The Master’s (M.Phil.) in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation is designed to suit the needs of specialists already working in conflict resolution and reconciliation, as well as those new to these fields of study.

What is Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation?

Conflict resolution is about how to make peace between warring parties. Reconciliation is about how societies recover and rebuild relationships after violence. These topics are part of the field of Peace Studies.

Peace is an ancient concept, but the formal study of peace is relatively recent. Peace Studies seeks to understand the causes of violent conflict and how to resolve it peacefully.

It’s a growing a field, and as urgent now as it has ever been.


Why study Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin in Belfast?

If you choose this one-year course, you will:

  • Get a Master’s degree from Ireland’s leading university.
  • Immerse yourself in a dynamic post-conflict society, including through a placement with a community organisation.
  • Engage with classic and cutting-edge research on conflict resolution and reconciliation.
  • Debate with lecturers and practitioners with first-hand peacebuilding experience.
  • Gain advanced research experience and many other transferable skills.


Why is the course in Belfast?

CS Lewis Square, BelfastThis course was created in the aftermath of the 1998 ‘Good Friday’ Agreement – one of the most celebrated peace accords of recent decades. It was designed to train local peace practitioners and to support Northern Ireland’s transition.

Now, it welcomes students from around the world interested peacemaking in Ireland and elsewhere.

Belfast is a vibrant city – transformed and transforming. But the past is unresolved, and peace is imperfect. The city provides a unique backdrop to this MPhil. It offers opportunities you won’t get anywhere else.


What is the course like?

The core teaching staff are Dr David Mitchell and Dr Brendan Browne, both locally embedded and internationally recognised experts. Parts of the course are taught by other academics from the School of Religion, Theology, and Peace Studies, with a variety of guest practitioner contributions.

Coursework includes essays, presentations, and a dissertation.

Modules are taught primarily through weekly classes in Belfast. They include:

  • Dynamics of Reconciliation
  • Transitional Justice
  • Contemporary Conflict and Peacemaking: Global Perspectives
  • Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland
  • Mediation and Peacebuilding Skills
  • Community Learning (placement)
  • Research Skills


Explore our modules

Below is a list of modules (modules offered can vary). More information including suggested readings is provided in the Course Overview.

This module provides an insight into some of the core skills needed to develop as a graduate student here at Trinity College Dublin. The module will reflect on a number of core themes including: reading and writing; theories of knowledge production; qualitative research methods; ethical considerations in research; and data analysis. It has been designed in such a way as to support the successful completion of written assignments in the taught modules and serves as early preparation for the MPhil dissertation. In addition, the sessions will provide an orientation to some of the resources available for studies during the programme and an analysis of academic skills involved in graduate work. 

This course analyses the origins and dynamics of the conflict across the region with a view to assessing the prospects for peace and reconciliation. Core topics include, inter alia: explanations of the conflict (colonial, economic, religious, ethno-nationalist); Irish republican/nationalist, and Ulster unionist/loyalist perspectives of the conflict; the peace process and Good Friday Agreement; prisons as sites of resistance during the troubles, and reimagining Belfast as a post-conflict city. Students will be invited to form their own views on the current, complex condition of Northern Ireland and to examine the multi-faceted nature of Northern Ireland’s transition. (Note field visits are a core component in this module, meaning there may be a small charge for transport/fees and/or entrance into museums).  

The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical examination of the fundamental questions and concerns of transitional justice, and to unpack the many ways that transitional justice mechanisms have been trialled in conflicted/post-conflict societies across the world. The core areas of transitional justice, including its liberal underpinnings, the role of domestic/international criminal tribunals, truth recovery, reparations, institutional reform, and memorialisation are covered. In so doing, students are provided with the framework to better interrogate some of the challenges associated with dealing with the past in conflicted and transitional societies. The interdisciplinary nature of the module is one of the great attractions of studying transitional justice and permits students to engage with sociological, anthropological, legal, and political material. In addition, case studies are used to illuminate and bring to the fore some of the core issues.  

The Mediation and Peacebuilding Skills Module is taught as a one week intensive. The aim of the module is to provide a theoretical and practical introduction to mediation and dialogue facilitation skills in the context of intractable conflict. In addition, the module offers an insight into political negotiations and conflict management practices, and outlines how to prepare for, and conduct dialogue in challenging environments. 

