Conflict Studies

The minor Conflict Studies examines intrastate conflicts from all around the world. In case you want to follow the minor, you must register for both the minor program as a whole, and also for each individual course. 


Number of EC

30 EC

Number of courses

4 compulsory courses


Block 1


Dr. Lauren Gould

Course overview

Conflict Studies

Minor code


Entry requirements

At least 45 EC for category 1 (Bachelor Introduction)

Associated MA-programmes
Register between 30 May and 13 June 2022 12.00

Make sure to register for the minor as well as all its courses

Content of the minor

Why are people prepared to die for the notion of a ‘mother country’, a nation or a religious group?  How do terrorist organisations mobilize people towards violent action? Why do states outsource their violence to paramilitaries? Why have Western states turned to remote warfare to intervene against perceived security threats? What does it mean when algorithms decide who is worthy of elimination or protection in war? Why do the efforts of international actors to promote peace and to foster democracy in war-torn states often fail?   

If you are interested in these types of questions, the minor conflict studies is the right programme for you. This minor examines (internationalized) intrastate conflicts across the globe, both ‘far away’ and ‘closer to home’, such as the civil war in Mali, the Western coalition bombings in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and urban violence and terrorist attacks in France.

From an interdisciplinary perspective, taught by multidisciplinary staff, the minor analyzes the local dynamics of conflict (state collapse, the role of political elites, nationalist myth-making, the use of digital technologies by conflict parties) and the problems related to international interventions (e.g. by the UN, NATO, ad-hoc coalitions ). The minor also pays attention to other international dimensions of these conflicts, such as the ongoing War on Terror, the role of diaspora groups, the links between migration and conflict, and the use of precision airstrikes, drones and autonomous weapons.

The course modules include lectures, readings, documentary screenings, individual or group assignments and debate. It is envisaged that you will follow the news on ongoing conflicts so as to be able to apply the course knowledge to current affairs. The courses will be of an interactive nature and you are encouraged to raise questions, promote debate, offer criticisms and contribute to the course contents.

Aims of the minor 

Every course module is meant to:

  • provide you with knowledge and understanding of the academic debates and the analytical vocabulary on a variety of theories that are relevant to understanding conflict dynamics and international interventions in conflicts
  • apply this knowledge (particularly the specialized terminology of concepts, and theoretical approaches) when analyzing and accounting for intricate and complex processes found in individual cases of conflict and intervention from around the world.

After completing this minor, you will be equipped with the critical analytical skills and knowledge to be able to answer questions like these: Why does violent conflict emerge? How are these conflicts organized, how do they transform, and why and how do conflicts become protracted? What are differences and similarities between violent conflicts? What are the promises and pitfalls of international interventions?


    The minor consists of four compulsory course modules (30 EC) and starts in term 1. For more information, see the detailed descriptions of each of the courses below. It is also possible to enrol for separate courses.

    Entry requirements

    To take the minor Conflict Studies you have to have at least 45 EC at Bachelor level. If you have questions about the minor and its courses, please contact minor coordinator Lauren Gould ( For all questions regarding registration and enrollment, please contact the Student Information Desk of the Faculty of Humanities. 


    • All courses have selected entry, with a limited registration period (be aware: 2 weeks).
    • Students that choose to take the minor (and that have registered) get priority access. 
    • A certain amount of places per course is reserved for foreign and external (Dutch) students.

    Application and registration

    How to register for this minor and its course modules, depends on whether you are a student of Utrecht University or not.

    More information

    If you wish to know more, or have questions about this minor, please contact the Student Desk Humanities.