Master of Arts in Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management


Programme Coordinator

Mr. Lino Ika



Peace and war are among the oldest dreams and most difficult challenges of human experience in which tensions between conflict and peace have occupied the human mind and energy in search for stable human communities. The search for human development has also been met by various approaches to quell violent conflict. Masters of Arts in Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management aims at answering humanitarian needs in the conflicts of the Great Lakes region and beyond. It widens the student’s idea on how peace can be attained and more so on how it can be sustained. It approaches the wide field of peace studies by focusing on African approaches to conflict resolution, issues of security, ethics of war, ethics in war and laws governing conflict situations. This forms an important angle of building peace by looking at means that can sustain it.


The curriculum provides a wide range of approaches to the fundamental issues of human conflict, national, regional and global security and sustainable peace. It prepares post-graduate students to work in several of the humanitarian agencies and to be sensitive to issues of peace and conflict resolution. It sets the ground for professional training in peace building, including scholarly and policy research. Further, it offers them opportunities for a wide range of employment in teaching, public service and in non-governmental organizations, social action, diplomacy, and conflict transformation or conflict resolution.


The strength of the curriculum is in its broad, interdisciplinary perspective combined with its depth of focus on topics that span the range of human experience across time and national boundaries; from violence, war and peace to ethics and public policy. The Masters programmetakes a total of 180 credit hours. With 9 contact hours for the regular course and 12 contact hours for the dissertation.

Objectives of the Programme

  1. To contribute to students’ growth in the overall field of peace and conflict transformation through writing, publishing and the use of other non-formal means of communication.
  2. To train students to acquire a critical thinking on the aspect of existing knowledge and theory in the field of peace and conflict transformation which will enable them to contribute positively to development.
  3. Handle conflict at all levels, including the interpersonal, with increased sensitivity and resourcefulness and taking the opportunities for positive change.
  4. To provide an academic basis for rigorous interdisciplinary research in the area of conflict, peacemaking and peace building.
  5. To educate potential community and institutional leaders and politicians in the peace movements for communities, institutions and organizations.
  6. To train students to become informed and active peace makers in inter-personal, inter-group, inter-faith, inter-regional, continental and international relations.
  7. To prepare students to creatively and skilfully become pillars of dialogue, freedom, respect for human rights, justice and democracy contributing towards developing a culture of peace and non-violence at all levels of society.
  8. To enable students to identify and analyse the root causes of conflict and violent behaviour and learn skills and methods to be used to achieve peace, justice and sustainable development.
  9. To train students to gain skills in peace negotiations and develop skilled personnel in conflict mitigation.

Expected Output from the Programme

In line with the Uganda Martyrs University mission; “to produce professionals with critical and creative abilities, who will contribute positively to the nation and the world at large while at the same time promoting and living by the non-negotiable values of service and respect,” the MA in Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management will train post-graduates to be morally upright, receptive to new ideas with firm convictions to be peace builders and resolve conflicts that arise in community. The graduates of this programme should also compete favourably in the labour market.

Entry Requirements

Admission to the MA in Sustainable Peace and Conflict Management will be governed by the university regulations, statutes, regulations of the East African School of Diplomacy, Governance and International Studies and the School of Post Graduate Studies. The major requirement is a first degree with Upper Second or its equivalent in Development Studies, Social Sciences, Local Governance and Human Rights and relevant studies.


Course Units

SPCM 301: History of African Conflicts and Political Institutions

Violent conflict is neither new in, nor restricted to, Africa. But particularly since the end of the Cold War, violent intra-state conflicts have occurred in swift succession in Africa with disastrous impacts on every aspect of life on the continent. These conflicts have been characterized, among other things, by the dramatically high ratio of civilian rather than military casualties, widespread population displacement, and the deliberate use of child soldiers. The resolution of these conflicts have been protracted and less decisive, resulting in long periods of “no war, no peace.” This course will introduce students to various aspects of conflicts in contemporary Africa.

SPCM 302: African Traditions and Structures on Peace building

Humanity in the world comes from a vast diversity of cultures. These cultures add some value to their particular philosophies, thinking and approach to their particular concerns. The course suggests that there is something very particular to the African traditions, and structures for peace building. It looks at different traditions including the example of MatoOput among the Acholi of Uganda, Gacaca in Rwanda, Bashingantahein Burundi, and the different forms of peace building used by traditional kingdoms and systems in Africa. It looks at other traditional systems including blood pacts that solved conflicts and rituals of peace that helped in peace building.

SPCM 303: Anthropology of War and Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa

The course aims at acquainting students with techniques of political decision-making and problem solving in culturally divided societies. It discusses ethnic relations in regional conflict affecting areas of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania. It makes an analysis of the structural conditions that spawn conflict, the actors who seek certain geopolitical outcomes, and the discursive formations that support these strategic designs. It tries to analyse the origin of identity wars as coming from anthropological ideologies framed by people. An example is taken from the introduction of the anthropological application of the term “race” in describing the relationship between Rwandans and Burundi people, a stereotype that was soon to be acquired by the local elite as the ideological foundation of the First and Second Republics.

