1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Gender, Violence and Conflict

Engage critically with debates around the relationships between gender, violence and conflict. You’ll consider perspectives from anthropology, international relations, sociology and law. You have the opportunity to explore critical and feminist approaches to social research and its ethics.

The course focuses on:

  • gendered experiences of violence
  • conflict and peace
  • militarisation
  • masculinities and femininities 
  • representations, embodiments and the institutionalisation of violence. 
We’re all from different backgrounds: anthropology, international relations, some of us have worked, some haven’t. We all complement each other, which has led to some really interesting debates.”Marie De Col
Gender, Violence and Conflict MA 

Key facts

  • Development Studies at Sussex was ranked 1st in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.
  • Global Studies is a unique interdisciplinary school, with cutting-edge research, international faculty, and a distinctive programme of guest lectures, research seminars and events.
  • Our campus is also home to an active student body, hosting frequent debates, lectures, films and social events covering global and political issues.

How will I study?

In the autumn and spring terms, you’ll take core modules and options. In the summer, you undertake supervised work on your dissertation.

Assessment is through term papers, coursework assignments, practical exercises and presentations as well as the final 10,000-word dissertation, or dissertation with placement.


You can apply to take a placement with this course. On placement, you gain work experience related to your subject and practical skills in preparation for a professional career. Research placements run for up to 12 weeks in the summer term and vacation. You can also write your dissertation based on your experience.

The School of Global Studies and the Careers and Employability Centre will help you with your applications.

Find out more about Global Studies postgraduate placements

Full-time and part-time study

You can choose to study this course full time or part time. Find the modules for the full-time course below. 

For details about the part-time course structure, contact us at

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Gender, Conflict and Peace

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The aims of this module are to:

      • give students a solid foundation in the key concepts of sex, gender, violence and conflict
      • explore a range of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives on the relationships between gender, violence and peace 
      • discuss and critically analyse contemporary policy debates and practical initiatives around “Women, Peace and Security” and “Violence Against Women” 
      • develop students ability to critically engage with academic and policy literature and develop well-structured arguments orally and in writing 
      • develop students’ transferrable skills in working independently and team-working.

      Key topics to be covered in this module include: 

      • key concepts of sex, gender, violence, conflict, security and peace
      • key perspectives on gender, war and peace
      • women and men as victims, perpetrators and actors 
      • women’s bodies, ethnicity and the Nation 
      • women peacebuilders 
      • “Women, Peace and Security”: Women’s security or securitising women? 
      • key concepts in gender(ed) violence
      • gender(ed) violence and power, society and culture 
      • "what works" to prevent "violence against women"? 
      • researching gender, violence, conflict and peace.
    • Research Methods and Professional Skills (Int Dev)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you with training in social science research methods (generic as well as specific to your dissertation research) as well as with a set of professional skills that prepare you for a professional career. The module is run as a series of half-day workshops from which you select three workshops to match your specific needs depending on disciplinary orientation, previous training and experience, future employment plans and personal interests. The workshops will cover a wide range of topics. The social research methods workshops will include interviewing, ethnographic methods, participatory research techniques and questionnaire design. The professional skills workshops will include, for example, stakeholder engagement, sustainable livelihoods analysis, environmental impact assessment, project planning and private sector consulting. The professional skills will also help to prepare you if you plan to take a work placement over the summer. As part of the module, you will also receive a workshop on dissertation planning and design.

    • Sex and Violence

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Sex and Death in Global Politics  explores the multiple connections between gender and violence in contemporary international politics in historical and theoretical perspective. War and other forms of collective violence seem to be everywhere in world affairs, but it has often been commented that the many manifestations of gender are less visible. At times aspects of gender violence (such as war rape) seem to enter into the realm of academic International
      Relations, whilst other questions (such as the inclusion of homosexuals in the military) have relevance for public policy and national culture. But many other issues (such as media representations of gender violence, the continuum between 'peace' and 'war' violence, or the connection between armies and prostitution) are more commonly discussed within sociology, political theory and history. This module will examine a broad range of such questions from an inter-disciplinary angle, with a particular stress on theoretical perspectives and academicpolitical controversies.

