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Peace and Conflict Studies

Peace and Conflict Studies is an interdisciplinary area of study that emerged in the post-World War II era that seeks to promote a greater understanding of causes of war and ways of resolving conflicts without resorting to violence.

The goals of the minor are to expose students to the nature of contemporary conflicts, increase awareness about the practices and philosophies that guide peacemaking, and to help students develop a critical understanding of policies and values about conflict, war and peace. The minor can be combined with any major.

Requirements for the Peace and Conflict Studies Minor:

Students will complete three courses in the political science department that include specific treatment of the issue of peace and conflict, and then will take three additional courses offered in a range of departments (including political science and abroad programs) that will offer more treatment of specific aspects of peace and conflict, both philosophical and practical. The minor is composed of six courses focusing on peace and conflict, as well as either an experiential learning component or a senior capstone project. Students minoring in the program should meet with the program advisor, Dr. Christine Wade, prior to the second semester of their sophomore year to develop a coherent course of study.


Students are required to take POL 201 Theories of Peace and Conflict and five courses from the three categories listed below:

a) Two courses on the philosophical approaches and practical applications of peace and peace processes. Courses in this category include religious approaches to our conceptions of peace and those focusing on the resolution of conflict and peacebuilding. Students are required to take either POL 373, POL 374, or POL 386 and any additional course in this category: 

  • PHL 111. Introduction to Comparative Religion: Western
  • PHL 112. Introduction to Comparative Religion: Eastern
  • PHL 225. Ethical Theory
  • PHL 235. Foundations of Morality
  • PHL 335. Philosophy of Law
  • PHL 416. Philosophy of Buddhism
  • POL 373 Human Rights and Social Justice
  • POL 374. International Law and Organization
  • POL 386. Comparative Peace Processes

b) Students are required to take one course exploring area studies of conflict-prone regions. Courses in this category include:

  • HIS 360. Twentieth Century Germany
  • HIS 371. History of South Africa
  • HIS 381. History of Modern China
  • HIS 383. History of Modern Japan
  • HIS 392. Russia and the Soviet Union
  • POL 347. Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy
  • POL 351. Politics, Religion and Ethnicity in South Asia
  • POL 356. Africa in the World
  • POL 348. Latin American Politics
  • POL 382. US-Latin American Relations
  • POL 388. US Foreign Policy in the Middle East

c) Two courses on the structural causes of violence and conflict, including inequality, poverty, racism, repression and demographic stresses. Students are required to take either POL 341, POL 342 or POL 371, and any additional course in this category:

  • ANT 320. Race and Ethnicity
  • ECN 218. Economic Development
  • PHL 226. Global Ethics
  • PHL 414. Philosophy of Marxism
  • POL 341. Politics of Development
  • POL 342. Revolutions, Violence and Terrorism
  • POL 371. International Politics
  • SOC 221. Social Inequalities
  • SOC 240. Criminology

Note: No more than two courses taken at abroad institutions apply to the minor. Any courses taken abroad for the minor must be approved by the program advisor.

Students are also required to complete either an experiential learning exercise or a Senior Capstone Experience. For the Experiential Learning option, students are required to participate in a semester-long applied learning experience in the field of conflict resolution. Such activities include the Model UN course, internship or volunteer activity. Alternatively, students pursuing the minor may complete a senior capstone experience in their respective major discipline on a topic related to peace and conflict studies. Students should seek the approval of minor advisor prior to either endeavor.

College Catalog



Christine Wade

Professor of Political Science and International Studies; Faculty Advisor for Peace and Conflict Studies