The best peace studies degrees train students to reduce violence and promote peace through conflict resolution and other techniques. A peace studies and conflict resolution major is an excellent topic of study for someone who enjoys helping others and using their analytical skills to create a resolution. Peace studies and conflict resolution transcends fields, and is often multidisciplinary in nature, drawing on business, political science, social science, behavioral science, psychology, and more. The ultimate role of a peace studies and conflict resolution major is that of mediator and negotiator. Your job is to bridge the gap between two or more parties that can’t come to an agreement and need a neutral party to help find options and choices that everyone can agree upon.
The work is complex and requires understanding human nature, legalities, the ability to solve difficult problems and the ability to draft proposals that all parties can understand and agree upon. Getting a peace and conflict studies bachelor degree gives you an opportunity to work with groups who need help, but can’t find it within themselves to resolve the issue with an opposing group. Your job is to find ways to stop fighting and aggression and pave a pathway to peace.
Ranking the Best Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Degree Programs
Because it’s a relatively new field of study, peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs are extremely varied, falling under business in some schools, political science in others, and psychology in still others. Security Degree Hub editors have helped potential peace and conflict studies students with a fairly comprehensive ranking of accredited, trusted programs. Featured schools are ranked by tuition rate, student reviews, and potential salary.
1. University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies/ Keough School of Global Affairs is recognized among the top peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs in the nation. This on-campus program from Notre Dame offers students the opportunity to apply for fellowships and grants in the area of policy research and public service. Students can opt to add this peace studies degree to another major to build a comprehensive degree.
The University of Notre Dame (ND) was established in 1842 as a private institution of higher learning. Notre Dame is affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross and serves more than 12,500 students each semester. Notre Dame’s campus covers more than 1,200 acres and is home to many famous landmarks. Notre Dame’s football team achieved global fame in the early 1900s with their team coach Knute Rockne.
Degree: Peace Studies Bachelor
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina offers a BA in Peace, War, and Defense that offers internship programs in the CIA, Naval Intelligences, and Peace Action, to name a few. Students enrolled in UNC-Chapel Hill’s peace studies, and conflict resolution degree can opt for several academic tracks – The Culture of Peace and War, The Evolution of Warfare, or International Security and Intelligence.
The University of North Carolina (UNC) was established in 1789. The school is a public ivy league university that serves more than 29,900 students. The university lays claim to the distinction of being one of the nation’s oldest public universities. Additionally, it is the flagship institution of higher education for the state of North Carolina.
Degree: Peace, War, and Defence BA
3. University of California Berkeley
The University of California Berkeley offers an on-campus peace study and conflict resolution degree program that is recognized among the finest in the country. This undergraduate program from UC Berkeley includes coursework like conflict resolution, human rights, social movements, urban history, war, culture, and society, plus the theory of mediation, to name a few. Additionally, students can opt for a field study, or independent study to round out their baccalaureate degree education.
The University of California (UC) Berkeley was founded in 1868 as a public institution of higher education under the Morrill Land Grant Act. Additionally, this space-grant school serves more than 42,600 students each year. The Berkeley campus of the University of California is the oldest of all the member schools and a founding member of the AAU 0 the Assoc. of American Universities.
Degree: Peace and Conflict Studies Bachelor
4. University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin offers a degree in peace studies and conflict resolution that is recognized among the country’s top programs. UT Austin’s on-campus degree in peace studies requires degree candidates to pick two of the four categories – Resolution of Global Conflict, Societal Conflict, Interpersonal Conflict, and Institutional Conflict. Additionally, students must complete a conflict mediation internship for a total of six credits, plus complete and submit an integration essay drawing on the principles learned.
The University of Texas – Austin (UT Austin) was founded in 1883 and is a space-grant university. The University of Texas located in Austin serves more than 51,500 students, making it one of the country’s largest higher education institutions in terms of enrollment. The University of Texas at Austin is considered among the top 50 public schools in the nation.
Degree: Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies Bachelor
5. University of Utah
The University of Utah offers an on-campus peace and conflict studies bachelor’s program that is considered among the country’s top peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. Students graduate from U of U’s peace studies program and find rewarding work in gender studies, environmental studies, Asian studies, and leadership studies, to name a few. Coursework for this undergraduate peace studies degree includes intercultural communications, the biology of aggression, ethnic minority families, and family violence, among others.