      Topics will include:

      gender in war and society; the intersection of race, class, and gender in collective violence; military masculinity; women at war and the question of the 'feminine' in the perpetration of violence; wartime sexual violence; genocide and 'gendercide'; sex industries and violence; homosexuality and military culture (including queer theory perspectives and recent debates about 'pink-washing' and 'homonationalism'); feminism, anti-feminism and gender studies in the academy; gender and the ethics of war; and gender violence in popular culture.

    • Dissertation (GVC)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Conflict, Security and Development

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module analyses the complex relationships that lie at the heart of the development-security nexus in the Global South, especially Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

      The module focuses on three key areas. First you will explore the extent to which cycles of insecurity and violence affect the possibility of development for large sections of the world's population. Second you will consider the difficulties that aid agencies, nongovernmental organisations, governments, and international organisations encounter when trying to negotiate these spirals of violence and insecurity – be it through armed intervention, the provision of aid, the sponsoring of peace-building processes, or assisting states in postconflict reconstruction. Finally you will conclude by considering whether underdevelopment can be said to constitute a security threat; some Western governments, for example, claim that underdevelopment in the Global South could threaten their national security by facilitating the international spread of terrorist and criminal networks.

      The module will provide you with the necessary theoretical tools to approach this subject, grounded in applied examples and cases.

    • Critical Reading in Advanced Gender Theory

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

    • Gender Politics and Social Research

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module approaches feminist theory and methodology at advanced levels, critically exploring feminist research on a number of different issues and engaging with the politics of the research process itself. As a core module on the MA in Gender Studies, it is intended to prepare you to conduct independent research and to produce your dissertation.

      The first half of the module introduces different methodologies and methods, encouraging you to reflect critically on their strengths and weaknesses, and how feminists have used them in the service of political projects. In the second half of the module, you will design research projects on two case-study issues and attempt to operationalise key feminist theories.

    • Human Rights and the Politics of Culture

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will introduce you to debates in 'the politics of difference' as they relate to human rights. We begin by examining the genealogy of the concept of culture in the 20th century and look at the diverse political uses to which it has been put, from being part of the discourse of the European far-right to granting greater rights for minorities that were previously politically marginalised. We consider the cultural relativist challenge to universal human rights which asserts the distinctiveness of each 'culture' and that universal human rights instruments are, therefore, inappropriate. We then assess the view that globalisation in general, and especially the globalisation of a human rights discourse, means that relativist views of societal distinctiveness no longer hold in an increasingly interconnected world. Subsequent weeks are concerned with specific instances of rights and difference, including minority rights, indigenous rights and women's human rights. We conclude by returning to the liberal tradition to ask whether or not revised forms of liberalism ('multiculturalism') can provide the answer to the problem of difference in modern societies.

    • New Security Challenges

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      For much of the 20th century, security was defined in terms of the management of armed conflict between sovereign states, either alone or in alliance. With the end of the Cold War, new sources of insecurity were identified and a 'new agenda' for security policy emerged. Links have been drawn between security and previously unrelated phenomenon such as climate change and the spread of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS. For some moreover, new policy approaches centering upon 'human security' rather than international and national security deepened linkages between security and development. 9/11, subsequent al-Qaeda type terrorism, coalition operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere and insurgent action against them further highlighted the relation between non-state actors, transnational networks, 'weak' or 'failed' states and the pursuit of security.

      This wider agenda has seen an expansion of the kind of organisations and forms of expertise involved in security policy and practice, traditionally understood to be the preserve of state governments. Growing awareness of the dependence of conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilisation on local development and capacity building, for example, has meant increased emphasis on the role of humanitarian and development agencies. 9/11 and subsequent terrorism have also served to highlight the vulnerability of businesses and civilians, raising questions about where responsibility for security provision resides. The potential vulnerability of these actors and agencies meanwhile, has meant an expansion in private-sector security providers, whose services extend from intelligence analysis through to close protection.

      Engaging this wide and constantly changing field, New Security Challenges offers an advanced overview of ten contemporary security topics. Each week, the course focuses on a particular issue, the form of threat involved and how institutions and policy makers have sought to respond.

    • Understanding Processes of Social Change

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module introduces you to classical sociological theories informing mainstream anthropological analyses of social change. You will focus on theorisations of wider processes of modernisation and change from structural, political and economic perspectives. You will consider debates concerning the effects and consequences of modernisation processes on social, political and economic realms, such as the formation of nation states, state bureaucracy and civil society; the development of markets and commoditisation of economic, social and cultural relationships. You will also reflect on recent critical approaches to the study of modernity and change as represented by theoretical trends associated to feminist theory, postmodernism, postcolonial studies and contemporary social theory. Particular attention will be paid to issues of globalisation and transnationalism; colonial and postcolonial relationships; and discursive constitution of practices and representations of modernity.

