Study Conflict and Development Studies 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.

Read about the important changes in fieldwork here
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:

  • Bachelor degrees in Political Science
  • Bachelor degrees in Social Sciences from VUB Brussel

For students who hold a different academic degree, admission is subject to passing a preparatory programme (30 ECTS). All courses in this programme are taught in English. The preparatory programme consists of 5 courses spread over one year. With permission of the curriculum committee it is possible to start some master courses in the same year. It is not possible to complete both the preparatory programme and the master programme in one year as there is a faculty limit of 80 ECTS per academic year.
For students with a non-academic bachelor degree, admission is subject to passing a linking programme (59 ECTS). This programme is only available in Dutch (with a few English courses). It takes one full time year to complete the linking programme.

Enrolment, tuition fees and scholarships

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

The enrolment procedure for students with a Flemish degree can be found here and the tuition fees here.

There are a very limited number of scholarships available for international students with a high standard of academic performance and/or potential. Only students admitted to the Master in Conflict and Development Studies are eligible for funding. Please note that you cannot apply directly for either scholarship program.

Currently there are two scholarship programs:

University life

All information about living in Ghent, housing facilities, sports facilities… can be found on the University life 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 accompanying seminars ‘Politics of Conflict and Development: Seminars’.
  • Methodology and Fieldwork Practice is the methodological component that prepares you for your master’s dissertation. It is advised to take this course at the same time as your master’s dissertation. 
  • The 20 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.
  • It is not possible to finish both the preparatory programme and the master programme in one year, as there is a faculty limit of 80 credit points per year. It is advised to enroll for no more than 60 credit points per year. Beware that if you combine courses from the preparatory and master programmes, your class and exam schedule could overlap.

If you have questions about setting up a personalised learning path you can .

You can submit your curriculum proposal of the master’s programme online in Oasis. If you wish to combine a preparatory programme with courses from the master’s programme, you have to submit a curriculum proposal for your preparatory programme in Oasis first. After this, it is possible to sign up for the master’s programme and submit a curriculum proposal for the master as well.

If you have questions about the administrative part of this process please contact the Faculty Student Administration.


Open Day and Afstudeerbeurs

The Open Day of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences on 23rd of April 2022 is mainly organised to inform about the three (Dutch) bachelor programmes of our faculty (Communication Science, Sociology and Political Science). There will be no specific information sessions for Conflict and Development Studies on this day. However you are welcome to come visit the campus and talk to someone from the department. At the Afstudeerbeurs in ICC Ghent there will also be representatives of the Department of Conflict and Development Studies to talk to you about the programme. 

Open Day
When? tba (usually in April)
Where? Ufo, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, 9000 Ghent

When? Thursday 28th of March 2024, 12:00 - 18:00
Where? ICC, Ghent

Introduction Day

We welcome all students in the Conflict and Development Studies program on our Introduction Day in September each year. Get to know each other, the department and get practical information on how to start the new academic year right. All information will be available online afterwards for those who are not able to attend. 

When? Wednesday 20 September 2023 at 1.30 pm.  
Where? Auditorium E, Campus Ufo, Technicum 2, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Gent.
For who?
All students in the preparatory, linking and/or master programme are invited. 

There will be a informal reception after the presentation, starting 15h30. This will allow you to meet each other and talk to some of the department members. This reception takes place in the Technicum building (- 3), Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Gent.

We are looking forward to welcoming you (back) to the University!

Who to contact?

  • International applicants can contact the Registrar's Office with questions about admission and student administration.​
  • Information about the tuition fee can be found here. Contact with questions about this.
  • International degree students are welcome to contact the International Student Advisor () before and upon arrival with practical matters.
  • Contact the Department of Conflict and Development Studies via

More information

QS label Development Studies 2022