The University of Utah was founded in 1850 as the University of Deseret. The university is a space-grant school that serves more than 32,100 students. U of U’s health system operates four hospital facilities, plus 12 regional clinics. The University of Utah holds the distinction of being Utah’s oldest institution of higher learning.
Degree: Peace and Conflict Studies Bachelor
6. George Mason University
George Mason University offers a BA or BS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution that is available on-campus and online. The primary difference between these two peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs is that the BA degree requires intermediate proficiency in a foreign language. Mason also offers a minor in Sports and Conflict Resolution. Students graduate from Mason’s BA or BS peace studies degree and find rewarding work in government, security, law & advocacy, education, and peacebuilding missions.
George Mason University was founded in 1949. The school operates several campuses in Virginia and another in South Korea. Together these campuses serve a total of 38,000+ students. George Mason University was originally established as a branch campus for the University of Virginia.
Degree: BA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Format: Online and Campus
7. Villanova University
Villanova University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education offers an on-campus baccalaureate degree program in Peace and Justice Studies that requires 30-semester credits to be completed in the major’s ten classes. Coursework for Villanova University’s peace studies and conflict resolution degree program includes race, class and gender, global interdisciplinary studies, the nature of genocide, ethical issues of peace and justice, nonviolence in America, discrimination justice & law, plus a peace and justice internship and a research thesis project.
Villanova University was founded in 1842 as a private institution of higher learning. More than 10,600 students are enrolled in Villanova University for degrees on the university’s suburban campus in Villanova. The school is named for Saint Thomas of Villanova and holds the distinction of being the oldest Pennsylvania Catholic university.
Degree: Peace and Justice Bachelor
8. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s Security Studies & International Affairs Department offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Global Conflict Studies that is available only on-campus in Daytona Beach. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program from Embry Riddle requires the completion of 120-semester credits to meet the program’s requirements. Students enrolled in Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s undergraduate peace studies degree program have the opportunity to travel abroad through international and cultural internships. Graduates find rewarding careers in homeland defense, security, the US military, the CIA, or the State Department.
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University was founded in 1926 as a flying school. More than 31,000 students attend classes and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s campuses in Florida and Arizona. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University holds the distinction of being the largest university system that specializes in aerospace and aviation education.
Degree: BS in Global Conflict Studies
9. Berea College
Berea College offers a BA in Peace and Social Justice Studies that is considered among the state’s best peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. This undergraduate degree from Berea College includes coursework in peacebuilding, the voice of nonviolence, interracial and interpersonal communication, international policy, diversity & social justice, conflict & mediation, and human rights, plus a capstone course and an internship.
Berea College (Berea) is a private institution of higher learning that was founded in 1855. Berea College was founded by John Fee, an abolitionist in a one-room schoolhouse. More than 1,500 students attend classes offered by Berea College on the school’s 125+ acre campus or online. Kiplinger recognizes Berea College as the best value school. Berea College lays claim to being the first institution of higher learning located in the southern US to be racially integrated and coed.
Degree: Peace and Social Justice Studies BA
10. Syracuse University
The School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, with the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University, offers a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies as an on-campus program. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program from Syracuse University includes classes in peacekeeping, intercultural conflict, cultural communication, negotiation, war, peace, and security, to name a few. Previous internships and student sponsors include the US Army Peacekeeping Institute, the UN’s INtragency Framework for Preventive Action, the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization, and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, among others.
Syracuse University was founded in 1870 with historical roots attached to the Wesleyan Seminary in nearby Genesee but has since become nonsectarian. The university’s urban campus in Syracuse covers more than 660 acres and serves more than 22,400 students. US News recognizes Syracuse University among the 55 undergraduate national universities.
Degree: Anthropology – Peace and Conflict Studies BA
11. UMass Lowell
The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies emphasizing prevention, humanitarian missions, law, and advocacy, to name a few. This on-campus peace studies and conflict resolution degree program includes coursework in regions of peace and conflict and several seminars in peace and conflict for a total of 120-semester units.
The University of Massachusetts (UMass Lowell) was founded in 1894. The school operates dual campuses in Lowell and Haverhill, Massachusetts, which both serve more than 18,100 students. The University of Massachusetts located in Lowell offers nearly 180 academic degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The University of Massachusetts holds the distinction of being the second-largest public institution of higher education in the commonwealth.
