Peace Studies

Department Chair: Kelly Kraemer

Faculty: Jeffrey Anderson, Kelly Kraemer, Rene McGraw OSB, Ronald Pagnucco

Peace Studies is a field of study that explores the presence and nature of conflict in human interaction, the causes of war and intergroup violence, and the conditions for sustainable peace with justice. Scholars in peace studies examine these subjects using an interdisciplinary approach that includes knowledge and methods drawn from many fields, including sociology, international relations, philosophy, biology, theology, political science and many others.  Throughout our program students and faculty explore the potential for social justice, better conflict management, peacemaking processes, reconciliation and peace building given the present historical circumstances. Specific approaches that are investigated include but are not limited to: nonviolent social protest; human rights; environmental action; feminism and anti-racism; Catholic social teaching; alternative approaches to security; international law and organization; and mediation and conflict resolution.

The peace studies program strives to enable students to think and act with responsible human freedom and to be capable of effective service to others.  Inside and outside of the classroom the peace studies department seeks to cultivate an environment for learning which draws its deepest inspiration from a desire for the truth, for justice and for charity. Our commitment to community-based education is evidenced by the internships and service learning activities that peace studies majors and minors undertake.

Practitioners in the field of peace studies are aware that any concrete situation reflects multiple issues. Effective peacemaking and conflict resolution thus requires an ability to synthesize the strands involved in the conflict, including gender and ethnicity, economics and environment, religion and philosophy, culture and government, history and literature, psychology and social structure. The interdisciplinary character of our program teaches students to integrate these strands. Building upon the six required courses, the student majoring in peace studies, in close consultation with the department, focuses his/her interest by looking at conflict and its resolution through detailed study in the social sciences, the humanities or the natural sciences.


The Peace Studies Department annually assesses student learning in the major. Current measures of assessment include: a portfolio of written work, a student self-evaluation of their experience in the major, site supervisors' evaluations of internship performance, a meeting with majors in the spring of their senior year, and a survey of graduates conducted on a periodic basis.


Basic Requirements (24-28 Credits)
PCST 111, 221, 333 or 343, 346, 397, 399, and either ENVR 175 or ENVR 275 (except for those in the Natural Sciences Concentration).

Special Requirements for the Major
Each peace studies major selects a concentration in the Humanities or in the Natural Sciences or in the Social Sciences.

Humanities Concentration (24 additional credits)
The humanities concentration will include six PCST humanities courses, chosen by the peace studies major to fit her/his particular focus. The selection will need the approval of the student's advisor and the department chair. Students with a humanities concentration will take PCST 333 or PCST 343 (whichever was not taken for the basic requirements). Five of these courses must be upper division.

Natural Sciences Concentration (34-56 additional credits)
A major or minor in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics or nutrition; one PCST humanities course chosen in consultation with the student's advisor; one PCST social science course, also chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.

Social Science Concentration (24 additional credits)
Six PCST courses chosen in consultation with the student's advisor, in order to fit her/his particular focus within the department. Five of these courses must be upper division.


Required courses
PCST 111, 221, 346, 399; one of the following: PCST 333 or PCST 343; one additional 300-level PCST course.

Acceptance into Upper Division

At the time that the peace studies major applies for official acceptance into the department, ordinarily at the beginning of the second semester of his/her sophomore year, the student will prepare a focus statement, which will contain two basic elements: 1) what has drawn the student towards a peace studies major; 2) the particular area of interest which the student would like to choose as the organizing theme of her/his course work in peace studies.

A successful major in peace studies must have a tightly focused concentration in order to insure her/his preparation for graduate school or the work world. The major in peace studies requires a great deal of contact between the peace studies student and the peace studies advisor in order to insure a focused program of studies.

Each student must receive approval from her/his advisor for any courses within the concentration which will count towards the major. The department chair will sign off on the list of courses.

Courses (PCST)