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Applied Peace and Conflict Studies (with placement year)

BA (Hons)
Entry 2018: BBC / 112 UCAS points
Duration: 4 years
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: BA (Hons)
UCAS code: L257
Placement: Placement year available
Suitable for international students
Faculty of Social Sciences
Apply Prospectus downloads


Are you concerned about violence, inequality and injustice in the world today? Are you wondering how we might respond to ecological crisis? Are you curious about the potential of peaceful alternatives? Would you like to develop your capacity to engage with conflict intelligently and responsibly?

The BA in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies (with placement year) gives you the tools and insight you need to:

  • critically analyse the structures and practices that foster peaceful or unpeaceful relationships
  • develop ethical and constructive responses to particular conflict situations
  • reflect on your own practice with a view to continuous professional development

An exciting feature of this programme is its applied dimension. Throughout your studies, you will have opportunities to develop research and analytical skills, real-life problem-solving capacities, and the personal and interpersonal skills needed for ethical and effective peace work.

Why Bradford?

The University of Bradford has been pioneering and teaching Peace Studies and International Development for over 40 years: we have excellent library collections and our academic staff are experts in their field. We don’t sit in an Ivory Tower – we make knowledge work by collaborating with governments and NGOs around the world. Our research in politics and international relations was ranked 7th out of 56 universities in the UK in terms of its impact on society and public policy (Research Excellence Framework, December 2014).

So, the content of our brand-new degree programmes is informed by the up-to-date expertise of our lecturers and enriched by the experience of practitioners in our field, including our many alumni, with whom we partner.

Our teaching is very interactive and focussed on professionalism and employability. You will study in groups and teams, develop your own research projects, go on field trips, engage in extended simulation games, do ‘immersion days’ on key topics, and develop a wide range of tangible skills directly applicable to careers in politics, international relations, peace and conflict and international development. Our teaching and assessment methods are tailored to a wide range of learning styles, and meant to keep you busy, engaged and enjoying your course!

You will also learn from your fellow students and from the city. The Division is diverse with, typically, over 40 nationalities among our students – meet the world in your classroom! Bradford itself is a fascinating and very multicultural city, as well as being one of the cheapest cities to live and study in the UK, and we make the most of all the city and its beautiful surroundings have to offer by working with community groups.

Entry requirements

Typical offer: BBC / 112 UCAS points

A levels:

There are no specific subject requirements.

BTEC Extended Diploma:

DMM — there are no specific subject requirements.

Applicants on Access Programmes:

Meet UCAS Tariff of 112 — there are no specific subject requirements.

Plus minimum of:

GCSE English at grade C or 4 (equivalents accepted).

Additional entry requirements:

If you do not meet the entry requirements for direct entry onto this course you may be interested in our Foundation Year in Social Sciences and Management or our International Certificate of Foundation Studies.

English language requirements:

Minimum IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Year One

Your first year introduces you to Peace and Conflict Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study and gives you a sense of how the analysis of real-world problems can be approached from different conceptual perspectives and approaches to research.

Module titleCore/OptionCredits
Global Issues and Challenges Core 60
Histories of the Present Core 20
Studying Peaceful and Unpeaceful Relations Core 40

In Global Issues and Challenges we start exploring how we might tackle the many problems facing the world today: How do we begin to understand the immense problems that face us, in all their complexity, let alone actually tackle them? In this module you will learn how to get started: you will learn some basic tools for beginning to unpick and analyse the pressing problems of our time. You will work to develop your own understanding of key global problems as a basis for beginning to think about how they might be resolved.

Histories of the Present asks critical questions about the historical developments that have shaped present realities, and about the stories we tell about both past and present. We often hear the phrase, "History is written by the winners," used to explain how the powerful get to control the way that historical events are depicted and interpreted. How, and how successfully, do they do this? To what extent does our everyday understanding of the past reflect the interests of the powerful? And how does this affect our responses to problems of the present? In this module, you will explore the relationship between knowledge and power in constructing our understanding of the contemporary world and the role that institutions such as museums and objects such as memorials play in this. Drawing on the University's own archive of documents relating to the peace movement and its special relationship with the Bradford Peace Museum, you will explore sources and documents relating to historical episodes of war and peace and get the opportunity to design and present your own museum exhibit or memorial presenting an alternative history of contemporary problems.

The 40-credit module Studying Peaceful and Unpeaceful Relations introduces a set of concepts and perspectives specific to the BA (Hons) in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies: What does 'peace' mean to you? How would you decide whether to describe a situation as 'peaceful' or 'unpeaceful'? What would it take to cultivate more peaceful relationships and structures? Do you think other people agree on your answers to these questions? Answering these questions is more difficult than it might seem at first. Many of the key concepts that inform Peace and Conflict Studies are contested, with scholars and practitioners taking different approaches to answering them. This module creates opportunities for critical reflection on the deeper assumptions and values that shape ideas about peace and violence. Different conceptions of peace and violence, in turn, influence how we approach research and practice in the peace and conflict field. In this module, you will encounter a range of approaches to the academic study of peace and violence and explore their strengths and weaknesses. As an apprentice social researcher, you will also start to carry out small-scale research tasks related to the themes of the module.

