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Conflict Studies

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Saint Paul University offers an MA in Conflict Studies, which is conferred jointly by the senates of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa. The focus of the program is on the ethnic and religious identity distinctions that characterize many deep-rooted conflicts. The program explores the meaning of and generates processes for reconciliation, healing, and structural change. It combines a social science orientation common to Conflict Studies programs with a philosophical, ethical and theological orientation. The field of specialization is ethnic and religious dimensions of conflict in Canada.

Program Objectives

  1. Analysis: to explore the connections between conflict, violence, social justice, conflict resolution and peacebuilding in human communities;
  2. Training: to develop the attitudes, knowledge, research and skills necessary to analyze ethnic and religious conflicts so as to cultivate peace;
  3. Outcomes: to produce graduates who are competent : to analyze ethnic and religious conflicts in a multidisciplinary perspective and to devise and evaluate appropriate conflict resolution strategies.

Two levels of learning are distinguished: 

  • Foundational Level: this level entails intensive study of major themes in Conflict Studies. Graduate training is initiated in research skills and methodologies in preparation for the research project.
  • Advanced Level: this level of study concentrates on the development of specific dimensions of Conflict Studies. Research seminars meet to define the problem, purpose, scope and methodology of the master’s research project.

Admission to the program is competitive. Minimum requirements are:

  • Four year undergraduate degree with honours (or a major) in Political Science, Psychology, Theology, Ethics or the equivalent, such as a BA with honors (or a major) in criminology, philosophy, or law;
  • A minimum (70-74%) "B" average in the baccalaureate degree.

Experience in the field of conflict resolution or a related area will also be taken into consideration. Candidates may be interviewed as part of the selection process.

If the minimum requirements for admission to the first year are not satisfied, a candidate may enroll in a qualifying program, the content of which is determined by the Coordinator of the program on a case by case basis. See details below.

In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, assignments, examinations, research papers and theses can be produced in either English or French.

Qualifying Program

  1. Candidates may enroll in a qualifying program on the recommendation of the Admission Committee (it is not possible to apply directly to a qualifying program).
  2. The number of credits taken in a qualifying program may not exceed 36.
  3. The qualifying program must be completed within three consecutive sessions or less.
  4. The student must obtain a minimum grade of C+ in each course, and have an overall B average.
  5. Students wishing to complete their qualifying courses at another university are advised to have their course of studies approved in advance by the program coordinator.

Some additional documents, and in some cases specific forms, are required. For more information, please see the page Step 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application.

The MA program provides two options, one with thesis and one with Research Paper:

Thesis option (27 credits)

  • Six compulsory courses (18 cr.)
  • Three optional courses (9 cr.)
  • Thesis (ECS6999)

Research Paper option (36 credits)

  • Seven compulsory courses, including the research paper (21 cr.)
  • Five optional courses (15 cr.)

 

For admission to the thesis option, a student admitted to the MA in Conflict Studies program must first obtain 9 credits (through courses or through advanced standing), and then apply to the Admissions Committee for permission to enroll in the thesis option. To do so, the student must find a suitable supervisor and submit a detailed topic and plan of research. The Committee will examine the application and inform the student of its decision.

If a student chooses the thesis option and the thesis uses a quantitative methodology, a course in quantitative methodology is required. If the thesis uses a qualitative methodology, one of the following is required: a course in qualitative methodology, participant observation, content analysis, or evaluation research.

For information about thesis evaluation, please consult the general regulations for graduate studies.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within two years of full-time study. The maximum time permitted, whether full- or part-time, is four years from the date of initial registration in the program.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is C+. A student who has incurred two failures is withdrawn from the program.

Compulsory Courses (18 credits)

All students must take the following seven courses:

  • ECS5101 IDENTITY-BASED CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • ECS5103 RESEARCH METHODS (3cr.)
  • ECS5110 HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION (3cr.)
  • ECS5131 DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION INTERVENTIONS (3cr.)
  • ECS5302 THEORIES OF CONFLICT (3cr.)
  • ECS5304 ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT (3cr.)

Research (3 credits) (option with research paper)

  • ECS6140 RESEARCH SEMINAR (3cr.)

Research (option with thesis)

  • ECS6999 THÈSE DE M.A. / MA THESIS

Optional Courses (15 credits for research paper option; 9 credits for thesis option)

Students select five courses (three if the thesis option is chosen) from the list of optional courses.

A maximum of two graduate courses (6 credits) may be taken from other programs and universities with prior authorization from the Director of the program.

ECS 5101 - Identity-Based Conflict

Theoretical concepts to understand the dynamics of religious and ethnic conflicts. Application of these concepts to particular situations. Religion, ethnicity, gender, class, and other identity signifiers. Human identity needs, mimetic theory, and structures of domination. Ethno-nationalist movements and victimization.

ECS 5103 - RESEARCH METHODS

Critical evaluation of research findings in the human sciences. Qualitative and quantitative methods of gathering, validating, and interpreting evidence. Issues in research ethics. Applications in graduate research projects and theses. 

ECS 5110 - HISTORY OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Conflict resolution approaches and institutions created over time in different regions of the world. Traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. State and law. Democratic institutions. Third party involvement and promotion of peace.

ECS 5112 - TRAUMA, HEALING AND RECONCILIATION

Violence and trauma in the context of identity-based conflicts. Emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive dimensions of the human person. Reconciliation, forgiveness and trauma healing.

