Conflict, Security & Development




Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
This programme is designed to provide students with an advanced and comprehensive understanding of the complex linkages between issues of security and development in contemporary international relations. The programme encourages students to explore the conceptual, historical and policy issues surrounding security and development and how these manifest themselves in the wider context of contemporary warfare and international security. The programme’s core course introduces students to the major debates in the fields of security and international relations, regarding the interaction between processes of political and economic development, conflict, and violent social change.

Throughout the Cold War and well into the 1990s, mainstream work in the respective fields of security and development studies remained largely unaffected by each other's perspectives and priorities. The sense that each area of study proceeded from a different set of assumptions and embraced a distinctive agenda was mirrored in the world of policy-making. This began to change in the 1990s and the importance of considering questions of security and development in their mutual interaction have become increasingly recognised by practitioners and scholars alike. The programme reflects this important trend and provides a unique course of study drawing upon the insights offered by a range of different disciplines, including international relations, history, development studies and anthropology.

The growing interest in the relationship between conflict, security and development stems, in part, from the fact that the international community has become steadily more involved in efforts to mitigate, contain and resolve violent conflicts, especially those occurring within the boundaries of states and within the context of so-called 'failed' or 'collapsing' states. Although such involvement has been selective, the general trend is clear. The number of peace support operations, transitional administrations and 'peacebuilding' initiatives have increased dramatically over the past 15 years. This heightened degree of involvement has brought into sharp relief the interdependence of security and development concerns and has also raised a series of conceptual and policy challenges which the programme will explore in greater detail.

The programme is designed to have broad ranging appeal to those interested in pursuing graduate studies in the areas of security, conflict studies and development. Those who may find this programme to be of particular interest include: graduates in politics, history, international relations, economics and strategic studies; those with practical experience in the development field who may wish to reflect on the wider issues and implications of their experience; those who have worked with international organisations, including the United Nations and its specialised agencies or with NGOs in zones of conflict who may wish to reflect on their experience; professionals in the areas of development, defence, diplomacy and foreign affairs.

Programme leader/s
Dr Christine Cheng (2015-16)/Prof Mats Berdal (2016-)
Awarding institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Strand Campus.
Student destinations
Students on MA programmes in the department have gone on to build careers in: further academic research, NGOs, Civil Service, NATO, UN, media and publishing, finance and investment, teaching, and the armed forces. For more information about career prospects and graduate destinations see:
Year of entry 2016
Offered by
Lecture theatre