Students pursuing this degree will choose from concentrations in Applied Conflict Transformation (ACT), or Peace, Conflict, & Development (PCD). Students in the MAPCS program will examine the causes and consequences of violence, develop methods for preventing, resolving, and transforming conflicts; and analyze the values and institutions of peace. They will study relevant academic and policy literature, develop an advanced understanding of the field and the applied skills necessary to become effective practitioners.
The Master of Arts degree in Peace and Conflict Studies is designed for students interested in gaining the knowledge and practical skills necessary to become a professional peace practitioner, one who is equipped to promote peaceful change and social justice whether in the local community, across the country or at the international level.
Students have the opportunity to learn at the School of Peace and Conflict Studies, Kent State’s ‘living memorial’ to the four students killed on May 4, 1970, and one of the oldest and most well-known institutions for the study of peace and conflict. Students work with faculty who are leading experts in their field and with students from all over the world — all of whom are dedicated to building peaceful local communities, societies and states in a time of increasing incivility, rancor and conflict.
In the program, students examine the causes and consequences of violence; develop methods for preventing, resolving and transforming conflicts; and critically analyze the values and institutions of peace. Students study relevant academic and policy literature and develop an advanced understanding of the field. Above all, however, they embark on a multidisciplinary program with a strong focus on experiential learning, the development of advanced skills relevant to the field (e.g., mediation, conflict analysis, project management), training in leadership and career planning for future employment, whether as a peace practitioner or researcher.
Through the school's partnership with the Center for Conflict Management at the University of Rwanda, students have the opportunity to undertake a study abroad course in Africa to examine both how the country has responded to the challenges of post-genocide reconstruction, and how it is addressing contemporary environmental challenges.
The Peace and Conflict Studies comprises two concentrations:
- The Applied Conflict Transformation concentration focuses on the domestic dynamics of peace, including human relations, organizational conflict and conflict resolution, group and community conflict transformation. Students specialize in a wide range of electives (e.g., peace psychology, public sector conflict transformation, peace education). This concentration provides students with knowledge and applied skills necessary to pursue a career in fields such as mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution; in the service and social and community service sector; or in roles in businesses, non-profits and government entities that requires skills of mediation and conflict resolution (e.g., human resources).
- The Peace, Conflict and Development concentration explores the intersection between peace, conflict and development in fragile or insecure states and societies around the world. Students examine policy and practice in the fields of international conflict prevention, international peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, sustainable development and good governance. Students specialize in a wide range of electives, including on issues such as environmental change and conflict, reconciliation after conflict and the global governance of military technologies. This concentration is designed to appeal to those students wishing to obtain work in fields and organizations dealing with the local and international dimensions of peace, conflict and development in the global south, including governments, international organizations, international development and humanitarian-relief non-governmental organizations (NGO).
- Bachelor's degree in peace studies or related discipline from an accredited college or university
- Minimum 2.750 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale1
- Official transcript(s)
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- Goal statement highlighting relevant professional experience and academic background
- Writing sample
- Two letters of recommendation from professional or academic evaluators
- English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
- Minimum 550 TOEFL PBT score
- Minimum 79 TOEFL IBT score
- Minimum 77 MELAB score
- Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
- Minimum 58 PTE score
- Minimum 110 Duolingo English score
Admission to the program is competitive and selective. Applicants will be reviewed holistically, by the school’s graduate coordinator, who may conduct interviews with select candidates to ensure qualifications and fit with the program. The coordinator will render admission decisions after consultations with the faculty and school director.
Applicants who do not meet the GPA criteria but have extensive experience in the peace-building field are encouraged to apply. They may be conditionally admitted if all other admission requirements are met. After earning a 3.000 GPA in their first semester, they will be considered fully admitted.
- Fall Semester
- Application deadline: April 15 (international student) and July 1 (domestic student)
Applications received after these deadlines will be considered on a space-available basis.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of this program will be able to:
- Analyze and apply key theories, concepts and policies relevant to the field of peace and conflict studies, in general and in their specific concentrations.
- Synthesize the interplay of conflict sources at different levels of analyses (from interpersonal to structural) with the dynamics relevant to all conflict situations.
- Analyze and apply appropriate intervention practices for successful conflict resolution or transformation at relevant levels of conflict.
- Describe and evaluate the key role that leadership plays in conflict intervention and crisis management.
- Integrate and apply learning from across the program to real-world situations.
- Apply knowledge about the field to develop personally tailored career plans.