Year Two

Your second year expands and deepens the study of unpeaceful relationships and approaches to transforming these into more peaceful relationships, focusing on three broad thematic strands across the year: Conflict analysis and skills for constructive conflict engagement; political questions regarding power and inequality that form a backdrop for movements for social and political change; and an understanding of social-ecological crises that leads on to exploring concepts and practices focused on place, culture and community. 

In semester 1, we will explore unpeaceful relationships from several thematic angles. Semester 2 focuses on a range of attempts to engage with the challenges introduced in semester 1, and to transform unpeaceful into more peaceful conditions and relationships.

Module titleCore/OptionCredits
Analysing Contemporary Conflict Core 20
Power, Politics and Inequality Core 20
Understanding Social-Ecological Systems and Crises Core 20
Applied Skills for Conflict Engagement Core 20
Movements for Peace, Justice and Social Change Core 20
Place, Culture and Community Core 20

In Analysing Contemporary Conflict you will learn knowledge and analytic skills needed for a systematic and critical understanding of the causes, dynamics and impacts of conflict in the contemporary world. You will apply key concepts in various research and analysis tasks, exploring contemporary cases of conflict and the validity or limitations of existing academic thinking. As such, the module emphasises an applied and practical approach to conflict analysis, developing your skills in gathering and analysing information about relevant case-studies and contexts of conflict.

Power, Politics and Inequality asks some challenging questions about dramatically widening inequality in the world today, within and between nations. Should we equate inequality with injustice, and is there a clear link between inequality and violence? What do we mean by inequality anyway - inequality of wealth? Of income? Of opportunity? In the course of this module you will investigate the concept of inequality, the ways in which it can be measured, and the normative and empirical debates about the relationship between inequality, politics and power.

Understanding Social-Ecological Systems and Crises explores dynamics that are making many of the systems that we rely on in everyday life increasingly unsustainable and fragile. Climate change and other forms of environmental degradation are raising profound and difficult questions for people interested in pursuing peace, equity and justice: How might we respond to current and future crises in ways that strengthen the potential for peaceful and just relationships? What aspects of our ways of life can and should be sustained, and which ones might need to change? How do we engage with dynamics of power and inequality in attempting to respond to these questions? This module introduces different conceptual approaches to social-ecological challenges, including peace ecology, resilience and environmental justice. We will critically explore debates around these ideas and consider how they inform different practical initiatives in a range of contexts and settings relevant to peace and development, both locally and further afield.

In Applied Skills for Conflict Engagement, you will get opportunities to learn in an experiential manner about some of the skills and qualities needed in conflict engagement, in a range of contexts of peace and development practice, including situation analysis, evaluating options for engagement, process planning, and skills for managing and resolving conflict. Different cases and scenarios will allow us to explore interventions at different scales, and in situations of increasing complexity, building understanding of the nature, challenges and value of conflict engagement.
Movements for Peace, Justice and Social Change focuses on activist responses to conflict, injustice and abuses of power: How effective are social movements in changing people and politics, and what possibilities are there for social movements in a globalised and digital age? This module evaluates the techniques, achievements and legacies of social movements, protest campaigns and wider struggles for political change, and for social and environmental justice. It explains theoretical perspectives on social movements and enables you to apply these to case studies drawn from the global north and south. You will explore how movements develop their goals, mobilise supporters, develop protest techniques and help change attitudes and values by confronting those in power.

In Place, Culture and Community, we will explore the relationships between social dynamics and the physical environments in which they take place: How do particular places shape our life experiences and identities? What do we mean by 'community'? What culture(s) do we feel we belong to, and how does this influence our relationships with others? What do place, culture and community mean in contexts of migration, displacement, fragmentation and social-ecological crises? This module explores the intersections between place, culture, community, peace and conflict. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own experiences of place, culture and community, explore critical questions about the meanings of these contested concepts, and consider the potential for engaging place, culture and community in peacebuilding practices. Alongside academic literature, we will explore and reflect on creative and artistic efforts to engage themes of place, culture and community, with a particular emphasis on how these might be used in supporting peacebuilding and social change.

Year Three

Your third year offers choice and flexibility alongside the core curriculum, with options for developing independent research in your dissertation, choice over projects and assignments within modules, and some free module choices. Core modules at this stage focus on further refining your engagement with real-life scenarios and challenges, encouraging you to develop the dispositions and skills needed for reflective practice. The core modules further develop key professional skills and competencies. Option modules allow for further specialisation in relevant areas.

In your third year, you will take two 20-credit core modules, and you will be able to choose an elective in semester 1 and an optional module in semester 2. The elective can be a module offered anywhere within the University

Module TitleCore/OptionCredits
Dissertation Core 40
Ethics in Peace and Development Practice Core 20
Pathways into Professional Practice Option 20
Politics and Security in Africa Option 20
Elective Option 20
Politics of International Crisis Response Core 20
Creative Conflict Transformation Option 20
Politics and Security in the Middle East Option 20
Development Challenges Option 20

In Ethics in Peace and Development Practice, we explore some of the moral questions that arise for individuals and organisations involved in humanitarian, development and peacebuilding initiatives. Responses to conflicts, humanitarian crises and development challenges, however well-intentioned, are rarely straightforward in practice. Indeed, interventions by external actors or third parties can cause lasting harm as well as good, whatever the scale or context of intervention. This module helps you identify and evaluate common ethical dilemmas and issues that arise in the field, showing why 'helping' roles are ethically complex. The module will improve your ability to make informed ethical judgements about relevant real-world cases, contributing to your personal and professional development.

