Postgraduate: Studying the art of war; Sponsorship for city design; Learning to spin

* The impact of war on ordinary people, such as hostages caught up in the Iraq conflict, will be studied on a new MA at Manchester University. The degree in war, culture and history is being launched this autumn. Its take on war will be unique, according to course leader Dr Ana Carden-Coyne. "We are not looking at the facts of war - what causes them or how they work," she says. "This is a socially useful type of history, which looks at subjects like the psychological issues of trauma, population movements and recovery from war." The course will include the chance to make a film or documentary about people's experience of conflict. This element will focus on the north-west of England. "I'm particularly excited about this aspect," says Dr Carden-Coyne. "We hope it will help to uncover the hidden voices of war and people's testimonies. We want to involve people from a wide range of communities, refugees and survivors of war."

* The impact of war on ordinary people, such as hostages caught up in the Iraq conflict, will be studied on a new MA at Manchester University. The degree in war, culture and history is being launched this autumn. Its take on war will be unique, according to course leader Dr Ana Carden-Coyne. "We are not looking at the facts of war - what causes them or how they work," she says. "This is a socially useful type of history, which looks at subjects like the psychological issues of trauma, population movements and recovery from war." The course will include the chance to make a film or documentary about people's experience of conflict. This element will focus on the north-west of England. "I'm particularly excited about this aspect," says Dr Carden-Coyne. "We hope it will help to uncover the hidden voices of war and people's testimonies. We want to involve people from a wide range of communities, refugees and survivors of war."

Three more history MAs are being launched at Manchester. The history of north-west England combines history and archaeology to study the region over the last 1,500 years. Victorian studies includes a section on Manchester, described by course leader Dr Julie-Marie Strange as "the ultimate Victorian urban centre". And colonial and post-colonial history claims to be unique in examining the impact of the empire from the perspective of the colonised.

* The Mercers' Company, a livery guild founded in medieval times, is sponsoring students on a bang-up-to-date course. The City of London guild is offering two scholarships, worth a total of £25,000, to UK students to study the London School of Economics' MSc in city design and social science. Preference will be given to students from inner cities. The course is about urban change, and the results of design decisions on people and their surroundings. It trains students to research and create large-scale urban projects. Recent proposals for the Thames Gateway development and the growth of cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, present new opportunities for graduates of the course, says its director, Ricky Burdett.

* Junior spin doctors will be interested in a new course at Manchester Business School. The MSc in corporate communications and reputation management, aimed at graduates with several years' experience in business communications, is a full-time version of a part-time degree which has been running for four years. Available from September, it emphasises strategic thinking and looks at how firms should communicate with employees, investors, customers, government and journalists. Various scenarios are covered, including what to do in a crisis, and how to lobby. Companies are looking for these skills, according to the course leaders. They point to research by the business school which has shown that improving reputation through better communication creates a three- to four-per-cent annual growth in sales.

g.mccann@independent.co.uk

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