MSc Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding looks at the underlying theories of justice and peace and the challenges of administering a variety of post-conflict processes. The programme explores topics such as criminal tribunals, reconciliation mechanisms, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, reparations and institutions of economic recovery. Across all of these topics, the programme puts focus on current problems such as such as evaluation and local ownership.

This programme is studied on campus.

In the post-Cold War period, post-conflict justice and peacebuilding have become fundamental to conflict management. This period has witnessed conflict in the Balkans, West Africa, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Today, many additional countries are becoming less stable due to a variety of complex reasons. Building lasting peace in areas of conflict can be challenging and requires supranational organisations such as the UN, the EU and various international non-governmental organizations to work towards sustainable peace.

This degree will familiarise you with the central theoretical, conceptual and empirical dimensions of post-conflict justice and peacebuilding and explores how these have changed over time. The degree focuses on the policies and mechanisms by which justice is claimed to assist in establishing sustainable peace and the relationship between peacebuilding and justice mechanisms. The programme allows you to critically reflect on these processes by considering the boundaries of peace, justice and reconciliation after conflict. You will also reflect on burdens of the past, problems of forgetting, issues surrounding legal, social and economic justice and the contemporary challenges to the practices of justice and peace building such as evaluation and local ownership.

Students can obtain a PG Cert on satisfactory completion of modules to the value of 60 credit points, or a Diploma in Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding should they exit with modules worth 120 credit points.

Students must pass the dissertation and four module courses to obtain an MSc. The MSc shall not be awarded if a candidate fails to achieve a dissertation mark of D3 or above.

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

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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Optional Courses

Choose one of the following:

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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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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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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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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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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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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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Peace - Conflict and Peacebuilding (SO5911) - 60 Credit Points

Students in this course conduct independent research supervised by the coordinator into the topic of Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding. The end goal of the course is to complete the dissertation in a timely fashion and to develop skills in research design, methodology, analysis, critical thinking and writing at a professional level. While the exact research question or methodologies utilized for the project are decided in consultation with the supervisor and must be within the field of post-conflict justice and peacebuilding, they will reflect the interests of the individual student.

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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
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessments include essays, reports, exercises and presentations. Courses are generally 100% continuous assessment.

Why Study Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding?

  • MSc Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding is taught by internationally recognized and widely published experts in the field of conflict and peace from the Institute of Conflict, Transition, and Peace Research at the University of Aberdeen.
  • The programme at Aberdeen is taught within the context of a range of high level programmes in similar subjects such as Global Conflict and Peace Processes, International Relations, International Security and Sex, Gender and Violence at the Institute of Conflict, Transition, and Peace Research. This allows you to gain a greater understanding of the subject from a broad range of specialists.
  • The MSc Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding gives you interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and methodological expertise.
  • You are taught by and you study with people from across the world at Aberdeen, which is a cosmopolitan city and centre of a global energy hub.
  • We provide an excellent library on campus, and as much as possible digitally off campus, in a beautiful new building where you can view the beach and most of Aberdeen.
  • We provide computer facilities, reading rooms, study spaces and a range of cafes to suit all international tastes. The campus (founded in 1495) provides a stunning eclectic mix of old and new buildings, many of which are on the tourist map for Scotland and the UK due to their architectural relevance and heritage.

You study the MSc Post-Conflict Justice and Peacebuilding in the following context:

  • The teaching quality of the Department of Sociology within The School of Social Sciences was judged as 'Excellent.'

  • The Department of Sociology was ranked joint 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, transition and peace

    • Social Movement

    • Identity Processes

    • Global and political sociology

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


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 Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £19,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 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.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Career Opportunities

  • Humanitarian Affairs Officer
  • Mediator (Arbitrator)

Seek The Truth

The challenges of administering criminal tribunals, reconciliation and recovery are immense. Truth is one of the major parts of peace building

What our Alumni Say

Kayla Slagter

Kayla Slagter

Kayla Slagter

Graduated 2019

This programme attracts incredible students with a wide range of experience and expertise from countries all around the world. My classmates often led discussions from their own experience and so we were able to learn as much from each other as in the classroom. Following my studies, I interned with Concordis International, a peacebuilding organisation based in London, where I gained much more practical experience in programme management and communications.

Our Experts

Dr Gearoid Millar

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 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.

New Europe Centre

The New Europe Centre represents a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen with projects from a number of different funding sources. We are committed to doing quality research in order to better understand the world around us.

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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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