ECS 5114 - GENOCIDE AND RECONCILIATION

Degeneration of conflicts into unforgettable and unforgivable atrocities. Causes, mechanisms, attitudes leading to extreme mass violence. Role of faith in healing memories. Case study of genocides in Germany, South Africa, Rwanda and among indigenous peoples in North and South America.

ECS 5116 - POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CONFLICT

Influence of development and allocation of economic resources on political conflict, including ethnic and religious strife. Influence of globalization on the propensity of societies toward violence.

ECS 5118 - CONTEMPORARY PEACEBUILDING

National and international policies and programs designed to eliminate the causes of violent conflict and prevent their re-emergence. Dialogue and reconciliation. Political and economic reforms. Local development and empowerment.

ECS 5119 - MEDIATION AND NEGOTIATION: THEORY AND RESEARCH

Theoretical and empirical aspects of strategies and processes of mediation and negotiation. Critical examination of contemporary approaches to mediation and negotiation. Cases of successful or unsuccessful negotiations. Roles, capacities and motivations of parties.

ECS 5120 - SELECTED TOPICS IN CONFLICT STUDIES

ECS 5131 - DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION INTERVENTIONS

Conflict analysis applied to the elaboration of intervention strategies. Evaluation of projects and programs in conflict resolution. Case studies. Ethical questions related to the planning and evaluation of conflict resolution interventions.

ECS 5140 - THE ADAPTIVE LEADER

Using psychological theories of the development of consciousness, this course explores how leaders can adapt to complex environments. An integral approach is used to develop a methodology to systematically reflect on practical challenges in order to refine intentions, strategies and actions.

ECS 5141 - THE COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO COMPLEX OPERATIONS

The Comprehensive Approach, within international and domestic security environments, enables the student to better understand the capabilities and constraints of a variety of institutions within today’s operational environments.

Competencies are enhanced in achieving greater integration of effort among personnel and their organizations as more lasting solutions are generated to the complex challenges of international missions.

ECS 5142 - COMPLEXITY THINKING FOR INTEGRATIVE PEACEBUILDING

Both conflict and peacebuilding take place within complex adaptive systems with many variables. This course explores the characteristics of chaos, complexity and emerging creativity theories and how they assist in understanding the multi-dimensional dynamics of peacebuilding.

ECS 5143 - INTERCULTURAL AND INTER-RELIGIOUS ENGAGEMENT

Cultural competency is needed to be effective within host communities. Students will learn to identify dynamics of tensions between religious, national, economic, and ideological components of conflicts; to analyze reasons for various kinds of exclusivist and intolerant attitudes and to integrate the religious component into peacebuilding, development initiatives, and whole-of-government programming.

ECS 5144 - PEACEBUILDING, IDENTITY-BASED CONFLICT AND RECONCILIATION

The challenge of peacebuilding is situated in the context of historically driven, deep-rooted conflicts between identity- groups. Students will learn to use theoretical frameworks to analyze conflict and advance reconciliation. The dialectical relationship between peacebuilding and social and political reconciliation will be explored, emphasizing trust-building, structural change, symbolic conciliatory gestures, and socio-emotional transformation.

ECS 5302 - THEORIES OF CONFLICT

Study of theoretical models of conflict drawn from the social and behavioural sciences. Applications to the analysis of different types of conflict.

ECS 5304 - ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF CONFLICT

Conceptual and procedural ethical issues concerning norms of social justice and reconciliation. Relation of ethical issues to self-other dialectics, dynamics of discourse and power, gender and class, memory and agency.

ECS 5311 - RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AND CONFLICT

Implication of religious identities, traditions and actors in escalating, diverting or transforming deep-rooted conflicts in different societies. Comparative multi-religious framework. Sociology of religion and contextual theological hermeneutics.

ECS 5313 - SPIRITUALITY AND CONFLICT

Impact of conflict on spirituality and of spirituality on conflict. Part played in conflict by the spiritual life and convictions of those involved.

ECS 5315 - GENDER AND CONFLICT

Multidisciplinary examination of cases of domination and marginalization. Social and cultural constructions of gender. Role of these constructs in structures of domination. Challenges met in transforming these structures.

ECS 5316 - INDIGENOUS CULTURES, CONFLICT AND COEXISTENCE

Implication of indigenous identities in the emergence and transformation of conflicts. Ethnic and religious dimensions of indigenous cultural resurgence in Canada and other national contexts. Conflict reduction and pluralistic coexistence.

ECS 5921 - STAGE DE RECHERCHE / RESEARCH INTERNSHIP

Stage de 150 heures en analyse et/ou résolution des conflits impliquant un travail de recherche et d’analyse avancé et soutenu. Le stage est supervisé et le travail évalué par un professeur membre du programme. Noté S/NS. Préalables : Réussite de 9 crédits du programme de M.A. avec une moyenne d’au moins B+. Approbation de la proposition de stage par le directeur du programme.

Internship of 150 hours in Conflict analysis and/or resolution, involving advanced and sustained research and analysis work. The internship is supervised and the work evaluated by a professor member of the program.Graded S/NS. Prerequisites: Completion of 9 credits in the MA program with an average of at least B+. Approval of the internship proposal by the program director.

ECS 6140 - RESEARCH SEMINAR

ECS 6999 - THÈSE DE M.A. / MA THESIS

Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar and Student Services
Room 154
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4
CANADA

Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014
admission@ustpaul.ca

Hours of Operation

August 15 to May 31

Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

June 1 to August 14

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.




Information for future students

Saint Paul University

223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4

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Toll free
1.800.637.6859


613-236-1393

613-782-3005

info@ustpaul.ca

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