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
Named for an 11th-century Buddhist scholar in India, Naropa University was founded in 1974 as in institution to “combine contemplative studies with traditional Western scholastic and artistic disciplines.” Academic programs, including a peace studies major, are based around a Buddhist-inspired curriculum of contemplative education.
Peace studies majors must earn 36 credits. Half of those come from required classes, including: study of nonviolence; the theory and practice of conflict transformation; peacebuilding skills, including restorative justice and dialogue; and a senior project. The rest of the classes to meet the major’s requirements are drawn from a variety of other academic programs, including environmental science, religion, psychology and art. Majors must also complete a three-credit internship.
A 12-credit peace studies minor is also available. Each year, the peace studies department sponsors a lecture by a prominent peace academic, activist or thinker.
Contact: Juliet Wagner
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 University of California, Berkeley, has offered an undergraduate major in peace and conflict studies since 1985. The program was founded under the premise that “war and other forms of violence, despite their ubiquity, can be mitigated and transformed through the application of knowledge.” Emphasis is placed on connection between studying peace as an academic discipline as well as active participation in peacebuilding activities.
After taking a required introductory class, undergraduates can declare a major in peace and conflict studies, which consists of nine upper-level courses and four semesters of foreign language study or an equivalent proficiency. Four of the upper-level courses are designed around a concentration. Those currently offered are: conflict resolution; culture and identity; global governance; human rights; human security; and nonviolence. Students also have an option to create their own concentration with the help of a faculty adviser. A senior seminar is required.
Up to three upper-level courses, plus courses to fulfill the foreign language requirement, can be met during a study abroad with pre-approval from an adviser.
Majors can fulfill special honors criteria by meeting GPA requirements and completing a thesis paper of around 75 pages. The university also offers a peace and conflict studies minor that requires six upper-level courses.
Program Director: Dr. Max Auffhammer
The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego offers a 2-year Master of Arts degree in peace and justice studies and a 1-year Master of Arts degree in peacebuilding.
The MA in peace and justice studies is a 2-year full-time program designed for those seeking to acquire the fundamentals of peace and justice, while having the opportunity to integrate new knowledge and capabilities in applied peace projects. In addition to courses and small workshops, the program offers a 10-week U.S. Or international summer internship and a capstone integrative project.
The MA in peace building is a 1-year full-time program designed for highly motivated and thoughtful leaders in areas such as peace building, human rights, conflict resolution, humanitarian relief, development and social justice. The program provides a unique opportunity to learn new ideas and techniques in the field as well as to expand global networks. After completing this degree program, graduates will be able to accelerate their initiatives or lead new ones with success.
Asst. Director of Graduate Student Services:
Peace studies at Whitworth University are offered as a major through the political science department. All courses in the department “are informed by a commitment to justice and reconciliation as articulated by the great political thinkers throughout history and, especially, as defined by the principles of the Christian faith” (Whitworth is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church).
The peace studies major includes a core group of political science classes, an ethics or theology course, a group of electives in sociology, history, economics and other related disciplines, and an internship. Students are also strongly encouraged to study abroad during their time at Whitworth; the college offers programs in Northern Ireland and Tanzania that have particular relevance to peace studies and other political science academic programs.
The political science department also offers a minor in community engagement and transformation, which includes study of urban life, community development, and issues of poverty and inequality.