    • Activism for Development and Social Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module, you will address the ways in which activists and activism have sought to engage in development and social justice. You'll explore and evaluate different approaches to activism, grounding this in theories of social mobilisation and citizenship, and will work through a series of practical examples, drawing on empirical material produced by anthropologists and others, to explore how activism has been used to address issues of development and social justice. In doing so, you will seek to build on the material introduced in previous terms on theories of social change and approaches to development and social justice, to explore how different kinds of activisms seek to bring about change.

      The module will explore the contributions that imaginative, insurgent, disruptive and chaotic forms of social action have to make to development, and will cover a range of forms of collective action from the use of petitions and lobbying of representatives, to the use of the arts in "interrupting" everyday life to bring some of its elements into question, to mobilisation for protests and peaceful demonstrations, to non-violent direct action and info-activism.

    • Anthropology of Reconciliation and Reconstruction

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In their ethnographies, anthropologies have studied 'intra-cultural' conflict resolution practices. As activists, they have contributed to the emergence of generic approaches to conflict resolution. They have, however, raised important questions regarding the contextuality of generic practices and whether they can capture the complexity of local circumstances.

      In the first part of this module, you critically assess the relationship between local ('intra-cultural') and generic approaches to conflict resolution (as practiced by INGOs and other third-parties) - asking whether the latter can be tempered with a sense of context-specificity. You also consider the sociology of mediation and peace negotiations and the power relations and dynamics involved.

      In the second part of the module, you explore the desire to 'reconstruct' society in the aftermath of violent conflict. You critically assess 'truth acknowledging' exercises (such as truth commissions), and explore issues of memory and ways in which a psychologised 'nation' can be 'healed'. You contrast this with arguments in favour of 'retributive' exercises (such as international criminal tribunals and domestic trials).

      The module is structured as follows:

      1. 'Traditional' conflict resolution
      2. Re-traditionalising conflict resolution
      3. The international 'peacebuilding' discourse
      4. Memory and narrative in post-violence contexts
      5. Memorialisation
      6. 'Reconciliation' or 'co-existence'?
      7. 'Truth commissions'
      8. International criminal tribunals
      9. Case study 1; post-genocide Rwanda
      10. Case study 2; post-war Sierra Leone
      11. Case study 3; post-war Guatemala
      12. One-to-one term paper tutorials
    • Childhood and Youth in Global Perspective; Rights, Protection and Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will explore legal and rights frameworks relating to children and young people with a particular emphasis on international conventions and perspectives. The first part of the module will involve an exploration of three areas of law: children's rights, child protection/welfare and youth justice/offending. 
      Explorations of these topics will include an examination of ideas of globalisation and post-colonial critiques where relevant. In the second part of the module case studies will be used to critically explore these issues in relation to practice with children and young people drawing upon examples from the developed and developing world.

      An indicative list of practice topics for exploration includes: 

      • Children/young people and work
      • Children and poverty
      • Children and homelessness
      • Children and criminal justice
      • Children and refugee status
      • Children and the family 

      The module will make connections between policy and practice approaches to children and youth in majority and minority worlds as well as linking themes such as migration, adoption and child trafficking. We will, however, pay particular attention to the specificities of work within a development context including an exploration of the practice issues asssociated with work in refugee camps and with street children.

    • Culture and Identity Rights

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to explore the development of rights to culture, religion and language from an international and comparative perspective. The idea is to link rights based discussions to contemporary debates involving cultural issues and conflicts (for example on Shari'a law, on religious dress and symbols and on language rights in post-conflict reconciliation). In particular, the module seeks to explore the accommodation of such rights and the balancing of competing interests.

      The module will be divided into three parts. The first part of the module will introduce relevant legal frameworks and different theoretical perspectives required for a study of legal approaches to culture, religion and language. Specifically, this part will consider what we mean conceptually by culture, religion and language and consider how competing values and interests are reconciled within the international human rights framework. 

