The best peace studies master’s degrees train students for roles in conflict resolution so they can pursue fulfilling careers. Mediators work in finance, healthcare, family law, public policy, and environmental protection. Corporate deals are very complicated and misunderstandings in international partnerships can cause legal disputes. Arbitrators can often smooth the path and find a middle road everyone can live with. In your role in this field, you may act as an attorney, union representative, factfinder, or facilitator.
With a thorough understanding of how people behave, those who excel in this field have strong people skills. Many professionals choose online learning to pursue their degrees while balancing a career or family duties. However, others prefer a traditional campus that gives them access to professors and other students and enables them to attend career fairs and other events related to the industry.
Ranking the Best Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies
For students who want to enhance their career with a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, Security Degree Hub editors did a thorough search for a comprehensive selection of programs from accredited, trusted colleges and universities. Programs are ranked based on their cost, potential salary, and student satisfaction.
1. Georgetown University
When it comes to getting a Master’s in peace and conflict studies, Georgetown University’s MA in Conflict Resolution provides some great opportunities. Located in Washington DC, Georgetown provides a premier location for uniting different viewpoints. This program examines the causes of conflict and empowers students to build successful conflict resolution strategies. The program is also flexible, which means that students can apply their conflict resolution skills to several sectors.
Georgetown University is a diverse community of learners in Washington DC. What makes this school unique is its firm commitment to social justice. Here, students are passionate about seeing the bigger picture. They want to make a difference in the world beyond their school. Blending theories and experiences, Georgetown provides the kind of rigorous education that devoted students want from their studies. Georgetown University is the oldest Jesuit Catholic university in the United States.
Degree: MA in Conflict Resolution
2. Tufts University
Tufts University offers an International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution degree. Similar to a Master’s of Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, this program focuses specifically on resolving conflicts between nations. Not only does it teach negotiation and other mediation skills, but it also empowers students to use and practice those skills through simulations, analysis, and even training alongside mediators in small claims courts.
Founded by the Universalist Church, Tufts University has a long history of social service. Most Tufts students are focused on some form of social good. This school has particularly strong graduate programs. The programs here are more interdisciplinary than they are at most other universities. At Tufts, faculty members recognize how various subjects and careers intermingle with one another, and they guide students to do the same in their studies. Tufts University has the distinction of being both a liberal arts university and a research university at the same time. Students who want the best of both worlds should consider this school.
Degree: Master of International Business – International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
3. Columbia University
Columbia University offers an MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. This on-campus program works much like a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. The program is flexible, meeting the needs of mid-career professionals and newly-graduate Bachelor’s degree holders alike. This Conflict Resolution program examines the differences that lead to conflict. Then, it teaches students the skills they need to overcome those conflicts in the most peaceful ways possible.
Many Peace Resolution students choose Columbia because of its diverse student body. Columbia students come from many countries, cultures, languages, and more. As a result, Columbia makes a great location to get to know different viewpoints. Various philosophies and political views become more than just words on a screen. They’re connected to real people with real values. Columbia has been a staple in education for more than 250 years, so it’s rooted in academic challenge and tradition. 84 Nobel Prize winners come from Columbia, having worked there or graduated from there. Four of them, including President Barack Obama, are Peace Prize winners.
Degree: MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
4. George Mason University
George Mason University’s MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution is offered both online and on campus. This school truly provides one of the best places to earn a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. That’s because GMU is one of the only universities with a school specifically for peace and conflict resolution. With this MS degree, students can choose from six concentration options. This degree focuses on resolving conflicts at all levels, from small community conflicts to internation struggles.
George Mason University is a diverse and progressive school that remains committed to justice. As such, it trains students to become confident leaders in their work. As the largest public research institution in Virginia, GMU has a wealth of resources that help students go deeper into their studies. GMU prepares students to become engaged learners, confident innovators, and well-rounded people. GMU was the first university in the nation to offer an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Furthermore, GMU’s Carter School is ranked #1 in the country for conflict resolution and mediation.
Degree: MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Format: Online and Campus
5. University of San Diego
The University of San Diego’s MA in Peace and Justice program comes from the university’s own School of Peace Studies. As such, it provides a great way to earn a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. This interdisciplinary program teaches the core concepts behind conflict and peace. Then, it teaches real, actionable steps for resolving conflicts. Students who graduate from this program go on to work with the Peace Corps and many other well-established peace organizations.