SPCM 304: Comparative Peace Processes in the Great Lakes Region of Africa

The course looks at challenges of the number of Peace processes that have taken place in the Great Lakes region. A study will be made on the peace talks done for Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Students will be able to make analysis of what peace processes have contributed to the region; how people conceive them and how best peace talks can be made to be realistic and beneficial. It considers personalities who stand to benefit from peace processes, mostly the elite, with little regard to the local population.


SPCM 305: Negotiations and Mediation for Peace: African and Western Approaches

This course introduces students to the significance of culture in resolving conflict within and between cultural groups. It is designed to allow students to develop an advanced and critical understanding of African approaches to conflict resolution. It makes an extensive use of case studies in order to encourage students to reflect on the ways in which African approaches relate to theories and practices in the field of conflict resolution, and to explore their potential in the prevention, management and resolution of contemporary conflicts in Africa.


SPCM 306: Religion, Violence, and Peace: Patterns across Time and Tradition

The complex relationship between religion, violence, and peace is a central problem that bridges the boundaries of academic disciplines, historical periods, and global cultures. In recent years it has taken centre stage in a number of academic disciplines including history, anthropology, political science, and of course, religious studies. While some scholars have argued that religion has been “hijacked” by violence, others have asserted that religion is inherently violent. Still others have moved for a more nuanced argument by positing that religion, conflict, and violence are interwoven across history and cultures. They have stressed that religions sometimes nurture their identities by being in conflict with dominant cultures, and that this conflict is not necessarily always violent, but can produce enormous benefits. But are conflict and violence necessary components of religion? Can religion be a resource for peace? We shall explore this question and the viewpoints and arguments that inform it.

SPCM 307: Peace Studies Seminar

This seminar is intended to provide students with an introduction to the field of peace and conflict studies and to illuminate some key epistemological, ethical, psychological, and political issues connected with peace research in a contemporary global context. To this end, students are to be acquainted with, first, the character and background of peace and conflict studies as a field; second, its key concepts and phenomena of study, including varieties of violence and wars, as well as traditional and alternative approaches to the handling of conflict; and, third, how the Western-dominated global order has evolved, been conceived, and confronted, both violently (through “terrorism,” among other forms of confrontation) and non-violently.

The Seminar is offered each semester in conjunction with a monthly Peace Studies Forum. It offers opportunity for common reading of peace-related materials, presentation and discussion of papers, sharing from peace missions, and dialogue with peace activists, and leaders. Students will be asked to make a presentation and a final paper.


SPCM 308: Security and Conflict Prevention

The course advances issue of security and conflict prevention from a range of different perspectives. It begins by examining the nature of, and theories around international conflict and security and efforts made to address it. It investigates a wide range of tools employed in the management of conflict: from peacekeeping to preventive diplomacy; from negotiations to post-conflict peace building, and explore the strengths and weaknesses thereof. Special attention is devoted to situating conflict analysis within national and international policy on security and development more broadly. It will specifically address security issues that lead to displacement Internally Displaced People’s camps, refugees and other displaced persons.

By the end of the course, students will be expected to have a clear understanding, both theoretically and empirically, of the nature, causes, and consequences of contemporary conflict. They will also be expected to have grasped the issues pertaining to prevention of conflict and provision of security.

SPCM 309: Conflict Analysis and Conflict Prevention

The course considers Conflict Analysis and Resolution approaches to design, implement, and evaluate holistic cross-sectoral conflict-sensitive initiatives in areas of potential violence and post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization contexts.  It covers elements of cultural diversity, understanding and awareness; creative ways of approaching issues of diversity, identity, worldviews, and territory; considers individuals, organizations, communities and nations.



SPCM 310: Ethics of War and Peace

War, peace and non-violence are guided by values.  When these values are observed, the end product is peace. This course explores the challenges that affect human beings living under tensions of love and hate. It assesses the issue that while humans love, they get into communality with others and live in order. While they hate, they become prisoners of violence and war. The tension between love/hate, peace/war, and order/disorder prompts us to make a study in the why people wage wars and solutions for peace. Ethics war and peace is rooted in international law and the just war tradition. International law and just war traditions provide a suitable framework for resolving moral issues concerning when and how to wage war today and in the time to come.


SPCM 311: Human Rights Law

This course is intended to offer some general insight in international human rights law. On the basis of theoretical lectures and of the study of some cases and materials, especially judgments of the Court of Human Rights, an attempt is made to come to a critical reflection on the rights of the individual, in their relationship to the rights of other individuals and the interests of society. International protection mechanisms are also discussed.  Human rights are protected by law at the local and the national level. The rule of law demands that government actors as well as private citizens be subject to the constitution and human rights laws. It is through human rights laws that the law seeks to protect the basic human dignity of all members of society.

