A Graduate Program in Coexistence and Conflict

Last updated: April 15, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.

Objectives

NOTE: See the Heller School for Social Policy and Management's website for more details.

Graduate Program in Coexistence and Conflict
Managing intercommunal conflict and violence is ever more important to national and international security in today's world. Societies are becoming much more diverse, and the globalization of conflicts around issues of ethnicity, religion, and culture is increasing. The master's program in coexistence and conflict has been designed to suit the requirements of people and organizations working in divided and conflicted societies, at local, national, and international levels, who want to learn how to more effectively prevent, manage, and resolve such conflicts.

Participants reflect upon the different kinds of ethnic, religious, and cultural conflicts that have been emerging around the world, particularly since the end of the Cold War, and the reasons for such an emergence. They will also look at the theories of contemporary intercommunal conflict as well as strategic interventions to such conflicts, including political, meditative, cultural, legislative, and developmental approaches. The program also offers students the opportunity to develop dialogue and mediation skills for use in situations of intercommunal conflict. The program is particularly geared toward early and mid-career professionals who are working, or aspire to work, within governments or international agencies. It is also useful for those who are working in related fields such as security and diplomacy, aid and development, human rights, and education, as well as democracy and civil society work.

How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program

The general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, given in an earlier section of this Bulletin, apply to candidates for admission to this area of study. Candidates must also submit a personal statement that discusses their reasons for applying for the MA and their career objectives and relevant experience. In addition, a curriculum vitae or résumé is required with three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a supervisor in the institution in which the candidate is employed or recently employed, one academic, and the other academic or professional. An interview, either in person or by telephone, may be required for admission.

Faculty Committee

Mari Fitzduff, Director
(Coexistence and Conflict)

Steven Burg
(Politics)

Cynthia Cohen
(Coexistence and Conflict)

Theadore Johnson
(Coexistence and Conflict)

Daniel Terris
(American Studies)

Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

Program of Study
The sixteen-month program involves one academic year in residence at Brandeis in which students complete seven courses (26 credits), followed by a three-month field placement and a master's paper (12 credits) by December. In their second academic year, students will have nonresident status.

Required Core Courses
HS 210a (Coexistence and Conflict: Theory and Analysis)
HS 220a (Strategies for Coexistence Interventions)
HS 230f (Coexistence Research Methods)

And 8 credits from the following core electives:

HS 240a (Dialogue and Mediation Skills)
HS 260f (Development, Aid, and Coexistence)
HS 261f (Advanced Development, Aid, and Coexistence)
HS 270a (The Future of Diversity Work)
POL 127b (Managing Ethnic Conflict)

The program's core courses are designed to introduce students to theoretical and practical approaches to conflict and the resolution of conflict and promotion of coexistence at local, regional, and national levels. HS 210a (Coexistence and Conflict: Theory and Analysis) is open to graduate students from other departments, POL 127b (Managing Ethnic Conflict) is open to qualified undergraduates and graduate students from other departments. HS 220a (Strategies for Coexistence Interventions) is open only to those who have completed HS 210a. HS 230a (Coexistence Research Methods) is open only to students who are undertaking the complete master's degree program. HS 240a is open only to students enrolled in the MA program; other students may enroll with the instructor's permission. HS 260f, 261f, and 270a are open to all graduate students.

Elective Courses (two courses)
In addition to the core courses that will be obligatory, students will be encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of other courses available at Brandeis that focus either on particular areas in conflict or on related issues such as ethnicity and nationalism, race and ethnic relations, comparative human rights perspectives, global civil society, American foreign policy, social movements, aid and development, economics, gender issues, organizational development, or governance. In addition, participants may choose to pursue a language course. Students will make choices from these electives based on their perceived relevance to their own apparent learning needs in relation to the field, the particular needs of their existing or prospective fields of work, and the focus of their MA project.

All course selections and their relevance must be discussed with and approved by the program director.

Master's Project and Paper
All students are required to complete an internship or independent fieldwork, with a concluding paper written under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Students must develop an MA project designed to test their application of theory to practice, to expand their policy and practical experience, and, under supervision, to increase their security and comfort levels at working in what is usually a contentious and sometimes dangerous field. In addition, the field project is planned to test and improve the width and depth of student's professional skills and to significantly increase their networks of collaboration.