USD is a Catholic university that fosters a passion for academic excellence and social justice. Helping other people is a core part of this school’s faith tradition. As a result, it’s a top choice for students who want to create a more peaceful world. Combining liberal arts knowledge with professional studies, this school helps students become well-rounded individuals while also helping them prepare for their careers. Multiple organizations give USD high rankings for sustainability.
Degree: MA in Peace and Justice
6. University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame offers a Master of Global Studies with a focus on International Peace Studies. This program accomplishes multiple goals. For one thing, it introduces students to different cultures and values. For another thing, as a master’s in conflict resolution and peace studies, it delves into the concept of violence, the causes of violence, and what people can do to stop it. This multi-disciplinary program comes with a lot of challenges, students who want to promote peace find that the program is worth it.
The University of Notre Dame is a well known and well respected Catholic University. This school may be a teaching university, but it’s no stranger to research and innovation. As a Catholic institution, Notre Dame places a lot of value on social justice, which makes it a good choice for peace-seeking students. It also comes with high academic standards, so students don’t have to make any educational sacrifices. More than 80% of Notre Dame students participate in service-learning. Those who seek peace and justice will find many like-minded friends at Notre Dame.
Degree: Master of Global Studies – International Peace Studies
7. Rutgers University
The Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies from Rutgers University is unique. This program recognizes the value of conflict and even the necessity of conflict for change. However, much like a marriage counselor might encourage spouses to “fight fair,” this program seeks nonviolent approaches to conflict that don’t inhibit human rights. Furthermore, it recognizes subtle forms of violence and human rights violations when things appear orderly on the surface. It teaches students how to recognizes this violence and work toward peaceful solutions.
As the #1 public university in New Jersey, Rutgers has a lot to offer for students. It stands out in terms of challenge, diversity, and research. This school’s research and public service opportunities have made improvements across New Jersey and beyond. Rutgers provides high academic standards and lots of job preparation opportunity. Rutgers’s Peace and Conflict Studies program comes with internship opportunities. Students may work with the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights or the International Institute for Peace.
Degree: MA in Peace and Conflict Studies
8. American University
American University offers an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Much like a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, this program emphasizes the importance of nonviolent conflict resolution, and it empowers students to find the best methods for finding common ground. The program combines classroom knowledge with hands-on work. Students often take part in real conflict resolution situations, teaming up with their professors to find solutions.
Thanks to its Washington DC location, American University makes a great place to study conflict, politics, and international relations. This school often connects students to valuable internship opportunities. In all of its programs, American University combines theory and practice, making sure that its students are uniquely prepared for life after graduation. American University students come from all 50 US states, Washington DC, and over 100 non-US countries.
Degree: MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution
9. Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University’s MA in Dispute and Conflict Resolution serves students of all backgrounds and career paths. Like other masters in peace and conflict studies, this program delves into theoretical knowledge of violence. What’s unique about this program is that it lets students examine conflict across multiple spheres, from conflicts in healthcare to conflicts between nations. The program also connects students with practical conflict resolution opportunities.
Southern Methodist University focuses on the issues that face the world today. Founded by the United Methodist Church, the university now uses nonsectarian teaching methods. This school values academic challenge, hands-on learning, and entrepreneurial thinking. Combining research with the liberal arts, SMU shows students how to recognize opportunities and make the most of those opportunities. Simmons, SMU’s graduate school, has been ranked among the top 25 private grad schools.
Degree: MA in Dispute and Conflict Resolution
10. Ohio University
Ohio University’s MA in War and Peace Studies works like a master’s in peace and conflict studies with an emphasis on international conflict. This is a one-year residential program that focuses on contemporary peacebuilding skills. The program includes deep research, enhancing communication skills, and practical applications for resolving conflict.
Ohio University offers a deep and challenging education from a beautiful campus. This school promotes deep thought and innovation. Students regularly take part in important research. Ohio students are deeply committed to their studies. Many have won academic achievement awards. The school remains affordable, with no tuition spikes over four years. 45 Pulitzer Prize winners come from Ohio University.
Degree: MA in War and Peace Studies
11. Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University’s Master of Dispute Resolution works a bit differently than some other masters in peace and conflict studies. This particular program comes from Pepperdine’s school of law. Many of the students in this program want to enhance their legal careers. That said, law students aren’t the only ones who participate in this program. The conflict resolution skills in the Dispute Resolution program also apply to many other careers. Topics cover mediation, negotiation, advocacy, and more.
