Kent State University's School of Peace and Conflict Studies (SPCS) evolved from what was originally known as the Center for Peaceful Change. The Center for Peaceful Change was founded in 1971 as Kent State University's original "living memorial" to the students killed on May 4, 1970 when Ohio National Guardsmen killed four and injured nine Kent State University students during a student protest against the United States' war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Following the shootings, a university-wide commission was charged with recommending long-range institutional responses. The commission's consensus recommendation was that KSU should establish a living memorial in the form of a Center to research, teach and promote peaceful mechanisms of social and political change. Thus the Center for Peaceful Change (CPC) was established in 1971. It was later renamed the Center for Applied Conflict Management (CACM) in 1994, becoming part of the Department of Political Science at that time. In August 2017, CACM transformed into the School of Peace and Conflict Studies within the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Center's undergraduate degree program in peace and conflict studies was established in 1973, making it one of the oldest in the country. Today it is also one of the country's largest such programs, regularly enrolling more than 1,000 students in its courses each academic year. As the School of Peace and Conflict Studies, we continue to offer a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, and a minor as well. In our popular courses, Kent State students learn and practice applied skills in negotiation, mediation, community collaboration, workplace conflict management, environmental conflict resolution, dispute systems design, and nonviolent action.
As the video interviews with some of our alumni on this website show, these are valuable, transferable skills that are useful in a variety of careers and work settings, as well as in communities, neighborhoods, families, and in relationships.
Famous not only for the violent conflict of May 4th, Kent State is now also well-known for its academic study of peace, constructive conflict management, and the prevention of violence. Many students come to Kent State University to study with the award-winning faculty of the School of Peace and Conflict Studies. There are opportunities at all levels. Besides our undergraduate major and minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, we also offer opportunities for graduate students to study with us.
Graduate students come to Kent State from all over the world to study closely with School faculty members who teach in the Political Science graduate degree program (M.A. and Ph.D.), which has a Conflict Analysis and Management track that students may choose. In addition, graduate students have studied with School faculty through Kent State’s creative Master’s in Liberal Studies program, where students can fashion a master's level conflict management degree program to fit their particular interests in peace, conflict and the prevention of violence.