What is Peace Studies?

Peace studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry animated by a desire to build sustainable peace at all levels of society through policy-relevant research and practice on a broad range of pressing topics, including:

  • Concepts and processes that demand justice, promote healing, and create more equitable societies;
  • The root causes of violence in all its forms, including physical, structural, cultural, and environmental;
  • Strategies to prevent, end, and transform violent conflict through nonviolent means; and
  • Approaches to promote structural and institutional change at local, national, and global levels. 

The field of peace studies recognizes that conflict is inherent in human behavior and seeks to harness conflict through nonviolent means  to reduce violence and transform societies. 

About 400 colleges and universities around the world offer peace studies programs of one kind or another (only a few, including the Kroc Institute, also offer graduate degrees). As a 60+-year-old academic field, peace studies has a literature (books and journals), an active base of scholars, an established curriculum, and a pedagogical tradition that includes classroom teaching, experiential learning, internships, and international study.

What does peace studies look like at the Kroc Institute?

At the Kroc Institute, you can study, research, and build peace. 

Study Peace

We equip our students  to be leaders in peace and justice scholarship and practice through three rigorous academic programs informed by peace education and pedagogy. 

Learn more about our academic programs »

Research Peace

Kroc Institute faculty and graduate students bring diverse perspectives and rigorous methodologies to bear on peace research, drawing on resources from multiple disciplines including anthropology, business, history, political science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, theology, law, and more. 

Current faculty and graduate students are engaged in research on multiple themes including, but not limited to:

Peace studies research is not only broadly applicable in academic settings, but influences policymakers and ongoing efforts to transform conflict, mitigate violence, and promote human flourishing. 

Learn more about research initiatives at the Kroc Institute »

Build Peace

Kroc Institute faculty, students, and alumni are also peacebuilding practitioners, using peace studies scholarship to inform work for justice in a wide variety of settings. Peace studies scholar-practitioners work in areas such as: 

  • Community-based restorative justice
  • Refugee resettlement services
  • Prison system reform
  • Social work and crisis response
  • Immigration or human rights law
  • Local economic development
  • Teaching 
  • Labor protections
  • Political representation
  • Mediation
  • Victim support and reparations
  • Environmental justice and climate change advocacy
  • Public health policy
  • Anti-crime and corruption initiatives
  • Nuclear non-proliferation campaigns

The Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways Wheel also gives a broad overview of some of the many career paths that Kroc Institute faculty, students, and alumni have taken. 

You can also read profiles of some of the Kroc Institute’s 1,900+ alumni in over 100 and their work to bridge scholarship and practice.