      The second part will consider in more depth the development of (both individual and collective) rights to culture, religion and language at the international level and consider the wider implications of the recognition of such rights with a particular focus on specific country situations. This part of the module will consider the extent to which such rights are increasingly being marginalised. It will also consider the impact of contemporary challenges, such as the current economic climate on the accommodation of such rights as well as new opportunities in a post-multicultural era. 

      The final part of the module will involve oral presentation of research plans on a case-study of your choice.

    • Global Queer

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module seeks to provide you with a comprehensive and sophisticated appreciation of the importance of queer work and queer practices in world politics. These include knowledge of different approaches to queer theory and sexuality studies and how these bear on understandings of international relations theory and practices in world politics. The kinds of questions to be investigated are: What is 'queer' and how has 'queer' been understood and explained by the discipline of IR? How and in what ways are 'sexuality' and 'queer' constituted as domains of international political practice and mobilised so that they bear on questions of state and nation formation, war and peace, and global political economy? And how does the discipline of IR grapple with 'queer' and 'sexuality studies' work? Topics to be investigated include analysing how 'heteronormativity' and 'homonormativity' function in relation to questions of hegemony, nationalism, migration, military recruiting, military intervention and its justifications, and neoliberal development projects. We will also consider how 'queer trouble-making' - as a political practice in world politics and as a scholarly practice within the discipline of international relations - might begin to change the relationships amongst queer work, sexuality studies, and international relations.

    • Hate Crime and Sexual Violence

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will focus on issues relating to hate crime and sexual violence and the criminal justice system. The module starts by exploring the various conceptualisations of hate crime and how and why its definition has differed between jurisdictions. Focus is then given to the growing legislative responses to hate-motivated offences both in the UK and US. You will examine the extent to which the singling out of certain prejudiced motivations for enhanced sentencing (such as, racism, homophobia, anti-religion and disablism) can be justified. You then move on to explore the main criminological theories that have been put forward to explain the aetiology of hate crime. Attention is also give to research that has evidenced the often heightened levels of harm that such offences cause to both victims and minority communities more broadly. 

      The second part of the module focuses on sexual violence. You examine the reforms made to the law and practice with regards to sexual assault and will consider remaining issues, highlighting attrition and problems of attitude. Some academics have argued that sexual violence should also be classified as hate crime. As such you will explore the arguments for and against the inclusion of sexual violence under the label of hate crime, noting both the impacts that inclusion/exclusion under the label may have on the state's responses to such crimes. You will also examine the use of alternative criminal justice measures for hate crime and sexual violence. Particular focus is given to the use of restorative justice and you will assess the potential benefits and pitfalls of using such an approach.

    • Human Rights in International Relations

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module you will examine the process of internationalisation of human rights and the main factors that underpin that process, including the nature of the international order, the relationship between human rights and sovereignty of states, and the problematic of intervention and redistribution. You will contrast the use of human rights as instruments of foreign policy with the involvement of international non-governmental organisations. You will examine both the global and the regional legal, and contrast questions of cultural hegemony with those that claim legitimate cultural autonomy.

    • Knowledge, Power and Resistance

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module reflects the various ways in which power and knowledge interact within contexts of development and economic change. The module provides you with the conceptual apparatus to theorise notions of discourse, power and resistance, but also deals in depth with the historically and culturally contingent nature of the various meanings given to development, modernity and tradition, and how these in turn are linked to different forms of knowledge. As the module shows, narratives and counter narratives of development are not only produced by the developers and developees, but also by yourself and fellow students. They are also inextricable from relations of power.

    • Militarism and its Discontents

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Peace Processes and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module examines peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction within the context of transformations and continuities in international politics. This involves:

      • Analysing a number of individual peace processes and post-war reconstruction efforts, in each case examining them in their full local specificity, as well as within the context of international (or global) political, economic and social transformations;
      • Undertaking some comparative analysis of these individual peace processes and post-war reconstruction efforts, again within the context of international (or global) change;
      • Considering, at a more general level, how and why practices of peacemaking have changed over time, and been structured by broader patterns of politics and society, ie.undertaking an international historical sociology of peacemaking;
      • Considering, conversely, how practices and experiences of peacemaking have contributed to the shaping and reshaping of international orders;
      • Analysing peace processes and reconstruction through the lens of theoretical debates in peace studies, conflict resolution, international relations and global political economy.
    • Postcolonial Africa: Politics and Society

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you explore theoretical debates over key postcolonial political and socio-cultural dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.