The project will consist of either of the following options:

A. An internship of at least three months in a governmental or nongovernmental organization assisting with the development and implementation of a policy or a program of coexistence intervention. Students will (1) identify an intervention or their particular part of an intervention; (2) set objectives and time lines; (3) secure partners where necessary for its implementation; (4) ensure that appropriate monitoring and evaluating techniques are built into the program design; and (5) write a final report on the intervention.

B. Independent fieldwork for at least three months in a conflict area. Such fieldwork will be designed to assist the generation and development of new coexistence and conflict management intervention options, and must be undertaken in partnership with policymakers or practitioners who are already working in the area. The report of this fieldwork includes feedback and evaluations from prospective partners already working in the area. Students who are on a sabbatical from their place of employment, and whose courses of study are funded by that employer, may carry out their project either within, or on behalf of, their sponsoring organization with the approval of the program director.

The MA project will be undertaken under the direction and supervision of the program director or other Brandeis faculty members. Students are required to submit the master's paper to the director by December 1 of their continuation year in the program. Satisfactory completion of this report will be an essential part of accreditation for the MA degree.

A typical student's program will be as follows:

Academic Year 1, Fall Semester
HS 210a (Coexistence and Conflict: Theory and Analysis)
HS 230a (Conexistence Research Methods)
Two elective courses, one of which must be a core elective.

Academic Year 1, Spring Semester
HS 220a (Strategies for Coexistence Interventions)
Two elective courses, one of which must be a core elective.

Academic Year 1, Summer
Master's project fieldwork.

Academic Year 2, Fall Semester
Fieldwork continued.
Master's paper submitted by December 1.

Residence Requirement
The residence requirement for this program is one year of full-time study.

Language Requirement
There is no foreign language requirement for the master's degree.

Students who complete all requirements for the degree by December 1 will be awarded the degree in February of the following year.

Requirements for the Dual Degree of Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development & Coexistence and Conflict

Admission
This dual-degree program has a single (combined) application that reflects the admissions criteria set by each program; applicants must apply for the dual degree at the outset. To gain acceptance applicants must be admitted by both programs, meet the MA/SID requirements for accelerated track students, and demonstrate the maturity as well as the writing skills to complete both degrees in an integrated fashion.

Program of Study
This dual-degree program prepares students for careers in emergency response and rehabilitation programs as well as for development work in areas of conflict. Students will build their understanding of the structural and psychosocial causes of conflict and violence and will be able to analyze strategies for interventions. They will also gain a poverty and development context for understanding and responding to conflict situations. A total of seventy semester course credits are required to complete the program.

Students must complete thirty-two credits in the first year that include twenty-two credits in required courses from the Heller MA/SID program. The balance of credits are filled by electives as specified by the Heller MA/SID program with an additional four credits from the approved list of conflict and coexistence program electives. Students must also participate in the MA/SID capstone in May of their first year and are required to make a presentation related to their anticipated topic of their master’s paper.

In the second year, students must complete the remaining thirty-eight credits from Coexistence and Conflict which includes eighteen credits of required courses. The other twenty credits comprise of four credits from approved Coexistence and Conflict courses, four credits from approved courses in the MA/SID program, and the remaining twelve credits are be earned through successful completion of a field project undertaken in the summer between the first and second year and a master’s paper. Preparation for the summer field project is undertaken in the prior spring semester as part of the research course. The submission deadline for the written report from the field project and the master’s paper is December 1.

 

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in Coexistence and Conflict & Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

Program of Study and Residence Requirement
Ordinarily, two years of full-time residence are required at the normal course rate of seven or eight courses each academic year.

1. At least eight courses must be taken in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department and must include the NEJS graduate Pro seminar (NEJS 231a) and joint MA capstone project and paper (see below). Students may not include courses taken to prepare for the MA language examination (HBRW 102a and b and below, or ARBC 40b and below) among these eight courses. Students who enter with graduate credit from other recognized institutions may apply for transfer credit for up to two courses that are comparable to NEJS offerings, or, with prior approval of the MA adviser, candidates may receive transfer credit for up to two courses at a university abroad.

