Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
International Conflict Resolution
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture Combined lecture/Seminar: 10 x 2 hour sessions


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x weekly learning log  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word book review  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Identify and assess the main theoretical perspectives on the causes of inter- and intra-state conflict.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution over time of the international conflict management system.
3. Critically evaluate the main approaches to the management and resolution of international conflict.
4. Identify the conditions under which different approaches to conflict resolution are likely to be deployed with success.
5. Critically assess the core political-normative challenges entailed in contemporary international conflict resolution.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of a number of important case studies of international conflict resolution.


This module adds to Departmental provision in the areas of International Politics and Security Studies. It will explore the main processes by which states and international organizations manage and resolve both interstate and intrastate conflict through legal, institutional and diplomatic processes. It complements existing provision in a number of areas and will allow students to gain specialist knowledge of the key issues, debates and methods of international conflict resolution, as well as familiarity with key defining cases.

Brief description

The module explores the main concepts, theories and approaches to resolution of contemporary international conflict. The aim is to provide students with a set of conceptual tools through which to evaluate and understand contemporary events in the field of peace and conflict. Although much of the module will be theory-oriented, relevant case studies will be brought in to illustrate core theoretical propositions. The module begins with a theoretical discussion of the nature, causes and approaches to conflict. The main section of the module focuses on the evolving nature of the international conflict management system, and examines: the effectiveness of diplomatic practice, international law and international organization for resolving conflict; the role of the United Nations in resolving conflict; the key issues surrounding the new peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention; and the central challenges of new approaches to conflict resolution, such as multi-track diplomacy, reconciliation and peace-building.


1. Introduction
2. Approaches to conflict - conflict management, conflict resolution, conflict transformation
3. The causes of international conflict
4. Diplomatic approaches to conflict resolution: negotiation, mediation
5. International organization and the UN
6. Peacekeeping, Humanitarian intervention and Regional Sub-contracting
7. Preventive diplomacy and early warning
8. NGOs and citizen-based diplomacy
9. Transitional Justice, Truth-telling and reconciliation
10. Peacebuilding

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Lectures will be run in an interactive way, with oral discussion forming a central medium of teaching there as well as in seminars. The emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management and self-directed learning, but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework. Group work is integral to the seminars and provides opportunities for students to reflect individually and collectively on their performance. The need to submit a major essay and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning coursework, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing them through to completion will contribute towards students' portfolios of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of coursework will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed through the setting of specific problem-solving exercises during the class, group discussions in which students are asked to adopt alternative points of view and debate conceptual and empirical arguments. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of coursework will reflect the independent research skills of students, especially as the essay for this module will be worth 60% of the overall module mark. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate empirical examples and theoretical ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data and information relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing theories and perspectives - Demonstrate social scientific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems - Develop a personal ethical framework for understanding and responding to issues of peace and conflict
Team work Lectures and seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to class topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module learning experience.


This module is at CQFW Level 6