12 months
17280 EUR/year
2168 EUR/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Conflict Studies and Human Rights programme at Utrecht University is a selective, international graduate programme combining the study of theory with in-depth case study analysis. The programme will equip you with the necessary analytical and theoretical skills to engage with global and local challenges in insightful and innovative ways.

Visit the official programme website for more information


Why has ’nationalist’ violence erupted in Ukraine? Will cities become the war zones of the future? How is the term ‘human rights’ used and abused in times of violent conflict? What role did social media play in the rise and subsequent collapse of the Arab Spring? 

What are the ethical and political issues associated with the use of drones in zones of conflict - and what impact does this have on the subjects of surveillance? Who defines ‘evil’ and what does ‘doing good’ mean? How do ‘humanitarian wars’ affect the everyday lives of the ‘victims’ they protect?

These are just some of the pressing questions arising from the complex interconnectedness of today’s world. A solution to these questions can only be found through systematic analysis of processes of inclusion and exclusion, mobilisation, and collective violence. 

Addressing these topics properly demands critical reflection on the national and international policies developed to contain, manage, resolve, or transform violent conflict.

The Conflict Studies and Human Rights  programme at Utrecht University  focuses on both the dynamics of violent conflicts and the problems associated with national and international military or humanitarian intervention by agencies such as the UN, NATO, or non-governmental organisations.

You will learn about and develop mastery in three key areas:

  • Subject knowledge: You will gain in-depth knowledge of theoretical approaches to understanding and explaining contemporary conflict and human rights. You will also obtain a general understanding of international policy approaches to contemporary conflict and human rights, as well as an understanding of the political contexts in which they are used. 
  • Evidence-based social research: You will learn to undertake research that consists of systematic analysis and synthesis and is based on a dialogue between ideas and evidence. In the course of this dialogue, you will be able to identify “sensitising concepts” from theory to facilitate your data collection. You will also use theory to gain an understanding of the evidence you gather and to explain your findings. 
  • Critical attitude towards received wisdom: You will have the conceptual and analytical skills necessary to question conventional ideas and accepted courses of action while defining your own viewpoint. You will also be able to assess the problem of violent conflict and human rights by considering interrelated issues of identity, perception, discourse, and practice.


Since the end of the Cold War there has been a growing demand for experts on violent conflict. The Master’s programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights offers good preparation for careers in any sector involving conflict analysis, including the public sector, business, non-governmental and international organisations.

A growing number of specialised agencies are addressing issues of conflict management and resolution, rehabilitation, human rights and security, both from an analytical perspective and through field operations. These agencies offer a variety of specialised employment opportunities.

The use of English as the working language of the programme will be an advantage for students who will later pursue a career in an international setting. Ministries, NGOs, businesses, and municipalities are increasingly recruiting students with a degree in Conflict Studies.

With its strong emphasis on research, which is either in the field or through an internship, almost 1 out of 5 graduates move on to a PhD position.


Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Conflict, Policies And Politics
  • In-depth Case-study Analysis
  • Theories Of Violent Conflict
  • Literature Review & Research Proposal
  • Preparing Social Research
  • The Conflict-human Rights Nexus

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines






On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).
Start practicing IELTS today!

Other requirements

General requirements

You will be considered for admission to the Master’s programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights if you can demonstrate the following knowledge, insight, and skills:

  • A relevant Bachelor’s degree in the humanities, law, and/or one of the social sciences.
  • Knowledge of Conflict Studies and Human Rights, to be demonstrated by at least 30 EC in coursework. In your motivation letter, explain to us in a detailed and compelling way why you believe that the coursework you have completed is relevant for your application into our programme.
  • The ability to present a feasible and relevant preliminary research idea for your Master’s thesis.
  • Excellent scholarly abilities, demonstrated by an academic track record of high grades.
  • Demonstrable practical or professional experience with work or research in conflict zones is an advantage to a prospective applicant.
  • A good knowledge of English is required.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    17280 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 17280 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    2168 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2168 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Conflict Studies and Human Rights
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