What are the sources of violent political conflict? What institutions, strategies and tools are available to secure peace and justice? How can international and domestic actors foster peace, and what are the roles of norms, values and beliefs in continued peace efforts?

The Political Science and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame provides students with the theoretical and methodological tools of political science to answer these and related questions.

Students in the program explore a variety of topics, including the causes of violent conflict; the role of international actors, law and peace accords in ending civil and international wars; the possibilities of justice and reconciliation after mass violence; the relation between politics, religion and peace; and the role of structural factors such as climate change in peace and conflict.

The Kroc Institute also hosts the Peace Accord Matrix, an interactive database featuring data on comprehensive peace agreements signed since 1989, which is increasingly being used as a tool in peace negotiations around the globe. 

The doctoral program in political science and peace studies provides rigorous training in both political science and peace studies. Students receive advanced research training in qualitative and quantitative methods as well as normative political theory from faculty at the Kroc Institute and the Department of Political Science.


Faculty with active research programs in comparative politics, international relations, and political theory provide training and mentoring to Ph.D. students.

Faculty who teach in the joint program include:

Tanisha Fazal, Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

Gary Goertz, Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

Robert C. Johansen, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Peace Studies

Patrick Regan, Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

Ernesto Verdeja, Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies; Director of Undergraduate Studies

Peter Wallensteen, Richard G. Starmann Sr. Research Professor of Peace Studies

Student & Alumni Testimonials

"The joint degree in political science and peace studies has proven extremely useful in navigating the job market and getting my career off the ground. Being familiar with more domains of scholarship is a major advantage and has allowed me to teach a variety of classes, publish in diverse outlets, and be competitive for an array of grant and fellowship opportunities."
— Alex Dukalskis, Ph.D.  ’13; Lecturer, School of Politics & International Relations, University College, Dublin
The joint program at the Kroc Institute is a perfect fit for me because I specialize in political theory, yet I'm committed to grounding theory in real-world political processes. Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science offers one of the country’s top theory subfields, and Kroc connects me with scholar-practitioners who do brilliant fieldwork in conflict zones. Being able to draw from both has been invaluable.”
— Karie Cross, Ph.D. student in political science & peace studies