UCL Summer School



Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session Two
Module leader
Dr M. Rodwan Abouharb
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
Presentation (30%), Final exam (70%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

This course will examine a variety of alternative theoretical explanations for civil conflict. The course begins with an overview of the discipline’s knowledge about the determinants of civil conflict.

The course then proceeds by introducing the student to the different theoretical explanations for civil conflict and the empirical research that has been undertaken to test these different theories. In particular:

• Examine the development of the literature and the variety of alternative theoretical explanations for why people rebel against their state.
• Examine the importance of international factors on the likelihood of civil conflict.
• Examine the consequences of civil wars for civilians.

The course critically reviews the impact that politics plays on the advent, continuation, and consequences of civil conflict. Students are invited to reflect upon the state of the discipline and areas of fruitful future research.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Have recognised, outlined the key elements of, and differentiated between the main theoretical approaches to the study of civil conflict.
  • Be able to critically review and apply the different approaches to the study of civil conflict.
  • Have gained the theoretical skills to systematically analyse key issues associated with civil conflict onset and its consequences.
  • Be able to demonstrate systematic reading and clarity of expression in developing written and oral arguments for and against specific positions, and recognise the theoretical principles on which such arguments are based.

Module prerequisites

This is a level two module (equivalent to second year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 10-minute presentation (30%)
  • 2-hour exam (70%)

Module leader

Dr M. Rodwan Abouharb is a senior lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations, and Director of the International Public Policy Program in the Department of Political Science at UCL. He is an expert on international organisations, human rights and conflict. He studies the human rights and civil conflict consequences of World Bank and IMF programs, and how the WTO affects member state behaviour regarding intra-state conflict. For the period 2014-2017 he (alongside two others) was awarded a $425,000 grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to investigate "State Repression and its Effects on Civil Conflict, Socio-Economic Outcomes, and Leadership Tenure.”

Application information

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