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Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict MSc

Different course options

Full time | Birkbeck, University of London | 1 year | 03-OCT-22

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Conflict Management (Business) War Studies

Course type


Course Summary

Our MSc Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict considers how ethnic, national and religious identities intersect and how they cause conflict and violence within and between states.

In Western countries, many majority ethnic groups are bemoaning a loss of national identity and sovereignty, while smaller nations and ethnic-national groups press for devolution or independence at the expense of larger nation-state formations. Religiously inspired conflict, especially, but by no means only, in the Muslim world, is a further major source of global insecurity.

This programme draws on research in comparative politics, history, sociology, cultural and genetic anthropology, political theory and international relations to offer comprehensive, balanced analyses of contemporary political controversies.

Alongside theoretical approaches, we will examine ethnic and national conflict via a wealth of real-world case studies that cover every corner of the globe. The programme provides the analytical tools you will need to examine problems of national, ethnic and religious conflict in their broader political context.

Our modules give you a deep understanding of the concepts of ethnic group and nation, and the range of approaches and analytical models available to explore case studies from different time periods and places. You will then consider the pressing issue of population change within and between states, and its economic, military, political and international implications.

You can choose option modules from a wide variety of topics including international security, American foreign policy, globalisation, political theory and sociology, war and conflict, nationalism and religion, and international political economy. The culmination of the programme is to write a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.


Graduates can pursue careers in international organisations, policy research, journalism, economic and political forecasting, private sector management, and national or supranational government. Possible professions include Civil Service fast streamer, government social research officer, or public affairs consultant. This degree can also be useful in becoming a newspaper journalist, public relations account executive, or charity officer.

We offer a comprehensive Careers Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.


This course aims to provide an understanding of key concepts and arguments in political sociology. To this end, it introduces some of the main perspectives within modern social theory and considers examples of their application to social and political phenomena. The course adopts a historical and theoretical approach; it complements the Political Theory and Contemporary Politics core course and contrasts approaches in social theory with more normative approaches in the history of political thought. In order to develop a critical and analytical approach to contemporary and social issues and to key readings, it combines attention to classical texts with case studies.

Tuition fees

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Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a social science or other relevant subject, though other qualifications may be considered.

University information

Based in the heart of London, Birkbeck has established a reputation for providing its postgraduate students with an engaging, exciting learning experience, and positive feedback from its community of professional alumni is testimony to the university’s continued success. With a history that dates back almost 200 years, Birkbeck, University of London offers a unique learning experience which delivers a competitive program of nearly 300...more

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