Degree: Peace and Conflict Studies BA
12. George Washington University
George Washington University offers a baccalaureate in Peace Studies that is available on-campus. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program includes coursework in class & inequality, violence, and the family, cross-cultural psychology, and human rights, to name a few. Students enrolled in George Washington University’s undergraduate peace studies major encourage degree candidates to take advantage of the university’s study abroad programs and opportunities. Students are given the opportunity to view the peace process from the perspectives of political science, history, religion, and philosophy, among others.
George Washington University was founded as a private institution of higher learning in 1821 by an act of the US Congress. George Washington University’s campuses in the nation’s capital serve more than 26,700 students and only blocks from the White House. GWU is recognized as the finest university in the country for internships.
Degree: Peace Studies Bachelors
13. Creighton University
Creighton University offers a BA in Justice and Society that is recognized among the state’s top peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. Coursework for Creighton University’s undergraduate degree in Justice and Society includes coursework in human and cultural diversity, self and society, Catholic Social Teaching, Faith and Moral Development, and the Ethics of War and Peace, plus a culminating capstone project, among others. The major requires the completion of 40-semester credits of classes pulled from the Justice and Society curriculum.
Creighton University was founded in 1878. The university is affiliated with the Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic Church. Nearly 9,000 students are enrolled in classes at Creighton University’s urban campus in Omaha or online. In the late 1950s, Creighton College split breaking off into a preparatory school and the current university.
Degree: BA in Justice and Society
14. John Carroll University
John Carroll University offers an on-campus Bachelor’s in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights that is ranked among the state’s top peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. This peace studies degree program offers several minors this degree in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, poverty and social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice. The core curriculum includes conflict resolution, human rights, social justice, and critical inquiry, plus an internship of 3-semester credits. Internship opportunities include Catholic Peacebuilding Relief Services, UN Job List, and Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute, to name a few.
John Carroll University (JCU) was established in 1886 as St. Ignatius College. John Carroll University remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and serves more than 3,500 students. For the past decade, US News has recognized John Carroll University among the top Midwest regional institutions of higher learning.
Degree: Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Bachelor
15. University of St Thomas (MN)
The University of St Thomas offers a BA in Justice and Peace Studies that prepares students for careers as peace researchers human resource coordinators, housing advocates, drug and alcohol counselors, patient engagement coordinators, environmental advocates, immigration lawyers, or public policy advocates. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program from the University of St Thomas includes classes in injustice, violence, social inequalities, global strategy, and sustainable change in society, to name a few.
The University of St Thomas (UST) was founded in 1885 by Bishop John Ireland. The University of St Thomas’s urban campus covers more than 50 acres and serves more than 9,500 students. The University of St Thomas is named in honor of St Thomas of Aquinas, the patron saint of students who lived in the 17th century.
Degree: Justice and Peace Studies BA
16. Marquette University
The Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University offers a baccalaureate degree program in Peace Studies that prepares students with an in-depth look into the theories of peacemaking, human rights, social, economic, environmental justice, and Positive Social Change. Marquette University’s undergraduate peace studies and conflict resolution degree program requires the completion of 30-semester credits from the peace studies curriculum. Core classes include world conflict and security, theologies of nonviolence, restorative justice, empathy, crime and justice, mediation practice and theory, and communication & conflict, plus a capstone project/seminar, to name a few.
Marquette University was founded in 1881. Marquette was founded and remains affiliated with the Jesuit, Roman Catholic Church. The university’s urban campus in Milwaukee covers more than 75 urban acres and serves more than 11,600 students. Marquette offers its students tremendous resources and centers in support of the degrees offered. Marquette University is named to honor the missionary, Jacques Marquette.
Degree: Peace Studies Bachelor
17. Portland State University
Portland State University offers a Bachelor’s in Conflict Resolution that is recognized among the state’s best peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. Coursework for Portland State University’s undergraduate program in peace studies includes intercultural conflict resolution, conflict resolution and ethics, the psychology of conflict resolution, and consensus-building, to name a few. Elective classes include forgiveness and atonement, evil and hate, peer and family mediation, and storytelling and conflict resolution, among others.
Portland State University was founded as Vanport Extension Center in 1946. The school operates an urban campus in downtown Portland that serves more than 20,500 students vying for the more than 100 academic degrees offered. Portland State University is comprised of seven colleges/schools. The first online course offered by Portland State University was offered by the College of Urban and Public Affairs.