      You are encouraged to think critically about dominant representations of the sub-continent in the West particularly as these shape developmental, security and other interventions, and to assess alternative representations, such as those produced by African print media or civil society campaigns.

      You are introduced, and invited, to analyse different, often conflicting accounts of postcolonial continuities and transformations.

      Topics include introductions to theoretical discussion of:

      • the postcolonial state and forms of local governance
      • nationalism and ethnicity
      • conflict
      • borders
      • the politics of land and natural resources
      • processes of urbanization and reshaping of city spaces
      • mobility
      • new forms of transnational connection between Africa, Europe and China.

      Each session is oriented around a different theoretical debate, but is also explored through a particular case study.
      Therefore, you gain an overview of cutting edge theory, while at the same time appreciating the extent of diversity across the continent, and having the opportunity to explore primary and secondary sources on specific and topical issues.

    • Refugees, Displacement and Humanitarian Responses

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of this module is to gain knowledge and understanding of the complexity of forced migration issues in developing countries, and of the range of ideological and practical perspectives which inform policy concerning the reception and settlement of refugees, and the resolution of conflicts which give rise to forced migration flows. At the end of the course, you will be expected to have a conceptual and intellectual grasp of the principle components of the growing literature on forced migration and development, and specific understanding of the practical experience of, and lessons learnt from refugee assistance programmes over the past 50 years.

    • Sexuality and Development: Intimacies, Health and Rights in Global Perspective

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module will explore sexualities as sites of political contestation, claims to rights and intimate aspirations in context of global socio-economic transformations, international health and development practice. The module will bring together theoretical perspectives on sexual subjectivity and sexual life, worlds with a range of applied concerns relating to health, actvism and development policy, and programming internationally. In particular the module will examine ways in which 'dissident sexual subjects' have been imagined globally, often both included and marginalised in different domains, such as the community, the state and international policy fora.

      Themes and issus addressed by the module will include:

      • Sexual subjectivities, intimate lives and global transformations
      • Heteronormativity in interntional development and health
      • HIV and AIDS: Epidemiology, anthropology and policy - contested engagements with sexual lives and 'key populations'
      • Citizenship, economies and queer abandonment
      • Sexuality, law and the state: Homonational contestations
      • UN agencies and (im)possible sexual subjects
      • Sexualities in transition: trans-subjectivites, trans-bodies and trans-nationalisms
      • Viral and virtual intimacies
      • Intimate economies: Sex work, sex and work
      • Collaborative action: working with NGOs on sexual rights and health
      • Creative engagement: visual ethnographic work on sexual life-worlds - globally
      • Advocacy and exclusions: Global dialogues, sexual rights, well-being and marginalisations 

      Sexual life-worlds are increasingly interpreted in relation to global flows and transitions. One way in which connections between global processes and sexualities are becoming ever-more visible is in relation to new imaginaries of sexual identity and subjectivity, as mediated through transnational media, new communication technologies and the global momentum of neo-liberal capital. International development and heath practices are closely associated with such social processes as they seek to respond to the changing and enduring attributes of sexual lives, practices and risks in the context of wider concerns for well-being. The module will respond to such concerns and seek to equip you with both theoretical and practice based frameworks for engaging with a range of themes and issues related to sexuality and development.

      The module will be interdisciplinary in focus, drawing more widely on literature from anthropology and the social sciences, international development, health, gender and sexuality studies. In particular the module will seek to explore a range of literatures comparatively, bringing theoretical perspectives on sexuality into dialogue with more practice-based literature, such as reports by UN agencies, NGOs and so on. Through class readings, and drawing on the experience of the tutor and your own experiences, the aim will be explore, contest and consider differing modes of engaging with sexualities on a global scale - as academics, health practioners, activists, development professionals and so on. The module will be taught via a combination of seminar-based readings and discussions, analysis of (ethnographic) film, reflexive class exercises and group presentations.

    • Terror, Security and the State in Global Politics

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module offers an advanced level introduction to terrorism, state terror and security in global political context. Attending to case studies, academic literatures and primary sources the curriculum is divided into two sections. The first, 'Studying Terror: Conceptual Issues', offers a thematic exploration of terrorism and state terror, considering their historical development in modern societies; relation to other forms of organised violence; some of the animating ideas historically associated with the use of terror for political purposes; the phenomenon of `suicide terrorism' and the ideas, organisations and practices used by states in their efforts to counter terrorism. The second section, 'Cases and Contexts', situates terrorism and state terror within the changing context of state power, international and global politics, exploring the historical and contemporary relations between them.

