Taught course

Conflict, Security and Development

University of Sussex · International Relations

Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent), preferably in a humanities or social sciences subject. Relevant degrees include political science, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, sociology, and area studies. A degree in the social sciences or humanities does not constitute a strict requirement and applicants with degrees in other disciplines will be given due consideration. Relevant work and voluntary experience will also be considered, particularly in cases where candidates fall short of the academic requirement.

Months of entry


Course content

The challenges posed by civil wars, genocides, famines and other humanitarian crises show that security and development are closely linked today. Successful development and conflict resolution require the provision of security. Conversely, lack of development can breed insecurity and violence.

This MA analyses the complex relationships that lie at the heart of this development-security nexus in the global south, focusing on:

  • the extent to which destructive cycles of insecurity and violence affect the possibility of development for large sections of the world’s population
  • the difficulties that aid agencies, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), governments and international organisations encounter when trying to negotiate these spirals of violence and insecurity – be it through armed intervention, the provision of aid, the sponsoring of peace-building processes, or assisting states in post-conflict reconstruction
  • the question of whether underdevelopment in the global south can be said to constitute a security threat by facilitating the international spread of terrorist and criminal networks.

This MA draws on Sussex’s long-standing reputation for excellence in research and teaching in international relations and development studies. Sussex’s interdisciplinary perspective on questions of peace, vulnerability and insecurity provides a distinctive grounding in concepts of conflict, security and development but also knowledge of the empirical problems associated with specific instances of this nexus.

The course includes an optional fieldtrip to Brussels, Belgium or Geneva, Switzerland.


Conflict, Security and Development is assessed by a 5,000-word term paper. New Security Challenges is assessed by an unseen paper. Assessment of the spring-term options is by 5,000-word term papers. You also write a 10,000-word dissertation.

Academic activities

On many of our MA courses, you are encouraged to participate in:

  • visiting practitioner and lecturer workshops on specific topics
  • our New Security Challenges lecture series involving high-profile practitioners, policymakers and analysts.

Research placements

A research placement allows you to gain experience in an area of work relating to your subject of study and to acquire practical skills in preparation for a professional career. Research placements run over a 12-week period in the summer term and vacation. If you take a research placement, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation based on your experience.

Course Structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2017 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules list.

Autumn term: Conflict, Security and Development • New Security Challenges.

Spring term: you choose two options from East Asia in the International System • Foreign Policy Analysis • Governing Global Capitalism • Human Rights in International Relations • Irregular Warfare • Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Reconstruction • Queer International Relations • Reading Foucault in IR • Religions, Cultures and Civilisations in International Relations • Rethinking Imperialism • Russian Foreign and Security Policy • Science, Technology and War • Terror, Security and the State • The Global Politics of Disease and Biosecurity • The Middle East in Global Order • The Political Economy of Development • The Political Economy of Global Finance • The Political Economy of the Environment.

You also take a Research Methods and Professional Skills module, which provides training to prepare you for further research and a professional career. This module is delivered as a series of workshops, including one that prepares you for your dissertation.

Summer term: you carry out work on your MA dissertation under the supervision of a member of faculty. There is also a dissertation with a placement option.

Information for international students

Please visit: International qualifications for Masters courses or Fees and Scholarships.

Fees and funding

UK students
Please see our website
International students
Please see our website

Please visit our website for latest fees information: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/masters/2017/global-studies/conflict-security-and-development-ma

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study. For full details of our scholarships please visit: Masters Scholarships

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 877686