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Unit information: Northern Ireland: conflict and resolution in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Northern Ireland: conflict and resolution
Unit code POLI30040
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Neil Matthews
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

This module will examine the case study of Northern Ireland. Students will critically assess the origins, nature and dynamics of the ethno-national conflict in the region and the approaches, factors and circumstances which led to its resolution. The course will also consider the contemporary socio-political landscape in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland, including outstanding legacy issues and obstacles to reconciliation. Through engagement with the Northern Ireland case-study, the course will cover key concepts and debates in the wider field of peace and conflict research and will also consider the potential ‘lessons’ (both positive and negative) other deeply divided societies might learn from the Northern Ireland case.

The aims of the unit are:

  • to provide students with an in-depth critical and theoretical understanding of Northern Ireland as a case study of ethno-national conflict and resolution
  • to enable students to develop their skills in critical thinking and writing
  • to enable students to communicate their ideas in a coherent, clear and concise manner, both orally and in written form

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the origins, nature and dynamics of the ethno-national conflict in Northern Ireland
  2. Demonstrate a clear understanding of how the Northern Ireland conflict was resolved
  3. Evaluate the debate surrounding power-sharing and conflict resolution, both from a comparative perspective and in the specific case of Northern Ireland
  4. Understand the contemporary socio-political situation in Northern Ireland and assess the prospects for reconciliation in the region
  5. Critically reflect on the lessons (both positive and negative) that the Northern Ireland case might hold for other deeply divided societies

How you will learn

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

How you will be assessed

2,000 word essay (25%)

3,000 word essay (75%)

Both assessments assess all of the Intended Learning outcomes listed above.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI30040).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.