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Global Conflict in the Modern Era (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

The International Relations programme offers outstanding preparation for students seeking a profession that requires comprehensive knowledge of world affairs and strong analytical and critical-thinking skills.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include

  • Policy advisor, at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Communications manager and project assistant at an NGO promoting reconciliation and peace
  • Consular spokesperson at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Consultant at an NGO
  • Project manager at a company specialising in geo-services, international development and project management
  • PhD candidate and research assistant
  • Communications officer at an international student federation
  • Research analyst at a consultancy firm
  • Product manager at a multinational company
  • University relations manager at an education intermediary
  • Senior immigration expert at a multinational accountancy and consultancy firm

Your qualifications

Your master will qualify you for a wide-range of roles in almost every sector of the employment market. Many of our graduates work for public services, research institutes, international organisations, government bodies, NGOs, education, communications, policy development, political institutes and academia, amongst others.

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." 

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA International Relations - Global Conflict in the Modern Era 2016-2020.


  • 28 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 23 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organisation)
  • 10 % Business services
  • 10 % Education
  • 10 % Consulting
  • 10 % Media and journalism
  • 5 % Research
  • 4 % IT

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 81 % found a job within two months
  • 90 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The master’s programme in International Relations at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of important transferable skills and knowledge that will help you stand out in your future career. Your specialised knowledge is complemented by a broad and contextual understanding as well as critical-thinking skills that can be applied to complex conceptual problems. In class, we encourage every student to participate in discussions to develop their ability to clearly and confidently articulate their ideas as well as fine-tune their logic and reasoning abilities. Other skills you may encounter in the various International Relations courses are:

  • Collaboration
  • Persuasion
  • Research
  • Self-directed learning
  • Creative thinking

You will have the opportunity to gain experience working an as intern in an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. This experience is highly valued within international organisations, as are strong communication skills. Organisations where students from the MA International Relations programme may find an internship include:

  • Security Policy Department (DVB) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dutch Ministry of Defense
  • NGOs, for example Gender Concerns International or NGO’s focused on humanitarian aid
  • Think tanks, such as the Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the International Centre for Counterterrorism and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies around the world (Latvia, Washington, USA, South Africa, etc)
  • European institutions - examples include Estonian presidency of the European Union, internships for members of the European Parliament
  • Media outlets such as Een Vandaag in Hilversum.
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations

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

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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