In 1971, the year after the infamous killing by the Ohio National Guard of four of its students protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam and Cambodia, Kent State University established its Center for Applied Conflict Management as the university’s original living memorial to the student victims. The center began offering an undergraduate degree in peace and conflict studies in 1973. With more than 1,000 students regularly enrolled in its classes each year, and with six full-time faculty with graduate degrees in peace and conflict studies, it is one of the country’s largest such programs.
Majors in applied conflict management must take nine core courses, including ones on conflict theory, international conflict resolution, nonviolent action, mediation, transitional justice, and gender & power issues, plus an internship with an outside organization. The 33-credit undergraduate degree is completed with two additional applied conflict management electives. The program is designed to give students “a solid background in the theory and skills of conflict management while allowing the flexibility to concentrate in a particular area of professional interest.” A 21-credit minor is also available.
In the fall of 2013, Kent State University also began offering conflict analysis and management as a concentration or track in its political science PhD program. In addition, students wishing a Master’s degree may enroll in the Masters in Liberal Studies, a self-design graduate degree where they can elect conflict analysis and management as one of their foci, taking the many conflict management courses offered in the political science doctoral degree.
Dr. Patrick Coy
In 1948, Manchester University launched the first undergraduate peace studies degree program in the country. Today, the university offers an interdisciplinary major in peaces studies with concentrations in several different areas related to conflict resolution, nonviolence and international studies. The curriculum is based on a relatively large group of core courses that examine conflict transformation, nonviolence, war and peace, philosophy, religion, environmental studies and social movements. As a whole, the program aims to “explore the frontiers of nonviolent alternatives to conflict.”
Manchester University maintains a close connection to the Church of the Brethren, one of the historic “peace churches.” Its Peace Studies Institute, which sponsors conferences and public programs on issues of peace and justice, and an active undergraduate peace club also serve as another resource to undergraduate peace studies majors.
Dr. Katy Gray Brown
The Peace Studies major at Marquette University is an undergraduate program that focuses on establishing peace by working nonviolently for justice. As an interdisciplinary program, students choose from courses across many disciplines including: communications, economics, English, history, philosophy, sociology, social welfare and justice, and theology. These courses are divided into four groupings: theories and practices of peacemaking; justice, human rights, and reconciliation; social, cultural, and economic development; and topics in peace studies (includes race, ethnicity, and migration studies as well as holocaust and genocide studies).
The Marquette University Center for Peacemaking
is an important part of the university’s commitment to peace and justice. Peace studies students have access to summer peacemaking fellowships, international travel opportunities, internships, student employment, and career advising through the Center for Peacemaking.
The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is one of the world’s leading centers for research and scholarship on the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace, offering programs at the doctoral, master’s and undergraduate level. Undergraduates at Notre Dame can pursue peace studies as a 24-credit supplementary major or a 15-credit interdisciplinary minor to complement another major. Both provide students with an opportunity to integrate multiple intellectual interests and personal values into a comprehensive undergraduate learning experience.
The program offers a comprehensive, rigorous curriculum that draws from both the humanities and the social sciences. Students take several core requirements that explore foundational theories and strategies, taught by expert scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding, as well as specialized courses and thematic electives drawn from a variety of departments across the university. Courses cover modern peace research, link theory and scholarship to policy and practice, and encourage reflection on how to build peaceful and just societies at all levels.
Each year, the program’s undergraduates organize and host the annual Notre Dame Student Peace Conference, which attracts graduate and undergraduate students from around the continent to “present original research and showcase innovative peacebuilding practices.” Most students undertake service work or research projects in the local community and throughout the world, utilizing opportunities available through departments and centers across campus. The Kroc Institute also honors an undergraduate each year with the Yarrow Award in Peace Studies, which recognizes academic excellence and a commitment to peace and justice in the world.
Notre Dame is a Roman Catholic university, and the peace studies program is rooted in that church’s “rich tradition of teaching on war, peace, justice and human rights.” The Kroc Institute has developed particular expertise in the study of religion, conflict and peacebuilding and in approaches that foster collaboration among religious and secular traditions in order to strengthen peacebuilding capacity. Students wishing to explore questions of interreligious or interfaith dialogue, the relationship between religion, identity and conflict, or the role of ethical approaches to peacebuilding will find the peace studies program at Notre Dame a particularly rich environment.
Director of Undergraduate Studies:
(574) 631-8533 (phone)
The Department of Justice and Peace Studies department at the University of St. Thomas places significant emphasis on “engaged learning” and active involvement with “real-life situations of injustice, poverty and social conflict.” Core courses for majoring in justice and peace studies include active nonviolence, conflict resolution and theologies of justice and peace. A summer- or semester-long internship involving peace and justice work is also required. In addition to a general major in justice and peace studies, the department offers three career-oriented concentrations in conflict transformation, public policy analysis and advocacy, or leadership for social justice.
The program “promotes understanding and appreciation of widely diverse ideologies, cultures and world views” while giving particular attention to Catholic teachings on social justice and spirituality. Students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for hands-on study through an urban immersion program in the Twin Cities and/or study overseas in one of several programs (e.g., South Africa, Northern Ireland, Central America) that examine issues of peace and justice.
Emphasis is also placed on preparing graduates to work at a community or grassroots level, by educating students in “active citizenship, conflict resolution and interfaith dialogue.”
Dr. Amy Finnegan