The Global Conflict and Peace programme is of particular interest and use to students and practitioners who want to understand the dynamics underlying contemporary forms of intrastate conflict and the various processes required to generate sustainable peace in places that have undergone civil war and violent intercommunal conflict. For this reason, the programme is designed to make students engage with the key debates, policies and concepts connected to global conflict and peace processes.

This programme is studied on campus.

The programme will familiarise students with the theoretical and methodological insights from the fields of sociology, anthropology, political science and human rights in relation to the globalized character of contemporary intrastate conflict and to peacebuilding. Students are encouraged to engage with a range of conflicts and peace processes, themselves well known, in which these themes are explored empirically - Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Lebanon, Cyprus.

The degree works both as stand-alone programme if you wish to enhance your knowledge of this area and as an advanced level programme, providing you with the necessary foundation to pursue a PhD in the social sciences.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Social Theory (SO5014) - 30 Credit Points

Karl Popper argued, wisely, at least this time, that ‘all languages are theory-impregnated’. In this course we learn to reflect explicitly about that which may otherwise simply remain implicit in empirical sociological examination. In this project, we are assisted by important thinkers who have developed distinctive and influential ways of considering the social. We begin with classical sociological theory (Marx, Weber, Nietzsche) before moving on to the work of more recent social thought (including, Actor Network Theory and Dorothy Smith), giving students an advanced working knowledge of the most important theoretical tools available to jobbing social scientists.

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Advanced Qualitative Methods in Social Science (SL5011) - 30 Credit Points

Qualitative Sociology: Philosophy and Methods: This course introduces students to a range of methods used in qualitative sociological research (such as participant observation, qualitative interviewing, focus groups, diaries, photography and film, and archived data sources). The emphasis will be on the research process, from project design to analysis and presentation, with methodological issues raised in the context of researchable questions. Issues of reliability, representativeness and validity, and the potential for combining methods will be addressed. Students use the course work to develop their research interests and reflect on their research practices.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Global Conflict and Peace Processes (SO5526) - 30 Credit Points

The course familiarises the student with the field of the sociology of peace processes, which is one of the growth areas within sociology and related areas internationally. It establishes the nature of sociology’s distinctive contribution to the study of peace processes and the conceptual and empirical focus of this approach. The course places particular emphasis on three areas, religion, gender and civil society. It addresses three international peace processes in particular, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and critically assesses the contribution in each of religion, civil society and gender.

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Optional Courses

A specialist option, related to dissertation topic from the list below:

Religious Belief and Practice in the Modern World (SO5514) - 30 Credit Points

Aberdeen University has long been known for its focus on the sociology of religion and is currently the only University in Britain where one can study sociology of religion at the postgraduate level in a sociology department. This course is required for students on the MSc in Religion and Society, and essential for any other students who wish to develop a sophisticated sociological understanding of religion, including postgraduates with other primary research interests (religion having implications for many other topics), and would also benefit postgraduate students of religion coming from other disciplines.

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Quantitative Sociology: Philosophy & Methods (SO5523) - 30 Credit Points

All researchers need to understand quantitative research, not only those who carry it out themselves. Everyone comes across quantitative research in literature reviews and even in the press. In this course students will acquire an understanding of the most common quantitative methods they are likely to use or come across in published sociological research. The module will encompass different types of quantitative study and address issues such as when quantitative methods are appropriate, how quantitative questions are formulated, research design, sampling (both online and offline), scale construction, reliability and validity and ethical practices in quantitative research and design.

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The Comparative Study of European Societies (SO5515) - 30 Credit Points

The core course will look at Europe as a society as well as by comparing different nations and regions within it. It will look not just at the European Union, but also countries that are also in the broadest sense “European” stretching to the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. It will address key contemporary issues such as citizenship and belonging, identities in a European context, work, family and the demographic challenge as well as work‐life balance.

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Dimensions of Globalization (SO5512) - 30 Credit Points

This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analysed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.