Degree: Conflict Resolution Bachelor’s
18. Butler University
Butler University offers a Bachelor’s in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) that requires degree candidates to complete 36 hours of peace studies curriculum, including a six-hour internship. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program from Butler University includes a class in community medication, introduction to peace and conflict studies, international conflict, plus a 400-level class. Students at Butler have completed internships with the Veterans for Peace, Earth Charter Indiana, and Peace Learning Center, among others. International internships are available with Go Abroad and Center for Faith & Vocation.
Butler University was founded in 1855. Butler’s 275+ acre campus is located only a few miles from downtown Indianapolis and is home to more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students vying for degrees offered by the university’s six colleges and schools. The university is named in honor of its founder, Ovid Butler, who proposed the charter to the state’s general assembly.
Degree: Bachelor’s in Peace and Conflict Studies
19. Goshen College
Goshen College offers a bachelor’s in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies with an internship program that is recognized among the best national study abroad programs. Goshen College’s peace studies and conflict resolution degree program includes classes in social change, war and peace, and restorative justice, to name a few. Students graduating from Goshen College’s peace studies degree enter the workforce as teachers, attorneys, peace workers, mediators, and social workers, among others. Washington Monthly recognizes Goshen College as the top baccalaureate school in Indiana.
Goshen College is a private institute of higher learning that was founded in 1894 by the Mennonite Church. The college’s 125+ acre campus in Goshen is home to nearly 1,000 students, of all faiths. Forbes recognizes Goshen College as among the best colleges in the nation. Students enrolled in Goshen College are required to complete an intercultural experience in the US or abroad.
Degree: Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Bachelor
20. DePaul University
DePaul University offers a BA in Peace Justice and Conflict Studies that is ranked among Illinois’ top peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. Degree candidates at DePaul University delve into the tough questions like what does a just society look like? or how social justice attitudes impact values and beliefs. This program’s curriculum includes the theory of nonviolent action, conflict negotiation, human rights, peacebuilding, and social engagement for justice, to name a few.
DePaul University was founded as St. Vincent’s College in 1898. The school’s student enrollment exceeds 22,100 students, which made DePaul University the largest Catholic institution of higher education in the country. DePaul operates two campuses in Chicago. DePaul University offers thousands of opportunities in the realm of internships. The university’s name honors the French Saint Vincent de Paul.
Degree: Peace Justice and Conflict Studies Bachelor
21. Le Moyne College
Le Moyne College offers a BA in Peace and Global Studies that prepares students for rewarding careers in law, nonprofit organizations, education, business, and the governmental sector, to name a few. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program is also available as a double major with political science, or as a minor. Coursework for le Moyne College’s undergraduate peace and global studies program includes international human rights, the politics of sacred space – Jerusalem, Diversity in the City, and the State in Asia, among others.
Le Moyne College was founded by a Jesuit missionary in 1946. The college’s 150+ acre campus in upstate New York is home to more than 3,400 students. Le Moyne College holds the distinction of being the newest of all Jesuit institutions of higher learning in the nation.
Degree: Peace and Global Studies BA
22. Chapman University
Chapman University offers a BA in Peace Studies that is founded on five interdisciplinary principles that include peace studies, research, nonviolent social change, mediation, and conflict resolution, and advanced theory. This peace studies and conflict resolution degree program from Chapman University include classes in gender roles, international law, peace & conflict in the middle east, and race and change in South Africa, to name a few.
Chapman University was founded as a private institution of higher education in 1861. Chapman University is comprised of ten colleges/schools that offer more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. The school’s campus in Orange, California, is home to more than 8,100 students. The Princeton Review lists Chapman College as its book of the best 378 colleges. The opening of Chapman University was timed to coincide with the time of Lincoln’s initial inauguration.
Degree: Peace Studies Bachelor
23. College of the Holy Cross
The College of the Holy Cross offers a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies that is recognized among the finest peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs in New England. This on-campus undergraduate degree in peace studies offers two tracks, a general track, and social justice track. Class for this program includes humanitarianism, social ethics, conflicts in the church, political violence, economics of inequality, race, and power, plus girls and violence, to name a few.
The College of the Holy Cross (CHC) was founded in 1843. The college is affiliated with the Society of Jesus and is home to more than 2,900 students. The College of the Holy Cross is New England’s oldest Catholic institution of higher learning and is considered among the oldest Catholic schools in the nation.