SPCM 312: International Humanitarian Law

The course introduces students to the science of international relations, security and diplomacy; international perspectives on peace and conflict transformation; international cooperation and its limits; interactions amongst sovereign states and non-state actors; theories of international relations; the key perspectives in international relations theory; the nature and limits of the key international institutions [the UN, NATO, OECD, AU, and the EU].  A study of the methods and means of warfare regulated by international law; humanitarian law in the historical development of restraints in armed conflict; the protections afforded by the 1949 Geneva Conventions; the 1977 Protocols to combatants and non-combatants, including civilians, POWs, the wounded and the sick; the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross; the ability of international law to bring to trial alleged war criminals.

SPCM 313: Peace and Conflict Management Research

Peace research is relatively new.  However, due to the increment of destructive conflicts, the importance of peace research is growing.  As such, peace research is needed to direct public policy and intervention approaches in order to appropriately prevent, manage and resolve violent conflicts.

SPCM 314: Refugee Law

With the increase of armed conflicts, more and more people are forced to flee their homes for safer places. While some go outside the borders of their countries of origin, others flee to another region within the same country. These are refugees and internally displaced persons, respectively, and this module centres on their protection. Refugee law is the branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees. It is related to, but distinct from, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, which deal respectively with human rights in general, and the conduct of war in particular. Refugee law encompasses customary law, peremptory norms, and international legal instruments. The only international instrument is the UN Convention, with an optional Protocol, while various regional bodies have instruments applying only to member states. Countries also have national laws on the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers.


SPCM 315: Gender, Peace and Conflict Transformation


The course explores critical analysis of factors that contribute towards a culture of peace; the dynamics of diversity related conflicts, with emphasis on gender and ethnic conflict at the community level. It familiarises students with the identity, roles, characteristics and relationships that men and women face, which are socially constructed and shared among people. The constructions create prejudices, stereotypes and different expectations about men and women, whereby gender violence, embedded within deep structures and cultures hinders, the full development of human beings and creates injustice and inequality at different levels: individual, local, national, and international. The approach this course will take is based on a peace paradigm, which argues that men and women have common problems that they can solve together, for the mutual benefit of both parties.


SPCM 316: Children and the Vulnerable Groups in Conflict Areas


The wounds inflicted by armed conflict on children – physical injury, gender-based violence, psychosocial distress – are affronts to every impulse that inspired the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Armed conflict affects all aspects of child development – physical, mental and emotional. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge of how to deal with people of special needs especially women and children in violent areas in order to enhance the professional preparedness in dealing with conflicting societies in and after conflict. The course familiarizes students with the specific needs, human rights, potentials and situations of women and children during armed conflict, post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building. It also provides guidance on how peacekeepers should conduct themselves in a mission area in order to respect women’s and children’s rights.


SPCM 317: Economics and War in Africa

Africa is known as a continent with immeasurable natural resources and untapped wealth yet most Africans have not fully benefited from these resources due to a number of reasons. Civil wars and inter-state conflicts have undermined the development process in many African countries. While the root causes of these armed conflicts are many and complex, various analysts and observers believe that several actors have benefited economically from these regrettable conflicts. This course, therefore, attempts to establish the link between resources and prolonged armed conflicts in Africa so that comprehensive and lasting solutions to these conflicts could be found.

SPCM 318: Politics, the state and Human Rights

There is universal consensus that all human beings are at all times entitled to certain basic rights. These include certain civil liberties and political rights, the most fundamental of which is the right to life and physical safely. Protection of these rights and freedoms guarantees a degree of decency and humane treatment. However, oftentimes, the state deliberately abuses these rights and thus its citizens. The course tries to define human rights within the limits of the state and its politics and critically analyses the states definitions.

SPCM 319: Religion, Fundamentalism, and Nationalism

There may be a feeling that religious faith is fading, yet religion is now a powerful tool towards achieving a political goal. In that regard, political religion is growing, at an alarming rate. The Mungiki activities in Kenya, the September 11 attacks in US, and the various religious wars raging on today, are examples of how religion is being used by believers as a socio-political force. This course explores the causes of the mobilization of religious movements, the role that other social and political actors, such as the state, play in this mobilization and how the movements interpret the world for their constituents.

SPCM 320: Post-war Reconstruction and Post-war Human Relations

Postwar situations are often very sensitive periods especially when the perpetrators of war are to live side by side with their victims. In such situations, it is important that people secure and learn how best they can live together in the same space. Moreover, after a long period of social and material destruction because of regional destabilisation and civil war, countries have to confront both their material rehabilitation and their social reconstruction. Since in most cases the majority of the population affected by the war is rural, traditional institutions are essential in bringing back balance, harmony, and social stability.

SPCM 321: Research Paper

The goal of the research paper is to offer the student the opportunity to research in the area of peace studies and conflict. The research will be a practical work done by the student attached to a field study. The method to be used is the one of Action Research where both the student and the community are involved into finding solutions to the research problem. The student will be asked to arrange workshops with his/her respondent where the supervisor will have to attend.