Peacebuilding and Mediation (MLitt) 2024 entry

Peacebuilding and Mediation critically explores the relationship between formal and official peacebuilding and mediation initiatives and informal, unofficial, and community-based efforts. 

This course is offered as an MLitt:

  • The MLitt is a one-year programme involving two semesters of taught modules followed by a dissertation.

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2024
One year full time (MLitt)
School of International Relations

Application deadline

Friday 26 April 2024

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

  • An upper 2:1 Honours degree in Political Science, International Relations, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Geography, History, Sociology, English, Comparative Literature, or other relevant disciplines. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé 
  • personal statement indicating your knowledge of the programme and how it will benefit you (500 words) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic or professional references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Peacebuilding and Mediation are run by the School of International Relations. The programme showcases the School’s world-leading research strengths in the broad field of peace and conflict studies, including in peacebuilding and mediation of conflict.

In this course, you will: 

  • analyse bottom-up and top-down approaches to conflict mediation 
  • conceptualise peace and its relationship to violence 
  • analyse relationships between formal institutions of peacebuilding and parallel informal or unofficial processes 
  • identify key actors involved in peacebuilding and mediation efforts 
  • engage with bottom-up approaches to building peace 
  • explore feminist and decolonial critiques of formal peace processes 
  • critically engage with temporalities and spaces of peace and violence. 


  • The focus of this programme on peacebuilding and mediation ensures that the study of conflict focuses not only on violence, its actors, and modalities, but also on the different insights deriving from critical engagement with processes of peace.
  • The programme is strongly influenced by postcolonial, feminist and critical theory.
  • The programme locates and analyses both global and more local cases of peacebuilding and mediation, building on Scottish strengths of community-based mediation, conflict resolution, and peace promotion.
  • All students receive mediation training in the first semester of study, and can obtain an accredited certificate in mediation. Students have further opportunities to complete continuous professional development in mediation and to participate in practice mediation sessions towards their potential registration as mediators with Scottish Mediation.



The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

All Peacebuilding and Mediation students take two compulsory and two optional modules.  




Students must take the following compulsory modules: 

  • Critical Approaches to Peacebuilding: explores the many meanings of peace. Drawing from both theoretical analyses and applied study of peacebuilding efforts worldwide, the module examines the actors, settings, temporalities, challenges, and opportunities involved in the making of peace. 
  • Mediation: Community and Global Praxis: identifies the historical, conceptual, and theoretical underpinnings of conflict resolution practices; analyses diverse forms of mediation, including ‘Track 1’ diplomacy, third-party mediation, and state- and community-led approaches; and, evaluates differential outcomes of mediation processes based on literature review and case studies. Students also complete an accredited mediation training course. 

Students choose two optional modules.

Here is a sample of particularly appropriate optional modules that may be offered.

  • Armed Governance: examines the origins, motivations, and dynamics of armed governance. Developing new multi-disciplinary perspectives and frameworks for understanding these governance arrangements.
  • The Changing Face(s) of Diplomacy: Emotions, Power and Persuasion in International Relations: highlights the role of emotions, persuasion and communication technology into the diplomatic arena.
  • Contemporary Decolonial Thought: considers the way in which this mode of thinking resonates with quantum philosophical thought in terms of ontology and epistemology, conceptualisations of time and the ethics of exclusion.
  • Feminist Political Economy: introduces students to feminist political economy, covering key concepts and theories, including social reproduction, and case studies. Including the European Union, trade, and global care chains.
  • Global Constitutionalism: explores global constitutionalism from a political theory perspective focusing on three concepts: law, power, and rights.
  • International Relations of the Modern Middle East: looks at the formation of the Middle East regional system, its special characteristics, and the impact on it of the global system.
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: familiarises students with different approaches that seek to explain how ethnicity and nationhood are created and maintained, how different forms of ethnic conflict and ethnic violence come about, and what possible mechanisms to contain nationalism and ethnic conflict are.
  • Political Economy of Conflict: provides a political economy perspective on conflict in a developing economy.
  • Prisons: Spaces of Power, Resistance and Peacebuilding: examines prisons as state responses to poverty, drugs and political dissent, and analyses differential impacts of incarceration, and modes of resistance to it.
  • Security and Development in East Asia: investigates growth and development in East Asian states, and seeks to understand if there is a uniquely Asian approach to security and development that produces distinctive regional patterns.
  • Security and Justice Institutions in World Politics: examines the role of different international institutions in governing world politics.
  • Terrorism and Liberal Democracy: addresses conceptual and definitional issues concerning terrorism; the relationship of terrorism to other forms of political violence; the origins, dynamics and development of contemporary terrorism; the efficacy of terrorism as a political weapon; the dilemmas and challenges of liberal democratic state responses to terrorism; and case studies in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).

The final element of both the MLitt is a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation should focus on an area of peacebuilding or mediation in which you are interested. Each student is supported by a relevant supervisor from the School who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of August. 

If MLitt students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 


The programme consists of four taught modules taken over two semesters. Modules are taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Average lecture sizes range from 20 to 30 students, and tutorial sizes range from 1 to 15 students.

Assessment methods include a combination of examination and coursework.

During the summer, MLitt students will complete a 15,000-word dissertation in an area of their choice. Every student is assigned a dissertation supervisor who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. 


The School of International Relations hosts a variety of research seminars throughout the academic session to promote the work of the faculty, students and visiting speakers.

The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies is particularly integrated with the MLitt programme in Peacebuilding and Mediation. 

A number of student-led associations and organisations contribute to the development and profile of International Relations throughout the University and the community.




More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


The MLitt programme purposefully prepares students for career prospects in a variety of fields. The emphasis on learning mediation and practitioner skills. Students who graduate from this programme can expect to go on to work in various professional fields, including:

  • human rights
  • law
  • policy research 
  • NGOs
  • charities
  • international organisations
  • civil service
  • academia.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Postgraduate research

What to do next

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Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 1944
School of International Relations
The Arts Building
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AX

School of International Relations website