Dialogue Studies MA

This MA programme was co-delivered by Dialogue Society and Keele University between 2011 and 2017. This MA is no longer being offered by Keele University.


Dialogue Studies Masters Degree Poster

General Information

Faculty and School:
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE)


SPIRE, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG
Tel: 01782 733347
Fax: 01782 733592
Website: http://www.keele.ac.uk/spire/postgraduate/madialoguestudies/

MA Overview


The School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) has an outstanding international reputation, evidenced by a 5A rating in the last Research Assessment Exercise, and a maximum score of 24 in the Quality Assurance Agency review of teaching. SPIRE contains some of the most prominent figures in the field and provides a vibrant environment within which to pursue postgraduate study.

The MA in Dialogue Studies is designed for graduates who wish to examine and understand theories of dialogue and their applications in peacebuilding and in developing intercultural understanding and social cohesion. While definitions of "dialogue" will be explored in the course of the year, it might be loosely defined here as "a range of activities, including but not confined to a discussion, through which people of different social, cultural and religious groups deliberately come together for meaningful and constructive interaction." The MA course explores the theory and practice of dialogue through a unique combination of taught subjects, research, skills-based training and a London-based internship.

The course fills a gap in postgraduate education provision by not only exploring the use of dialogue in conflict and post-conflict situations but also examining its use in combating discrimination, ghettoisation and extremism in countries such as the UK. The main core module accordingly both introduces dialogue for peacebuilding and explores the UK context for dialogue, drawing on the fields of sociology and history as well as politics.

The degree has a practical outlook and will equip students with knowledge, understanding and skills to effectively engage in and lead dialogue to advance intercultural interaction and understanding and social cohesion. It includes a work placement during which students will gain professional experience with the Dialogue Society. Practical elements will be supported by rigorous, reflective examination of the approaches of governmental and nongovernmental agencies to dialogue, social cohesion and reconciliation. The course's broad scope and interdisciplinary nature will encourage students to bring broad perspectives to bear on any specific local issues with which they engage professionally.

Students will be able to pursue their particular interests within the degree's broad remit through a wide choice of elective taught modules and through their dissertation. It will accordingly be possible for each student to choose whether to devote more attention to domestic or to international contexts for dialogue and whether to focus on its applications in peacebuilding or in the promotion of social cohesion.

The course consists of:

  • Core module 1: Approaches in Dialogue
  • Core module 2: Learning and Research Skills
  • 1 elective taught modules
  • A work placement at the Dialogue Society, with practical experience, further training, meetings at relevant government departments and NGOs, and trips exploring multicultural London
  • A 15,000 word dissertation

Who is it for?
  • Students wishing to explore the theory and practice of intercultural dialogue in the UK context, and in conflict situations abroad
  • Professionals and aspiring academics interested in core social issues such as intercultural dialogue, community relations and citizenship
  • Activists and dialogue practitioners looking to develop their understanding of relevant social theory while enhancing essential dialogue skills

The MA offers:
  • A cutting-edge combination of taught academic subjects, research, skills-based training and internship
  • A postgraduate course designed and delivered in partnership by Keele University's internationally renowned School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, and the Dialogue Society, a dynamic London-based dialogue charity
  • A broad range of elective modules allowing students to pursue their own particular academic interests
  • A head start in professional experience through an internship at the Dialogue Society in the heart of multicultural London
  • Cultivation of an unusually wide range of valuable transferable skills, comprising academic, professional and personal skills
  • Bursaries available to overseas students through the Dialogue Society in addition to those bursaries offered by SPIRE to selected postgraduates
  • Quality research training and support


Aims of the Course

The course aims to provide students with the conceptual and analytical skills and the factual knowledge to develop a critical understanding of theoretical and practical approaches to dialogue, peace-building and community cohesion. This understanding will be supported by an understanding of key contexts for dialogue, in the UK and in selected conflict situations. The course also aims to equip students with practical skills to engage in and lead intercultural dialogue, chiefly through the professional experience and training provided through the Dialogue Society placement. Further, the course will prepare students for research and support them in producing a dissertation on their chosen topic.

