The major consists of 11 courses and encompasses four clusters:
Cluster 1 – Core Approaches serves as a foundation for the program, introducing students to critical perspectives on the study of peace and conflict. In order to declare a peace and conflict studies major, students must have already completed either PCON 111 , PCON 218 , or PCON 225 with a grade of C or better.
Cluster 2 – students develop substantive knowledge of issues and methodologies in this interdisciplinary field.
Cluster 3 – students choose a geographic region to study in depth, in order to broaden their knowledge of specific regional conflicts.
Cluster 4 – each student develops a thesis that integrates the knowledge gained in Cluster 1–3.
Major credit will be awarded for no more than two courses taken at another institution, and no more than one independent study course in the program.
A student pursuing a double major or a major and minor may use one course to count for both.
Cluster 1 – Core Approaches
Students are strongly encouraged to take all three core approaches courses during their first and sophomore years. They may be taken concurrently or in any order. PCON 111 and at least one of the other two courses should be taken before students take courses from Cluster 2.
Cluster 2 – Topical Areas of Specialization
To intensify their knowledge of issues and current debates in peace and conflict studies, students take four:
Such courses develop substantive knowledge of issues in this interdisciplinary field, while at the same time exposing students to a range of methodologies for studying them, frameworks developed to understand them, and critical approaches to theorizing them. Courses in this section deal with war, armed conflict, and genocide, transnational and human security issues, the lived experience of collective violence, and human rights and structural violence in broadly interdisciplinary ways. A student pursuing a double major with another department or program may use one Cluster 2 elective to count for both majors. At least two of these courses must be at or above the 300 level.
Cluster 3 – Geographic Areas of Specialization
Knowledge of specific regional conflicts, and efforts to resolve them, is essential to the study of peace and conflict. To develop this knowledge base, students are required to take three approved courses on the politics, culture, history, geography, or economics of a geographic region chosen from the following:
- Central America, the Caribbean, and South America
- North America
- West, East, Central, and Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa
- The Middle East and North Africa
- Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia
- Asia and the Pacific Rim
- Transregional Communities
Students may take Cluster 3 electives concurrently with Cluster 1 and 2. A student pursuing a double major in peace and conflict studies and an area studies department or program should discuss with the program director which courses may be used to satisfy the requirements for both majors. Other courses, including Liberal Arts Core Curriculum courses, off-campus studies courses, and 300- or 400-level language courses, may count toward the geographic areas requirement, if approved by the program director. Many courses can count for Cluster 3 for each of the regions listed. Students should consult their PCON adviser about specific courses across the curriculum and off campus which may satisfy this requirement. Approved study abroad programs will normally provide two course credits towards this part of the major. The “Transregional Communities” designation applies to a course of study on issues such as displacement, forced migration, or refugee and diaspora communities.
Cluster 4 – Thesis
To complete the thesis requirement, students must enroll in PCON 479 in the fall semester of the senior year. In order to advance to thesis, students must have completed all of the Cluster 1 requirements, taken three of the four courses required for Cluster 2, and two of the three courses required for Cluster 3. Theses developed during the research seminar may be on any topic, but students must demonstrably integrate expertise in their topical and regional areas of specialization in their final submissions.
To qualify for graduation, a minimum grade of C is required in all courses taken toward the major or minor.
Peace and Conflict Studies Program
For more information about the department, including Faculty, transfer credit, awards, etc., please visit the Peace and Conflict Studies program catalogue page.