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MA Conflict, Displacement and Human Security

Course overview

Start date

September 2018

Subject area

Social Sciences





On campus

Course summary

On this cutting-edge course, we specialise in giving our students an advanced and comprehensive understanding of the relationship between conflict, displacement and human insecurity.

We will help you to develop the skills and understanding to prepare for employment in the fields of conflict management and resolution, humanitarian assistance and displacement, human rights and development initiatives.

The key aspects of your learning will be the focus on conflict and displacement. We value a people-centred approach and an emphasis on human security which combines both human rights and human development.

The course approaches development as an important security strategy and considers displacement a measure of human security. We will encourage you to adopt an independent critical approach to contemporary theories of conflict, human rights and human security.

You will work with academics involved in the latest research and have access to wide-ranging expertise in our research centres, covering human rights in conflict, social justice and change, migration, refugees and belonging and gender research. 

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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Specialised skills to give you an advantage in the sector

We will give you the wide-ranging skills and knowledge to work in the fields of conflict management and resolution, humanitarian assistance and displacement, human rights and development initiatives.

A people-centred approach to human security

We think this makes our course special, and is aimed at preparing students for non-governmental as well as government-sector employment, both in developing and developed countries.

Great access to experts and research at UEL

Access includes UEL seminars, workshops and conferences organised by the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, the Centre for Social Justice and Change, the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging and the Feminist Research Group.

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What we're researching

When you undertake one of our master’s courses you’ll be taught by research-active, well-published academic staff who are experts in their field.

We’re engaged in cutting-edge research in the area of posthuman approaches to international relations, ‘the posthuman way of war’, gender power systems of conflict and violence, gender and religion, gender and development, psychosocial aspects of forced displacement, digital diasporas, social capital and integration.

Our staff also have regional expertise and excellent contacts in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Europe and Western Balkans.

We have a number of research centres and groups in the area of global studies and run many research seminars and events. All of our postgraduate students are welcome to become part of our vibrant research community.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.1 Honours in a relevant subject

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.

We will also consider a minimum 2:2 Honours degree with relevant work experience.
Overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

The following are the core and optional requirements for this programme:

• Conflict, Displacement and Human Security (core)
• Qualitative Research Methods (Social Sciences) (core)
• Dissertation (core)
• Introduction to Forced Migration (option)
• Development in the International Context (option)
• Current Issues in Forced Migration (option)
• Global Environmental Politics (option)
• War and Human Rights (option)

How you'll be assessed

We assess you by your coursework: essays, reports, presentations, research proposal and dissertation. All modules are assessed and the final award takes account of all module marks.

Course specification

How you'll learn

In addition to lectures and seminars, you will benefit from access to workshops and conferences organised by the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, the Centre for Social Justice and Change, the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, the Feminist Research Group and other UEL-wide groups.

This means you have the opportunity to link up with key researchers in the area and gain an insight into the latest thinking on critical issues. You will also benefit from access to the Refugee Archive at UEL, which is one of the largest collections of materials on refugees and forced migration.

The archive contains materials on refugees in all parts of the world, with special emphasis on the UK. For more than 30 years it was housed at the Refugee Council - the lead organisation in Britain on refugee issues.

As an optional extra, you may also be involved in internships with local and international organisations and agencies working in the fields of displacement, conflict, conflict resolution, human rights, humanitarian assistance and development, as well as take part in civic engagement projects at UEL.

Our academic staff are actively involved in some of the key international research and are therefore well connected with major bodies such as UNICEF as well as government departments and NGOs.

What you'll learn

This course will help you to develop important skills for a key role in the area of conflict, displacement and human security.

By the time you complete it, you should have acquired advanced critical and evaluative abilities, research management skills, the ability to design and deliver substantial written reports and social research projects, and high levels of competence in library and bibliographical research.

You will also have gained skills in data collection and analysis. You will have enhanced abilities in verbal presentation, familiarity with means of dissemination and mobilising research findings, and an advanced ability to collaborate in research groups and teams.

The course provides an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the conflict, generalised violence and social inequality in contemporary global contexts. It examines the complexities of global, regional and local structures, and the relationships to the changing character of conflict.

Your studies will focus on two core modules: Conflict; Displacement and Human Security, and Research Methods and two specialist option modules in the areas of displacement, development, human rights, global environmental politics and community development.  This will prepare you to begin a dissertation during the summer term for submission in September.

Your future career

Our course is specifically aimed at giving you the skills, knowledge and understanding for a career in the fields of conflict management and resolution, humanitarian assistance and displacement, human rights and development initiatives.

You will develop the critical thinking skills and flexibility for a role in an NGO or in a government department or agency, both in developing and developed countries.

The course will also develop your skills for further academic research in conflict, displacement, development and human rights fields, as well as in associated areas of social and political theory. 

If you are interested to continue to PhD level, our course gives you the opportunity to apply for ESRC funding through the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership Programme.

We will encourage you to develop relationships with local and international organisations and agencies through internships. Our academic staff also work closely with major players in the area. 

Dr Giorgia Doná is Professor of Forced Migration and Refugee Studies and her research focuses on forced migration and refugee movements, violence and society, child protection and psycho-social assistance, with a geographical focus on Central America and East Africa. She has undertaken consultancy work for UNICEF, governments and  NGOs.

Dr Afaf Jabiri is Senior Lecturer in Refugee Studies and NGOs management. Her research focuses on forced migration and refugees in the Middle East, Palestinian refugees, gender and religion; and gender and development. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Centre for Human Rights’ Global Initiative on violence against women. She was the Regional Director of the Karama (Dignity) Network and the Director of the Jordanian Women’s Union Aid Centre and Shelter for Women’s Survivors of Violence. She has also worked as women’s protection officer at UNHCR and served as a policy and advocacy advisor for international and domestic NGOs and UN agencies.

Dr Maja Korac-Sanderson is Reader in Migration and Refugee Studies and is a co-founder of the Women in Conflict Zones Network (WICZNET), an international network of scholars, policymakers and grassroots women’s groups from around the world. Her research focuses on conflict, gender and displacement, as well as conflict, intervention and development

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