M.Phil. Race, Ethnicity, Conflict

Trinity College Dublin

Application deadline: 30 June 2014
Tuition fee:
  • € 7,470 / Year (EEA)
  • € 13,860 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Full-time
More information: Go to university website

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This one-year postgraduate course has been running since 1997. Its success lies in the unique way it combines a focus on race-critical theory, population movement, conflict and resistance. Specifically, we examine the techniques used by states to manage peoples and conflict, their social and cultural impact and the responses they elicit. It applies race-critical, cultural and postcolonial theories to racialization, migration and nomadism, conflict and peace-making.

It is designed for people who work or wish to work in any of these fields, and/or who are thinking of PhD research. Our recent graduates work for NGOs (national and international), in migrant and Traveller rights, as barristers, playwrights, political activists, researchers, teachers, academics, gardai, journalists, social workers. According to the most recent figures 93% of students in the class of 2012 are either in employment, internships or in further study (compiled by the College Careers Service).

The focus is on Ireland, Europe (including the Balkans), the US and the Middle East. Topics covered include race-critical theory; research methods; colonialism, conflict and liberal intervention; ethnic cleansing and forced migration; ethnicity and social policy; human rights and international issues; gender, race and conflict; migration and the European labour market; migration and education; culture, representation and resistance; social movements and international solidarity; anti-racism education (emphasis can vary from year to year).

Staff, students and alumni form a friendly, ethnically diverse intellectual community with links to the Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, the Long Room Hub, the Institute for International Integration Studies, the Migration and Employment Research Centre, and the Conflict and Resistance Research Group all in Trinity College Dublin, and with a host of national and international academic and civil society organisations involved in race critical theory, critical peace studies, anti-racism, migrant support, Traveller rights and nomadism.

The course is full-time and lasts one calendar year from late September.

Trinity's Department of Sociology is ranked 18th in Europe and in the top 100 in the world by the 2013 QS World University Subject Rankings.


Mandatory Core Modules

  • Race and ethnicity - theoretical concepts
  • Research Methods and the Research Project
  • Colonialism, Conflict and Liberal Intervention

Please note that elective modules may vary from year to year.

One Semester Modules

  • Human Rights and Global Issues
  • Gender, Race and Conflict
  • Migration and the European Labour market
  • Migration and education in Europe and North America
  • Conflict Zones: Case Studies
  • Race, Ethnicity and Social Policy
  • Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing
  • Politics of Peace and Conflict (capped at 5 MPhil Students)
  • UN & Peacekeeping (capped at 5 MPhil Students)


  • Members of the Department of Sociology and other teaching staff

Evening Course

  • Theories of Race and Ethnicity: An Introduction

This full time 12 months postgraduate interdisciplinary programme, located within the Department of Sociology, offers students rigorous training and develops expertise in all aspects of race, ethnicity and conflict. The programme aims to provide a base for specialist research in the areas of race, ethnicity and conflict studies by offering theory, substantive and research methods training.

Working methods

The programme consists of three elements - mandatory theory, conflict studies and research methodology core courses (30 credits), elective modules (30 credits) and 20,000 words dissertation (30 credits). Attendance in all modules is mandatory but students make up 30 credits, in consultation with the course coordinator.

All classes comprise a lecturing input and student participation and formal and informal presentations. Students are allocated specific readings in advance of the sessions and are presented with topics for discussion and critique. The modules described below are assessed by individual essays or written group presentations. Students are allocated dissertation supervisors and are expected to work on their dissertation starting from April each year. Dissertations are submitted at the end of September each year.

Student intake

Students include recent EU and non EU graduates, as well as national and international public sector and NGO employees.

Teaching staff

Teaching staff come mostly from the Department of Sociology, but we also draw on expertise from other TCD departments as well as from NGOs and the legal profession.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be able to:

  • derive, explain and critically evaluate debates on race, ethnicity and conflict regarding social change in relation to conflict zones, post conflict societies and migration at global, European and Irish levels
  • identify, understand and critically evaluate theoretical and research literature in the field of race, ethnicity, conflict
  • apply and compare different research methods in these fields
  • conduct independent research of a theoretical or substantive nature in specific fields of racial, ethnic and conflict studies
  • write theses and research reports to a professional standard
  • communicate that research through oral presentations for an academic audience
  • perform problem solving in academic and policy contexts
  • be qualified to work in policy and research in this field in Ireland and abroad.

Access to MPhil modules

Some MPhil modules will be made available to PhD students registering with the Department of Sociology researching race, ethnicity, conflict and migration, and to students of the MPhil in International Peace Studies.

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