Targeted at those seeking to create a positive impact on society, this master’s programme aims to prepare its students for professional activity in both interpersonal and international conflict situations. Developed with the challenges of modern-day society in mind, students of this course will gain a deeper understanding of the role that human behaviour plays in altering civilization and how peace, mediation and conflict resolution are essential to the growth of society and the creation of a better quality of life for its inhabitants.
Taking a largely psychological and anthropological approach, students of this programme can look forward to engaging with far-reaching and highly relevant topics such as the escalation of war and its effect on cultural and social dynamics. The programme aims to help students understand the mechanisms behind conflict and encompasses the teaching of mediation, negotiation, and peacebuilding from an objective and balanced perspective. Other areas of focus include subjects such as the evolution and escalation of aggression – the interdisciplinary nature of which provides a solid platform for students to base further independent research.
Skills learned throughout the duration of this two-year programme (which is based at the Vasa campus of Åbo Akademi University), are highly significant and purposeful within today’s society. The studies not only encourage students to garner new perspectives on human interaction and relationships, but also, teach students how to facilitate the improvement of these relationships on a scale of their choosing. Successful completion of this programme will result in students being awarded with a Master of Social Science degree.
Whilst the aim of this programme is to prepare students for professional activity in both interpersonal and international conflict situations, many graduates have also gone on to study at PhD level, conducting advanced research within the field of social science.
Graduates who have chosen to start working right after graduation have also had a great deal of success, with many now enjoying challenging careers in areas such as teaching, policy making and advocacy work within the public sector and private organisations. Other areas that students have thrived in include: grassroots organisations, NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and even the establishment of their own organisations.
A three-year Bachelor, Master or equivalent diploma in the Humanities, Social Sciences or Behavioral Sciences (e.g. Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, History, Anthropology, Psychology, Education or Administrative Sciences). If the degree is not completed by the end of the application period, the applicant can be admitted on condition that she/he submits the degree certificate by deadline set by Åbo Akademi University. Applicants must also prove their knowledge of the English language.
Students who fulfil the formal admission criteria are admitted on the basis of the relevance of their former studies and their success in these. Relevance of prior studies and the applicant’s motivation are carefully considered. Applicants are advised to explain their reasons for applying to this programme specifically. Work experience relevant to the programme or other relevant merits and qualifications may be taken into account. Other relevant merits and qualifications should be clearly expressed by applicants in the motivation letter which is part of the application form. The applicants might be approached for a personal interview via Skype.
There is no entrance examination. Admission is granted on the basis of an application. Due to the high number of applicants, meeting the admission criteria is no guarantee for admission to the programme.
An applicant, who has already completed a master’s degree, where the content of the studies is the same as the one offered in the programme that the applicant is applying to, is eligible to apply but cannot use this qualification to gain extra merit in relation to other applicants. If the sought degree programme is identical or almost identical to the degree that the applicant already has, the department can reject admission with the objection that there is no new learning aspect that would motivate admission (the applicant already has the qualification that he or she is applying to). Applicants who already have a master level qualification within the same area are therefore asked, in the application form, to specify the reasons for applying in relation to the new learning aspect.
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