Affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, Bethel University offers a 34-hour bachelor’s degree in reconciliation studies that includes a mandatory term of study at Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town, South Africa. At present, the major primarily focuses on racial and cultural reconciliation. With a curriculum drawing from the fields of restorative justice, conflict transformation, religious studies and justice and peace studies, the university says this degree is distinctive in that “its core understanding of reconciliation emerges from a Jesus-centered theological foundation.”
The South Africa term centers around an in-depth study of the reconciliation process that took place there after the apartheid system ended. In South Africa, students enroll in four classes offered by Cornerstone Christian College, plus two additional classes on South African history and culture. Bethel University also offers a 19-hour reconciliation studies minor that does not include the study abroad component.
Dr. Harley Schreck
Dr. Curtiss DeYoung
One of the oldest universities in California, Chapman University offers a major and minor in peace studies, based on a belief of “positive peace” that “implies more than just the absence of war,” including “social justice as well as non-violent conflict resolution.”
The 42-hour major in peace studies includes core courses in peace studies, conflict resolution, social change and other theory-based study, plus 15 elective credits and four additional courses within another department to develop specific expertise in a field of concentration. Majors are “strongly encouraged to consider overseas study as well as internship opportunities.”
Chapman’s Model United Nations program is popular among peace studies majors, with a delegation dispatched to New York each spring break to participate in the National Model United Nations.
Chapman University prides itself in its commitment to diversity, having offered admission to women and minorities since its founding in the 1860s. Historically affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, the university now subscribes to a list of 10 ethical ideals based in that heritage but not explicitly tied to any religious tradition or belief.
Director of Peace Studies:
Dr. Donald Will
Creighton University is committed to a Jesuit vision of “competence, conscience and compassion in service of a faith that does justice.” Through its justice & peace studies program and its department of cultural and social studies, Creighton offers an interdisciplinary major in justice & society that is intended for students interested in careers in social change and social justice. Graduates will be prepared to “advocate for and with the poor and marginalized, and be insightful, faithful, lifelong agents for social justice and peace.” The curriculum has a strong grounding in social sciences theory and methods; it also requires extensive study of Catholic teaching related to peace and justice.
Creighton offers Encuentro Dominicano, a semester of study, service, immersion, and reflection in the Dominican Republic. In summers, faculty-led programs in recent years have taken students to China, Tanzania, Peru and South Africa, where the focus is often on justice and peace issues.
Dr. Roger Bergman
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 only Jesuit university in the Rocky Mountain region, Regis University has offered a B.A. in peace and justice studies since 2007. Students majoring in the program study problems of violence and injustice – such as war, capital punishment, climate change and others – from sociological, philosophical, historical, and peace and justice perspectives. The program also emphasizes practical skills in areas like conflict resolution and community organizing and teaches students to apply these toward creating more peaceful and just communities, locally and globally.
The peace and justice studies major requires 28 credit hours of study, including an introductory course, a social research methods course, and a senior project – including a reflective essay and public presentation – developed with a faculty advisor.
In keeping with Jesuit tradition, Regis University emphasizes community service through its Center for Service Learning. The center’s Engaged Scholar-Activist Program is open to all students at the university, providing opportunity for leadership development through off-campus service and involvement with community organizations in Denver. Students in the peace and justice studies program are also encouraged to complete an internship with an outside organization. Regis University also offers a 16-credit peace and justice studies minor.
Dr. Eric Fretz
The Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University exists to “effectively promote and foster nonviolent, collaborative and peaceful ways to resolve conflicts,” working through community outreach, research and practice, in addition to its academic programs. The center offers a conflict analysis and dispute resolution major, designed as a pre-professional program for undergraduate students who want to pursue careers or graduate study in conflict intervention.
Ten courses are required for the major, including five core requirements and two upper-level electives largely focusing on conflict theory, analysis and resolution techniques. The remaining classes allow majors to develop a concentration in one of three different levels of conflict: international; intergroup/organizational; and interpersonal. Majors must also fulfill internship and field research requirements that can be completed locally, nationally or internationally.
Salisbury also offers a five-course conflict analysis and dispute resolution minor, as well as a new, two-year M.A. program. One of the university’s official clubs is the conflict resolution club, open to any students; it also hosts an annual lecture series that brings to campus notable leaders and activists in nonviolence, social change and conflict resolution.
Department chair: Dr. Ignaciyas Soosaipillai
The peace and justice studies program at Tufts University was founded to develop students’ understanding of various crises and challenges facing the world and to “encourage involvement in nonviolent attempts to build a world of peace and justice.” Three core classes are required, including an introductory course, an internship, and a senior seminar. To major in this field, students also take one class each from five core areas grouped under the following themes: justice, war and peace, violence and peace in culture, conflict resolution, and creating social change. Further, three electives are selected by students and their academic advisers to develop an educational theme (on broad topics such as race, gender and environmental issues) that culminates in the senior seminar and sometimes a senior thesis.
Dr. Bruce Hitchner
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