Pepperdine University is a widely recognized Christian University in Malibu. This school provides a rigorous Christian education with a focus on serving others. Thanks to Pepperdine’s talented faculty members, the university has thriving programs that span across the arts, sciences, and much more. Pepperdine makes a good choice for students who value deep faith traditions and want to grow their minds as well as their spirits. Forbes has ranked Pepperdine as one of the top entrepreneurial universities.
Degree: Master of Dispute Resolution
12. UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell offers a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies program. This program comes directly from the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute. It uses a multidisciplinary approach, studying the root causes of conflict and the best methods of conflict resolution. The curriculum covers strategy, cultural awareness, group mediation, and asylum and refugee policy. This program also offers an accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s program, allowing students to earn both their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees within a fast timeframe.
UML is part of the broader University of Massachusetts system. It offers many of the benefits and resources of UMass while providing a smaller, more intimate learning environment. As a research university, UMass Lowell is no stranger to innovation. This school also encourages students as they find their purpose and explore their options. Because this school combines academic challenge with a high ROI, many students put UMass Lowell at the top of their list. According to US News and World Report, UMass Lowell is one of the top 100 public universities in the US.
Degree: MA in Peace and Conflict Studies
13. University of Maine
The University of Maine has a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. Maine’s program is an Interdisciplinary Studies degree with a focus on Peace and Reconciliation. It’s a fully online program, so it provides flexibility for those who need it. UM’s peace studies program is especially unique. In addition to required courses on peace and conflict resolutions, students can choose from other peace-promoting studies such as contemplative religious traditions, ecology, and more.
As Maine’s only public research university, The University of Maine remains dedicated to meeting the needs of contemporary students. It puts student success at the forefront of its mission while providing an affordable education. As a result, UMaine is one of the most renowned universities in the New England area. This school combines teaching and research for a full university experience. UMaine is one of the nation’s top 50 colleges, according to The Princeton Review.
Degree: MA in Peace and Reconciliation Studies
14. Creighton University
Creighton University’s Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies program is a good fit for a variety of career goals. This program doesn’t just focus on getting rid of conflict. It takes a different approach, showing students the value of conflict and how to work with conflict in a nonviolent and productive way. This program is designed with flexibility in mind, so even busy adults can earn their degrees without overhauling their lives outside of college.
As a Jesuit university, Creighton puts a lot of emphasis on challenging academics and serving other people. As a result, it makes a good choice for those who want to put their conflict resolution skills to good use. This school’s small student to faculty ratio means plenty of personalized attention, and faculty members are focused on helping students succeed. This school fosters a culture of values and mutual respect. US News and World Report has ranked Creighton as one of the best national universities for 2020.
Degree: MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
15. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies program can be completed either online or on campus. The program focuses on peace and justice, helping students find sustainable conflict solutions. The online program is transitioning to an asynchronous format. Students who graduate from this program move on to careers in mediation, diplomacy, negotiation, and education.
UNC Greensboro is a respected public research university with excellent online programs. This school fosters diversity and inclusion, and it values different points of view, which makes this school a good choice for those who want to study peace and conflict resolution. Faculty members here help students turn their raw passion and talent into focused, achievable goals. UNC is ranked #1 in North Carolina for social mobility, according to US News and World Report.
Degree: MA in Peace and Conflict Studies
16. UMass Boston
UMass Boston has a few programs for masters in conflict resolution and peace studies. There’s the full Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution, and then there are two graduate certificate programs. These programs cover a variety of conflict resolution scenarios, including everything from courtroom mediation to international conflict resolution. For the Fall 2020 semester, these coures will come in a hybrid format with a lot of remote learning.
UMass Boston is a research university with a lot of resources for students. It’s a widely recognized school that can help students move their careers forward fast. This university is full of talented faculty members who help students reach their fullest potential. The school’s urban location makes it ideal for students who want internship opportunities, and the challenging academic culture provides preparation for the future. UMass Boston was ranked as the third most diverse 4 year school in the US by 24/7 Wall Street.
Degree: MA in Conflict Resolution
17. Montclair State University
Montclair State University offers an MA in Law and Governance with a Conflict Management and Peace Studies Concentration. This program is essentially a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies, though it does focus most specifically on conflict management within the legal field. It’s a great program for legal professionals who want to enhance their mediation skills and move further in their careers. It’s especially helpful for those who want to help HR and compliance departments minimize their liability.
Montclair State University is a diverse and challenging school that has no shortage of innovation. This school stays on the cutting edge of technology and new learning opportunities. At Montclair, students learn how to turn their passions into real career success. They receive the resources and support that they’ll need to make strides in their careers and apply what they learn to the world after college. Forbes has called Montclair “New Jersey’s best public university.”
