of democracy, theories on the survival of democracy and dictatorship, local forms of governance and democracy, aid and governance, trust and cooperation, the effects of democracy and dictatorship on prospects of economic development, and key challenges to democracy in the 21st century. Throughout the module, you will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as political regime trends in Turkey or the economic effects of recent elections in Kenya.



Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Dissertation or Development Work Placement

Name Code Credits


This module gives you an opportunity to identify, apply for and do an internship or work placement, worth 40 credits, as an integral part of your Masters programme. You would take this module in the summer semester as an alternative to the Dissertation module, and it is open to most MA /MSc programmes. The placements are for a period of 8-10 weeks between May and, preferably, the end of July. In recent years, students have done placements across a range of United Nations institutions, in specialist consultancy and research organisations, and non governmental organisations both in the UK and across the world. You are responsible for finding a suitable placement but will be given a range of support from Development which includes giving you access to the Development internship host data base compiled over nearly a decade; advice on identifying appropriate placements; advice on CV design, fund-raising (where necessary), health and safety, ethical considerations etc.; facilitate communication between student and potential host, in some cases acting as a mediator. Whilst we cannot guarantee a placement we are confident that most students who take this module and apply themselves to identifying an internship, will be successful. The module is assessed by the production of an Analytical Report based on the internship which allows you to reflect both on the content of the placement, and the personal expense of undertaking this work




You will be required to produce a short (8000-12000 words) dissertation on an approved topic.



Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Autumn Semester Recommended Options. Students will select a total of 20 credits across Option Ranges B and C.

Name Code Credits


The course lectures and seminars will include the following topics: # Development research and research ethics # Research design and method; sampling, questionnaire design, interviews # The role of qualitative methods in quantitative research and mixed methods # Participatory and action research # Design and implementation of household surveys on various topics, e.g. income, consumption, employment, health, nutrition, education, etc. Basic data processing and statistical analysis and presentation are shown based on tools such as Excel, SPSS and STATA.



Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Autumn Semester other. Students will select a total of 20 credits across Option Ranges B and C. Students may select modules from this option range, subject to any timetabling constraints.

Name Code Credits


Climate change presents a challenge to development that is both complex and urgent. Populations in less developed countries are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A multi-disciplinary approach allows us to understand the causes, consequences and responses to climate change in the 21st century. This module explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on development and the role of adaptation in reducing vulnerability to climate change and promoting climate resilient development. The first part of the module covers key aspects of climate change science necessary for an essential understanding of the causes and expected future impacts of climate change. The second part of the module focuses on the theory and practice of adaptation to climate change at different scales, from national policy making to local level case studies. A programme of lectures, workshops and group and individual work allow students to explore the module material. This module gives you sufficient grasp of the scientific underpinnings of climate change science to engage confidently in debate with non-specialists on the causes and consequences of climate change. It also gives you the theoretical and applied knowledge to research and plan for adaptation to climate change.




The aim of this introductory module is to introduce you to basic econometric theory and provide you with sufficient knowledge and practical skill for competent use of econometrics in empirical research. The module also enables you to understand and interpret econometric research results. By the end of the module you'll have acquired sufficient knowledge and skill to apply multivariate analysis of cross-sectional and time-series data to a wide range of macro- and micro-economic problems of development. In addition to lectures, the module includes computer workshops on Stata (widely used econometrics software) and seminars.




The aim of this module is to provide you with a solid grounding in gender analysis of development, and to enable students to understand the link between gender and key debates within development studies such as poverty, violence, religion and the role of men in gender and development. The module introduces and explains the range of ideas, debates and tools, which are the foundations of gender analysis, within a discussion of key issues in gender analysis of development: the nature of the household and kinship, gender roles, power and empowerment, and environmental change. The unit stands alone as a foundation for gender analysis of development, it also builds the necessary basis for the more applied units which follow in the spring semester, and for dissertations based on gender topics. If you are writing a dissertation on a gender topic you will need to have completed this module.