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Post - Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding (SO5525) - 30 Credit Points

This course is divided into three sections. The first half of the course introduces students to the central mechanisms and processes by which the international community attempts to provide justice and peace in post-conflict contexts, before presenting in a series of lectures the complications and current challenges to post-conflict and justice as both an academic field and an area of practice. The course is particularly designed to inspire students to consider the complicated nature of post-conflict issues through a number of different case studies and perspectives.

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Sex, Gender, Violence: Critical Approaches (SO5519) - 30 Credit Points

This course investigates the ways people think about, understand, and respond to violence. How do we know what counts as violence or a violence act? Why does legislation against violence often seem inadequate, perhaps especially in the case of gendered and sexual violence?

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Global Conflict and Peace Processes (SO5912)

This is a compulsory element on the MSc Global Conflict and Peace Processes programme.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods vary from course to course and include essays, reports, exercises and presentations. Courses are generally 100% continuous assessment. You can obtain a Postgraduate Certificate on satisfactory completion of modules to the value of 60 credit points, or a Diploma in Global Conflict and Peace Processes with 120 credit points passed successfully.

Why Study Global Conflict and Peace Processes?

  • MSc Global Conflicts and Peace Process at Aberdeen provides you with a solid set of skills in conflict management.
  • You are taught by researchers investigating some of the most critical political problems facing contemporary democracies with interdisciplinary subjects.
  • The Department of Sociology within The School of Social Sciences teaching quality was judged as 'Excellent.'
  • The School of Social Sciences is one of six Schools in the College of Arts and Social Science. It was ranked joined sixth overall in the UK and one of the top two departments in Scotland.
  • The Department of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen enjoys a reputation as one of the leading centres for the study of sociology in the UK, being recognised nationally and internationally for the outstanding quality of teaching and research.
  • Success is driven in the Department of Sociology by staff who have gained international reputations for high-quality research in the following areas:

    - Religion and secularisation

      - Political violence, conflict and peace

        - Social Movement

          - Identity Processes

            - Global and political sociology

              - Animals and Society

              • We are a medium-sized department which allows us to be small enough to sustain an intimate and friendly atmosphere.
              • School of Social Sciences provides some of the best researchers in the field who work in the Department of Politics and International Relations.
              • You study with a department that pursues interdisciplinary research on four core research themes:

              a) Political Organisation and Participation
              b) Conflict and Security Studies
              c) Comparative Politics
              d) International Relations Theory

              We provide unique research centres in:

              Entry Requirements


              The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

              Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances, applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

              Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

              English Language Requirements

              To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

              IELTS Academic:

              OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

              TOEFL iBT:

              OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

              PTE Academic:

              OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

              Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

              OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

              Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

              Document Requirements

              You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

              Degree Certificate
              a degree certificate showing your qualifications
              Degree Transcript
              a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
              Personal Statement
              a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
              a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

              Fees and Funding

              You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

              Fee information
              Fee category Cost
              Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
              Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
              International Students £15,900
              Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year

              Additional Fees

              • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
              • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

              Our Funding Database

              View all funding options in our Funding Database.


              • Politics
              • Public sector (local government)
              • Government funded research
              • Civil service
              • EU internships with private companies
              • University research centres
              • Polling surveys
              • Foreign Office, defence and development
              • Non government organisations
              • EU, UN OSCE
              • Private research companies
              • Global trade and insurance
              • International media
              • PhD and continuing your studies after MSc as a specialist researcher

              Our Experts

              Dr John Nagle has provided research consultancy for the mainstream media and contributed to public policy documents and briefs for the British Council, the RUC/George Cross Foundation, Belfast City Council, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Asia-Europe Foundation. His work has been published in leading international journals, as well as in The Conversation, Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Belfast Newsletter and Sluggerotoole.

              Other Expert
              Dr John Nagle

              Information About Staff Changes

              You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


              Centre for Global Security and Governance

              The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

              Centre for European Survey Research

              The ECSR has Associate Survey Agencies in more than 100 countries worldwide and can offer basic and applied research in form of quantitative and qualitative surveys as well as other empirical research tools in the social and economic sciences.

              Get in Touch

              Contact Details

              School of Social Science
              University of Aberdeen
              Edward Wright Building
              Dunbar Street
              AB24 3QY