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Peace, Resilience and Social Justice

Duration: 1 year
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: MA
Suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Social Sciences
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Our new MA in Peace, Resilience and Social Justice is designed for those seeking an advanced understanding of the major contemporary trends shaping our world, such as environmental crisis, widening inequality and social division, resource scarcity, and violent conflict.

The programme critically examines how society is responding to these challenges, from contentious collective action and political resistance through to efforts to design and create more resilient, sustainable communities.

You will explore topics such as:

  • implications of climate change for peace and social justice
  • the role of resource limits and land-grabbing in the promotion of conflict
  • emergence of movements for indigenous rights and food sovereignty
  • crisis of democratic institutions and the rise of political populism
  • increase in contentious collective action – in both the real and virtual realms

The programme is delivered by the Division of Peace Studies and International Development, which maintains an international reputation as a centre for excellence in research, teaching, training and policy engagement. This means your teaching will not only be research-informed but also by staff that are well positioned to facilitate policy and practitioner community engagement.

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 organisations around the world such as the United Nations, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Africa and the China Development Banks, the Aga Khan Foundation, the UK Ministry of Defence, Saferworld, and the Oxford Research Group, to name but a few.

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). Our International Development programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings. Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of only six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide.

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 inside and outside the classroom. Our students can also engage with detailed policy work by attending our research groups and extracurricular talks, conferences, and training events, on and off campus. Our interdisciplinary degrees reflect the key research theme of Sustainable Societies at the University of Bradford.

Our teaching is interactive and focussed on professionalism and employability. You will have the opportunity to study in groups and teams, develop your own research projects, go on field trips in the UK and abroad, 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.

You will also learn from your fellow students and from the city. The Division is diverse – on our Master’s programmes you will meet the world in your classroom and learn a huge amount from your peers, many of whom already have significant practical experience in the fields of peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development. 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

An undergraduate degree at 2.2 or above.

Plus minimum of:

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

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in any competency.

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.

Semester 1

Module Title



Studying Peace in a Changing World Core 20
Social-Ecological Resilience: Discourses and Practices Core 20
Elective (choice of a range of relevant options within or outside of PSID) Elective 20

In your first semester, you will be studying two core modules that introduce key concepts and approaches to the intersecting challenges of Peace, Resilience and Social Justice.

Studying Peace in a Changing World introduces you to the field of Peace Studies and explores its relevance to the contemporary period using case studies from around the world and at a number of scales from the local to the global. You will examine core concepts in the study of peaceful and unpeaceful relations and use them to critically analyse situations of conflict, injustice and violence. We will explore and evaluate a range of practices of peace-making and peace-building in the world today and analyse the practical and symbolic use of peace discourses within the context of political, economic and ecological crises.

Social-Ecological Resilience: Discourses and Practices: 'Resilience' has become a buzzword among academics, policy-makers and practitioners trying to understand and work within complex social-ecological systems. Located at the intersections between different disciplines in the natural and social sciences, and between theory and practice, 'resilience' has stimulated critical debate, ongoing conceptual development, and practical experimentation.

This module introduces you to this body of theory and practice and offers you the opportunity to explore how ideas and practices of resilience, adaptation, and transformation might inform attempts to grapple with some of the key challenges we face in a context in which 'business as usual' becomes increasingly unsustainable: Which aspects of current social-ecological systems can and should we try to sustain? What adaptations might be needed along the way? When might transformation be a more desirable and more viable option? Where do issues of power, equity and justice fit in?

This module also gives you the chance to tackle these questions with reference to a real-world context, developing skills in applied research, analysis and design.

In addition, you will be able to choose an elective module from across the University’s provision, giving you plenty of scope to develop and pursue your own interests.

Semester 2

Module Title



Movements for Social and Ecological Justice Core 20
Natural Resource Governance Option 20
Sustainable Cities Option 20
Skills for Constructive Conflict Engagement Option 20
Creative Conflict Transformation Option 20
Gender, Conflict and Development Option 20
Assessing Development Needs and Outcomes Option 20
Issues in Development Practice Option 20
Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Option 20
Africa Study Visit Option 20

In your second semester, you will take part in one core module and two optional modules.

