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.

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:

  • Bachelors in Political Science
  • Bachelors in Social Sciences (degree from VUB)

For students who hold a different academic bachelor’s degree, admission is subject to passing a preparatory programme (30 ECTS). All courses in this programme are taught in English.
Students with a non-academic bachelor’s degree admission is subject to passing a linking programme (62 ECTS). This programme is only available in Dutch.

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.

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 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.

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, then first you have to submit a curriculum proposal for your preparatory programme in Oasis. 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.  


Introduction Day

We welcome all students in the Conflict and Development Studies program on our Introduction Day on Tuesday September 21st! Get to know each other, the department and get practical information to start the new academic year right. All information will be available online afterwards for those who are not able to attend.

When? Tuesday September 21 from 13h30 until 16h30

Where? Auditorium NB1, Universiteitstraat 4, 9000 Ghent

Sign up for the Introduction Day here!

More information

  • General information can be found on the faculty website or the university website.
  • International applicants can contact the Registrar's Office with questions about admission and student administration.​
  • International degree students can also contact the International Student Advisor () before and upon arrival with practical matters.
  • Ghent University and the International Support Team welcome the new incoming international students at the Welcome Village.
  • More info on alumni activities.
  • For 2021 Ghent University was ranked in the QS top 50 for Development Studies.

QS label Development Studies 2021