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Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies


Admission requirements

Required course(s):



Introducing the Peace and Conflict Studies track of the World Politics major, this course lays a theoretical foundation for analysing violent conflict and its dynamics.

Students will be trained in identifying conflict contexts and actors, and in examining how and why conflicts emerge and escalate. The course will introduce causes of violent conflict and how they are interlinked. It will also shed light on contemporary conflict trends, nonviolent resistance and activities conducted in the name of peace.

Course Objectives

By completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Apply concepts and theory about conflict dynamics and escalation processes in order to explain developments in specific inter-group conflicts.

By completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Compare and contrast different types of conflict and conflict actors;

  • Explain why conflicts occur and escalate, and how such causes may interrelate; and

  • Discuss dilemmas faced by actors who intervene in conflict zones in the name of peace.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This is an interactive course. Readings will be discussed in class meetings, and students will be expected to participate actively by raising questions and articulating ideas you may have based on the readings. You will also be expected to write a couple of reflection notes along the way.

Once during the course each student will be part of a group giving a presentation, prior to which you will be expected to write a response paper.

In the final essay, students will be expected to apply what you have learned by analysing how and why one particular inter-group conflict escalated.

Assessment Method

  • Response paper: 30%

  • Presentation: 15%

  • Reflections: 15%

  • Essay: 40%

Reading list

The list of readings will be made available upon commencement of the course.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


  • Dr Ingrid Samset,

  • Dr Ayokunu Adedokun,

  • Dr Tom Buitelaar,