Degree programme specification
The Master’s Program in Conflict and Democracy Studies focuses on the discussion of the variety of potential relationships between democracy (and its quality), authoritarianism, totalitarianism, democratization, and conflict. We understand conflict to be a permanent, invariant feature of humankind, one that fuels both progress and failure. Since humans first began to establish rich social (and societal) ties, there have been struggles for power and a search for the best possible regime in any given time and place. Sometimes, to achieve their goals, conflicting parties use violence; sometimes they are able to come to a peaceful solution. A key question therefore becomes whether it is possible to democratize (or decentralize) various (deeply divided) societies without fuelling ethnic, religious, or other conflict. Following that is the question as to whether and how the threat of violent conflict is used by authorities to entrench, sustain, or even deepen autocratic tendencies. A focus on these questions is therefore natural and prudent.
We are, moreover, currently witness to a number of efforts to transform democratic societies around the world. There are many factors behind this development, but in each case, sooner or later, an intensive discussion of the necessary trade-offs between security and personal freedom arises. Sometimes conflicting parties find an acceptable solution for most of these points, one which maintains the (democratic) status quo; sometimes all attempts fail and in the making open a pathway for securing and strengthening nondemocratic tendencies. To prevent things from going wrong - or even to make them better - it is crucial that these processes be understood. It is also important to ask how (homeland) security influences the quality of democracy and the functioning of democratic institutions, and how the quality of democracy influences the approach taken to homeland and international security.
The Conflict and Democracy Studies degree programme is focused on the issues of conflict and democracy, and the processes of democratisation. Conflicts are understood not just in their security dimension; the ideas involved (polemos) are also considered. The programme brings together selected aspects of political science and security studies, and responds to current tendencies in the world’s political and security situation and to the need for knowledge about this sphere. The teaching is underpinned by the long-term focus and research of the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University (FSS MU) and is particularly aimed at foreign students. The programme is conducted in English.
The compulsory courses acquaint students with theories that respond to democratic processes and the actors involved, and also provide them with the methodological and theoretical background for investigating conflicts and democracy. Optional courses then allow students to specialise in issues such as information war and propaganda, terrorism, radicalism and Eurasian security.
- Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- understand the causes (political and historical) of various conflicts;
- understand and provide the means of overcoming crises and increasing (or maintaining) the quality of democracy;
- understand how (state) power is distributed throughout the political structure;
- orient in the current state of discussion of democracy, new forms of authoritarianism, democratization, and security;
- carry out your own research in the field of conflict and democracy studies;
- explain current (global) politics and conflicts;
- to assess threats and prevent them.
- Occupational Profiles of Graduates
The graduates of the program receive the training necessary for a successful professional realization in a number of professional areas. Typical job opportunities include political-analytical jobs, consulting, research and teaching positions at universities, positions in the state administration, positions within the apparatus of political parties, and positions in the diplomatic services. Further outstanding opportunities for professional realization are provided by the institutions of the European Union, as well as by other international organizations.
- Practical Training
The programme includes a practical component: an optional placement in a governmental or non-governmental institution (for example, think-tanks, NGOs).
- Goals of Theses
Diploma thesis normally run to 144,000-180,000 characters with spaces (80-100 standard pages). The body of the text, including footnotes/endnotes, is counted; the title page, declarations, acknowledgements, table of contents, list of abbreviations, works cited and appendices are not.
Students either choose their own diploma thesis topic or one offered by the Masaryk University Information System (topic must be approved by the supervisor). Students arrange supervisions with their supervisors as necessary. The purpose of the diploma thesis is to show that students are able to work with scholarly sources, employ theories and concepts, pursue their own original research and produce new findings. The guidelines for final degree examination and writing of diploma thesis are laid out in FSS regulation No. 4/2013 O státních závěrečných zkouškách pro studenty Fakulty sociálních studií Masarykovy univerzity [About final state examinations for students of the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University].
- Access to Further Studies
Graduates may pursue a PhD in political science or a related programme.
- Additional Information