Degree: Peace and Conflict Studies Bachelor
24. DePauw University
DePauw University offers a Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) bachelor degree that requires the completion of eleven classes from the Peace and Conflict Studies curriculum. Classes included in DePauw’s peace studies and conflict resolution degree program include advanced conflict analysis, special topics in peace studies, privilege, power and diversity, and analysis and resolution, to name a few. DePauw University provides hands-on and experiential learning with its Restorative Justice and Conflict Commons projects on campus. The university offers an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 8 to 1.
DePauw University was founded in 1837. DePauw University was initially affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church but is now nonsectarian. The school’s small-town campus covers more than 650 acres and serves more than 2,200 students. DePauw University is the birthplace of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Degree: Peace and Conflict Studies Bachelor
25. Wellesley College
Wellesley College offers a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) that is recognized among the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s best peace studies and conflict resolution degree programs. This on-campus undergraduate degree in peace studies includes classes in conflict transformation in practice & theory, an introduction to conflict, peace, and justice, Hiroshima Nagasaki, Yasukuni, the Climate Crisis, Gender War and Peace Seeking, plus an experiential learning element. Wellesley College offers two honors programs within the PACS major – either a senior thesis or an independent reflection study.
Wellesley College was chartered in 1870 as a female seminary. The school’s college-town campus covers more than 500 acres, serves more than 2,400 students, and overlooks lake Waban. The campus sits alongside the Hunnewell Historic District. The women’s alumni network at Wellesley is often considered among the strongest of women’s networks across the globe. Wellesley College is one of the sister colleges that make up the Seven Sister Colleges in Merrimack Valley.
Degree: Peace and Justice Studies Bachelor
Can I Get a Job with a Degree in Peace Studies?
It’s understandable that you’d be asking the question of “what can I do with a degree in peace and conflict studies?” There are degrees that don’t seem to have a lot of employment options based on their names. However, in the case of peace and conflict studies, this is not the case. There are a number of peace and conflict studies job opportunities available simply due to the fact that people, whether they be two individuals in a disagreement or warring factions that want to declare a truce and can’t, will always need someone who can negotiate and mediate their conflict. Peace and conflict job opportunities are plentiful and are found in in areas of employment you might think wouldn’t be in need of negotiation skills.
Some of the conflict resolution job opportunities include:
- Family law facilitator
- Intercultural conflict mediator
- Custody mediator
- Court arbitrator
- Content moderator
- Project manager
- Public relations liaison
The list of career opportunities in peace and conflict resolution is a long one. You can combine the study of peace and conflict resolution with other professional studies in order to specialize in a particular profession. This area of study is very flexible when it comes to career options.
How Much Can I Make with a Degree in Peace Studies?
The peace and conflict studies salary depends on the type of career you ultimately choose. Working for a NGO will see you earning at the lower end of the pay scale upon graduation, but the experience you gain can translate to employment in more lucrative fields. According to the BLS, the average for a peace studies salary is $63,930. The BLS classifies peace studies under the arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators category. It projects 8% growth for the role between 2018 and 2028 which is better than the national average for overall job growth.
This area of study is poised for job growth due to the fact that industries are turning away from the legal profession and its high costs of doing business. Companies are seeking people with these skills in order to save money and time in the area of contract resolutions. An arbitrator is capable of resolving an issue in a faster time frame and can avoid litigation whereas the legal industry moves slowly and is more likely to justify litigation to resolve an issue.
Is Peace and Conflict Resolution a Good Career?
Yes, peace and conflict resolution is a very good career. Careers in peace and conflict studies are flexible, offers a high degree of job satisfaction and is always challenging. Your job is to look at the reasons for conflict, find equitable resolutions for the problems at hand, then bring the parties in question to the negotiating table. Peace and conflict resolution studies careers range from working in human resources, the justice system and even governments. The legal industry also makes use of people who have studied peace and conflict resolution due to their ability to negotiate settlements between two parties that have vastly different goals.
The range of career opportunities in peace and conflict studies means you can tailor your career to suit your interests and goals. In the event you want to work in the legal field, but don’t want to work for a law firm, you can find employment in corporations that want the skills and talents of a negotiator without the fees and slow pace of litigation. A peace and conflict resolution major is capable of keeping the best interests of the employer in mind at all times while working out a conflict resolution with the opposing party.
Ultimately, people who have skills in peace and conflict resolution are always in need. People will always have a difference of opinion and are rarely in full accordance with one another. This fact scales from two people not getting along to large corporations that are trying to do business with one another. The potential for a lifelong career in peace and conflict resolution is strong and will always provide a challenge to those who take up the work.
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