SVF-3901 Master's Thesis in Peace and Conflict Transformation - 40 ECTS
The thesis will complete a student's work towards the master's degree in Peace and Conflict Transformation (MPCT). It will demonstrate a student's ability to reflect and write independently on topics related to peace and conflict, drawing broadly upon the various theoretical and methodological approaches, field activities, seminars and workshops covered in the MPCT programme. The thesis will examine a specific topic in a systematic or social scientific manner and also make potential contributions to the understanding of conflicts and diverse efforts to resolve them. In short, it is a student's independent work using primary and/or secondary materials, but written in close consultation with an academic supervisor.
To assist students towards this goal, the course will also contain a number of workshops and seminars that offer a practical guide and coherent framework for students to engage with the research process throughout their studies. These seminars and workshops will address the key components of a research design, writing a persuasive and realistic proposal, provide guidance regarding the ethics and safety of their own resarch, and foster a clear grasp of the theoretical, methodological, practical and analytical issues relevant to their individual research projects. Throughout the course, students will also train to confidently present their research ideas and results in an academic manner.
Students, who have successfully completed the course, should have the following learning outcomes:
- Have an understanding of the aims and practice of social research Analytical understanding:
- Have the ability to reflect upon the reading materials underlying a degree programme and apply them to a self-selected research project
- Have the ability to plan and design a practicable and realistic research project.
Skills and competences:
- Capable of applying basic research tools to a masters project that involves data collection
- Capable of organising and analysing field materials, and then write up in a report/thesis/dissertation
- Recognise the opportunities in feedback from fellow students and a supervisor
- Develop the confidence to present aspects of an evolving research report or thesis at seminars and other academic gatherings
- Develop the confidence to explain and defend one's final work before an evaluation committee
- Capable of taking responsibility for one's own learning by working independently towards the realisation of the programme objectives
The course consist of a mix of workshops and seminars according to a detailed plan, including 3 hours in semester 1, approx. 24 hours in semester 2, 6 hours in semester 3, and about 13 hours in semester 4. It furthermore includes two work requirements: mandatory project proposal (up to 10 pages) in semester 2, and a draft chapter to be discussed in semester 4.
The learning outcomes of this course can only be achieved through active student participation and students are thus expected to prepare and familiarize themselves with each other's research projects before every workshop and/or seminar session.
Semester 1: A first workshop will get students started thinking about and discussing their initial research ideas, and serve as an information meeting to explain the different components of this course. Furthermore, students will be participating in face-to-face interviews with academic staff (approx. 30 min) to assist the search for a suitable supervisor for their project.
Semester 2: In a second workshop, students will develop their initial research ideas further, and begin formulating research questions, a problem statement, and a theoretical framework for their thesis. This workshop will be followed by a seminar series in which the students present and discuss their draft project proposals, before submitting them towards the end of the semester. Before being admitted to fieldwork, students will also have to participate in the Security Analysis and First Aid courses that are offered in this semester.
Semester 3: A third workshop will give students the opportunity to share the practical experiences of their fieldwork, and to jointly explore issues and discuss challenges associated with their individual research projects. Towards the end of the semester a fourth workshop will support the students in developing a theoretical framework for their master's thesis projects.
Semester 4: A fifth workshop will support students in structuring the methods section of their thesis, and provide space for reflecting on and discussing the methodological implications of their research. In another seminar series, students will present and discuss draft chapters of their evolving master's theses. Two final workshops will be dedicated to assisting the students in the analysis of their research data and how to finalize their master thesis projects.
The course will be evaluated at the SSL forum in the spring semester, as well as in an anonymous online evaluation every other spring semester.
Thesis (50-70 pages) + Oral Examination (Approx. 60 minutes) The thesis manuscript may not deviate more than 10 % from the prescribed 50-70 pages. The oral exam will assess the candidate's knowledge of issues informing the submitted thesis and the programme curricula. The oral exam may adjust the grade for the thesis. The exam committee will compose of two people, excluding the thesis supervisor. Grading will be on the scale of A to F, where F=Fail. The course is open for re-sit examination in the following semester.
A minimum of 75% seminar and workshop attendance is a prerequisite for submitting the master's thesis, along with the submittal of one draft chapter and having an approved project proposal.