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Negotiations and Conflict Resolution


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy can take this course.


This course analyses bargaining and negotiation processes in international relations and their contribution to the management of international conflict. It focuses on how the process of conducting diplomatic negotiations and other informal processes aimed at managing inter-state and intra-state conflicts have an impact on the outcomes of those negotiations. Conflicts of interest and identity, as well as misperceptions and misunderstandings, are ubiquitous features of international relations. While these conflicts may be resolved in many different ways, this course deals explicitly with “the art and science” of negotiations as a means to resolve those conflicts, preferably before they escalate to violence.

The course involves three different kinds of material, which will be integrated with one another. First, the course examines theories of bargaining and negotiation drawn from a wide variety of academic disciplines. Then it seeks to evaluate how well those theories may be applied in order to help explain concrete cases of international conflict management from recent history. Finally, the course entails participation in a number of exercises and simulations, in which students may evaluate the negotiation process from the perspective of a participant, gaining some insight into how the various theories do or do not work in the actual conduct of diplomacy.

Course objectives

The students will emerge from this course with a better theoretical understanding of the conflict management process, especially with a better understanding of some of the factors that contribute to or detract from attaining agreement in international negotiations. This will enable them to better understand how the process of negotiation in general interacts with the context of each and every specific negotiation to produce whatever results may be achieved, whether agreement, stalemate, or breakdown. Through this understanding the students will also gain some ideas about ways in which the negotiation process might be used more effectively to reduce international tensions and to resolve international conflicts. Through practical exercises and from the close examination of actual negotiations, the students will gain some insights into ways for conducting the important business of international diplomacy in order to manage both inter-state and intra-state conflicts more successfully.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught in seminar format. Active participation by students and an interactive teaching style are central to the course.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

  • Participation (including posting discussion questions, simulation participation): 30%

  • First paper: 30%

  • Second paper: 40%

You can find more information about the assignments, including details about submission deadlines, on Brightspace.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2022-2023 remain valid during the academic year 2023-2024.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2023-2024 remain valid during the academic year 2024-2025.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the second year of the programme.

  • The assessment method has changed from last academic year. Students that have valid partial grades from last academic year, may complete the course according to last years assessment methods.

Reading list

Journal articles, book chapters, manuscripts, academic research papers (see syllabus on Brightspace)


Register yourself via uSis for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 12 July 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Dr. Valerie de Koeijer