International Conflict and Cooperation (MSc)

Study International Conflict and Cooperation and graduate with a university degree

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma

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International Conflict and Cooperation (MSc)
  • Type Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration Full time - MSc-12 months; PG Diploma-9 months; PG Certificate-3 months Part time - MSc-27 months; PG Diploma-9 months; PG Certificate-3 months
  • Start date September

Alison Scott
Postgraduate Administrator
School of Arts & Humanities
Graduate Studies
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467510

The MSc combines core modules in International Conflict and Cooperation and International Organisation in Semester 1 with a research methods course. In Semester 2, research methods continues and students take two option modules from a range of choices that focus on the Middle East, Africa, Migration and Resource Conflicts amongst others.

Course objectives

The course looks at the dynamics of international conflict and cooperation in light of major developments such as the end of the Cold War, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Arab Spring. The course takes a thematic approach to conflict resolution and the role of international organisations to focus on the role of conflict prevention and management in specific geographical areas in addition to the development and regulation of conflict in relation to factors such as natural resources and migration.

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

MSc: 12 months (180 credits)
Diploma: nine months (120 credits)
Certificate: three months (60 credits)

MSc: 27 months (six semesters, 180 credits)
Diploma: 21 months (four semesters, 120 credits)
Certificate: nine months (two semesters, 60 credits)

Course start date


Structure and content

The MSc contains core modules related to international conflict and cooperation as well as a range of options modules to explore issues in more depth. It also features a research skills module.

Delivery and assessment

Modules will typically be delivered in the evenings by lecture and seminar, although the emphasis will be on student participation and discussion, workshop sessions, as well as a variety of formal and informal presentations. Assessment is by presentations, essays and the dissertation.

Recommended reading

Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall (2011), Contemporary Conflict Resolution, Polity, 3rd edition.

Kelly-Kate Pease (2007), International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-first Century, Pearson.

Module titles

Academic Year 2015/16

Full -time


International Conflict and Cooperation Analysis (20)

International Organisation (20)

Approaches to International Politics (20)


Research Methods (20)

Option (20)

Option (20)


Dissertation (60)



*Either one or two of:

  • International Conflict and Cooperation Analysis (20)
  • International Organisation (20)
  • Approaches to International Politics (20)


Option (20)

Option (20)


*Either one or two of:

  • International Conflict and Cooperation Analysis (20)
  • International Organisation (20)
  • Approaches to International Politics (20)


Research Methods (20)


Dissertation (60)

* Students may take one module in semester 1 and two modules in semester 3, or two modules in semester 1 and one module in semester 3.

Option modules

Climate Change, Human Security and Resource Conflicts


Conflict in Independent Africa


Middle East


Why study International Conflict and Cooperation (MSc) at Stirling?

Course Director

Dr Peter Lynch


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

More information

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the vast majority of the outputs submitted by the History and Politics staff were graded as international quality and a significant proportion was of ‘World-leading’ quality. All staff in History and Politics were assessed, an indicator of how central research is to our activity.

Our students

Kirsty McKay

Having previously studied at Stirling and thoroughly enjoyed it, coming back here to do a Master’s was the obvious choice. Having been able to live overseas after finishing an honours degree in History, I had developed an interest in public health in developing countries, particularly HIV transmission. I was looking specifically for a course that would afford me the flexibility to study something I was interested in academically and to combine that with a personal interest.

I emailed the Course Director at Stirling and wasn’t surprised by the warm reception my enquiry received. I had approached other Universities and had been passed from pillar to post – a reminder to me of the advantage of a smaller university, where staff and students can interact.

I thoroughly enjoyed studying within the History and Politics department and for my degree dissertation I combined the issues of HIV transmission and conflict. While the subject matter was harrowing, I received invaluable support, guidance and encouragement from staff to produce a strong piece of work that would be of interest to prospective employers.

The course structure, including presentations, report writing and briefing papers, certainly served as a refresher and helped me to hone skills that I now use on an almost daily basis within my current position.

I work in Community Safety as a National Training Officer and while I am currently based in Scotland, I hope that the skills and the experiences I acquired at Stirling will help me to work overseas in the future.

Would I recommend this course and/or the University of Stirling? Yes – without a doubt.

Kirsty McKay, MSc in Conflict and Cooperation, graduated November 2010


Career opportunities

The MSc in International Conflict and Cooperation is a gateway to employment in government agencies, the NGO sector and international organisations as well as into PhD study, research and academia. The course provides a background in conflict study, the role of international organisations and a thematic and geographical focus on distinct areas and problems as well as analysis of solutions. The academic skills aspects of the course also provide a background to undertake further research.

Skills you can develop through this course

  • read and use texts and other source materials critically and empathetically
  • appreciate the complexity and diversity of situations, events and mentalities
  • recognise there are ways of testing statements and that there are rules of evidence which require integrity and maturity
  • reflect critically on the nature and theoretical underpinnings of the discipline
  • marshall an argument, be self-disciplined and independent intellectually
  • express themselves orally and in writing with coherence, clarity and fluency
  • gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information
  • analyse and solve problems
  • use effectively ICT, information retrieval and presentation skills
  • exercise self-discipline, self-direction and initiative
  • work with others and have respect for others’ reasoned views
  • work collaboratively and participate effectively in group discussions
  • show empathy and imaginative insight.
  • prepare for further academic research such as a Phd

Chances to expand your horizons

The MSc course seeks to provide opportunities for students to meet key figures involved in international organisations as a means to understand what a career in an International Organisation or NGO would involve. The MSc seminar series, as well as the visits to international organisations, are also intended to facilitate contacts between students and potential employers. The course also tries to put students in touch with the voluntary sector. Volunteering not only provides work experience and networking opportunities in a relevant field, it allows students to exhibit a range of general skills that they acquired at university including­ researching, report-writing and presentations. 

Where are our graduates now?

This course is designed to meet the needs of both current and future practitioners as well as those intending to further their knowledge on a specific subject by pursuing a research degree after the completion of their MSc thesis. On completing the course, graduates may expect to find employment in organisations that are governmental (FCO, MoD and the respective ministries in other countries), inter-governmental (EU, NATO, UN, NAFTA, WTO) and non-governmental (Amnesty International, Red Cross, Human Rights Watch).

Since the International Conflict and Cooperation course began in 2007, students have followed a range of post-MSc careers. The largest group especially evident in 2007 and 2010 ­ were those who used the MSc as a means to pursue further postgraduate study in this field, with a group of graduates from the course going on to pursue PhD study at a range of universities. Other graduates have pursued careers in the NGO sector, public affairs and political research.


Our students learn a variety of skills to enhance their attractiveness to employers such as presentation skills, the ability to undertake research, analysis of complex data, writing skills, team work and communication, in addition to a variety of knowledge associated with international politics in relation to global issues, international organisations, concepts and theories.


2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £4,500

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Information on possible sources of funding

The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.