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Studies & Degrees in Conflict Studies

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In Conflict Studies programs, peace is usually a component as in “Peace and Conflict Studies” to become as a field of social science that identifies and analyzes behaviors of violence and non-violence, the processes of social conflicts, and provides an understanding of these processes towards a desirable condition among human beings, or of efforts that could prevent, de-escalate and solve conflicts through peaceful means. This field of social science becomes a pedagogical activity when knowledge about it is transmitted by the teacher to the students, or a research activity when a researcher creates new or fresh knowledge about the sources of any conflict which, according to Johan Galtung, a Norwegian mathematician, sociologist and founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, is formed in a triangle called Conflict Triangle of direct violence in the form of a direct attack; structural violence resulting in possible death caused by an unjust structure; and cultural violence, in which one considers extermination as a good decision against a homeless person.

Many academic disciplines have been organized in many institutions of learning based on the concept of conflicts. In the DePauwo University in Greencastle, Indiana, United States, a Conflict Studies program consolidates a number of academic disciplines that focus on conflict, and offers a study of the processes, dynamics and the ways for resolving a conflict. The required courses for the study include anthropology, economics, communication, education studies, philosophy, history, psychology, political science, sociology, women’s studies, and religious studies. The Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Colorado in the U.S. offers a cross-disciplinary study of peace development and management of conflict under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that awards students with certificates upon completion of the course that has related topics such as war avoidance, conflict resolution, human rights, non-violence, social justice, ecological security and humanitarian intervention.

The Champlain College in Vermont, U.S. offers a program for the degree Master of Science in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies. The content of the program focuses on the constructive use of conflict as a peaceful resolution of disputes, and provides students with the skills and confidence to practice mediation—an act that promotes reconciliation and settlement –in different settings and circumstances. The College hopes to have its graduates of the program create their careers as mediators, conflict arbitrators, or clinical instructors. A Master’s degree program in Peace and Conflict Management studies at the University of Haifa International School in Haifa, Israel combines an in-depth understanding of theory and applications of the concepts from a regional and international point of view. In this program, , students use Israel as a laboratory for examining issues related to geo-political and regional conflict and the pursuit of peace in the region. Focusing on the nature of conflicts and how they develop, the program also deals with the peace processes, and the ways to promote them, studies and evaluate the different approaches to the management of conflict as it investigates the ethnic, cultural, national and even religious conflicts in some deeply divided societies through the world.