Universiteit Leiden

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Global Conflict in the Modern Era (MA)

About the programme

In the Global Conflict in the Modern Era specialisation of International Relations you will explore the security measures that have been instituted locally, regionally and globally in the modern world.

The study programme includes one specialisation core course, two general courses, a thesis preparatory course, two electives and the final Master's thesis. For a more detailed programme and an overview of all the possible electives, please check the Prospectus

Master's Thesis

The preparatory course is made to prepare you for writing a Master's thesis. The course introduces you to core conceptual, methodological and theoretical issues that you encounter when you are working on your Master's thesis. On top of that, a series of seminars will focus on specific issues related to International Studies. Once you start the thesis process, you will have great freedom to choose what you want to write about. We have many thesis supervisors who have different areas of expertise.


You have the opportunity to do an internship at an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. This experience is highly valued within international organisations. Organisations that our students have interned at include:

  • Dutch Ministry of Defense
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies around the world
  • Media outlets such as EenVandaag
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations
  • Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’
  • The International Centre for Counterterrorism
  • The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Please note that you will need to find your own internship and have to follow an internship procedure for approval. Pursuing an internship may have consequences for the date of your graduation.

Calum Thomson

Graduated in MA Global Conflict in the Modern Era

Calum Thomson

"I decided to study MA Global Conflict in the Modern Era because I wanted to gain a theoretical understanding of conflict in different geopolitical contexts, but also I wanted a greater understanding of security and defense policy and strategy. The excellent choice of elective courses really let you make the degree your own. Leiden University was also very accommodating in the process of selecting thesis topics and matched me with a very knowledgeable and helpful professor who guided me through the composition with great results."


"I work at the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Brussels and Ukraine is one of the six Eastern Partnership countries. Understanding the historical and geopolitical context of the region is vital to attempt to make sense of and respond to this appalling situation. During my MA I took elective courses which focused specifically on Ukraine's relationship with Russia and Belarus and on military and defence strategy which have proven to be totally invaluable in the course of my work. In coordinating our response as a Forum of Civil Society organisations across the EU and Eastern Partnership region, negotiation and mediation skills that we practised in role-play scenarios during our core courses have also been very useful."

Manizja Aziz

Graduated in MA Global Conflict in the Modern Era

Manizja Aziz

"After completing an LLM in International and European Law, I had gained a legal perspective on human rights and conflicts. However, I wanted to learn more about how conflicts arise and study concepts such as war and peace from a multidisciplinary angle. That is why I chose to study IR at Leiden University. Furthermore, what pulled me in, was the wide range of elective courses, as this enabled me to really tailor the master's programme to my interests."

Career opportunities 

"I currently work as a Knowledge & Quality Officer at Free Press Unlimited, a Dutch press freedom NGO situated in Amsterdam. In this position, I specialise in the safety of journalists and I am responsible for research, report writing, monitoring & evaluation support and knowledge management."

Academic skills

"The multidisciplinary perspective on global conflict that I gained during my studies, helps me in my current job, as the majority of our partner organisations work in (post-)conflict countries and/or repressive environments. Furthermore, I really got to strengthen my writing and analytical skills during my MA at Leiden University, which are essential in my current job." 

Is Global Conflict in the Modern Era the programme for you?

 Check the admission requirements to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme.

Check the entry requirements

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