    • The Body: current controversies and debates

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The body has recently become a key focus for sociological theorising and research. Much of this work has focused on defining the body as a socially constructed phenomenon, and exploring how it is produced through various social and cultural practices and discourses, and categories such as gender, class, race and sexual orientation. However, the body is also highly politically charged; a key site at which oppression is meted out, and is a focus of regulation and governance at individual, group, national and international levels. Bodies, and particularly women's bodies, are also at the nexus of some of the most controversial debates of our time.  

      This module looks at the politics of the body from a sociological point of view, exploring themes of embodiment and power through a variety of controversial issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, sex work, abortion, cosmetic surgery and eugenics. You will think through various debates in relation to a broad canon of theories from feminism and sociology, around notions such as rights, bodily autonomy and integrity, structures and discourses, and the formation and regulation of identities. Gender will be a central thread throughout, and attention will be paid to how it intersects with other social categories such as class, 'race', sexual orientation, age, and (dis)ability.

    • The Middle East in Global Order

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The Middle East is almost constantly in the news. From Israel and the West Bank to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the region is at once a byword for political instability, and a recurring site of Western political and military interventions. This module explores some of the political, economic and cultural dynamics that lie behind the crisis-ridden headlines. You examine the emergence of the Middle East from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire and the specificities of the modern state-formation processes in the Middle East. You study the interplay of the international and domestic factors in the Middle Eastern states and societies looking at their political economies and patterns of development. You critically investigate the problems of authoritarianism and democratic change in the Middle East. The module also engages in more in depth analysis of some important contemporary phenomena in the Middle East such as political Islam, The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq War, and the 'Arab Spring'.

      We start by examining some key methodological and theoretical debates in the study of the Middle East. We then move on to consider the processes of modern state formation and the legacies of (neo)colonialism and imperialism. We then consider the impacts of neo-liberalism on Middle Eastern polities and economies, international (geo)political economy of the region with special reference to oil, and the theme of human development including gender issues in the Middle East. We then examine some key political forms and forces, including the authoritarian 'rentier' state, processes of democratisation and liberalisation, and political Islam. The final part of the course concentrates on three particularly important issues in contemporary Middle East: the causes and consequences of the Iranian Revolution and the 'Arab Spring', Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the Iraq War.

    • Transnationalism, Diaspora and Migrants' Lives

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Women and Human Rights

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module is divided into two halves. The first half consists of core topics providing a theoretical framework for the study of women's human rights. You will draw on feminist legal theory, human rights theory, anthropological and historical materials and international and national rights instruments and documentation. The second half focuses on the conception, implementation, adherence and breach of a specific right or related rights. 

    • Dissertation with Placement (Global Studies)

      45 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module is designed to allow you to apply theories and concepts, as well as practical and research skills learned during the MA programme, to a work context in the UK or internationally. It takes the form of a 12-week work placement with an organisation working in a field relevant to the degree programme, normally undertaken from May-July after assessments on other courses are completed.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in the social or natural sciences. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed personal statement. Applicants with other degrees or relevant practical work experience will also be considered

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Paul Boyce
    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Inteal Development

    Research interests: Anthropology and Queer Theory in India, Anthropology of Sexualities, Anthropology of the Body, Applied Anthropology, Bioavailability, HIV prevention research, International Development, Intimacy, Male and Transgender Sex Work, Male Sex work in SE Africa, Psycho-social and Psychoanalytic perspectives in Anthropology, Queer and Transgender Representation, Queer Theory, Sexual and gendered subjectivities, Sexuality and Law in Nepal, Visual Anthropology and Media

    View profile

    Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations and International Development

    Research interests: Continental Philosophy, corporate social responsibility, Critical Legal Theory, Critical Theory and Marxism, Ethics, Gender Studies, Human Rights, International Business and Human Rights, Labour & trade union politics, Michel Foucault, Philosophy of Science, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, Resistance (political), Sociology of knowledge

    View profile

    Prof Andrea Cornwall
    Professor of Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Brazil, democratisation, Empowerment, gender and development, Gender and Sexuality, Nigeria, participation, public engagement, Public health