2. At least eight courses must be taken in Coexistence and Conflict program. They include the six COEX core courses: HS 210a (Coexistence and Conflict: Theory and Analysis), HS 220a (Strategies for Coexistence Interventions), HS 227f (Introduction to Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, 2 credits), HS 230f (Coexistence Research Methods, 2 credits), HS 240a (Dialogue and Mediation Skills), and HS 244a (Responsible Negotiation). Students must also take POL 164A (Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East) and choose at least 4 credits in the list of COEX core elective courses.

All course selections and their relevance must be discussed with and approved by the NEJS Director of Graduate Studies and the COEX program director.

Language Requirement
All candidates are required to demonstrate language proficiency, normally in biblical or modem Hebrew or Arabic. The language requirement for Hebrew or Arabic may be fulfilled in one of two ways:

1. By enrolling in and receiving a grade of B- or higher in a 40-level or higher Hebrew or Arabic course, or by passing a classical Hebrew text course, or modem Hebrew literature course taught in Hebrew;

2. By passing the language examination offered by the adviser or by the Hebrew faculty or Arabic faculty.

Joint Master's Project and Paper
All students are required to complete an internship or independent fieldwork, with a concluding paper written under the supervision of two faculty mentors, one from NEJS and one from COEX. Students must develop an MA project designed to test their application of Coexistence and Conflict theory to practice while applying their background in NEJS. This will entail expanding students' policy and practical experience, and, under supervision, increasing their security and comfort levels at working in what is usually a contentious and sometimes dangerous field. In addition, the field project is planned to test and improve the breadth and depth of student's professional skills and to significantly increase their networks of collaboration.

The project will consist of either of the following options:

1. An internship of at least three months in a governmental or nongovernmental organization (consistent with the NEJS focus) assisting with the development and implementation of a policy or a program of coexistence intervention. Students will (1) identify an intervention or their particular part of an intervention; (2) set objectives and timelines; (3) secure partners and terms of references, where necessary for its implementation; (4) ensure that appropriate monitoring and evaluating techniques are built into the program design; and (5) write a final report on the intervention.

2. Independent fieldwork for at least three months in a conflict area (consistent with the NEJS focus). Such fieldwork will be designed to assist the generation and development of new coexistence and conflict management intervention options, and must be undertaken in partnership with policymakers or practitioners who are already working in the area. The report of this fieldwork includes feedback and evaluations from prospective partners already working in the area.

The option of doing a Master’s thesis can be discussed with, and approved by, the NEJS Director of Graduate Studies and the COEX program director.

Course Requirements
Students admitted into this dual degree program must fulfill the following course requirements:

MA NEJS Core Requirements (28 credits):

NEJS Graduate Pro-Seminar
4 Credits, Fall Semester

24 Credits
6 NEJS Core Electives
1 NEJS Elective that can be a COEX Elective Course

MA COEX Requirements (38 credits):

HS 210a Coexistence and Conflict: Theory and Analysis
4 Credits, Fall Semester

HS 220a Strategies for Coexistence Interventions
4 Credits, Spring Semester

HS 227f Introduction to Design, Monitoring and Evaluation
2 Credits, Spring Semester

HS 230f Coexistence Research Methods
2 Credits, Spring Semester

HS 240a Dialogue and Mediation Skills
4 Credits, Fall Semester

HS 244a Responsible Negotiation
4 Credits, Fall Semester

POL 164A 1 Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East
4 Credits, Fall Semester

At least two COEX Topical Courses (specific courses may change from semester to semester; choices will be reflected on the course list, which will be updated every year)
4 credit MA COEX Core Elective
4 credit MA COEX Core Elective (as a NEJS requirement)
1 more 2 credit COEX Elective for students doing an internship

Three-month COEX Practicum and Master’s Paper (one of two options):
Internship (4 credits + 2 credits for the Capstone + 2 credits for the Paper)
Independent Fieldwork (6 credits + 2 credits for the Capstone + 2 credits for the Paper)

Courses of Instruction