The aim of the module is for you to gain an understanding of current debates on the principles and theories linking education to development in a range of social contexts. The module will introduce you to theories of education and development including international and comparative education. These are examined in relation to the broader challenges of development. Topics in the module may include: theories of human development and capabilities, human capital and rights based approaches, theories of equity, social justice and inclusive education. You will examine schooling in contexts of chronic poverty, models of schooling and de-schooling, formal and non-formal education, the challenges of linguistic and cultural diversity, inclusive education and disability, gender inequalities, and the education of nomads and other migratory groups.




The media play an increasingly important role in international development - from promoting mass mobilisation and participation to facilitating the flow of information locally, nationally and internationally. Media are also central to encouraging charitable donations, promoting democracy and human rights, and delivering public health messages during emergencies. The aim of this module is to provide you with a critical introduction to the broad range of issues relevant to the relationship between media and development. It addresses the fields of development communication, media development and media representations of development. This module is accessible to development students who have not studied media before and to students on degrees relevant to media, with no previous experience of studying international development.




This module will provide you with a broad, current and inter-disciplinary understanding of the media today. Our guiding philosophy is that in order to properly understand the media, whether as a lawyer, economist, development studies professional, media studies specialist or political scientist, it is essential to have a wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary understanding of the modern media. You'll be looking at the structure of media today in the UK and globally. You'll consider, from several different academic perspectives, how media content is constructed, what shapes content and how content may be controlled and even censored. You'll explore the media industry, examining how it is currently organised and managed, what factors influence its current organisation and consider how it might develop. You'll also examine how media affects peoples and societies, particularly with the rise of social media, and review the debates about media influence and power.




Globalisation refers to the increasingly interconnected nature of social life on our planet. It has been described as 'the most important change in human history'. You will critically examine a number of key debates about globalisation: about what is driving the process, and about what impacts it is having - for example, on economic development, poverty and inequality, conflict, and the environment. This module takes an inter-disciplinary approach, presenting different conceptual frameworks within which contemporary globalisation is analysed.




Poverty and hunger remain key developmental challenges, driving poor health and ill-being on the one hand and conflict and violence on the other. This is the central question addressed by this module. In this module, you will explore different approaches to understanding rural livelihoods. You will be equipped with the tools and frameworks to critically assess different strategies for livelihoods-building and their implications for poverty and inequality, including those of class and gender, at the micro-level. Starting with an understanding of key concepts of poverty, food security, gender, capabilities, capitals and entitlements, you will apply these to a host of contexts and programmes through seminar discussions. This will enable a deeper understanding of the interconnections between the wider policy context, the social structure that shapes entitlements, the assets available to groups and individuals and their livelihood strategies. You will also explore the links between the rural and urban, and the changes over time. You will have an opportunity to experience some of the dilemmas confronting the rural poor through an experiential game.




Effective social development and policy are based on sound conceptual foundations, and this module focuses on the conceptual tools that underpin policy relevant social analysis. You will develop skills to analyse social contexts which influence interventions and social change ('development'), using concepts from sociology, anthropology and political analysis. There is an old development adage that 'if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you give him a fishing rod you feed him for a lifetime'. Think about social theory and concepts as a fishing rod! The module is about social concepts and theory, but we always apply these concepts to practical social development issues and interventions. You will apply your knowledge and understanding of social concepts to important international development issues, for example (and these can vary each year) the social analysis of HIV, the social analysis of poverty and micro-credit interventions, or the social analysis of conflict and peace.




This module provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the analysis and understanding of issues of environmental change, and of the relationships between environment and development. You will have a critical understanding of social constructions of cause and effect relationships in environment and development issues, including a critical understanding of scientific assessments. You will be able to link these understandings to topics encountered in other courses, and to develop your own perspectives on environment and development issues. In particular you should understand the somewhat different perspectives in 'less developed countries' on environment and development issues. The course consists of weekly workshops and seminar sessions, which include videos and discussions oriented around core issues and readings. Assessment is based on coursework and written examination.



