Peace & Conflict Studies

Peace and Conflict Studies Minor

Social conflicts are probably inevitable in human societies, but it is preferable to devise constructive ways, short of large-scale violence, for resolving conflicts.

Coordinator: Dr. Paula Rayman, Office: O'Leary 500K

The goals of the Peace and Conflict Studies minor are:

  • To communicate basic facts and insights regarding war and large-scale conflicts, especially in the contemporary world;
  •  To discuss efforts and proposals for peacemaking, together with their principal strengths and weaknesses; and
  •  To develop a critical yet respectful and informed awareness of the diversity of policies and values about war and peace.

Requirements for the Minor

A minor in PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES will consist of 18 to 24 credits with at least 6 credits at the 300 level or above (includes required and elective courses). The requirements are as follows:

Required Courses

  1. PCS.125 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  2. One of the following courses:
         43.239  The World Since 1945
         48.352  Sociology of Nonviolence
         46.384  International Politics of Human Rights
  3. 4-6 electives from the list of Peace and Conflict Studies electives

Peace and Conflict Studies Minor Elective Courses

Other courses may be added with permission of program director

Legal Studies

41.366 International Law


42.205 Human Values in Western Culture
42.251 War in Literature
42.278 Literature of the Vietnam War


43.106 The Modern World
43.204 China and the Modern World
43.211 Historical Dimensions of Globalization
43.212 Modern Latin America
43.240 World War I
43.241 World War II
43.281 Sub-Saharan Africa
43.296 United States Diplomatic History
43.320 American East Asian Relations
43.321 The Holocaust
43.336 Problems of Modern Ireland
43.356 Civil War and Reconstruction
43.391 America and the World
43.393 History of the Middle East and Islamic World

Criminology & Justice Studies

44.115 Introduction to Homeland Security
44.212 Weapons of Mass Destruction
44.248 Terrorism (International and Domestic)
44.326 Hate Crimes

Peace and Conflict Studies

PCS.496 Practicum


45.296 Intro. To World Religions
45.307 Theories of Justice
45.366 Globalization and its Critics

Political Science

46.112 Intro to Comparative Political Systems
46.121 Intro to International Relations
46.230 Law and the Legal System
46.233 Islam and Politics
46.335 Constitutional Law and Politics
46.337 Civil Liberties and Politics 46.345 The Politics of Discord between the Arab East and the West
46.351 Irish Politics
46.360 European Politics: Tradition and Modernity
46.363 Politics of China
46.368 Middle Eastern Politics
46.370 Latin American Politics
46.375 Politics of the Pacific Rim
46.376 Democratic Movements in South East Asia
46.387 Politics of International Organizations
46.402 Women in Islam
46.406 The Politics of Identity in the Middle East
46.422 Seminar in Political Communication and Media Studies


47.209 Social Psychology
47.328 Dynamics of Interpersonal Relations
47.473 Seminar in Social Psychology: Resolving Social Conflict


48.102 Social Anthropology
48.216 Sociology of War and Peace
48.234 The Study of Minorities
48.240 Sociology of Gender
48.256 Political Sociology
48.317 Sociology of Genocide
48.382 Social Movements
48.450 Seminar on Peace, War, and Violence
48.469 Seminar on Global Society


49.315 Intro to Environmental Economics


54.351 Hispanic Perspectives

Cultural Studies

59.349 Literature, Politics and Genocide in Cambodia
59.356 Village Empowerment: Overcoming Global Poverty
59.470 Directed Study in Peace and Conflict
59.471 Project in Peace and Conflict

Gender Studies
GNDR.240 Introduction to Gender Studies


These may be counted towards the minor, with the approval of the coordinator, provided they contain substantial amounts of Peace Studies material.

Peace Studies minors can also choose from a list of Peace Studies courses available at other schools in the NECCUM consortium, including the Peace Studies Minor at Salem State College. Where a Peace Studies course meets the university's General Education requirement in Values, Concepts and Choice, it can also be used to meet that requirement.


The Peace Studies minor is interdisciplinary. It also inevitably involves issues of human rights, social justice, scientific/technological change, and environmental degradation. In Peace Studies serious attention is paid to relationships between the local and the global. Social conflicts are probably inevitable in human societies, but it is preferable to devise constructive ways to resolve conflicts, other than large-scale violence, such as wars and terrorism. There is certainly a diversity of views among the UMass Lowell faculty teaching Peace Studies courses about how to resolve conflicts--and this should ensure the Peace Studies minor is interesting and educational!


There are many reasons why a minor in Peace Studies should be helpful to any undergraduate, no matter what his/her major. The following are some examples.

  • Any student will benefit from knowing about the various conflicts in tense regions like the Middle East, and South and Central Asia, which are addressed from a variety or perspectives in many Peace Studies courses.
  • UMass Lowell graduates working in any field will have to deal with the increasing ethnic diversity of the local workforce, and with minority-rights issues that are heavily influenced by conflicts in the Caribbean basin, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions. These issues are important in such varied fields as business, education, engineering, health care, human services, and law enforcement.
  • The economy in the Merrimack Valley, Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire is greatly affected by current and future actions by defense contractors, and by programs for selling arms abroad--topics considered in several Peace Studies courses.
  • A student going into counseling or human services should be familiar with the psychological and social impacts of terrorism, the Cambodian genocide, and the Vietnam War.


Each semester there are various other events in which the Peace and Conflict Studies program is involved. Since 1989, Peace and Conflict Studies has sent student and faculty delegates to the national conferences of the Peace Studies Association (now renamed the Peace and Justice Studies Association), of which the UMass-Lowell program is a founding member.

Since Fall 1991 several Peace and Conflict Studies faculty and students have been active in the Peace & Conflict Studies Institute (PACSI), a major goal of which is public education on peace- and conflict-related questions. PACSI has since 1996 sponsored annual Days Without Violence, in collaboration with Middlesex Community College and many agencies on and off campus. PACSI has organized training and public discussions on conflict resolution. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, PACSI has sponsored presentations on policy issues such as the war on terrorism, civil liberties and the military budget; and organized participatory discussions on reactions to terrorism and Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

The Peace Studies program welcomes comments and suggestions from any member of the university community.

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