In order to obtain their M.A. degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, students need to successfully complete 36 credits, of which 27 are core courses, three credits are elective, and six credits are for the Thesis or for an internship and final paper.


Each course is worth three credits

Core Courses (12 credits total)

  • PST 504 Political Economy of Peace and War
  • PST 505 Theories of Peace and Conflict
  • PST 513 International Law and Human Rights Protection
  • GSR 502 Research Methods for Social Sciences

Elective Course (choose one, three credits)

  • CH 503 Cultural Heritage, Conflict and Peace-building
  • FS 502 Sustainable Food Systems
  • GSB 506 Principles of Business for Non-Profit Organizations


Each course is worth three credits

Core Courses (15 credits total)

  • PST 503 Negotiation and Conflict Management
  • PST 506 Religions, Cultures, and Peace-building in the Mediterranean and beyond
  • PST 514 Democracy and Government: Contemporary Challenges
  • PST 515 International Response to Humanitarian Crises
  • GS 514 Grant Writing and Fundraising



  • PST 599 Thesis (6 credits)
  • PST 590 Peace Studies Internship and Final Paper (6 credits)


Political Economy of Peace and War

This course focuses on the international political and economic aspects of conflicts from WWII up to today. It explores the concepts of Empire and Hegemony in contemporary international affairs. The course also investigates various theories and strategies to avoid conflicts, such as hegemonic stability theory, balancing between major powers, cooperation within international institutions, trade integration, or socialization of norms and principles. The absence of a major war on a global scale does not indicate the presence of peace, since conflicts and competitions take place on a different level (through, for instance, trade wars, sanctions, boycotts, embargos, etc.). In addition to that, global actors in contemporary international political economy (ranging from states, religious and non-governmental organizations, to multinational corporations, arm dealers, transnational extremist organizations, etc.) often have competing objectives when waging the costs and benefits of war and peace. Only when the actors of conflicts, and the political economy factors that drive them are addressed, can one understand the conditions of resolving the conflicts and promote peace.

Theories of Peace and Conflict

This course aims to provide a graduate-level introduction to and critical assessment of the main theoretical frameworks and approaches employed within the interdisciplinary field of Peace Studies, enabling students to understand the relevance of theory to practice in this field. More specifically, the course engages with theoretical explanations for peace and conflict, looking at social, political, and religious dynamics within, between, and across states, and develops an understanding of key issues such as conflict resolution, violence mitigation, and post-conflict peacebuilding. Various case studies will be examined, ranging from the period of early modernity up to the present day.

International Law and Human Rights Protection

With the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international legal system has undergone a momentous change. In addition to the law of international relations, it now includes rules which regulate the way governments behave vis-à-vis individuals subject to their authority, both citizens and foreigners. Human rights have become an integral part of the international legal system, and States must live up to the standards provided for in a growing number of international conventions. Also, procedures aimed at improving compliance with human rights standards have developed within the United Nations and several other intergovernmental organizations. At the same time, non-state actors, such as NGOs, have come to play an increasingly relevant role in reporting violations of human rights and advocating change in law and practice. The course - which also includes an analysis of selected issues such as non-discrimination, torture, the death penalty, the rights of migrants and refugees, and business and human rights - is aimed at understanding how human rights have become a part of the legal and political system of the international community and how this impacts on states.

Research Methods for Social Sciences

This course aims to provide a comprehensive examination of the main aspects, potential and limits of theoretical and applied social research methods, and to use them appropriately according to their specific research needs. The course covers the epistemology of social science and the logic of research design. It reviews the steps in the research process from the research idea to the research questions, formulation of hypotheses and deciding on method. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be described and practiced. The main methodological problems of quantitative and qualitative analysis, data gathering, data quality and interpretation of evidence will be discussed. Presentation skills for researchers will be explained and practiced.

Cultural Heritage, Conflict, and Peacebuilding (elective)

Cultural heritage has become increasingly important as a symbol of identity at an individual, community, national and international level. Heritage identity can help to create cohesion and a spirit of community, or it can be a source of conflict. In post-conflict scenarios, cultural heritage projects can be a part of the stabilization process and reconstruction of the community. This course will explore current heritage issues, critically analyzing sources of conflict and strategies for positive peacebuilding between and within heritage communities.

Sustainable Food Systems (elective)

The aim of the course is to review the conceptual and analytical frameworks for the ‘sustainability’ of the food system and to analyze how sustainability is pursued in practice by different actors. The food system refers to all processes involved in the production, processing, consumption, and disposal of food; it implies the involvement of different sectors, disciplines, and stakeholders and the intersection with aspects of public health, the environment, as well as social and economic development. The course will review and analyze the co-existence of multiple contemporary food systems and their sustainability, from the global to the community level, from primary production to agribusiness, including the role of institutional actors and social movements in imagining and practicing alternatives to the current industrial food system. The course includes transferable skills related to the management of projects dealing with sustainability. One or more field trips to regional and local food systems in Italy will also be included.