Degree: MA in Law and Governance – Conflict Management and Peace Studies Concentration
18. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University’s MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution is a master’s in conflict resolution and peace studies program that explores a variety of situations. The program recognizes the conflict can come from many sources, so it studies those sources and helps students find solutions for each one. Students combine conflict theory with practical experiences, and they learn a large array of conflict resolution options to apply to different scenarios.
As a nationally ranked private university, Nova Southeastern University is a top choice for a lot of students, not just in Florida but all across the US. This school has made great strides in research and discovery, and it also has the rigorous academics that students need to prepare for life after college. NSU places high value on excellence, diversity in learning, discovery, and putting students first. Nova Southeastern University is a military-friendly school.
Degree: MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
19. Brandeis University
Brandeis University offers an MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence. This 16-month program starts by evaluating different types of conflict and recognizing differences. Then, it teaches students how to come up with effective solutions based on the nature of the conflict and the people involved. The program also offers fieldwork experience for students. This way, students can combine their theoretical knowledge with practical applications.
Brandeis University is a respected private research institution with a big entrepreneurial spirit. At this school, students are encouraged to overcome challenges and to see possibilities at all different angles. As a medium-sized school, Brandeis combines many of the benefits of a larger school with the more intimate feel of a smaller school. Rooted in Jewish history and culture, this non-sectarian school provides opportunities for students of all backgrounds. US News and World Report ranked Brandeis #7 among the best graduate schools for social policy.
Degree: MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence
20. Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University’s MA in Conflict Management and Resolution prepares students in a range of fields. Unlike some masters in conflict resolution and peace studies program, this program takes a broad approach. It recognizes that conflict resolution has benefits in all kinds of careers. That’s why it teaches several conflict resolution strategies and helps students understand the roots of conflict.
Abilene Christian University is a faith-based school that educates the whole person. As students explore their career options, they also deepen their own spiritual paths and benefit from excellence in academics. The Christian faith permeates each area of study at Abilene. Here, students pursue a meaningful and deep education with like-minded learners. Abilene Christian University is ranked #4 for service learning in the US.
Degree: MA in Conflict Management and Resolution
21. Portland State University
Portland State University offers both an MA and an MS in Conflict Resolution. It’s important to note that this master’s in peace and conflict studies program is extremely selective. In fact, it only accepts four to six students per cohort. As part of such a small cohort, these students get personalized attention and the chance to delve deeply into their studies. The program includes lots of rigorous discussion and strategy building.
Portland State University is a diverse, affordable public research university that helps students reach further than they thought they could reach. This school doesn’t let students stay satisfied with taking the easy way out. Instead, it encourages bold moves, creative problem solving, and thinking outside the box. This school is forward-focused, challenging, and committed to helping students reach their goals. Best Value Schools ranked PSU as Oregon’s most affordable research university.
Degree: MA/MS in Conflict Resolution
22. Kent State University
Kent State University offers an MA in Political Science with an emphasis on Conflict Analysis and Management. It’s a more specific version of a master’s in Conflict Resolution and Peace studies. The program was established in 1971 as a way to honor KSU students who were killed in 1970 by the Ohio National Guard. Since then, the program has become widely respected across the country. This master’s degree is designed to help students become more employable and knowledgeable across a variety of fields.
KSU is a boundary-pushing university whose students thrive on innovation. Students at KSU come from all around the world. Since its beginnings as a teacher training school, KSU has become one of the top universities in Ohio. It fosters positive change across Ohio and beyond, and it encourages students who want to be a part of that change. KSU was the winner of the 2018 Healthy Campus award.
Degree: MA in Political Science – Conflict Analysis and Management
23. California State University, Dominguez Hills
CSU Dominguez Hills offers an MA in Negotiation with an emphasis on Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding. This master’s in peace and conflict studies program is fully online, so it provides plenty of flexibility for students who have to balance their educations with their jobs and families. The program recognizes a big need for conflict resolution experts, and it prepares students to advance in a range of careers, including education, litigation, and much more.
As part of the bigger CSU system, CSUDH has no shortage of resources or opportunities for students who want to take their careers to the next level. Located at the heart of LA, this school provides a great location for career-seeking and internship-seeking students. Students will find a lot of networking opportunities as they pursue their studies. More importantly, they’ll find a great, challenging education with a chance for career mobility. CBSDH has been ranked among the nation’s top public schools.
