MA and PhD in Peace & Security Studies

MA in Peace & Security Studies

As IPSS’s first academic programme, the MA Programme in Peace and Security Studies is as old as the IPSS itself. It accepted its first cohort in the 2007/08 academic year, which graduated in the 2009. It is a two-year, full-time regular programme with both mandatory course works and a master’s thesis. As part of Addis Ababa University, the IPSS has been contributing to the national priority of training academic staff from other universities from across Ethiopia. In addition, IPSS accepts and trains students from national and regional institutions as well as applicants from neighbouring countries. Furthermore, applicants from governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as the private sector have also been granted admissions based on the general and specific requirements of AAU/IPSS. Over the past decade, the IPSS has been instrumental in building national and regional capacities to which the MA programme in Peace and Security Studies played a pivotal role.

In terms of design, the MA Programme in Peace and Security Studies is dedicated to producing a global perspective for students whose international experience is mostly limited. However, the programme always maintains a healthy balance between global and local perspectives to enhance the relevance of knowledge and skill produced and imparted to the students.

In the 2023/24 academic year, 24 students are admitted to the program, of which 10 are female and 14 are male. Currently, students in their second year are writing their MA thesis on range of topics such as the impact of social media on social cohesion and peaceful relations in Ethiopia; the dynamics of interethnic relations in Gambella; the role of indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms in Ethiopia; the challenges of domestic violence and women disempowerment in Ethiopia; the effect of youth unemployment in sustaining peace in Ethiopia; the dynamics of the Red Sea and its implications for Ethiopia’s national security; the role of private security companies in security provision; post-war security sector reform and transitional justice; the dynamics of pre-and post-“Pretoria Agreement” social media activism in the context of the 2020-2022 civil war in Ethiopia; and the ongoing crisis in Sudan.

The current curriculum of the programme is a result of a 2020 alumni and employer tracer study and internal and external validation workshops. Accordingly, the MA programme in Peace and Security Studies delivers excellent career prospects. The alumni of the programme include local, national, and regional officials/administrators, diplomats, security officials, university lecturers/professors, researchers, consultants, etc. In short, the programme’s graduates continue to find prominent positions in the field of peace and security.

The MA Programme in Peace and Security Studies accepts applications from those who have a minimum of first degree in one of the fields of social sciences and humanities including law. For more information on applications periods, please check this link regularly.


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PhD in Peace & Security Studies

Addis Ababa University recognised past achievements and the crucial task the IPSS undertakes in teaching, research and dissemination of peace and security issues at national, regional and continental levels by according the status of a “Centre of Excellence” to the Institute. The Institute also received recognition, and is serving as an African Research University Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence for Post-Conflict Societies. The PhD programme envisions further building on these tasks and contributing to national, regional and continental peace and security, as well as to theoretical debates on peace, security and conflict resolution in an interdisciplinary setting.

The doctoral programme aims at not only providing quality education and research skills but also entrenching a culture of peace in the future generation through education and research. It also seeks to instil values of democracy and peace in the wider society. In terms of curriculum, the IPSS follows a forward-looking and innovative approach that conceptualizes peace, conflict and security in the broadest sense.

Considering the need for qualified personnel to teach at institutions of higher learning in the country and also the importance of conceptualizing peace and security from a holistic framework, the IPSS has been offering a specialised PhD since the 2009/10 academic year. The recent establishment of MA programmes in peace studies at other Universities (Mekelle University, Bahir Dar University and Haramaya University) compels the IPSS to further strengthen the PhD programme in Peace and Security Studies. The programme also recognises that there are new PhD programs in similar fields of studies at Haramaya, Bahir Dar, and Mekelle Universities too. While basic research forms the foundation of the PhD programme, there will be a serious effort to translate research findings into policy relevant recommendations that will be shared with policymakers and fed into capacity building efforts of governmental and non-governmental institutions. About 50 students graduated with PhD in Peace and Security Studies from the programme since its establishment in 2010. 

The PhD Programme in Peace and Security Studies accepts applications those who have successfully completed their MA/MSc degree in an accredited university, preferably in the social sciences (priority being in peace and security studies). For more information on applications periods, please check this link regularly.