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Master's Program

Peace and Conflict Studies

Graduate Programs offered:

MasterPACSMaster of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies Program Objectives

Peace and Conflict Studies is an inter-disciplinary academic field that studies the causes and conditions which generate and sustain violent conflict, the mechanisms and models for the resolution of violent conflict and the norms, practices and institutions for building peace. Peace and Conflict Studies professionals engage in policy analysis, strategic peace-building, mediation, advocacy, and organizational leadership.

Curriculum Overview

The 30 credit M.A. program requirements include coursework in research methods, strategies for conflict transformation, and a two semester seminar that helps students integrate and synthesize their learning across disciplines. Students select electives within one of three professional options: Conflict Resolution, Organizational Leadership, or Policy Analysis. To complete the M.A., students choose a practicum at a local or international organization, a project, or a thesis.

Professional Options

The professional options are designed to help students advance their career trajectories within the broad field of peace studies. Each option offers core knowledge and skills relevant for work in the area.

  • The Conflict Resolution option deepens student understanding of the nature and dynamics of conflict as well as strategies for managing and transforming conflict into more positive relationships, sustainable peace, and just societies. Students gain skills in identifying key factors and dilemmas in conflict settings and in fostering constructive change processes. Individuals in this option could pursue careers involving mediation and facilitation from the grassroots to the international level, restorative justice, and program development and training in conflict transformation.
  • The Organizational Leadership option orients students for careers as professionals in peace-related local and international NGOs, governmental and intergovernmental agencies, and religious and other civil society organizations. Students gain a deeper understanding of the role of various kinds of organizations in peace-building and the challenges they face. Students reflect on what it means to be a leader in an organization, the ingredients of effective leadership, and their own leadership style. They also acquire skills and tools needed to manage organizational peace-building efforts effectively.
  • In the Policy Analysis option, students analyze policy formation, implementation, and evaluation designed to build sustainable peace. Students gain skills in developing policies as well as broader initiatives to promote normative and structural change. This option provides a strong background for pursuing careers in areas such as policy advising in government, in regional or global international organizations, or in NGO settings; political organizing and advocacy work; and human rights implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Admissions Requirements:

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution college or university.
  2. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.000 or better. Applicants must submit an official transcript from the undergraduate institution that awarded their degree and an official transcript from any other undergraduate institution at which the applicant was awarded course credit. At the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee, students may be admitted with a grade point average below 3.000.
  3. 18 credits of Peace and Conflict Studies related coursework. Courses dealing with the general themes of causes of conflict, resolution of conflict or the building of peace will be considered Peace and Conflict Studies coursework. Additionally, courses that are similar to the Peace and Conflict Studies elective courses will be considered as prior coursework. At the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee, a student may be admitted with fewer credits, especially in the case of a student with work experience in the field.
    • The Graduate Admissions Committee is aware that while some of the applicants will have a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, many will be applying with degrees in related fields. This requirement will ensure that all incoming Master’s students will have some familiarity with the key topics in the field. At the same time, this requirement is not expected to be prohibitive for applicants.
    • In the event that a student does not have the necessary background credits in Peace and Conflict Studies and does not have relevant work experience in the field, the student may be admitted under the condition that they complete relevant courses during the summer prior to matriculation or during the first semester.
  4. An application fee as set by the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  5. Students for whom English is not a national language must also submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  6. Two letters of reference from individuals familiar with the educational and/or professional performance of the applicant.
  7. A personal statement about the applicant's professional interests, educational and work qualifications, and future goals as related to the program.
  8. A resume or curriculum vitae summarizing education and work experience.
  9. An interview may be requested by the Graduate Admissions Committee.

Program Requirements: (30 credits total)

  • Required Core Courses (9 credits):

Professional Option Requirement

Students must select four courses (total of 12 credits) from one of the professional options listed below. (Some courses have relevance to multiple options and are therefore included in more than one option.)

Conflict Resolution

Organizational Leadership

Policy Analysis

  • PCST.5020 Seminar in Peace and Conflict
  • PCST.5080 Theories of Political and Criminal Violence
  • PCST.5250 Gender, Work and Peace
  • PCST.5270 Sustainable Housing Development & Land Use: Conflict, Policy / Practice
  • PCST.5450 Policies of Repression and Dissent
  • PCST.5500 Analyzing Peace, Violence & War
  • PCST.5580 Peace and Conflict Studies Field Experience
  • CRIM.5250 Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes
  • CRIM.5720 Comparative Terrorism/Counter-Terrorism
  • CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security
  • CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies
  • CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence
  • CRIM.6400 Criminal Mind Behavior
  • CRIM.6500 Violence in America
  • PSYC.5000 Introduction to Community Social Psychology
  • PSYC.5020 Seminar in Community Social Psychology
  • PSYC.5270 Immigrant Psychology and Communities
  • POLI.5130 Foundations of Comparative Regional Development
  • POLI.5150 Politics and Economics of Public Policy
  • POLI.5500 Analyzing Peace, Violence & War

Practicum, Project or Thesis: (three to six credits)

  1. Thesis - six credits
  2. Practicum - Three credits are earned for a one-semester practicum; six credits are earned for a two-semester practicum.
  3. Project - Three credits are earned for a one-semester project; six credits are earned for a two-semester project.

Elective Requirement: (three or six credits, depending upon duration or practicum or project or whether the student has chosen to complete a thesis)

  • Three credits of electives are required for students pursuing a six-credit thesis or two-semester (six credit) project or practicum.
  • Six credits of electives are required for students completing a one-semester project or one-semester practicum.
  • Elective courses may be chosen from within any of the courses listed under any of the professional options. This provides students the opportunity to take an elective course outside of there professional option.