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Peacebuilding and Mediation (MPhil 2-year programme) 2021 entry

The MPhil component of the Peacebuilding and Mediation programme provides students with additional experience across a range of specialized topics in peace studies. Students enrolled in the two-year MPhil complete core and optional modules in the Peacebuilding and Mediation programme in their first year. In their second year, MPhil students complete a semester abroad at one of several excellent peace studies programmes in Europe and will develop research practice skills through a compulsory semester placement with UK academics or local or international NGOs working at the cutting edge of peacebuilding and mediation practice.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2023

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

Two years full time

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for the MPhil are the same as the Peacebuilding and Mediation MLitt:

However, students studying for the two-year MPhil degree will be reviewed during their first year of study to determine whether they can progress to Year 2 to complete the MPhil.

The MPhil entry review is based on standard University MPhil progression criteria and expectations.

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.

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Tuition fees

Information about tuition fees for the first year can be found on the Peacebuilding and Mediation MLitt page.

Tuition fees in the second year will follow the postgraduate research fees

Application deadline

Friday 30 April 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé
  • personal statement indicating your knowledge of the programme and how it will benefit you (500 words)
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic or professional references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

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

Course information

The Peacebuilding and Mediation MPhil follows the same course structure of the MLitt for the first year.

Students studying for the MPhil will also complete one semester abroad at a partner institute in Europe. The equivalent of 60 credits will be obtained through coursework completed at one study  partner within our network. Subject to availability, students might be able to undertake study placements at current partners, such as:

  • Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany 
  • University of Hamburg – Institute for Peace Research and Security Studies, Hamburg, Germany
  • University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany 
  • The Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden 

MPhil students will also complete a semester of research practice placement either abroad or within the UK. Students will choose from pre-approved academic and practitioner partners but can, with permission, propose and arrange their own research practice placement. The goal of the practice placement extends beyond work experience and is instead designed around a research collaboration between the student and research practice partner culminating in the student’s production of a substantive final report. Student assessment will be based on submission of this final research report (70%) and an additional reflexive writing assignment of 3,500 words focused on the practice-based learning that has occurred during the placement (30%).

MPhil students will complete their dissertation over the summer in Year 2 at St Andrews.The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of August of Year 2 of the MPhil programme.


All Peacebuilding and Mediation students take two compulsory and two optional modules over the course of the programme. 

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020-2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

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, case studies, and in-class simulation.

Students choose two optional modules.

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

  • African Political Thought: examines the main ideas of the great Africanist thinkers e.g. Du Bois, Garvey, Fanon, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Senghor, Cabral, Biko etc and discuss how these intellectuals reacted to the internal and external variables to evolve a body of ideas which together could be viewed as African political thought.
  • Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought: explores different elements of non-Western thought to understand assumptions about the body, political community and the world. 
  • Critical Security Studies: examines the challenge to traditional conceptions of security presented by the emergence of critical security studies since the end of the Cold War. 
  • Gender and Terrorism: explores gender as a tool for the construction and maintenance of power. 
  • 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. 
  • Religion and International Politics: investigates the so-called 'global resurgence' of politicised religion. 
  • Security and Justice Institutions in World Politics: examines the development and efficacy of institutions in the fields of peace, security and justice.
  • Spaces of Securitization: explores how securitization unfolds in theory and in practice by investigating the ‘spatial turn’ in international relations.
  • Terrorism and Liberal Democracy: explores the development of contemporary terrorism and the conceptional and definitional issues concerning terrorism. 
  • 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. 
  • The Global Politics of Everyday Life: explores how everyday life and global politics are co-constitutive by drawing on a range of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives. 
  • The Military in Politics: introduces students to civil-military relations and then analyses how armed forces impact states domestic politics.
  • Theories of Friendship and Enmity: addresses a number of classical texts in western political thought on the themes of friendship and enmity.

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 the MLitt is a 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation should focus on an area of peacebuilding and/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.

Students in the two-year MPhil programme will gain additional experience across a range of specialised topics in peace studies through a semester abroad at one of several excellent peace studies programmes in Europe and will develop research practice skills through a compulsory semester placement with a UK-based academic or local or international NGO working at the cutting edge of peacebuilding and mediation practice.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, 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 modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

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