The Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program offers students a BA major curriculum that helps them reflect on the origins and causes of conflict, violence, and social injustice as well as the wide spectrum of conflict intervention, from armed conflict, through governmental and organizational peacebuilding, to local and interpersonal conflict resolution. The Program also introduces students to strategies for resolving interpersonal, communal and international conflicts peacefully, as well as tactics that promote the common good in a way that addresses the structural origins of violence. The Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program addresses the need for a critical examination of the origins and root causes of violence and conflict. The Program includes frank debate about the efficacy of nonviolent in comparison with violent approaches to social change. The inclusion of conflict theory and intervention as part of this program is a distinctive aspect of this program; the arena of conflict resolution offers many potential career options. The Program emphasizes hands-on, experiential components in the introductory course, the final seminar/internship and the workshops which emphasize skill training.
Students and faculty in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies question what constitutes a just society and world, what peace and peacebuilding can accomplish in a world full of conflict, and how attitudes toward social justice, violence, and peace reflect and reveal American and other cultures' values, beliefs, prejudices, assumptions, and perceptions.
Students are expected to gain competency in dealing with situations of conflict and injustice by mastering the theoretical and intellectual frameworks related to peacebuilding, human rights advocacy, and justice development, by learning to interpret and analyze real life situations in their complexity, by understanding how to build strategies for negotiation, consensus-building, advocacy, partnership development, and other intervention tools, and by understanding various research methodologies and the use of media and creative outlets.
Students majoring in many social science, humanities, and other interdisciplinary programs will find it beneficial to double major or minor in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies. Students can also pursue a cross-college double major, such as with Journalism or Intercultural Communication in the College of Communication. Students who pursue the major are well prepared for graduate work in the humanities or social sciences, and specifically in peace, justice, or conflict studies, as well as for professional training in law, public service, or business.