Universiteit Leiden

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War and Peace Studies (MSc)

In the track War and Peace Studies, you will gain a thorough understanding of the history, theories as well as the contemporary and future policy challenges related to war, warfare, and the multidimensional promotion of peace.

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What does this master's programme entail?

Issues of War and Peace are as old as humanity itself. Although over the last century the scientific disciplines of war studies and peace studies have developed on different paths, the track War and Peace Studies will deliberately provide you with a unique integrated approach that compares, contrasts and combines both the war and peace studies perspectives. You will be taught by scholars and practitioners of war studies, strategic studies, peace studies, and peacebuilding strategic studies with the aim of training you to analyse both persistent challenges and new challenges of war and peace in a holistic manner.

You will study theories and practices related to the causes of different type of wars (inter-state wars, civil wars and ethnic conflict, insurgencies and hybrid wars) as well as conduct in war and consequences of war. You will also learn about the causes, nature and tools for the promotion of peace (such as mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, civil society approaches and innovative approaches to positive peace). Finally, the track pays attention to contemporary and future challenges, such as the climate-security nexus, the role of new technologies (such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, big data, and the cyber and robotics revolutions) and gender, peace and security.

Throughout the year, the different courses will also focus on cross-cutting issues relevant to both military and peacebuilding experts. It will do all this from the perspective of different actors, including individuals, (coalitions of) states, and regional and multilateral organisations, such as the European Union, African Union, OSCE, NATO and the United Nations.

After completing this track, you will have comprehensive insights into fundamental issues of war and peace which combine thorough conceptual, historical and theoretical knowledge with practical, policy-relevant expertise. The track is therefore of particular interest for students wishing to pursue a career in defence, security, foreign affairs, mediation, international organisations, peacebuilding, the protection of civilians and conflict resolution.

In this track you will

•    Be familiarized with the historical, conceptual and theoretical foundations of war and peace studies as well as with a wide range of core policy-relevant issues related to war and peace
•    Study and discuss the similarities and differences of the war studies and peace studies perspectives and how a combination of both allows you to analyze contemporary and future challenges from a holistic perspective 
•    Be introduced to the state of the art in academic research on war and peace; you will analyze major theories and policy-relevant evaluation frameworks for understanding, assessing and evaluating issues such as the causes, conduct and consequences of war, conditions and tools for the promotion of peace, major obstacles and challenges to peacebuilding and future dimensions of war and warfare
•    Be able to compare, contrast and synthesize analytical tools and insights from war and peace studies in order to formulate answers in a holistic manner to cross-cutting issues of war and peace   
•    Develop both academic and professional skills which enable you to apply academic insights to policy relevant issues in war and peace 
•    Obtain in-depth insights from both academic and practical perspectives on the core issues related to war and peace
•    Gain an understanding of the dilemmas and challenges facing practitioners 
•    Learn about the backgrounds and interests of as well as the interactions between the key actors and institutions involved in war and peace, at both the national and the international level
•    Engage with historical and current cases of war making and peacebuilding 

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