Movements for Social and Ecological Justice examines the role of social movements in defining, challenging and transforming injustice in a variety of socio-cultural, political and economic domains. A particular emphasis will be on how contemporary movements are tackling the intersections between these domains in a period of ecological crises: What does social justice mean in a context in which economic growth has become deeply problematic and thus can no longer be considered a sustainable route to addressing shortfalls in provision for human needs? How are social and environmental justice issues being framed in contemporary movements for change? What is the potential of ideas and initiatives that are trying to tackle social and ecological issues simultaneously, and what might be the trade-offs involved?

Semester 3

In semester 3, the 15,000 word dissertation is a chance to pursue and develop your interests by designing and carrying out your own research project. A member of academic staff will supervise and support you in choosing a topic, devising an appropriate methodological approach and structuring your work.

Module Title



Dissertation Core 60

Elective (Semester 1)

Alongside your core modules in semester 1, you will have the opportunity to choose any module offered within or outside Peace Studies and International Development as your elective. Within PSID, relevant modules include the following: African Politics and Security Dynamics, Applied Conflict Research, Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes, Contemporary Security Challenges, Governance for Development, Issues in Development Theory, Sustainable Development, The International System in Theory and Context, and Security and Development in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Areas.

Options (Semester 2)

Africa Study Visit: The centrepiece of this module is an intensive two-week study visit in an African country, consisting of a schedule of meetings, interviews, lectures and seminars. You will gain theoretical and historical knowledge of African politics and security, with specific reference to the country you will visit.

Once in the country, you will use your historical and theoretical knowledge in what are effectively interview settings to formulate and ask questions of key players, supported by the academic leader. This is in many ways a preparation for PhD or work-based fieldwork, research and writing. You will visit important sites and institutions, and meet with state and local government ministers, politicians, civil servants, members of the security forces, national and international NGO staff and activists, the media, academics and other students. The amalgamation of theory, knowledge and primary research makes this module one amongst the very few of its kind.

Please note that there is an additional cost for participation in this module.

Assessing Development Needs and Outcomes: Debates on whether spending on aid is 'effective' or constitutes "value for money" and how we should measure the results of development programmes and projects have become particularly intense and central to aid policy in the past decade. Similarly, methods for assessing needs, monitoring and reviewing progress in implementation, and evaluating outcomes This module examines some of the most important ways in which the national and international development institutions and the 'aid industry' measures needs, progress and outcomes and the implications of this for policy and programming. You will learn to use different approaches for assessing needs and measuring results, and you will develop a critical awareness of the limitations and uses of different techniques and approaches.

Creative Conflict Transformation explores some intriguing questions posed by John Paul Lederach in his book 'The Moral Imagination': 'What happens to peacebuilding practice if we shift from a guiding metaphor that we are providing professional services to one that we are engaged in a vocation to nurture constructive social change? What happens to process design if we think of ourselves as artists [as well as] professional specialists with technical expertise? What happens if building intuition and art are included in conflict resolution, mediation, and peacebuilding training?'

This module invites you to explore some of these questions, and to look beyond the most familiar peacemaking processes to include the arts (e.g. music, applied theatre, literature), memory work, and critical/peace education. It starts from the assumption that much work to address conflict and its legacies requires a capacity to both envision and act for change.

How might we cultivate this capacity in ourselves and others? While this module can and should not provide final answers, it will draw inspiration from existing experiences and experiments and encourage you to reflect both creatively and critically on how they might help you shape your own approach to conflict engagement.

Gender, Conflict and Development: Gender matters in understanding the social roots of violent conflict, how that violence is conducted, and how societies recover. Gender relations and identities are, arguably, the deepest rooted and most personal that we experience, and therefore understanding violent conflict requires a gender analysis (which also intersects with culture, religion, ethnicity, class and other variables). This Level 7 module explores the linkages between gender roles (masculinities and femininities constructed through identity, ideology, behaviours, attitudes, cultural practices) in different societies at different times have contributed to either the breakdown of social relations into violent conflict, or the construction of stable and peaceful societies. We look at the impact of conflict factors on men as well as women in order to move from a ‘women in conflict/development’ lens to ‘gender and conflict/development’ perspective. Gender analysis implies looking not just the differentiated, gendered experiences of men and of women, but also at the way gender as an idea of masculine/feminine values is deployed discursively and strategically in the roots, conduct and resolution of violent conflict, and in post-conflict development policy.

