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MA in International Peace Building Security and Development Practice

The academic and CDS activities of KDSC have transferred to Maynooth University.

For any general queries about BA and MA in International Development or CDS activities, including KODE, please see the Maynooth University’s Department of International Development webpage at or contact the Department of International Development by email at

This programme empowers actors and practitioners from development, security and other peace and security related institutional backgrounds involved in international peace-building with the knowledge, skills and competencies that will enable them to provide leadership to reduce and ultimately eliminate violent conflict.

This master’s programme will provide a challenging learning experience for those who wish to develop and integrate mediation and negotiation knowledge and skills with their awareness of wider conflict and development issues while providing students with a critical insight of the entire spectrum of international conflict intervention.

The main theme of the programme will be an integrated and comprehensive approach to the nexus of peacebuilding, security and development. With increased awareness of the importance of these interlinkages has come increased demands on national and international institutions to respond in a holistic way. In the field, security actors are required to have a better understanding and greater skills in engaging with local communities, institutions and organizations at the local level, while development practitioners recognise a skills deficit with respect to conflict resolution and mediation and are increasingly expected to understand and engage with representatives of multifaceted agencies and communities, particularly when anticipating or responding to the consequences of complex crises.

Students will develop

  • Conceptual and strategic analytical capacity, including ability to analyse and articulate the violent conflict dimension of complex issues that require an integrated and comprehensive response.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills and judgment in applying technical expertise to resolve a wide range of complex and unusual issues/problems and in developing innovative and creative solutions.
  • Ability to negotiate and to influence others to reach agreement.
  • Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to interventions in violent conflict.

The programme describes the process of negotiating and implementing peace agreements and security actors and international interventions, drawing in senior personnel experienced in peacekeeping/ peace making and security operations.  It also explores the notion of partner and aid donors, the contribution of international organisations and cooperation with key strategic partners and the use of broad development instruments in support of conflict prevention and peace building.

In addition, the programme applies Mediation and Dialogue skills throughout phases of conflict including:

  • Early identification of risk of violent conflict, and closing the gap to early action;
  • Improved understanding and analysis of conflict situations (root causes, actors and dynamics);
  • Enhanced identification of the range of options for international action;
  • Conflict-sensitive programming of external assistance;
  • Promotion of rule of law and security

The programme is a collaboration between the Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention and the Kimmage Development Studies Centre. Both the Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute and the Kimmage Development Studies Centre are uniquely positioned to lead the design and development of an Executive level programme that draws together high level input from mediators, negotiators, security and development personnel. The Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute leverages existing institutional linkages at European (EU – European Security and Defence College)and pan-regional levels (such as the Think Tank of Network members of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to ensure the programme is a relevant learning intervention. Students will also benefit from the capacity of the Dept of International Development, Maynooth University through its collaborative relationship with Kimmage Development Studies Centre, to provide experienced development practitioners and educators who will deliver modules related to humanitarian and development response at the policy and practitioner level, while the part-time / blended learning option will allow students to access a range of on-line modules from anywhere in the world.

Completion of the module, Mediation Knowledge and Practice provides the basis for the opportunity to take a Mediation Competency Assessment and on successfully passing this assessment, the student is in a position to apply for Certified Status with the Mediators Institute of Ireland.

Part-time students may opt to;

  • Join the programme only for selected modules of their choice,
  • Alternatively, complete the entire programme taking a modular approach, completing a minimum of two modules per year and completing 90 credits within a 4 year period.

Applicants that have completed Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute CSDP programmes through the European Security and Defence College may, in certain circumstances, receive exemptions from relevant modules.

For development modules, on-campus delivery of each 5 credit module involves 24 hours of class-contact. adopts a flexible approach to delivery of classroom based modules with some courses offered through 2 hour taught classes over 12 weeks (usually in the evenings) while others are offered through more concentrated blocks of time depending on timetable requirements and arrangements (typically 4.5 day blocks, delivered in a single week or over two weeks). Distance learning modules are structured to allow students to study at their own pace over a semester, with modules running in two cycles annually – October through January and February through May / June.

For the Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute, classroom based modules which are normally 10 credits typically involve week long blocks (4.5 days). Each 1 ECTS module will typically involve at least 20 hours of work, including attending lectures, reading, writing coursework, preparing for exams and sitting exams.

For the dissertation module, master classes on research design /methods will be provided by lecturers, and lecturers will provide supervision sessions, which will amount to 36 hours. Students must also undertake approximately 500 hours of independent study when completing the dissertation.

Modules include

KD 615           Conflict, Development and Security (Online)

KD 601           Political Economy of Development (Online & Classroom)

KD 604           Introduction to Development Theory and Practice (Online & Classroom)

KD 602           Gender and Development (Online & Classroom)

KD 605           Adult Learning for Development (Online and Classroom)

KD 610           Facilitation for Transformation (Classroom)

KD 613           Health and Development (Classroom)

KD 614           Sustainable Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation (Online)

KD 616           Human Rights and Advocacy (Classroom)

KD 606           Research Methods

KD 607           Dissertation

MC 601           Mediation Theory + Conflict Analysis (Classroom)

MC 615           Mediation Knowledge and Practice (Classroom)

MC629            Resolving Protracted Conflict: Applied Concepts and Peace Process Theories (Classroom)

MC630            Post Conflict: Challenges of Implementing Peace Agreements (Classroom)

MC TBD          Negotiation Theory and Skills (Classroom)

MC TBD          Conflict Intervention, stabilisation and the comprehensive approach (Classroom)

MC 603           Research

MC 690           Minor Thesis

Course Duration: Modular approach up to 4 years

This programme will give graduates knowledge, skills and competencies to work in:

  • International Development and Peacebuilding NGOs
  • Security Organisations
  • International Organisations such as UN, EU and World Bank
  • Government Agencies and Departments

Envisaged roles include:

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
  • Conflict Analysis Advisors
  • Military and security analysis
  • Peacebuilding Policy Officer and Advocate
  • Conflict Mediator
  • Political Affairs Specialist
  • Advisor on Gender and Security
  • Advisor on Peacebuilding, Environment and Security
  • Project Manager
  • Communications Advisor
  • Learning and Policy Officer
  • Safety and Security Manager or Advisor
  • Womens Protection Advisor
  • Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Officer
  • Conflict and Humanitarian Advocate

Please see the Maynooth University Edward M. Kennedy Institute course page
for Course Requirements and information on how to apply.
The PAC code for this course is MH54M

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