Students will select 0 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Spring Semester Recommended Options. Students will select a total of 40 credits across Option Ranges D and G.

Name Code Credits


The broad aim of the module Advanced Qualitative Research and Analysis (AQRA) is to prepare students who already have a basic grasp of qualitative research methods for carrying out data analysis using different techniques. It will also aim at understanding how to link research questions, theory and methods and the research design more generally, as well as how to collect and manage data, and produce a piece of written work from the data. Coursework will therefore involve producing a piece of written analysis based on existing qualitative datasets. Examples of tecnhiques covered are semi-structured and life history interviews, focus groups, and participant observation. Classes will be practice-oriented in a workshop format, where students can experiement with conducting discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and narrative analysis of the datasets that will be provided.




Around three-quarters of the world's poor live in rural areas and within most developing countries the gap between the rural poor and better off urban residents continues to widen. The lives of the rural poor can be greatly influenced by policies in areas such as agriculture, land, social protection, natural resources, health, education and trade. This module reviews important policies and issues in these and other areas. It also guides students to critically analyse policy choices within specific contexts. Rural Policies and Politics recognises the importance of looking at rural policies with consideration of particular socio-economic and political contexts, as well as in relation to larger-scale trends that are affecting rural areas including globalisation, urbanisation, de-agrarianisation, and rapid technological change.



Students will select 0 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Spring Semester other. Students will select a total of 40 credits across Option Ranges D and G. Students may select modules from this option range, subject to any timetabling constraints.

Name Code Credits


This module aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the most important methods of impact evaluation. For that purpose, it will provide you with instruction in and hands-on experiences of the main quantitative and qualitative impact evaluation methods, with an emphasis on the quantitative.




This module critically examines international/national climate change governance, policy and societal impacts from and responses to climate change and climate change policy. The first half of the semester will discuss the history and politics of the international climate change negotiations and then critically examine the way the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change operates. You'll look in detail at several items under negotiation with significant implications for developing countries and we will discuss global carbon markets. The second half of the semester will turn to the interface of climate change and society. It will discuss participatory governance and urban responses to climate change as well as critically examining ethical/justice related debates, the role of energy demand and lifestyle in tackling climate change. The seminars will be interactive and enable you to understand the international negotiating process and ways to engage positively with climate change.




The objective of Contemporary World Development is to examine key debates around development objectives, processes and agencies. While issues discussed here are of contemporary significance, references will be made to the historical contexts in which these debates have arisen. Concerns central to development policy making will be reviewed through theoretically grounded critical perspectives. Topics covered include the Millennium Development Goals, donors and aid politics, state and non-governmental organisations, and poverty.




You will develop an advanced understanding of some of the challenges and changes in aid delivery that are introduced in Critical Issues in Development Practice 1, in the autumn semesters. Together these modules serve as the core foundations for the MA in Development Practice. With the grounding the previous module provides, Critical Issues in Development Practice 2 will expand your understanding to new different areas of concern and practice, across a wide range of approaches and topics in contemporary aid delivery. Themes explored will include specific approaches to aid delivery, such as human rights based approaches to development, and how this intersects with concerns around good governance as a key pillar for development. You will also be exposed to debates about global aid architecture and institutions, and wider global conditions in which aid operates, including around the politicisation of aid and the implications of the 'securitisation' agenda. A complementary strand of the module will examine shifting parameters of aid delivery, including around businesses and private sector involvement, for example in how public private partnerships might operate for the sustainable development goals. Examining such approaches includes considering the potential conceptual contradictions underlying social or human development objectives and business motives, and ways forward, such as looking at business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and social enterprise. The overall goal is to give you a deep and broad understanding of the key issues driving change in the sector for coming decades.




