Peace Studies

Department Chair: Jeffrey Anderson

Faculty: Jon Armajani, Jeffrey Anderson, Kelly Kraemer, 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.

Acceptance to Major Requirements

Course Requirements:  PCST 111
Minimum Grade and/or GPA for required courses:  2.00
Minimum Cumulative GPA:  2.00


Basic Requirements (24-28 Credits)
PCST 111, 221, 333 or 343, 346, 397, 399, and either ENVR 175 or ENVR 275

Electives (24 credits)

Each student takes 6 elective courses chosen with the help of the student's faculty adviser to support the student's area of interest, or "focus", within the field of Peace Studies. We will provide sample tracks listing common electives for popular focus areas (such as Global Health or Human Rights) on our website, but students will not be required to choose an existing track. Each student will have the option to design a personalized track by selecting 6 electives to match a unique focus.


Required courses
PCST 111, 221, 346, 399; 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)