Principles of Business for Non-Profit Organizations (elective)

This course provides a survey of business methods relating to management, marketing, and operations basics and accounting, finance, and economics basics. Topics covered will include customer analysis; brand development; digital and physical marketing; accounting methodologies; financial analysis, and an introduction to macro and microeconomics. The course assumes no prior knowledge of business techniques or terminology and is practical in its approach. Classroom sessions will incorporate case studies and practical exercises. The course is intended to give students the practical business skills needed to work in the non-profit sector.

Negotiation and Conflict Management

Conflict is part of daily life: it can be destructive as well as constructive, but it needs to be dealt with productively. Resolution is a collaborative process by which differences are handled, and outcomes are jointly agreed upon by the interested parties. It is the transformation of the relationships and situations such that solutions are sustainable and self-correcting in the long term. This course will introduce the student to the common causes of conflicts and enable them to understand how and why they appear. Techniques and methods to approach, manage and resolve conflicts will be introduced, including the strategies of good listening and good communication skills. Various techniques will be examined and applied using selected case studies, including negotiation from a humanitarian perspective and negotiation with armed groups.

Religions, Cultures, and Peacebuilding in the Mediterranean and Beyond

Religion is a cornerstone of culture and therefore is essential to the construction of both personal and group identity. Because social and religious identities both affect and are affected by belief and value systems, they are an important consideration in the process of peace-building. This course focuses on the three major Abrahamic religious identities (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and the role of these religious narratives with respect to various social, cultural, and political issues by examining the historical origins, religious texts, and modern communities of each in turn. Using case studies as the main method of inquiry, the course concludes with contemporary cross-cultural inter-religious dialogues. In addition, this course will address the different methodological skills required in studying religious culture, focusing on teaching the skills necessary to use and evaluate textual, material, legal, technological, and ethnographic sources of cultural evidence.

Democracy and Government: Contemporary Challenges

This course explores the complexities of governmental systems and functioning in a contemporary global society. The course will explore different countries, focusing on the issue of democracy and government in regard to the country’s size, geo-political position, official ideology, and economic development. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the functions of political/state institutions and the factors that influence political processes in the global era, such as constitutions, legislation procedures, interest groups, political parties, elections, and NGOs.

International Response to Humanitarian Crises

This course enables students to understand the functioning of international humanitarian interventions and aid supply in countries affected by a crisis (such as conflicts or natural disasters). It gives a firsthand understanding of what it is like to work under pressure in difficult circumstances. The course provides students with both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to equip them with all the tools necessary for successful work in the humanitarian sector. The course uses interactive tools and scenario‐based teaching (such as simulation exercises).

Grant Writing and Fundraising

This course is divided into two modules which will cover:  1. the fundamentals of fundraising and; 2. grant writing. The fundraising module will examine the fund-raising process from the perspective of individuals or organizations seeking to raise funds for operations or major projects from all types of donors. It will consider donor motivations and expectations, methods to identify and qualify appropriate funding sources (governments, private corporations, foundations, NGOs or individuals), techniques for developing a relationship with donors, legal and governance issues affecting fund raising, grant development, campaign planning and management, and organizational reporting of sustainability results. The grant writing module will provide students with the background to develop a competitive grant proposal. Students will learn to identify potential grant sources and gain the skills needed to successfully write and submit grant proposals. Topics covered include an overview of typical grant components, such as executive summary, objectives, workflow, implementation, personnel, budget, as well as criteria for review and assessment of grant proposals. Both modules will finish with a practical exercise in preparing an appropriate application.

Peace Studies Thesis (Option 1, 6 credits)

In order to complete the MA degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, students are required either to write an MA thesis or to carry out an internship and write a final paper. Students writing a thesis are expected to conduct their thesis preparations in intense consultations with their advisor. Preparations include specification of the thesis topic, development of the draft thesis, choosing appropriate methods, research and/or practical work, study trips (if necessary), work in archives, and other required activities. Students choosing to carry out an internship must do 150 hours of practical work experience in an organization working on peace-building and conflict resolution or related matters and then write a final – practically oriented - paper in the form of a project report or proposal or a policy paper under the supervision of an advisor.

Peace Studies Internship and Final Paper (Option 2, 6 credits)

In order to complete the MA degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution students are required, as an alternative to writing an academic thesis (PST 599), to:

a) complete an internship with an organization working on peace-building and conflict resolution or related matters. The internship requires 150 hours of practical work experience and a journal with the daily activities detailed; and

b) write a final paper, after the end of the internship period, which is related to the work carried out during the internship and may take the form of a project report or proposal or policy paper. Students will plan and write their final paper under the supervision of an advisor.

The combination of an internship experience and a – practically-oriented – final paper will expand students’ knowledge on a particular subject and prepare them for future professional work. AUR will make every effort to place a student in the best possible situation but cannot ensure that all students making a request will find a suitable internship position.