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Overview

The field of Peace Studies is alternatively known as Peace and Conflict Studies, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Peace and Justice Studies. It is concerned with the roots of conflict, the conditions for peace, and, ultimately, the daunting challenge of realizing peace on our little planet. To that end, if you major in Peace Studies, you'll read about and (hopefully) add to the large body of scholarship on the causes and prevention of war and how to create a more just and peaceful world.

Peace Studies is interdisciplinary (which means that most of the courses you take will be in other departments like history and international relations). The major began to develop in the 1960's and early '70's, during and shortly after the Vietnam War and at the height of the Cold War, and it encompasses a mishmash of concepts. Among other things, Peace Studies includes the analysis of peace movements, arms control and nuclear disarmament, peace activism, and conflict resolution. Courses in Peace Studies are likely to cover topics like civil disobedience, international economic development, international security in the post-Cold-War world, and conflict management at every level of society - from family violence to warfare between nations.

At many colleges and universities, Peace Studies is offered only as a minor or a certificate program.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Colonial Literature

  • Comparative Economic Systems

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Group Dynamics

  • International Relations

  • Introduction to Peace Studies

  • Mediation and Negotiation

  • Mediation Practice

  • Middle East Culture and Society

  • Philosophies of War and Peace

  • Regional International Affairs

  • Strategic Planning

  • The Literature of Peace

  • United States Foreign Policy


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

What? Peace Studies courses aren't offered at your high school. Don't sweat it. Peace Studies involves lots of writing, reading, analysis, and criticism. If you think you might want to major in Peace Studies, history and English composition courses are important, as are any other courses you can take in which you will be required to read a lot and write essays.