The aim of this module is to help you understand and critically examine, policy-making processes and specific policies for educational development. You will discover the relationships between policy and practice in a range of international, national and local development contexts. Through this module you will explore different approaches to policy development and familiarise yourself with dominant global policy agendas in education - asking who makes or influences policy, and considering policies as socially situated documents, practices and processes. The module introduces you to educational policy-making to address a range of development challenges and how related strategies are enacted in practice; drawing on policy theory and ethnographic and school-based research, as well as practical sessions to unpack the approaches and skills needed for successful advocacy and campaigning.




This module equips you with the knowledge and skills to understand and explore relations between social policies, practice and key actors in addressing various forms of difference and diversity, with a particular focus on gender. You will develop analytical and conceptual skills to critically assess social policies - including gender - and social development at the international, national and institutional levels. This module considers current issues of gender and a range of intersecting inequalities (e.g. disability, migrant status) with reference to addressing social exclusion and deficit modes of development. The module has both theoretical and more practical components, and you will have the opportunity to work on your own projects through linked seminar sessions.




This module provides an analysis of the way in which global production is organized and the roles played by the state, business and civil society and the relations between them. It focuses on key business actors such as transnational and looks in depth at issues of resource extraction in developing countries. Various aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility including relations with local communities and workers, as well as the impacts on the environment and human rights, are discussed.




This module provides a broad introduction to health issues in a context of development. It reviews different cultural understandings of health, and relationships between health, socio-economic change, livelihoods and poverty. The module also examines health policies of particular relevance to developing countries. While we look at health issues in general, we pay particular attention to links between HIV/AIDS and development.




You will examine a selection of topics in applied development economics that are important for government policy - chosen from areas such as international trade, foreign investment, government taxation and spending, labour markets and employment, agriculture, finance, business regulation, energy and climate change. You will look at the economic theory relevant to each topic, and how government policies have worked in practice.




This module will provide you with an understanding of macroeconomic theory and policy in developing countries. This will include an evaluation of alternative theories of economic growth and their policy implications, and an analysis of the macroeconomic effects of external shocks. By the end of the module, you will have a good understanding of modern theories of economic growth and open economy macroeconomics, and be able to apply those theories to economic policy issues in developing countries.




This course seeks to provide students with a solid understanding of political ecology theory and to enable them to apply this theory for analyzing environment and development problems. After a brief introduction to key theoretical concepts in political ecology, students review key contributions to major policy fields in environment and development. They do this in a series of reading seminars, covering agriculture and biotechnology, climate change, conservation, fisheries, forestry, water management and other fields. The course ends with a workshop on the role of policy in political ecology.




The module 'Water Security - Practice' familiarises you with some of the ways that water security and international development challenges may be examined, unpacked and addressed. The course is constructed around the belief that scientists can employ analytical and participatory tools, such as games, to put water users (e.g. drawers, irrigators, households, abstractors) at the very centre of water security policy. This module is one of the cornerstones (and requisites) for the Water Security and International Development MSc. It typically attracts many students from across different faculties and complements the 'Water Security - Concepts' module, which is geared more towards theory.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Social Science
  • Degree Classification 2.1 or equivalent

Entry Requirement

Applicants should normally have a good first degree from a recognised higher education institution. The University will also take into account the employment experience of applicants where relevant.

It is normal for undergraduate students to apply for entry to postgraduate programmes in their final year of study. Applicants who have not yet been awarded a degree may be offered a place conditional on their attaining a particular class of degree.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not meet the academic requirements for this course, you may be able to study one of the International Graduate Diploma programmes offered by our partner INTO UEA. These programmes guarantee progression to selected masters degrees if students achieve the appropriate grade. For more details please click here:

International Graduate Diploma in International Development

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,000 (full-time)
  • International Students: £15,800 (full-time)

International applicants from outside the EU may need to pay a deposit.

Living Expenses

Approximately £9,135 living expenses will be needed to adequately support yourself.

Scholarships and Funding

A variety of Scholarships may be offered to UK students. Please click here for more detailed information about UK/EU Scholarships and Funding.

The University offers around £1 million of Scholarships each year to support International students in their studies. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study. Please click here for further information about funding for International students. International candidates are also actively encouraged to access the University's International section of our website.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515