Through this interdisciplinary program at UMass Lowell, undergraduate and graduate students explore methods for promoting social justice, participating in advocacy work, causes of conflict and violence, approaches to resolve conflicts and violence, and practices to transform conflict and build peace. We combine theoretical and experiential education to prepare students for success in school or 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 five 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:
- 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?
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
- Women's Advancement
- Non-Profit Management
- Conflict Resolution
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.