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The Department of Political and Conflict Studies


The Nelson Mandela University-based Unit for Study and Resolution of Conflict has a wealth of expertise and a credible track record in conflict management processes in the Eastern Cape nationally and internationally. The programme draws on the vast experience of a range of top South African and international experts in the field. 

This advanced, practically-orientated postgraduate programme culminates in a two-year Mphil degree in Conflict Management. 

This programme has been designed to benefit civil servants, middle and top-level management, community leaders, development specialists, foreign service personnel, social work practioners, teachers and school administrators, police officers and all those who manage conflict as part of their daily routine.

Please note: Applicants must possess a relevant postgraduate honours degree to apply for the qualification


The programme’s depth is in its core courses in approaches to the study of conflict, conflict processes, and conflict resolution and management techniques, which are complemented by practical short courses in negotiation, mediation and facilitation.

Variety and specialisation are built in through interdisciplinary elective courses in areas such as development and conflict, world conflict and its management, conflict and regional integration and conflict in the workplace. 

Students may choose a treatise or internship as a capstone element for the Master’s


These advanced studies combine distance education in short, intensive contact lecture blocks – A Summer Peace Academy during the first two weeks of March 1 – 15 and a winter block during the second and third weeks of August – opening up the programme to interested candidates irrespective of their geographical location.


Learners are equipped to pursue careers as experts in conflict management and resolution. They will have advanced, practically-earned conflict handling skills, and will be able to analyse conflict situations, be fully conversant with conflict literature and comfortable with theoretical debates.


The Master’s programme is open to candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant filed will be given appropriate recognition.  Such students may therefore be able to attain the Master’s qualification in one year.


The five core modules are compulsory. The number of elective modules needed to make up the balance of the degree will depend on prior qualifications and duration of study.


Core Modules

  • Theories and Approaches to Conflict
  • Conflict Processes
  • Conflict Types
  • Advanced Conflict Resolution and Management
  • Applied Conflict Management
  • Treatise or Internship

Elective Modules

  • Conflict, culture and ethnicity
  • Labour Relations and Labour Law
  • International Peacekeeping
  • Development Change and Conflict
  • Conflict in World Politics
  • Communication Skills for Conflict Management
  • Research Theory and application
  • Group Dynamics for Conflict Management
Contact information
Prof Lyn Snodgrass
Head of Department Political and Conflict Studies
Tel: 27 41 504 2624