Study Conflict and Development in Ghent

Course Content

In our current globalised world, conflict and development are closely intertwined. Disentangling these complexities of processes of conflict and development demands a critical stance and an interdisciplinary approach, with insights from various academic disciplines such as political science, anthropology, development studies and sociology. The Master in Conflict and Development Studies allows you to gain insight into the broader thinking about conflict and development related issues, and how to analyse these in a critical manner. Grounded in fieldwork, the Master in Conflict and Development Studies wants to provide a timely and in-depth understanding of the interrelations between conflict and development. Fieldwork as a method is used to better understand processes of conflict and development and to formulate potential recommendations. This focus on fieldwork is especially valuable for those with an interest in a potential career in professional development aid, as well in the Global South as in the Global North (asylum centers, intercultural and interreligious questions…). Located in the heart of Europe, the one-year master programme also allows an international body of students to connect to both research and policy-making in this growing field.

Course Structure

The Master in Conflict and Development Studies is a full-year intensive programme. A set of introductory courses will be offered to get acquainted with the politics of conflict and development. These courses do not merely offer an introduction to ongoing debates, but start from a critical reading of influential authors in the field. They provide the conceptual and theoretical groundwork necessary to engage in more specific debates in the second semester.

Optional courses are aimed at deepening your understanding on research related or policy-oriented questions, as well as be able to deepen your area-specific knowledge. These courses will take the form of research seminars or more direct policy applications. This will allow you to customise your own programme according to your academic and professional interests.

As fieldwork is a central starting point of teaching in the master's programma, the course ‘Methodology and Fieldwork Practice’ will allow for a confrontation between theory and practice, whether in the Global South or in Europe. Past fieldwork trips in the South have focused on Uganda, India, Jordan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Morocco and Kenya, while work in Europe has focused on migration.

The final part of the programme is the master's dissertation, in which you will develop your own research project in collaboration with a supervisor. These projects are by nature interdisciplinary and aim towards a critical understanding of your given research question. Many of these dissertations will be fieldwork based, but students can also opt for a literature based dissertation.

The full program as well as information on specific courses can be found in the Ghent University course catalogue.


The Master programme grants immediate admission to

  • Bachelors in Political Science
  • Bachelors in Political and Social Sciences; option: Political science
  • Bachelors of Social Sciences 

For other students admission is subject to passing a preparatory (30 ECTS) or linking programme (62 ECTS).

Please if you have questions about admission requirements, equivalents or possible exemptions in your preparatory or linking programme.


All information about enrolment procedures, tuition fees, both for EEA and non-EEA students can be found on the Ghent University Administration for Prospects page.

Personalised learning path

Students who wish to spread their master’s programme over two or more academic years instead of finishing it in one year, or who wish to combine their preparatory programme with a number of master courses are advised to take note of the following guidelines.

  • If you need to follow a preparatory or linking programme, then these courses always need to be followed before or during the courses of the master's programme. Courses from the preparatory programme can never lead to exemptions in the master's programme.
  • The courses ‘Politics of Development’ and ‘Politics of Conflict’ should be followed before or in the same academic year as the respective accompanying seminars ‘Politics of Development: Seminars’ and ‘Politics of Conflict: Seminars’.
  • Research practice and Fieldwork’ is the methodological component that prepares you for your master’s dissertation. Depending on how you plan your master’s dissertation, it can be more interesting to take the course before or at the same time as your master’s dissertation. 
  • The 15 credit points of optional seminars can be freely chosen to be followed in any year.
  • The master’s dissertation has to be part of your last year. This is always the final course in your learning path.

Information session

At the beginning of the academic year we welcome our students with an information session. These are the slides from September 2019. More information can also be found in our master's brochure.