International conflicts have changed fundamentally over the past two decades. To understand them and to manage them requires new skills, which is why we offer this new Master programme.

In the old days the understanding and management of conflicts built on a fairly clear division of labour between specialists – between diplomats, soldiers, and aid experts. Conflicts could be understood according to distinct phases, moving from peace to tension over war and stabilisation to renewed peace. For each phase, a particular set of specialists went to work.

Today’s conflicts are multiple, complex, and volatile. They may last for more than a decade. Signs of progress are often deceptive, and outsiders involved in managing the conflict can experience war, development, and peace enforcement all in one day. It is what the military calls a three-block war. To grasp it, and to help organisations prepare for it, experts must look beyond specialisations and be trained to understand and work with complex and conflict-ridden environments.

This Master of Social Sciences in International Security and Law will train this kind of expert. It will be experts who look to the international domain, who want to work with international issues, and who will want to help solve conflicts. The programme will provide the experts with the skills to integrate a conflict’s political, juridical, and ethical dimensions in a comprehensive assessment that identifies the drivers of the conflict and what international organisations can do about them.

The structure of the programme

The programme is a two-year full-time study programme amounting to a total of 120 ECTS. There are 6 core courses, 3 electives, and a thesis. All courses, core courses and electives, each represent 10 ECTS. The thesis represents 30 ECTS.

Core courses are offered jointly by the Department of Political Science and the Department of Law and they make up the first two semesters of the Master’s four semesters in total. The core courses of the first semester are open to students of this programme only.

All courses of the second and third semester will be oriented towards practical analytical skills, combining background knowledge of the big debates in terms of theory and world developments with the ability to bring this knowledge to bear in the assessment of specific conflicts. It will be a trademark of the programme to have students connect big ideas and concrete events.

Another trademark will be the integrated focus on politics, law, and ethics. Some courses focus mainly on one dimension, especially first semester courses, but second and third-semester courses must relate their core topic (politics, law, or ethics) to the wider and combined context.

There are good opportunities for studying abroad, either in the third semester where the student can follow courses at another university of his/her choice or replace one elective course with a traineeship, or in the fourth semester where the thesis can be written abroad and under long-distance supervision from the University of Southern Denmark advisor.

Admission requirements

To become accepted for the Master programme in International Security and Law, you should have received a relevant bachelor’s degree, or have gained other – e.g. professional – equivalent experience of relevance to the programme.

Directly qualifying bachelor degrees

  • Social Science degrees, e.g. Law, Political and/or Social Science, International Law, International Relations, Sociology or Market and Management Anthropology*
  • History
  • Area Studies
  • Journalism

*Students with MMA background must take the following three courses in the first semester of International Security and Law:

  • Introduction to International relations
  • Introduction to International Law
  • International Order since 1815 or History of the Law of Nations

Other qualifying competencies

If you have another bachelor’s degree from the Humanities deemed to be of relevance by the Study Board, you can also be accepted for the programme. Relevant educational experience entails that you have passed courses in your bachelor’s programme within the fields of:

  • law
  • International relations
  • Conflict studies
Program taught in:
  • English

See 51 more programs offered by University of Southern Denmark »

This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
2 years
- Free for EU/EEA students. Price for non-EU/EEA students, per year: EUR 8500
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