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.