Peace & Conflict Studies


The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies. Students may also minor or double-major, if appropriate. This program provides students with knowledge of the key issues, research, and theories in the important and emerging field of Peace and Conflict Studies.

The major in Peace and Conflict Studies is focused on addressing these central questions:

  • How do factors such as poverty, lack of education and social inequity lead to conflict, both internationally and domestically?
  • What are the causes and conditions which generate and sustain conflict and violence?
  • What are the principles and methods for the resolution of conflict and violence?
  • What are the norms, practices and institutions for conflict transformation and building peace? 

There are many approaches to understanding these core questions. Therefore, the undergraduate curriculum is inter-disciplinary, combining courses from Cultural Studies, Criminal Justice, History, Political Science, and Sociology, among other disciplines. Students take a seminar that helps them integrate the learning from their electives to address the central questions of the field.

Undergraduate students may study abroad at partner universities to gain a global perspective. Students can also engage in field work or internships for academic credit.

Major Requirements

A major in Peace and Conflict Studies consists of 36 to 45 credits in PCST with at least 18 credits at the 3000 level or above (includes required and elective courses).

Required Courses:

  • PCST.1250 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies 
  • PHIL.2030 Introduction to Ethics
  • PCST.4530 Integrative Seminar

Students must take at least 1 course in each of the three areas (Foundations of Peace & Conflict, Approaches to Peace & Conflict, and Regions of Peace & Conflict).  

A statistics course is highly recommended. 

Students must satisfy the world languages (four semesters of a language) or world ready language track (two semesters of a language, three semesters of cultural diversity classes) or demonstrate language proficiency.

Note: At least 75 credits must be earned outside of the major including general education requirements, language requirement, and free electives. Elective courses that are used to fulfill Peace and Conflict Studies major requirements cannot also be applied to satisfy a student’s general education requirements.

View the complete Degree Pathway

Accelerated BA to MA

If you are a current UMass Lowell junior or senior, you are encouraged to apply for the Accelerated BA to MA that makes it possible to complete a Master’s Degree in one year.

What is the Accelerated BA to MA Program?

The Accelerated BA to MA Program makes it possible to complete a Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies in one year. You can apply during your Junior or Senior year. Once accepted, you can take up to 6 credits of graduate level coursework and count the credit towards both your undergraduate and graduate degrees. You would then only have 24 credits to complete in order to finish the Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.

What are the Benefits of the Accelerated BA to MA?

  • Complete a Master’s Degree in as little as one year
  • No GRE Requirement
  • Application Fees Waived
  • Enter the job market with a competitive advantage of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Who can apply for the Accelerated BA to MA in Peace and Conflict Studies?

UMass Lowell juniors and seniors from any major can apply. You will need to graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA to matriculate into the BA to MA program. All other students can apply for the Master of Arts or Graduate Certificate through the UMass Lowell Office of Graduate Admissions.

How do I apply for the Accelerated BA to MA in Peace and Conflict Studies?

To apply, print out the Application Form and return it to Graduate Admissions in Cumnock Hall, One University Avenue, Suite 110. You cannot apply on-line to the Accelerated BA to MA. 

Which graduate courses can I take as a senior and count towards the Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies?

With instructor permission, you can register for a wide variety of graduate courses, including required courses and electives. You can count up to 6 credits towards both your undergraduate and graduate degrees. For a full list of graduate courses offered, please see the graduate catalog.

Additional Information from Graduate Admissions for BA/MA Students

  • Students admitted to our BA/MA program are accepted on a conditional basis with the requirement that students receive their bachelor’s degree at the end of their senior year and graduate with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.  If students do not meet this requirement, their master’s degree candidacy will be voided and they would be required to re-apply via the traditional application process.
  • BA/MA students must complete their bachelor’s degree first before graduate admissions can change their status to that of a fully matriculated graduate student.
  • As of the summer of 2009, accepted BA/MA students may defer their admission to the graduate program up to one year. After one year, they must submit a new application via the traditional application process.