Peace studies courses cover modern peace and conflict research, link theory and scholarship to policy and practice, and explore how our ethical commitments can inform responses to the major challenges we face today.
Courses cover a range of topics, from the sources of mass violence and war to the causes of poverty, inequality and discrimination, as well as the efficacy of various peacebuilding responses to these problems. Classes encourage reflection and rigorous analysis of the interdisciplinary approaches and methods used in peace studies. Some of the courses are developed by Kroc Institute faculty, and some are cross-listed from other departments and faculty on campus.
Required Courses introduce the foundational theories, concepts and practices central to peacebuilding and peace studies research. These courses are taught by different members of the Kroc Institute core faculty each semester.
IIPS 20101 Introduction to Peace Studies
Civil war, terrorism, genocide and state repression continue to occur across the globe, while millions barely have the means to survive in the face of overwhelming poverty. Nevertheless, the past two decades have also witnessed the emergence of sophisticated civil society networks and social movements to address these challenges, as well as governmental and transnational institutions committed to promoting justice and peace in the aftermath of political violence. This course is designed to introduce students to the ways scholars and activists define peace and the challenges faced in securing peace. This course surveys: (1) the major causes of direct and structural violence; (2) various definitions of "peace" and the conditions under which it occurs and is sustained; and (3) the comparative success of various strategies such as building peace movements and promoting nonviolent social change.
IIPS 33101 Perspectives on Peacebuilding
This junior seminar focuses on strategic peacebuilding, an analytical framework for investigating the causes and dynamics of conflict, conflict resolution and transformation, and post-conflict reconstruction and justice. The course seeks to: (1) deepen student knowledge of foundational concepts and questions in peace studies; (2) introduce students to a variety of methodological approaches common in peace studies research; and (3) explore the relation between ethical, empirical and practical approaches in the field. The course provides students with the tools necessary to carry out their later research in the peace studies senior seminar and encourages a deeper understanding of how their own research interests connect to peace studies.
IIPS 43101 Peace Studies Senior Seminar
The peace studies senior seminar is the capstone course for both the supplementary major and the minor in peace studies. This advanced, writing-intensive seminar consists of readings and discussions that explore a familiar peace studies theme in greater depth. The centerpiece of the course is a seminar paper that students research and write on a subject of their choosing, selected in light of the course theme and drawing on research methods from both peace studies and primary majors. This required course is open to peace studies majors and minors only.
Peace studies electives are listed as either core courses or support courses, and range from lecture classes to intensive seminars. Core Courses are grounded in peace studies research and address the core questions and issues of peace studies in more depth. They cover topics central to understanding peace and violence, such as: structural and institutional change and development; social, psychological and institutional causes of violence and peace; types of justice and healing; the causes, prevention and transformation of conflict; or, the history and practice of nonviolence, among other topics.
Support Courses provide some theoretical, substantive or practical knowledge that advances understanding of particular topics that intersect with approaches to peace and conflict. They add a layer of related skills and concepts that enhance peace studies learning and help build a comprehensive understanding of peace studies issues.
The full list of peace studies courses and descriptions for each semester can be viewed online in Class Search under subject “Institute for International Peace Studies” (IIPS). The list can be filtered to show only core or support electives by using the “Attribute” drop-down menu and selecting PSCR - Peace Studies Core or PSSP - Peace Studies Support.
To meet with the director of undergraduate studies, email:
Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies
To learn more about the program or declare a major or minor in peace studies, email:
Anna Van Overberghe
Assistant Director for Academic Administration and Undergraduate Studies