    View profile

    Prof Jane Cowan
    Professor of Social Anthropology

    Research interests: anthropology of gender and masculinity, Balkans, Dance Performance, Diplomacy & International Relations, Ethnography And Anthropology, Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, Greece, Human Rights, International Organization, Minority Rights, Social and political theory, Social anthropology

    View profile

    Prof Stefan Elbe
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: Biosecurity, Bioterrorism, Global health, Infection, International security, Pandemic Preparedness

    View profile

    Dr Nigel Eltringham
    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

    Research interests: Africa, Conflict and violence, ethnicity, Film, Genocide, Human Rights, international criminal court, International Criminal Law, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Political violence, Post conflict reconstruction, Rwanda, Transitional justice

    View profile

    Prof James Fairhead
    Professor of Social Anthropology

    Research interests: Ebola, Environmental Anthropology, Green Economy, Health, Historical Anthropology, International Development, New Guinea, West Africa

    View profile

    Prof Elizabeth Harrison
    Professor of Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Anthropology and ethnography, Anti-corruption, community, gender, International Development, Irrigation, Moralities, Natural Resource Management, Participation and engagement, Political anthropology, Sub-Saharan Africa, United Kingdom

    View profile

    Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith
    Senior Lecturer In Higher Education

    Research interests: Feminist and qualitative research methods, Feminist theory, Gender Studies, higher education, Sociology of Education, Widening participation

    View profile

    Dr Pamela Kea
    Senior Lecturer In Anthropology

    Research interests: Anthropology of West Africa, Asylum and FGM, childhood and youth, Decolonial critique and the arts, Feminist theory, gender, Home-making practices, Intimacy and transnational kinship relations, Migration and Mobility, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, race and ethnicity, The aesthetics of migration, The household moral economy, Transnational networks and subjectivities, Visual and Material Culture

    View profile

    Dr Evan Killick
    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Amazonia, Climate & Climate Change, Conservation, Development studies, ethnography, Friendship, indigenous peoples, International Development, Kinship, Latin America, REDD

    View profile

    Dr Paul Kirby
    Lecturer in International Security

    Research interests: Conflict and violence, Feminist theory, gender, gender-based violence, International Political Theory, International security, Philosophy of science & social science, War and violence in international politics, War Studies, Wartime sexual violence

    View profile

    Dr Mark Leopold
    Lecturer in Social Anthropology

    Research interests: Anthropology and espionage, Anthropology and Literature, Biography, Borders, Conflict and violence, Embodiment, Forced migration, History, History of Anthropology, Masculinities, north east Africa, Peacemaking, Political anthropology, psychoanalysis, South Sudan, Uganda

    View profile

    Dr Lyndsay Mclean Hilker
    Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development

    Research interests: Africa, Anthropology and ethnography, Anthropology of Development, Development Practice, DRC, ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, gender-based violence, identity-based conflict, reconciliation, Rwanda, Social transformation, Violence, youth and violence

    View profile

    Prof Alison Phipps
    Professor of Gender Studies

    Research interests: Feminist theory, Gender and Sexuality, higher education, Laddism, neoliberalism, political sociology, Rape, Reproductive Justice, Sex industry, Sex work, Sexual harassment, sexual violence

    View profile

    Dr Rebecca Prentice
    Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

    Research interests: Development studies, Economic anthropology, Embodiment, Ethnographic Methods, Garment industry, gender, Health, Health and Safety, Human Rights, Labour relations, labour rights, medical anthropology, Neoliberal subjectivities, precariousness, Skill and craft, West Indies

    View profile

    Prof Jan Selby
    Professor of International Relations

    Research interests: environmental security, Israel-Palestine, Peace processes

    View profile

    Dr Anna Stavrianakis
    Senior Lecturer in International Relations

    Research interests: arms control, arms trade, militarisation, militarism, War and violence in international politics

    View profile


Graduate destinations

93% of students from the School of Global Studies were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Department of International Development students have gone on to roles including:

  • coffee research consultant, Fairtrade Foundation
  • head of conference production, Climate Action
  • communications intern, Unicef UK.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

This MA is for you if you’re working in – or planning to work in – the fields of:

  • international development and diplomacy (including on gender, gender-based violence, conflict and security, and peace-building)
  • the charity sector/NGOs
  • various activist movements, women’s rights, and peace and justice nationally or internationally.

The MA is also excellent preparation for a PhD in Anthropology, Gender Studies, International Relations or International Development. 

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us