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The Master’s Program in Conflict and Democracy Studies focuses on the discussion of the variety of potential relationships between democracy (and its quality), authoritarianism, totalitarianism, democratization, and conflict. We understand conflict to be a permanent, invariant feature of humankind, one that fuels both progress and failure. Since humans first began to establish rich social (and societal) ties, there have been struggles for power and a search for the best possible regime in any given time and place. Sometimes, to achieve their goals, conflicting parties use violence; sometimes they are able to come to a peaceful solution. A key question therefore becomes whether it is possible to democratize (or decentralize) various (deeply divided) societies without fuelling ethnic, religious, or other conflict. Following that is the question as to whether and how the threat of violent conflict is used by authorities to entrench, sustain, or even deepen autocratic tendencies. A focus on these questions is therefore natural and prudent.
We are, moreover, currently witness to a number of efforts to transform democratic societies around the world. There are many factors behind this development, but in each case, sooner or later, an intensive discussion of the necessary trade-offs between security and personal freedom arises. Sometimes conflicting parties find an acceptable solution for most of these points, one which maintains the (democratic) status quo; sometimes all attempts fail and in the making open a pathway for securing and strengthening nondemocratic tendencies. To prevent things from going wrong—or even to make them better—it is crucial that these processes be understood. It is also important to ask how (homeland) security influences the quality of democracy and the functioning of democratic institutions, and how the quality of democracy influences the approach taken to homeland and international security.

To confront all these and other questions, we seek scholars with a desire to develop advanced critical, analytical, and strategic thinking whose wish is to positively impact the society in which we live.

If you’re still reading, you might be the person we’re looking for.

The Master’s Program in Conflict and Democracy Studies is open to students holding a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in the social sciences (political science, international relations, European studies, and related disciplines, including history, law, economics, etc.), or in the humanities, from a recognized institution of higher education. For admission to the programme, candidates must have a minimum B2 English language level under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at the time of enrolment.

Most courses are taught by members of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Studies, although many (one-time) workshops and simulations are led by domestic and foreign experts in particular fields.

Degree

Students will be awarded a Master‘s Degree in Conflict and Democracy Studies from Masaryk University.

Course objectives

The Master’s Program in Conflict and Democracy Studies aims to:

  1. Provide a program that will fulfil the needs of students preparing for careers in fields concerned with (the quality of) democracy and conflict (or those with a general interest in democracy, democratization, and conflict). Students will therefore be exposed to all the relevant concepts and theories that describe and explain the dynamics of different kinds of conflict.
  2. Explore how various actors (government, non-state, supra-state, sub-state and private organizations) interact, and how they influence both the course of conflict and the quality of democracy, as well as how the quality of democracy influences the approach to homeland and international security (and by contrast how security influences the quality of democracy)?
  3. Expand students’ ability to think independently and critically, to expand their capacity for understanding the concepts and events discussed from various perspectives (e.g. institutional, social, psychological, historical, cultural), and to encourage them to develop their soft and other personal skills.

Course language

English

Admission semester

Autumn / Spring

Beginning

September / February

Program duration

Two years (four semesters)

ECTS credits

120

Program structure

The obligatory courses cover the most relevant theoretical concepts of democracy, democratization, and conflict studies. At the same time, students are guided to the best methodology for carrying out their own research. As part of the curriculum, students are also required to participate in an internship at an institution of their choice (a list of available internships is regularly updated).

Elective courses offer students the opportunity to specialize in their field of interest. They cover topics like information war and propaganda, terrorism, populism, Eurasian security, militant democracies, conflict management, etc. (see below for further details).

Internship

Optional. At least four weeks in.

Forms of assesment

Position papers, essays, individual/group in-class presentations, coursework, written or oral exams, Master’s dissertation

Diploma supplement

Yes

Tuition fee

€3000 per year

Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each semester via the IS in euros (invoice generated automatically), or on the basis of an invoice issued by the Faculty’s finance office with the sum in euros and CZK, as well; on request, tuition may be paid in two instalments. Read the file linked below for current semester info.

Tuition fees must be covered by the time the course enrolment period closes at the end of the second week of teaching.

Costs of living in Brno

Living costs depend upon individual lifestyles and regional prices.
The average cost of living in Brno is estimated at about €500 per month.
(accommodation (https://www.skm.muni.cz/kolej?en): approx. €150 per month; meals €150-€200 per month, public transport €100-€200 per year)

Funding

Admitted students are encouraged to apply for scholarships offered through government agencies, private foundations, and other sources, e.g. the Visegrad Fund (conditions).

Compulsory courses

Conflict analysis

Lecturer:

  • Tomáš Šmíd

Annotation

This course is an overview of the field of conflict analysis in terms of theory and practice. In it, the students will explore the central concepts, definitions, perspectives and theories of causes of conflicts, and approaches to conflict intervention. Students also get to know concepts and practical examples of conflict resolution and peace processes. Next dimension of conflict analysis comprises complex phenomenon of conflict actors, whether state and regular or non-state and irregular. In the course will be discussed the development of thinking about the war over years, especially „school of new wars“ versus „defenders of Clausewitz´s principles“. At the end of the course, students should be able to professionally and comprehensibly describe and analyze any armed/violent conflict.

Course structure

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of Conflict, Incompatibility
  3. Classification and Typologies of Conflict
  4. Causes of Conflict
  5. Triggers of Conflict
  6. Process and Dynamics of Conflict
  7. Conflict Resolution
  8. Conflict Actors
  9. Intensity and Asymmetry of Conflict
  10. Old Wars and New Wars I. – Classic War and Symmetric Conflicts
  11. Old Wars and New Wars II. – Rebellion, Insurgency, Hybrid War, Criminalisation of Conflict
  12. Non-Armed Conflict – Sanctions, Embargos
  13. Final Exam

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. A completed application form in the Masaryk University information system (the online form is active from 1 Feb-30 April for fall semester admission and from 1 Sept-30 Nov for spring semester admission—select Conflict and Democracy Studies) and fill in the application form.
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Academic records:
    • Bachelor’s degree certificate (or documentation indicating that the applicant will receive such a diploma by the time of enrollment in the program). Proof of qualifications (diploma copy certified by an authorised university office or a public notary) including a final transcript of records. A diploma or transcript of records not issued in English or Czech should be accompanied by an official English language translation, stamped and signed by an authorised translator or university office.
    • A copy of the final transcript (record of courses and grades) in the original language, accompanied by an official English language translation (when necessary).
  4. A statement of purpose (of approximately 500 words) outlining the applicant’s intellectual background and presenting his or her motivation for applying for the program.Unless otherwise indicated, all application materials should be in English.
  5. Certificate of proficiency in English. You may be asked to demonstrate your English proficiency e.g. in a video conference interview.
  6. Letter of recommendation by a former university or college teacher.

The graduates of the program receive the training necessary for a successful professional realization in a number of professional areas. Typical job opportunities include political-analytical jobs, consulting, research and teaching positions at universities, positions in the state administration, positions within the apparatus of political parties, and positions in the diplomatic services. Further outstanding opportunities for professional realization are provided by the institutions of the European Union, as well as by other international organizations.

Brno is an ideal base for students wishing to study in Central Europe. It is large enough to possess all the benefits of a major European centre, but small enough to retain its coziness and charm. The city’s historical center echoes that of Vienna, complete with cobblestone pedestrian zones and fascinating architecture spanning the whole period from the Middle Ages to the present day.

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