This module – an internship with an identified partner organisation - allows students to gain real-world experience of community work in Northern Ireland and connect this experience with what is being learned in the classroom. Those who choose to undertake a placement should do so in line with their interests and abilities and consult with the Module Co-ordinator to identify an appropriate organisation. In this module, students are expected to work a minimum of 70 hours with the organisation between October 2024 and April 2025. Students will be asked to keep a reflective journal for the duration of their time on placement. These journals should be digitised and submitted for assessment following completion of the placement. Students enrolled in this class must also take the ‘Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland’ module to ensure that their experiences in the community are grounded in a sound understanding of the socio-political context. Please note, this module will be awarded a pass/fail grade. 

This module interrogates the concept of reconciliation from a range of disciplinary perspectives and within various domains. What is reconciliation? Is it possible and why does it attract criticism, scepticism and even hostility? Does reconciliation mean abandoning justice and ‘forgiving and forgetting’? What are the personal and social psychological dimensions of reconciliation? Is it an inherently religious idea – and how and why has it so often been promoted from a faith-based perspective? How can sport and the arts and symbolism contribute to reconciliation? What is political reconciliation? What roles do apology and forgiveness play? Can we measure reconciliation, and can we find it? 

The module provides students with a theoretical understanding of the causes and dynamics of violence inter-group conflicts and approaches to their resolution.  It offers a series of significant and diverse country/regional case studies, including Israel-Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, and the Korean peninsula. In each instance a series of questions are posed: what are the causes of intergroup tension and violence?; in what forms has the conflict manifested itself over time?; what role have regional and transnational factors played?; how have political leaders, civil society and third parties sought to resolve the conflict, and how successful have those efforts been?; and what are the prospects for, and the contextual constraints on, reconciliation? By taking a global approach, this module highlights successes, dilemmas, challenges, and cross-national learning, in contemporary conflict resolution.    

What is it like to be a student in Belfast?

Belfast is a relatively compact and affordable city. The student experience here is unique – different to attending a large campus university, or Trinity in Dublin. Trinity in Belfast has its own excellent specialist library, small core staff, and PhD researchers. It’s a friendly and supportive environment in which to study.

Study space, sports facilities and clubs and societies are available through Queen’s University Belfast which is close by. Most Trinity student support services can be accessed remotely but students must travel to Dublin if they wish to access the full range of services in person. Guidance for international students on accommodation, visas, healthcare and more is available here.

What do students do afterwards?

Our graduates are scattered across the globe, helping build a more peaceful and sustainable future.

Graduates find work in a range of fields including:  

  • Grassroots non-governmental organisations
  • International non-governmental organisations
  • Government, international organisations, and diplomacy
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • PhD research


The Irish School of Ecumenics Trust will make the following scholarship available:

  • Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation M.Phil. (CRR) - €2,000 (1 scholarship)

There is no separate application process. All incoming students who have accepted a firm offer by 25 July in the intended year of entry will be considered. For further details please contact

Find out more about Postgraduate Scholarships.


EU Students

Full-time over 1 year €9,800

Part-time over 2 years €6,410

Non-EU Students

Full-time over 1 year €18,180

Part-time over 2 years €10,820


Choosing Trinity College Dublin’s M.Phil. in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at the Belfast campus was a natural decision for me. The programme’s emphasis on hands-on experience through fieldwork and placements, along with its focus on The Troubles and its legacy, intrigued me. Studying in Belfast provided a unique opportunity to immerse myself in a post-conflict environment. Now, working with The Rainbow Project, the national LGBTQ+ organisation in the north of Ireland, the skills I gained at Trinity have proven invaluable. The Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship I received made this transformative experience possible. Overall, this programme not only shaped my career but also allowed me to form lasting connections and contribute meaningfully to the north of Ireland.

Chougher Maria Doughramajian

2021-22 GOI-IES Scholar

Trinity College Dublin’s MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation offers the perfect blend of individualization you look for in any bespoke academic experience and the expertise you expect from a top international university. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the faculty in Belfast went above and beyond to build a cohesive community. I can’t think of a better place to study peace and conflict, and I’m certain there isn’t a better group of people to support you on that journey.

A.J. Pruitt

2021 George J. Mitchell Scholar

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