Theology & Peace Studies

Emmanuel Program Page

How do theological thought and practice shape violent conflict? What is the relationship between theological thought, practice and peacebuilding? What do sacred scripture, ethics, liturgy, history and systematic theology contribute to peace and conflict in theory and practice?

The Theology and Peace studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with frameworks and methodologies to help them think theologically about peace and conflict.

Through courses and seminars with leading scholars of theology, students are immersed in the scriptural foundations of the Christian faith, as well as in the liturgical, spiritual, ethical, and pastoral dimensions of the Christian tradition. They are encouraged to explore from within this theological matrix the opportunities, gifts, and challenges of peace in the modern world. Notre Dame’s Department of Theology also has particular strengths in ancient and medieval Judaism and early Islam, and students can pursue their course of study by focusing on these world religions.

Interdisciplinary Focus

During their tenure in the Ph.D. program, theology and peace studies students interact with scholars and students from other disciplines—history, sociology, anthropology and political science—as a way to develop interdisciplinary research skills and to bring theology into vibrant conversation with the social sciences.

Scholarship & Practice

The overarching goal of the program is to form the next generation of scholar- practitioners who are able to bring disciplined theological scholarly attention to the practical realm of peace efforts around the globe. Students will emerge from the program equipped with skills to help them better understand the world of faith-based peace practitioners, the visions that drive their work and the disciplines that sustain their engagement. They also will emerge with literary skills to enable them to produce a fresh genre of literature at the intersection of theology and peace practice.

The program is ideally suited for candidates who aspire to not only to teach in an academic theology or peace studies program, but also to engage and make theological resources available for broader church audiences and faith-based peace practitioners.

Faculty who teach in the joint program include:
Emmanuel Katongole,
Associate Professor of Theology & Peace Studies

Student & Alumni Testimonials

“As a student in systematic theology I appreciate the power and importance of ritual, symbol and philosophy, but I also appreciate the connection to the complexity of lived reality that peace studies provides.”  Heather DuBois, Ph.D. student in theology & peace studies

"The opportunity to combine traditional approaches to theology with the interdisciplinary study of peace, conflict, and multidimensional understandings of violence is unparalleled. Peace studies has provided me with a critical lens for analyzing not only contemporary social and political challenges, but for interrogating my own Christian tradition and Church. Similarly, my rootedness in the discipline of theology allows me to challenge assumptions or discourses in peace studies where theology may not appear as a likely dialogue partner. The creative tension that has occurred in my encounter of these two distinct intellectual traditions has both enriched my theology and attuned me to the challenge of peace."  — Leo Guardado, Ph.D. student in theology & peace studies

"The joint program in Theology and Peace Studies has been for me an excellent way to go both wide and deep. I have loved interacting not only with excellent theologians (students and professors) but also studying the sciences of peace with graduate level psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists. The Kroc's interdisciplinary formats--whether in the classroom or its institute wide gatherings--give students a forum for wide-ranging fluency and exchange that overcomes the myopic silo-ization academia can fall into." — Chris Haw, Ph.D. student in theology & peace studies

"Working toward a PhD in theology and peace studies at Kroc is fabulously rewarding. The interdisciplinary approach of peace studies with its array of methodological and theoretical commitments combined with the rigors of theological scholarship at Notre Dame results in a grounded yet highly innovative course of study. I greatly appreciate the commitment of the faculty and my peers to being in dialogue across disciplinary boundaries as we grapple with the root causes of conflict and paths to peace. I find theology provides especially fertile language for challenging assumptions and imagining a horizon of the future in which peaceful coexistence might become possible." — Steven Savides, Ph.D. student in theology & peace studies