Is climate change causing more armed conflicts? Will cities become the war zones of the future? How is the term ‘human rights’ used and abused in times of violent conflict? These are just some of the pressing questions arising from the complex interconnectedness of today’s world that are addressed in the MA programme Conflict Studies and Human Rights.

Outstanding student verdict on meeting different cultures and being stimulated to excel in an international environment
Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2022
No. 1
University in the Netherlands
Shanghai Ranking 2021

Theoretical analysis and grounded research

The programme 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. Our Master's programme in Conflict Studies and Human Rights is a selective, international graduate programme combining the study of theory with in-depth case study analysis. Our graduates work with international organisations, NGOs, think tanks, and universities all over the world.

An interdisciplinary approach

This programme draws on a number of academic disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, political geography, and philosophy to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to conflict.

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Conflict Studies and Human Rights is a selective Master’s programme. Eligibility to apply to the programme is not a guarantee of admission. It is a highly competitive programme, and we evaluate every application comparatively when making our selection. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master?

Check the entry requirements

Why this programme in Utrecht?

The highest ranked programme in its field

The Keuzegids Master's Selection Guide and Elsevier rankings consistently rate this programme as the best in its field. Utrecht University has a long tradition of teaching and research in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. Not only is this Master’s programme the only one of its kind in the Netherlands, but its integrated approach to the study of violent conflict and human rights also makes it unique in both Europe and the USA.

Close-knit community

Our students come from all over the world and from a variety of backgrounds. They form a close-knit student community and benefit from a learning and research experience that is as stimulating as it is unique. Our students are highly motivated and ambitious; 93% of students entering this programme complete it within one year.

Practical experience

The aim of this programme is to integrate theory with practice. You will be taught using a range of detailed case studies and gain practical experience through social research and field activities such as participant observation and in-depth interviews. You will also be exposed to policy knowledge and will have the option of an internship based in the Netherlands, Europe, or overseas.

Our staff and network

Our extensive links to both conflict policy networks and practitioners - many of whom are Utrecht University alumni - will give you access to a diverse range of events including public lectures, master classes, roundtable discussions, seminars, conferences, documentary festivals, and political art projects throughout the year. Some examples include the Sri Lanka Roundtable, Movies That Matter, New World Summit, and the Utrecht Centre for the Humanities.

All lecturers on the core courses for this programme have substantial field and consultancy experience in conflict regions such as Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Balkans. 

Meet our teaching staff

After graduation

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.

More on career prospects

Is this a human rights programme?

Although there is a "human rights" component to this programme, it is not a law programme. Human rights are addressed through the analytical lens of conflict processes and dynamics. This graduate programme is therefore about conflict studies and human rights, not a programme of conflict studies or human rights. For those seeking a programme more in that direction, Utrecht University has a separate graduate programme on Human Rights that is more focused on jurisprudence and legal aspects of that subject.

Key facts

International Relations
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
1 year
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2023-2024: € 2,314

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2023-2024: € 18,332

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Graduate school: