Master thesis opportunity


The extreme impacts of climate change and rising number of conflicts, are two of the most critical threats in today’s world, and are receiving an increasing amount of attention by policy makers, military and security actors, and international organizations. Recently, co-occurrences between adverse climate change impacts and violent conflicts have been observed in developing countries, posing a dual threat to small-holder agriculturally-dependent livelihoods. Especially in drylands, such as the Sahel, violent uprisings have repeatedly coincided with pro-longed droughts and resource scarcities throughout the past decade. At the same time, interactions between sedentary farmers and (semi)-nomadic pastoralists have become increasing violent. The exact drivers transforming these previously peaceful interactions into competition are still unclear and micro-level evidence is needed to form coherent policies.


This research aims to advance in theory building to understand farmer-herder interactions and the role of climate shocks. You will take part in the project “Climate Security in the Sahel” together with the Sociology of Development and Change Group at WUR, CGIAR Climate Security and SIPRI. You will substantially contribute to the development of a theoretical framework to identify mechanisms of the climate-conflict interaction.


  • Conduct a literature review on farmer-herder conflicts in the Sahel
  • Support in development of a methodology for framework and data collection
  • Possibility to do field work in Senegal


  • MSc student enrolled in graduate programme
  • Background in sociology, anthropology, international development, political science or philosophy
  • Familiarity with qualitative methods
  • Interest in development issues, climate change, natural resource management, pastoralism and/or conflict
  • Fluency in English and French

Starting date: as soon as possible (preferred starting date is beginning of March 2022)

Duration: approx. 6 months

You will be supervised by Han van Dijk and Alexandra Krendelsberger. To apply, please send your CV and short motivation statement to


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