International Relations and Conflict Resolution


This core subject takes its point of departure in the strong International Relations (IR) tradition of the department – and it adds a particular focus on conflict resolution, including mediation, diplomacy and non-violence, as well as theoretical approaches to how conflicts are managed, mediated and resolved.

The core subject  provides candidates with deep knowledge and key competences to analyze international conflicts, understood broadly as anything from separatism, civil wars, terrorism, international controversies, status rivalry to diplomatic tensions. While the object of analysis is conflict, the core subject  is not limited to the specific tradition of ‘conflict studies’, but has a strong component of other conflict-focused theories within IR. This unique approach to studying conflicts makes the core subject the place to go for graduate students who want to work with international conflicts and their resolution in an in-depth and theoretically advanced manner. It offers an ambitious program, which challenges students to work systematically by effectively linking theory, methods and empirics. 

This particular profile is internationally quite unique as other Nordic peace research communities do not have a similar theory dimension. In turn our many brilliant IR students will be challenged in a productive way by confronting work that does not spin out of the standard repertoire of IR-theories. By seeing how different evolving conversations have produced different overlapping intellectual universes, they gain an increased reflexivity in relation to using theories. In turn the core subject  will emphasize methods and strategies of analysis, training students in developing and applying their own analytical skills, knowledgeable of but not hostage to one particular set of theories. 

Below follows an introduction to the proposed core subject  explaining: 1) the organization of the core subject, 2) why you should take the core subject, and 3) which competencies you can gain.

Structure of the core subject

The core subject in International Relations and Conflict Resolution consists of two compulsory courses which students have to take during the same Autumn semester:

  • Approaches to International Conflicts - From Theory to Methods (15 ECTS)
  • Concepts and Methods in International Relations (7,5 ECTS)

A specific course description and learning outcome for each of the courses will be available after the 1st of May at

Why should I take the core subject  in International Relations and Conflict Resolution?

Because you are interested in international relations, conflicts and diplomacy
Have you ever followed a media debate on whether to intervene militarily or “do nothing” in an international conflict – and thought to yourself: “What’s the alternative?” Or followed a brutal war from the distance, thinking: “Why didn't foreign policy makers and diplomats do anything to mediate or solve the conflict? Could it have been prevented?” This core subject  in International Relations and Conflict Resolution is designed for students interested in such challenging questions, looking for ways of addressing complex issues of violence, conflict dynamics and international diplomacy. The core subject  will provide students with strong theoretical and analytical skills when it comes to addressing international problems. Moreover, it will give students a deeper knowledge of a range of international institutions, regions and conflicts. 

Because you would like to be part of a community of students and researchers with similar interests
The core subject  is grounded in the Department’s internationally recognized IR research community. The core subject  offers students a unique opportunity to take advantage of this research environment and take part in relevant seminars organized by the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts and the Center for Advanced Security Theory. You will be able to meet and engage with scholars who present and discuss their work. Being part of a group of students and researchers with similar interests enables you to network, develop new ideas and discuss current developments in international conflicts. Apart from the specialized courses and workshops, study groups, student labs and social activities will be arranged to ensure the cohesion of the group. 

Because you aim for an internationally oriented career
Today’s interconnected conflicts and changing international system leave policy makers, diplomats and practitioners with a great challenge of embracing complexity when responding to contemporary conflicts in an effective and sustainable manner. The core subject  provides important tools for kick-starting an internationally oriented career, particularly in the areas of foreign policy, trade, diplomacy, global affairs, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, whether as a researcher, civil servant or in an NGO, in Denmark or in an international organization.   


The core subject  provides students an in depth understanding of and ability to apply theories of international relations, conflict and diplomacy. We strive to attract the best students and offer steep individual learning-curves, based on continuous feedback, evaluation and group discussions. The core subject  is open for exploration of various aspects related to international conflicts such as gender and peace, trade wars, new media, mediation, strategy, negotiation techniques, diplomacy, peace-building, activism, non-violence or human rights. The specific competencies of the graduate student will depend on the topic of the elective courses and their individual choice of focus in their Master’s thesis. 

Overall the core subject will help you improve your:

  • Ability to critically reflect on different approaches to understanding and handling international conflicts
  • Empirical knowledge of current conflicts, conflict patterns and conflict resolution practices
  • Knowledge of theoretical trends and key debates within International Relations and Conflict Resolution
  • Ability to apply key theories to analyze historical and contemporary conflicts
  • Ability to identify and analyze the causes, dynamics and positions in a conflict
  • Ability to compare and synthesize diverse approaches to diplomacy, conflict analysis, prevention and resolution
  • Ability to critically discuss and evaluate current research on international conflicts
  • Ability to analyze and access different conflict and diplomatic tensions and their possible resolution 

Teaching team

International Relations and Conflict Resolution is taught by a team of lecturers including Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Isabel Bramsen, Lise Philipsen and Ole Wæver. 

Registration for the core subject

You can read more about the registration process at your study information page at KUnet.


If you have any practical questions regarding registration for courses, exams or how to plan your study, please contact the Student Advisory Service.