Issues in Development Practice critically analyses development practice in different locales and contexts. You will gain knowledge of different policy paradigms and an understanding of the challenges to delivering development effectively. You will be exposed to different conceptions of development and the range of policy responses pursued by international development agencies, public and civil society institutions. The module applies a multidimensional understanding of poverty to the design and management of development interventions and critically analyses current practices, including use of conflict sensitivity methods and principles.

Natural Resource Governance will enable you to gain an advanced knowledge and understanding of the key concepts, theories, characteristics, challenges, and strategies and programmes for reform of natural resource governance in developing countries, and particularly in fragile or conflict-affected contexts. This module also introduces professional guidelines and methods and their application to help ensure conflict sensitivity, gender sensitivity or consistency with wider sustainable development goals.

The module examines issues and challenges for natural resources governance, generically and through a wide range of experiences and case studies from across the world. It focuses systematically on different sectors, particularly on: land; water, forests, river basins, fisheries, seas and mineral resources (including oil, gas, gems and metals); and on their relationship with governance, conflict risks and processes, state fragility and societal resilience and gender relations. The module examines the roles of state regulation, community initiatives and governance; and international aid, trade, or environmental agreements.

Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding focuses on countries of the Global South which have experienced conflict. You will explore the changes that have taken place in peacekeeping on the ground, and analyse the different evaluations that have been made by academics, practitioners, campaigners and politicians. You will interrogate the concept of peacebuilding and analyse the ways in which its varying objectives have been addressed by different actors over time in different parts of the Global South. You will explore these themes in the context of country case studies. You will undertake research, using both academic sources and accounts from international organisations, ranging from the United Nations to international Non-Governmental Organisations.

Skills for Constructive Conflict Engagement provides opportunities to develop and demonstrate competence in core skills and qualities needed in peace and humanitarian work. Building on the modules Applied Conflict Research and Designing and Assessing Conflict Intervention Processes, it continues to develop insight into conflict situations and intervention processes, but with a focus on the direct practice of negotiation, facilitation and mediation in different conflict situations. The module will combine training methodologies with critical insight into the application and limits of peacemaking skills, developing a basis for informed, reflective practice.

Sustainable Cities will help you to develop an advanced understanding of the concepts, ideas, approaches, policies, challenges and limitations of sustainable cities. This module will look at a range of challenges facing contemporary cities, including the following: the urban millennium and understanding the nature of cities, urban economy and its spatial and social manifestations; city growth, productivity, prosperity and poverty that includes ‘engines of growth’ and ‘dark satanic mills’; ecological footprint and the basis of sustainable cities and implications for SDG11; strategic and city-wide challenges; sector based approaches including transport, energy, water, pollution and waste management; smart cities, big data and digital innovations; urban governance; the new urban ecologies and citizen centred approaches, health issues and healthy cities; urban violence; gendered nature of urban systems and issues for inclusive cities; urban space as a means of liberties; cities, speculation and money-laundering issues.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

We use a wide range of teaching, learning and assessment methods to enable students to understand and develop skills for engagement and employment with important policy and practitioner communities (International organisations, governments, NGOs, business associations, etc.), and provide opportunities for students to engage with these in detail through simulation exercises and training workshops, as well as facilitated contacts with practitioners.

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.


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: £6,680
  • International: £15,650

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

Financial support

You may be eligible to apply for the government's new Postgraduate Loan to put towards your fees and living costs. Find out more on our Fees and Financial Support website.

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:

  • Postgraduate bursary
  • Alumni discount scheme (for current students moving onto a higher degree)
  • Country specific scholarships
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • 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

Rotary Peace Fellowships

Since 2002 the Division has also hosted one of six prestigious Rotary Peace Centres worldwide, set up to develop leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. All Rotary Fellows take our extended MAs lasting 15 months, which includes Applied Field experience.

Rotary fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses. There is a separate application and selection process.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

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.