Politics of International Crisis Response brings you together with fellow students in politics, security, international relations, and development studies. Working across these neighbouring disciplines, you will develop an understanding of the dynamics that bear on international responses to complex crises, including disasters, humanitarian or development emergencies, gross abuse of human or minority rights, violent conflict or inter-state security crises. Through relevant case studies, this module examines existing international and regional mechanisms for crisis response and identifies lessons from past experiences. A crisis simulation game and other simulation exercises will give you the opportunity to develop skills and experience that will help you to engage with the challenges and practices of relevant international policy and practitioner communities.

The final year Dissertation offers you an exciting opportunity to deepen and extend your learning, and to design and pursue a substantive self-directed project of your choice. This could take different forms: You might decide to pursue your own piece of research, drawing from relevant academic literature and/or collecting and analysing your own data. You could plan and carry out an action research project with direct links to practice, or you could design a reflective practice project to develop your applied skills in an area of work you are interested in. You will work closely with a supervisor and within a supportive peer network to design and carry out your project. The module will culminate in a showcase event that gives you the chance to share your work with others in a format that you choose, look at the work of your fellow students, and celebrate your achievement.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Employment statistics

88% of our 2016 Peace Studies and International Development graduates found employment or went on to further study within six months of graduating.*

Career prospects

The programme has been designed with reference to relevant professional standard frameworks in the fields of peace, conflict and development. By the end of your studies you will have developed a portfolio of work that demonstrates your competencies. You’ll be well-placed to access a range of career opportunities, both in further academic research and in peace and conflict work at local, national and international levels.

Salary expectations

The average starting salary for our 2016 Peace Studies graduates was £20,571.*

*These DLHE statistics are derived from annually published data by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), based on those UK domiciled graduates who are available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known.


The teaching and learning in Peace Studies and International Development happens in a variety of spaces: lecture theatres, seminar rooms, flexible spaces with moveable furniture where students can work in groups.

We reach outside the classroom – for example, inviting guest speakers from around the world to debate via Skype to debate, and organising study sessions that make use of our innovative eco-friendly campus, and the diverse city of Bradford. We also take students on field trips, in the UK and abroad (for example, around Yorkshire, to Northern Ireland, to The Hague, and to a different African country each year), and extended role plays (in a youth hostel somewhere picturesque).

We have a lot of extra-curricular activity, guest speakers, seminars and training sessions. Our Student Liaison Officer also organises lots of social activity - our central, cosy common room is a great place to meet and learn from fellow students and host to quiz nights, international potluck suppers, free breakfasts, coffee breaks. And don’t let’s forget the annual Peace and Development Ball, and our very own Peace football team…

The JB Priestley Library has excellent resources, especially for Peace, Politics and Social Change, and International Development, in which the university specialises - see details of our Special Collections.

The library is open 24/7, as are other safe, welcoming and interactive spaces around campus designed for students’ to meet and study together.

The University and the Division are very global in outlook, and so are the students we attract. For that reason we offer free Modern Foreign Language classes for beginners in Arabic, French, German and Spanish. These two-hour weekly classes are led by experienced language teachers and result in a certificate of attendance. A much wider range of languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese or Korean, is taught – also for free – under a peer-to-peer scheme. Often PSID students get involved both as teachers and learners.

Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • Home/EU, sandwich placement year fee: 10% of the applicable full-time fee
  • International: £14,950
  • International, sandwich placement year fee: £1,500

* Fees going forward have been capped by the Government at £9,250 in October 2017.

See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

Every year the University of Bradford awards numerous non-repayable scholarships to UK, EU and international students on the basis of academic excellence, personal circumstances or economic hardship.

These include:

  • Undergraduate cash bursaries to all Home and EU students whose family incomes are under £30,000 a year
  • Scholarships worth up to £3,500 over three years to all Home and EU students who achieve AAA or higher in their A-levels (or equivalent)
  • Half Fee Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students
  • Sanctuary scholarships to enable forced migrants seeking asylum, or those already granted refugee status who cannot access student finance
  • Country specific scholarships

Adam Curle and James O'Connell Peace Scholarships

In addition, the Division of Peace Studies and International Development offers two scholarships to students who demonstrate leadership and academic potential.

Any applicant who has formally confirmed acceptance of our offer (either conditional or unconditional) of admission onto any of our undergraduate degree courses is eligible to apply. Each is worth £3,000 (£1,000 a year over three years) and can be used for any purpose – living expenses, books, internships, travel. 

Application is by a short personal statement. Email Dr Fiona Macaulay for more details.

How do I find out more?

Got a question?

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Enquiry form

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.