Applied Conflict Management

The School of Peace and Conflict Studies at Kent State University offers a four-year major in applied conflict management leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. The school also offers a minor in applied conflict management.

The applied conflict management program prepares students for careers or graduate study in the rapidly growing field of conflict management and dispute resolution. A major or minor in applied conflict management is also useful for students interested in a variety of careers including education, social work, counseling, human resources, personnel management, law, government or the nonprofit sector. Some students choose to double major in applied conflict management and a related discipline such as psychology, sociology, political science, justice studies or public relations.

school of peace and Conflict studies

The School of Peace and Conflict Studies established one of the earliest academic programs of its kind in the United States and has contributed to the development of the dynamic fields of conflict resolution and peace studies. Formerly the Center for Peaceful Change, the school was established in 1971 as a “living memorial” to the events of May 4, 1970, when Ohio National Guardsmen killed four and injured nine Kent State students during a student protest against the Vietnam War.

Program Requirements

All students pursuing bachelor’s degrees at Kent State University complete the Kent Core liberal education requirements.

Our degree is applied, that is, it is focused on skills-development. We teach in an interactive, participatory way so students learn particular, usable skills in conflict management.

Students majoring in applied conflict management are required to take the following eight courses:

  • Introduction to Conflict Management
  • Gender, Power and Conflict
  • International Conflict Resolution
  • Nonviolence: Theory and Practice
  • Conflict Theory
  • Internship in Conflict Management
  • Mediation: Theory and Training
  • Reconciliation vs. Revenge

Plus three of the following:

  • Cross-Cultural Conflict Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Conflict in the Workplace
  • Negotiation
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution
  • Qualitative Research in Conflict Management
  • May 4, 1970, and Its Aftermath
  • Exploring Careers in Conflict Management


Students minoring in applied conflict management are to take the following five courses:

  • Introduction to Conflict Management
  • Gender, Power and Conflict
  • Nonviolence: Theory and Practice
  • Conflict Theory
  • Mediation: Theory and Training Plus two additional courses, chosen from a list of eight School of Peace and Conflict Studies courses.


The school’s faculty produce scholarship on conflict management, including five books in the past five years, and numerous journal articles. Center director Patrick Coy is the editor of a prestigious book series, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change.

The school is also involved in service activities related to the field of applied conflict management. Recent activities include:

  • Co-sponsoring a screening of the film The Peace Patriots. Film director Robbie Leppzer led a discussion after the film;
  • Co-sponsoring lectures by former Nuremberg Prosecutor Henry T. King who provided historical and contemporary perspectives on the operation of war crimes tribunals during World War II;
  • Bringing “Arlington West on the Road” to the Kent Campus as part of the 2005 commemoration of May 4, 1970. “Arlington West” was a traveling memorial consisting of more than 1,000 small white crosses, Stars of David and crescents that represented each U.S. soldier killed in Iraq;
  • Co-sponsoring a lecture and slide show presented by a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s “Columbia Peace Presence” team regarding the extraordinary experiment in nonviolence of the peasant farmer community in San José de Apartadó in Columbia;
  • Co-sponsoring a lecture by Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Case Western Reserve University professor Michael Scharf titled “The Saddam Hussein Trial on Trial.”

Research foci of the school’s faculty include the U.S. peace movement, nonviolent action, community mediation, human rights promotion, racial and ethnic conflict, the effects of trauma on victims of violence and intervention strategies for survivors.


All applied conflict management majors complete an internship involving direct work experience with an agency involved in conflict management. Organizations in which students have completed internships include:

  • Advent Lutheran Youth Organization (Solon)
  • Akron Municipal Court Small Claims Mediation Program
  • American Arbitration Association (Cleveland)
  • American Civil Liberties Union (Cleveland)
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • Arizona Dispute Resolution Resource Center
  • Ashtabula County Joint Court Mediation Project (Ohio)
  • Barberton Citizens Hospital
  • Bellaire-Puritas Mediation Program (Cleveland)
  • Better Business Bureau (Akron)
  • Big Brothers and Sisters of Portage County
  • Boys and Girls Club of Portage County
  • Center for Conflict Resolution (Chicago)
  • City of Kent Police Dept. (Community Relations)
  • Cleveland Mediation Center
  • Coleman Professional Services (Kent)
  • Community Mediation Center of Stark County
  • Community Pregnancy Center (Barberton)
  • Conflict Resolution Center, Inc. (Westlake)
  • Dayton Mediation Center
  • Department of Health and Human Services Mediation Program (Washington, D.C.)
  • Employee Relations, Kent State University
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car (Streetsboro)
  • Family and Community Services (Portage County)
  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (Cleveland)
  • Franklin County Courts (Columbus)
  • Global Issues Resource Center, Cuyahoga Community College
  • Global Youth Connect (Rwanda)
  • The International Institute (Akron)
  • Kent Natural Foods Cooperative
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office (Cleveland)
  • Ohio Citizen Action (Akron)
  • Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (Columbus)
  • Open Door After School Enrichment Program (Shaker Heights)
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
  • Residence Services, Kent State University
  • The State Department (Washington, D.C.)
  • Summa Health Systems (Akron)
  • Texas Family Court Services
  • Townhall II (social services agency, Kent)
  • United Disability Services (Akron)

Careers Requiring Conflict Management Skills

School systems are including peer mediation training in their curricula, and increasing numbers of businesses and organizations are institutionalizing conflict management processes in their personnel policies. Professionals and policy makers skilled in conflict management deal with disputes ranging from divorce and domestic disputes to international conflicts, from labor strikes and prison riots to environmental conflicts. Below is an alphabetical sampling of careers requiring conflict management skills:


  • arbitration
  • business management
  • community activism
  • consumer advocacy
  • counseling
  • customer service
  • education
  • healthcare practice and administration
  • hospitality management
  • human resource management
  • international diplomacy
  • labor relations
  • law
  • law enforcement
  • mediation
  • nonprofit management
  • public administration
  • public relations
  • purchasing and sales
  • social work