Career Destination Information

The Dialogue Studies Masters is aimed at people who wish to pursue careers in a whole range of sectors. It is relevant to those wishing to gain employment in the civil or government service at the sub-national, national or global level, or to those looking to work with sub-national, national or international NGOs. The course will also be a good preparation for further postgraduate study and is ideally suited to those interested in pursuing the study of the theory and practice of dialogue at PhD level and beyond.

In addition, students will graduate with a range of transferable skills beneficial in any number of contexts. These skills will include at least: cultural sensitivity, empathy, teamwork and leadership skills, project management skills, research skills, public speaking skills, ability to lead and chair discussions, dialogue facilitation skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Course Structure and Content

The MA can be taken as a one-year full-time programme.

The course consists of:

  • 2 core modules (60 credits)
  • 1 elective taught modules (15 credits)
  • A work placement (45 credits)
  • A 15,000 word dissertation (60credits).
Students must earn 180 credits in total. Classes are generally smaller than on undergraduate courses, enabling detailed and focused discussion and debate. The dissertation allows students to pursue research on a topic that is of particular interest to them.

Students unable to commit to the full MA course including the dissertation may take a Postgraduate Diploma or the Postgraduate Certificate in Dialogue Studies. For further information see course information on the Keele University website (www.keele.ac.uk)

Course Modules

All students will complete two core taught modules as follows:
  1. Approaches to Dialogue (30 credits)
  2. This module will place the practice of dialogue in the context of key concepts, debates and positions relating to multiculturalism, political community and citizenship in Britain and other national contexts. It will explore social, demographic and political issues in the recent (1945-present) history of immigration in Britain including public and political debates about diversity during this period. It will critically review British national state policies for the management of diversity since 1945, focusing on their ideological underpinnings (including multiculturalism, integration and cohesion). Current political and theoretical debates about multiculturalism will inform the analysis of the limits and possibilities for dialogue.

    The module will focus primarily on the UK context for dialogue. However, select case studies from other national contexts (e.g. Yugoslavia, South Africa) will be drawn upon to critically explore opportunities for, and barriers to, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

  3. Learning and Research Skills (30 credits)
  4. This module provides guidance to learning and researching at the postgraduate taught level. It introduces students to methods of critical analysis, making and sustaining arguments, essay planning, and research design. It is intended primarily for students with little recent experience of the British Higher Education system.

Elective Modules

Students will be able to pursue their own interests related to theories, practices and contexts for dialogue in choosing from an eclectic range of elective modules.

Elective modules will be chosen from a wide range of SPIRE modules. It may also be possible for students to take modules in Politics, Diplomatic Studies, Management, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Public Policy and History. The precise list of available modules may vary from year to year.

SPIRE modules:
  • Power, Knowledge and the World
  • Environmental Decision Making: the Case of Complex Technologies
  • Global Environmental Change
  • The Theory of Global Security
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Contesting International Relations
  • Parties and Democracy
  • The Changing International Agenda
  • Comparative European Politics
  • Environmental Movements: North and South
  • Environmental Problems and Policies in the US
  • Diplomatic Law
  • Dimensions of Environmental Politics
  • Environmental Diplomacy
  • The Politics of Sin: Culture Wars in the US
  • Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US

Relevant modules from other Schools:

NB not all these modules will be available every year and they will not always be compatible with Dialogue Studies students’ core commitments.

