Executive Master’s (MPSA)

Managing Peace and Security in Africa Programme

African institutions are pivotal in addressing the continent’s peace, security, governance, and development challenges. The African Union (AU), together with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RMs), play a decisive role in maintaining peace and security in Africa. However, key institutional stakeholders often lack opportunities to enhance their technical expertise and practical knowledge and engage in cross-institutional dialogue. Against this background, in 2010, the AU, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University (AAU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH entered into a tripartite agreement to enhance the capacity development of personnel working at the AU Commission, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States (MS). This is how the Managing Peace and Security in Africa (MPSA) programme was born. This Pan-African programme aims to promote advanced education anchored on understanding how African institutions function and to develop the wherewithal – technical competencies – to support these institutions.

An ever-broadening understanding of the peace, governance, security, and development nexus now means that security has become an issue for organizations that previously played key roles in development and vice versa. With the growing number of African institutions now engaged with peace, governance, and security issues, the quest to recruit and retain high-caliber professionals has grown substantially. It is expected that an increasingly sophisticated array of institutions involved in peace, governance, development, and security issues across the continent would require tailor-made and cutting-edge training and professional development programmes for existing and new staff to perform well.

Therefore, the changing complexities of peace, governance, security, and conflict management now demand that professionals engaged in the field are well-trained, properly exposed, and up-to-date to perform new tasks or address new imperatives. As an executive master’s degree, the MPSA programme affords participants to continue their work while pursuing an educational programme:

The MPSA Programme is unique. It’s most distinguishable features are:

  • The course is innovative, while international best practice has served as benchmarks;
  • Executive format – participants study while staying with their jobs; the course blends attendance with distance learning;
  • Its curriculum responds to the peace, governance, development, and security needs of AU member states and RECs;
  • The thematic focus on Africa: the diversity of African problems and African solutions are taken as the main reference and examined in great detail (rather than seeing them as particular cases of universal phenomena);
  • A pragmatic, constructive, participant-centered, case-study based, interactive, and experience-oriented methodology; workshops, dialogue with experts and resource persons, as well as problem-solving and interaction among participants rather than lectures and learning from the book;
  • The programme is based on an MoU signed with the AU Commission,
  • The programme is based in Addis Ababa, the site of the AU, and other institutions, which makes access to experienced guest speakers for all aspects of the programme accessible;

This one-year executive Master’s in Managing Peace and Security in Africa offers experienced senior and mid-career professionals working on African peace and security issues a unique opportunity to acquire certified and in-depth training while retaining their current positions. It addresses the most pressing issues in the area of peace, governance, development, and security on the continent today from a practice-oriented perspective and understanding of the role of sub-regional and pan-African organizations in creating lasting peace on the continent. Sessions are held at IPSS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Senior and mid-level professionals from the AU and RECs, the UN and other multilateral organizations, national governments, as well as from the non-profit sector, can apply to attend this course. To-date, there is a group of more than 350 alumni of previous iterations of the programme.

Based on the above principles, the programme creates a flexible learning environment emphasizing creative thinking, problem-solving, and interrogation of assumptions and preconceived ideas. The use of case-study approach in their regional embeddedness, simulations exercise, and a variety of learning techniques makes the programme unique. Overall, the programme strives to make the learning experience engaging, relevant and forward-looking for participants. In addition to these topic-related competencies, by the end of the programme, participants will have gained valuable generic attributes and skills, most notably: situation assessment and analysis, strategic thinking and activity-oriented planning, the ability to apply ideas with research and policy context, and communication competencies, among others.


General questions
Who is the target audience for the Executive Master’s Programme in Managing Peace and Security in Africa?

Our principal focus is the capacity and professional development of middle to senior level personnel working in the areas of peace and security from institutions such as the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (RMs), multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, Member States of the African Union and international participants.

I don’t speak English. Can I participate?

The language of instruction is English and proficient competency is required for enrollment. It is also the lingua franca of Addis Ababa University.

What are the admission requirements?

Applicants need to complete an online application form (available on https://ipss-addis.org/what-we-do/academic-programmes/executive-masters-mpsa/), attach a CV, letter of motivation, letter of consent from your employer, and copies of your academic credentials (transcripts and certificates).

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree to apply?

Yes. To be accepted into the programme, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

When does the academic intake start?

A new MPSA cohort begins in October of each year.

When are applications launched?

The call for applications is launched between February and March each year with the application period lasting for three and a half months.

I am self-employed. Can I apply?

Yes, if your work is related to peace and security in Africa and if you have at least five years of experience you are eligible to apply for the programme.

I don’t have five years of experience on peace and security. Can I still apply?

While each application is examined on its own merits, applicants should have experience with regional/international organizations, or NGOs that work on peace and security in Africa.

Can I apply if I am not a national of an African country?

Yes. International applicants are encouraged to apply, more so if they are working in the area of peace and security.

Does IPSS provide tuition scholarships?

Yes, IPSS provides tuition support to a maximum of four admitted candidates. Tuition support is granted on the basis of merit, need and in particular, if participants are coming from Regional Economic Communities (RECs). However, all other administrative fees (application, registration, costs related to graduation and certification) are the responsibility of the participant.

Who are IPSS’ partners?

IPSS works with a number of partners (full list), and receives significant support from the African Union Commission (AUC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

Who conducts the learning process?

There are no lecturers per se for this programme. Rather, we have facilitators/Module Owners who lead the teaching-learning process throughout the course. Senior and high-level experts and practitioners, university professors and other specialists of high international reputation lead the learning processes.

Is the Programme fully accredited?

The Executive MA in Managing Peace and Security in Africa is a graduate programme fully accredited by Addis Ababa University. The programme is also accredited by ACQUIN (Accrediterungs, Certifizierungs- und Qualitätssicherungs Institut), the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute based in Germany, making it one of the exceptionally few academic programmes certified by an European accreditation agency.

Do we have access to the IPSS library?

Yes. You can borrow two books at a time for a period of two weeks, renewable afterwards.

How many credit hours does the Programme consist of?

It consists of a total of 32 credit hours or 91.75 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

How many sessions are there?

The programme is structured in six sessions: five face-to-face sessions (2 weeks each) and a one-month online session stretching over 12 months. This is followed by a four-month period during which participants are required to complete a research paper (long essay). The in-person part of the programme is hosted at IPSS and the distance course are carried out online.

Logistical questions

How much are the tuition fees?

For information on the current tuition rates and fees, please contact Rediat Mesfin (rediat.m@ipss-addis.org) or Mahlet Fitiwi (mahlet.f@ipss-addis.org)

Where can I change my money?

Applicants must pay for the Programme registration and application fees in USD (only for non-Ethiopian nationals). You can change your money at the bank, at the airport or your hotel.

Who will take care of my visa?

We send visa request letters to applicants who should make their own visa arrangements. We can also facilitate visa on arrival if there is no Ethiopian Embassy in the country of residence.

Where can I get a SIM card from?

SIM cards cost about 1 USD and can be obtained from any Ethio Telecom office. You are required to provide two photos and a copy of your passport.

Are there days off during the sessions?

Each two-week session begins on a Sunday. There is one Sunday off at the end of the first week and the session closes on the Friday of the second week. For special circumstances or professional obligations only, the facilitator and participant can agree on a plan to make up for any missed days.

I have special diet requests (vegetarian, Halal, etc.). Can I get meals accordingly?

Yes. Kindly specify your preferences in your confirmation letter.

I’m not a sponsored participant. Will you help me find accommodation?

Yes, we will provide necessary tips and information if you let us know ahead of time.

Should I bring my yellow fever vaccination card?