Peace Studies & Political Science

Poli Sci Verdeja

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 Peace Studies and Political Science 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 peace studies and political science provides rigorous training in both peace studies and political science. 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 Contact: Jeff Harden, Andrew J. McKenna Family Associate Professor of Political Science; Director of Graduate Studies, Dept. of Political Science

Student & Alumni Testimonials

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 peace studies & political science

"The joint degree program in peace studies and political theory offers an invaluable interdisciplinary approach to my research, and working with peacebuilding practitioners and scholars from a variety of different disciplines helps to enrich my work and ensure that the theory always engages reflexively with real-world needs and developments in practice." — Garrett Fitzgerald, Ph.D. student in peace studies & political science


"As a student of International Relations, Kroc's Ph.D. in Peace Studies and Political Science provides me with the intellectual space to challenge the traditional assumptions of political conflict while grounding my research in robust theory and rigorous methods." — Angela Chesler, Ph.D. student in peace studies & political science