Peace and Conflict Studies Graduate Certificate


Offered by the Humanities Program, Peace & Conflict Studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to the study of human conflict. It examines the origins and nature of conflict within and among societies and the various ways in which humans address conflict. Through academic coursework and the possibility of practical experience, Peace & Conflict Studies offers students a concentrated program of study of one of the most central and urgent human issues: the causes and consequences of human conflict and the achievements and possibilities of building peaceful and equitable forms of social existence. An undergraduate minor in Peace & Conflict Studies was inaugurated in the spring semester of 2003.

The Graduate Certificate program in Peace & Conflict Studies is designed to provide students with a focused program of study in the subject area and certification of the completion of the program on the graduate transcript. Enrollment in the program will be open to students admitted to a regular KU graduate program or to non-degreeseeking graduate status. A Graduate Certificate in Peace & Conflict Studies should be of interest and value to students across a broad range of humanistic and socialscientific disciplines, especially in such fields as the international area studies programs, History, International Studies, Political Science, and Religious Studies. The certificate will enhance the credentials of students seeking careers in government service both civil and military, nongovernmental organizations, international business, law, and teaching.


Application and Admissions Procedure

Current Students

Current graduate students wishing to enroll in the Graduate Certificate program will need to apply through the Graduate School. Please visit the Graduate Admissions Site. Applicants will be taken through the process of applying online using the KUGRAD form. The application process entails: completing the KUGRAD form, paying a $30.00 application fee, and submitting material required for the Peace & Conflict Studies Certificate, identified on page 4 of the application:

  • A letter stating their interest in Peace & Conflict Studies and its relationship to their graduate course of study
  • An unofficial copy of their KU transcript
  • A letter of support from their graduate degree program

New Students

Students applying for admission to another graduate program at KU will send a letter of application stating their interest in Peace & Conflict Studies, and after receiving fonnal notification of admission to the other program, must request that a letter of confirmation be sent to PCS. They will be admitted to the Graduate Certificate Program on the condition that they are admitted into regular status by the other program.

Non-Degree Applicants

Non-degree seeking graduate students must submit an application for non-degree status to the Graduate School along with an application fee, two copies of official transcripts from all previous post-secondary educational institutions, a personal statement of the student's interest in Peace & Conflict Studies, and two letters or recommendations from persons familiar with their academic work and potential for graduate school. Minimum requirements will be a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. The GPA requirement may be waived at the discretion of the PCS Coordinator.

Application deadlines: May 1 for Fall semester; November 15 for Spring semester


Requirements: 12 Hours of Graduate Coursework Including: 

  • PCS 801, Peace & Conflict Studies: Texts and Methods (3 hours);
  • Two elective courses chosen from the list below or other courses approved by the PCS advisory committee;
  • PCS 850, Research Seminar (3 hours).

PCS 801 Peace & Conflict Studies: Texts and Methods (3 hours)

An interdisciplinary study of the historic literature on human conflict and
peacemaking and the methods used to analyze and interpret the literature. Peace
literature encompasses a range of genres that include religious teachings, philosophical essays, political proposals, treaties and conventions, fiction, poetry, and drama. Approaches to solutions to human conflict cover a spectrum including rejection of all violence, active nonviolent strategies, balance of power requiring force, social and political revolution, diplomacy and treaties, international law and organizations, and world government. Students produce a substantial graduate-level research project. Required for the Graduate Certificate, and to be taken as early as possible in the student’s program of study. Open only to graduate students.

PCS 850 Research Seminar (3 hours)

The capstone of the Graduate Certificate program, providing a substantial and indepth study of a particular topic in Peace & Conflict Studies, to be chosen by the instructor. The members of the seminar have the option of doing a research project or supervised practicum resulting in a substantial paper that integrates their work in the program. Required for the Graduate Certificate, and open only to graduate students. Prerequisite: at least six hours of coursework toward the Graduate Certificate including HWC 801.

Elective Courses

The following list consists of currently approved courses. Courses included for elective credit are reviewed by the Coordinating Committee and updated each year. The Program Coordinator annually requests information (including syllabi) about new courses that faculty are proposing for inclusion in the Peace & Conflict Studies program. The Coordinating Committee reviews and accepts or rejects the Coordinator’s proposals for including new courses.

Courses