  • Public Policy modules allowing students to expand their understanding of a key element of UK society which may significantly influence intercultural and interreligious relations and social cohesion. Relevant modules include:
    • Politics, Political Economy and Public Policy: Explaining and Making Public Policy (MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)
    • Policy Implementation and Governance: Policy in Action (30 credits, MA Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Professional Practice)
  • Global Media and Culture modules giving students the opportunity to develop understanding of key factors shaping British and international contexts for dialogue: globalisation and media in contemporary culture. Relevant modules include:
    • Globalisation, Culture, Society (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)
    • Contemporary Cultural and Media Theory (MA Global Media and Culture, Humanities)
  • Sociology modules, through which students may deepen their understanding of the UK context for dialogue. Relevant modules include:
    • City Cultures (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)
    • Urban Governance and Policy Making (MA Urban Futures and Sustainable Communities, School of Sociology and Criminology)
  • History modules
    • Imperialism (BA History, School of Humanities)
    • Right-Wing Movements in Inter-War Europe (BA History, School of Humanities)
    • Africa Since 1800 (BA History, School of Humanities)
  • Management School skills modules, through which students may pursue valuable professional development to enhance their future career
    • Leading People
    • People, Processes and Operations
    • Right-Wing Movements (20 credits, adapted from BA History, School of Humanities)

Students may also choose to study a modern foreign language (other than English).

Work Placement

10-week placement at the Dialogue Society during the Spring semester (45 credits). Students' activities will include:

  • Helping London-based community centres to branch out and run dialogue projects to bring local communities together, with the support of Dialogue Society staff and resources. Students will work in small teams and will each have the opportunity to manage a small-scale dialogue project. Past projects included a seminar on knife crime for local residents, Mothers’ Day visits to local care homes with children who use the community centres, community engagement dinners and an official opening celebration for one community centre.
  • Supporting ongoing Dialogue Society projects and events.
  • Attending weekly sessions at the Dialogue Society's Dialogue School. This will enable students to further explore and discuss different approaches to dialogue as well as providing training in a number of key skills for organised dialogue.
  • Networking at external events.
  • Exploring the cultural, religious and political landscape of multicultural London through visits to relevant government departments, other dialogue NGOs, places of worship and areas of particular historical/cultural interest. In the past, the placement included visits to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a historical tour of East London and visits to a Gurdwara, a Buddhist centre, Hindu centre, church and a Synagogue.
  • Keeping records of the placement and producing a reflective diary.


  • Examination of taught modules will be by written coursework and assessment of tutorial performance only (no written examinations)
  • The work placement will be assessed on:
    • attendance
    • performance and management of assigned tasks
    • the student's written plans and records
    • the student's placement diary
  • Students demonstrating an outstanding level of work will receive their degree with distinction.


SPIRE offers a limited number of bursaries to postgraduate students. Details are available on SPIRE's website.
The Dialogue Society offers a limited number of bursaries for the Dialogue Studies MA postgraduate degree. The bursary only covers the difference between overseas and home fee rate. Effectively, therefore, successful students will only pay the University fee at home fee rate.

To apply for a Dialogue Society bursary, students must first receive an offer from Keele University for this degree.