Degree: MA in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding
24. Eastern Mennonite University
Eastern Mennonite University’s MA in Conflict Transformation provides unique opportunities for students to grow their peace-building skills. This fully online program comes with the possibility of moving on campus in the spring. In any case, it provides lots of flexibility for those who need it most. The program has two degree options, so students can choose from the type of peace-building that appeals to them the most.
EMU is a private liberal arts school with a uniquely Mennonite tradition. This affordable school comes with lots of academic challenge, plenty of support for job seekers, deep traditions that help students become well rounded and curious people. EMU also fosters a tradition of service for other people, which makes it a good choice for those who are interested in conflict resolution. 99% of EMU students receive financial aid.
Degree: MA in Conflict Transformation
25. Duquesne University
Duquesne University offers a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. This program combines theory and practice. It also covers conflict resolution from a variety of perspectives, including philosophy, ethics, and much more. The program emphasizes nonviolent options like negotiation and compromise, and students learn the practical strategies that they can use to reinforce these options.
Duquesne University is a highly ranked Catholic school that combines research and scholarship to create a well rounded learning experience. Many of the teachers at Duquesne also do research themselves, which means that students can learn directly from professors who have hands-on knowledge of their work. Students here get to expand their curiosity and enhance their career options as they pursue their degrees. US News and World Report has awarded Duquesne University several recognitions for their graduate programs.
Degree: Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies
Why Should I Get My Master’s in Peace and Conflict Resolution?
There are lots of jobs for peace studies graduates. However, many of those who complete a master’s degree in peace studies become arbitrators, mediators, or conciliators.
Arbitrators typically are business professionals, lawyers, or retired judges. They act as neutral parties and decide disputes after hearing both sides of the issue. Arbitrators work in a panel or serve alone. Sometimes, they settle procedural issues related to the case. For some disputes, arbitration is required by law. Other times, both parties agree to arbitration to avoid a drawn-out trial.
Mediators also resolve disputes. However, mediation doesn’t result in a decision, unlike arbitration. Rather, mediators guide the disputing sides toward an acceptable agreement. Both parties are free to walk away.
Conciliators also guide opposing sides. However, they tend to meet with each group separately. Participants determine at the outset whether to agree to the conciliator’s decisions.
Professional organizations include the American Arbitration Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution.
Can I Get a Master’s in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Online?
For those wishing to complete an online master’s in peace and conflict studies, there are several options. You can choose an online master’s in conflict or choose a degree in human rights. If you already have an ambitious schedule, an online masters in peace and conflict studies makes it easier to complete your degree from the comfort of your own home. You can still interact with professors and other students online by participating in team projects and discussion forums.
After you obtain a master’s degree, you can continue your education with a Ph.D. in the same subject or begin searching for a job as an arbitrator, negotiator, conciliator, mediator or a related role that lets you put your knowledge to work. There are a number of online graduate certificates for peace studies and conflict resolution as well.
For example, you can choose the Master of Science in Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies. Regardless of whether you’re a professional who works in law, Kansas State University offers a Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate.
In these programs, you address the complex role of settling conflicts between individuals or various parties. Make a difference in people’s lives or help companies close deals stuck in negotiations. By fostering mutual respect and showing each side impartiality, you can often get negotiations back on track and earn a good living doing so.
How Much Can I Make With a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies?
Once you complete your degree, you can expect a good master’s in conflict resolution salary. As an analyst mediator or negotiator, you can command a high conflict resolution specialist salary. However, it’s not an easy job. Mediators put themselves in the middle of disputes with corporations and consumers, help opposing parties draw up agreeable contracts, and adjust public policy for a fair and equitable society. Some professionals with this degree work in government agencies, law offices, nursing homes, and corporate offices. If you have a gift for helping people see both sides of an issue, your skills will be in high demand.
The median compensation for mediators, arbitrators, and conciliators is approximately $63,930, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a conflict resolution specialist salary could be much higher, depending on your responsibility and what organization you work for. The median masters of peace and conflict studies salary indicate the wage at which exactly half the people in the field make more and half make less. The full range runs from the lowest 10% at $37,420 and the highest 10% earning around $123,730.
With a degree, your master of peace and conflict studies salary for related fields could range from $73,000 in legal services to $46,000 in healthcare or social assistance. State and local governments pay around $65,000 for a master’s in conflict resolution salary.
It’s possible to have a lucrative career that you love, help people and perfect your people skills. Whether you want to fight legal battles for consumers and the elderly or help governments and corporations get along better, this is an exciting field to pursue.
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