Peace and Conflict Studies

About Us

Our goal at Peace and Conflict Studies is to prepare students with the intellectual foundation and practical skills to be successful in graduate school and in a career.

Through this inter-disciplinary program at UMass Lowell, undergraduate and graduate students explore the causes of violence, methods to resolve violence, and practices to build peace. We combine theoretical and experiential education to prepare students for success in graduate school and their careers. 

Undergraduate students can major or minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. UMass Lowell juniors and seniors can apply for the Accelerated BA to MA, which makes it possible to earn both degrees in 5 years. Graduate Students can earn a Graduate Certificate or Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies.

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Peace and Conflict Studies is an academic field that draws upon a variety of disciplines such as cultural studies, criminal justice, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology to address the central questions of the field:

  • What are the causes and conditions which generate and sustain violent conflict?
  • What are the principles and methods for the resolution of violent conflict?
  • What are the norms, practices and institutions for building peace?

What is Peace?

Within the field, “peace” is defined as more than the absence of war. Rather, it is the presence of the conditions necessary to build a “just peace,” including access to education and physical necessities, societal justice, and security from harm. The idea is rooted in the understanding that a just peace is the only sustainable kind of peace. Therefore, Peace and Conflict Studies students go into a wide range of career fields such as: 

  • Restorative Justice
  • Human Rights Advocacy
  • Education
  • Women's Advancement
  • Development
  • Diplomacy
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Conflict Resolution

Peace Education is Critical

This is a critical global moment for peace education as armed conflict continues to be prevalent worldwide. At its peak, in the early 1990s, there were 51 armed conflicts waged around the globe at the same time. In 2004, the number of armed conflicts hit a low of 31 worldwide but rose to 36 in 2009. Since the end of the Cold War, a majority of UN member states have had a war on their territory or have had their nationals in a war. Furthermore, the emergence of terrorism as a global threat creates an urgent need for creative solutions to international violence. A new generation of leaders needs to be equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

Our Faculty

The Peace and Conflict Studies program has leading faculty who are experts in areas such as social organizing and nonviolent action, understanding terrorism, religion and democracy, responses to genocide, conflict in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and other regional disputes. women's movements for peace, mass media and the role of technology in conflict resolution, and politics of human rights. The faculty leadership, combined with the commitment of UMass Lowell to international education and real-world experience, will prepare students for meaningful work in the field.