SPIRE Staff and Research Interests

Professor Chris Bailey - US Congress; Environmental Politics in the US.
Dr Sorin Baiasu - Kantian Philosophy; Normativity; Justice and Desert; Existentialism and Phenomenology.
Dr Elisabeth Carter - Comparative European politics; political parties; elections; electoral institutions; electoral behaviour; right-wing extremism.
Dr Philip Catney - British Politics; political ideologies; public policy; local and regional government; environmental policy; urban politics.
Professor Andy Dobson - Environmental theory; citizenship.
Dr Brian Doherty - Protest; social movements; ideologies; nationalism and nationalist movements; terrorist groups; political violence; human rights; NGOs; the green movement and environmentalism in the First and Third Worlds.
Dr Josie D’Oro - Metaphilosophy; the Philosophy of Action, and in any area of Collingwood studies.
Professor Tim Doyle - Politics and International Relations of the Environment; global political economy; the Global South.
Kyril Drezov - Eurasia; Caspian; Caucasus; Balkans; Eastern Europe; Turkey; intelligence; energy politics; security; Soviet Union.
Professor Bülent Gökay - Eurasia; Caspian; Caucasus; Balkans; Eastern Europe; Turkey; intelligence; energy politics; security; Soviet Union.
Dr Jon Herbert - U.S. Presidency; U.S. Public Policy-Making.
Professor Robert Ladrech - European Union; political parties; French politics; social democracy.
Dr Lorna Lloyd - The UN; end of British Empire and its transformation into Commonwealth; the Commonwealth; the League of Nations; diplomacy; diplomatic law.
Dr Linda Ahall - International Relations; security studies
Professor Richard Luther - Political parties; right-wing extremism; consociational democracy; German-speaking states.
Dr Sherilyn Macgregor - Feminist politics/theory; environmental politics/green political theory; ecofeminist theory; sustainability; citizenship/activism/social movements; urban politics.
Dr Monica Mookherjee - Contemporary political theory; feminism; multiculturalism; equality; citizenship and democracy; rights; history of political thought.
Dr Jon Parker - American politics; state politics in the US; public policy.
Dr Helen Parr - British foreign policy; international history since 1945.
Dr Barry Ryan - The Balkans; Police Power and IR; Security/Development nexus; State building and Liberal Peace; Critical security studies.
David Scrivener - Security; arms control and proliferation; environment in International Relations; Soviet Union.
Naveed Sheikh - Security studies; terrorism; Middle East; South Asia; the politics of the Muslim world; religion and international affairs.
Dr James Tartaglia - Philosophy of Mind; Metaphilosophy; Metaphysics and Richard Rorty.
Professor John Vogler - External relations of the European Union; environment in International Relations; security.
Dr Matthew Wyman - Russian and post-Soviet politics; political education; public opinion and the formation of political attitudes; political leadership.

Application Information

Application date

There is no formal closing date for applications, and applications will be considered up until the beginning of the academic year in September.

Processing Applications

The university aims to process applications, and dispatch our decision on your application, within 15 working days. Please allow the time for the post to reach you; the university will send offer letters by surface mail only.

Entry Requirements

Prospective students are expected to have a second class honours degree in International Relations or in social science or humanities subjects. www.keele.ac.uk/postgraduate

English Language Requirements

If English is not your first language, the university will usually ask you to take one of the internationally recognised English language qualifications for entry to Keele, such as IELTS or Cambridge ESOL Examinations or the TOEFL examination.

  • The minimum score for entry to most courses is IELTS 6.5 (with at least 5 in each sub-test)
  • TOEFL (paper test 550, computer-based 213 or Internet-based (iB) 79/80 minimum)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
  • GCSE English Language grade C

Please note that IELTS/TOEFL tests must be no more than 2 years old at the start of the course for which you have applied.

If you decide to meet the English language requirements by attending an English course at Walsall College or at Chester language school, the university will make your offer unconditional when you have applied for a place on the relevant course. The university will send you application forms for these colleges with your offer letter, plus a booklet explaining the options that are available.

Making an Application

To complete the application form you need to give the following information:

  1. Your relevant qualifications, including copies of certificates and transcripts
  2. Details of any courses you are completing at the time the application is submitted - if you are currently completing an undergraduate degree or equivalent and have transcripts of your progress please submit these with your application. You can make an application before you complete your degree course and/or take your English language test - in these cases the university makes conditional offers.
  3. Where appropriate, details of employment and professional experience
  4. A personal statement demonstrating clearly why you are applying for the course, the nature of your interest in it, and what benefits you expect to gain
  5. Your English language qualifications
  6. The names of two referees (and references if available at this stage)
All applications should be submitted using the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM. If this is problematic please contact the Postgraduate Office for alternative ways to apply. You can also download a REFERENCE FORM if you wish to use one.

Pre-Arrival Information

Once you have accepted the unconditional offer of a place at Keele, or met the conditions of any offer, then you will be sent pre-arrival information by the Postgraduate Office. The university will send this out from July for students starting their course in September the same year. In addition, your School will contact you about starting your course and any preparations you need to make.

Further information

For further information please visit:

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Address Information:
Keele University
Staffordshire ST5 5BG
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 732 000