Course List Code Title Credit Hours Major Requirements PACS 60000 FOUNDATIONS OF CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT 3 PACS 60001 ADVANCED NEGOTIATION 3 PACS 60009 LEADERSHIP FOR PEACEFUL CHANGE 3 POL 60010 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 3 Major Elective, choose from the following: 3-6PACS 50089 INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE: PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIESPACS 50090 STUDY AWAY: PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIESPACS 59091 VARIABLE CONTENT SEMINAR IN PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIESPACS 60020 IDENTITY DRIVEN CONFLICTSPACS 60021 POWER, CONFLICT AND THE POLITICS OF GENDERPACS 60022 SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND NONVIOLENT CONFLICTSPACS 60023 PEACE PSYCHOLOGYPACS 60024 VISUAL METHODS FOR PEACE AND CHANGE Culminating Requirement Choose from the following: 3-6PACS 60099 INTERVENTION DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION IN PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIESPACS 60192 INTERNSHIP IN PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIESPACS 60199 THESIS I Concentrations Choose from the following: 15 Minimum Total Credit Hours: 36 Course List Code Title Credit Hours Concentration Requirements PACS 60002 ADVANCED MEDIATION 1 3 PACS 60003 COMMUNITY-BASED CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION 3 PACS 60004 ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICT AND COOPERATION 3 Concentration Electives, choose from the following: 6AFS 53100 RACE, CLASS AND FEMINIST THOUGHTAFS 57100 RACE, GENDER AND SOCIAL JUSTICEAFS 57122 SEMINAR IN ACTIVISM AND SOCIAL CHANGECRIM 57003 RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND VICTIM ASSISTANCEPACS 60040 FACILITATION AND TRAINING: DESIGN AND PRACTICEPACS 60041 PEACE EDUCATIONPACS 60042 PUBLIC SECTOR CONFLICT TRANSFORMATIONPOL 60106 URBAN POLICY AND POLITICS Minimum Total Credit Hours: 15
Students who matriculate into the program without requisite mediation experience will take PACS 58080.
Course List Code Title Credit Hours Concentration Requirements PACS 60005 PEACE, CONFLICT AND DEVELOPMENT: LOCAL-GLOBAL DYNAMICS 3 PACS 60006 POST-CONFLICT PEACEBUILDING 3 PACS 60007 PRAXIS IN CONFLICT-SENSITIVE DEVELOPMENT 3 Concentration Electives, choose from the following: 6GEOG 51077 WATER AND SOCIETYGEOG 54010 GEOGRAPHIES OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTPACS 60070 CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION AND RECONCILIATIONPACS 60071 SOCIETY TECHNOLOGY AND SECURITYPACS 60072 ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND CONFLICTPOL 60502 GLOBAL GOVERNANCEPOL 60510 POLITICS OF DEVELOPMENTPOL 60511 INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY Minimum Total Credit Hours: 15
- In person
- Kent Campus
The MAPCS has both a required integrative experience and a culminating experience. The integrative experience is encapsulated by the final praxis course, Leadership for Peaceful Change, which brings all the students together to share and profit from their individual experiences in internships, thesis research or the project course, to glean additional meanings from the same.
Here students integrate theory and praxis, place themselves within the best practice debates in the field, and develop an advanced understanding of both the ethics of reflective practice and the strategies of networking and coalition building. The course culminates with two key elements. The first is a crisis simulation exercise where students integrate the knowledge and skills they have learned across the program and apply to them a concrete policy problem. Second, students will be expected to develop a career plan for entering and progressing in the profession. We plan to offer this course as a stand-alone online professional development course that can also be targeted at those already working in the field interested in additional training to inform their practice and advance their careers.
In addition, students will choose from one of three culminating experiences available.
- Thesis for 6 credit hours
- Intervention Design & Implementation or Internship for 6 credit hours
- An Internship for 3 credit hours with an extra elective for 3 credit hours
The internship and project course options are designed for those students who seek a more hands on and practical set of experiences with which to develop and integrate their classroom learning. The thesis is recommended for those students seeking to work either in the policy field or continuing to doctoral level work.
Access graduate-level peace and conflict studies course descriptions.
Graduate Appointments and Funding
SPCS offers a limited number of graduate appointments for qualified MA students. This funding is competitive and only granted to students with exemplary academic records. Support is generally available for two years and is reserved for full-time students. Appointments include a nine-month stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidized health insurance plan. Funded students serve as either Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants throughout the academic year. Renewal of stipends is not automatic but is contingent upon good progress towards degree completion and satisfactory performance of duties. Students with graduate appointments should not be employed outside of SPCS.
Recommendations for Application Materials
Materials to be included with your application are listed in the Admissions section. Below is more detailed information about what those materials should include:
- Goal Statement: Please submit a 2-3-page summary of your academic interests and professional goals. We are especially interested in your connection to the field of peace and conflict studies and how your training at Kent State will enable you to meet your career goals.
- Writing Sample: Your writing sample should exemplify your ability to research and write, and your potential to do so at the graduate level. We recommend that you submit one sole-authored writing sample relevant to your proposed graduate studies in peace and conflict studies. If possible, submit a sample that is directly related to the research topic described in your Statement of Purpose. If you are submitting a co-authored published work, please explain what sections of the piece were yours in your cover letter.
- Official Academic Transcripts: You must include transcripts from all schools attended for 8 semester credit hours or more. Applicants should have a 2.75 GPA or higher on a 4.0 GPA. We require evidence of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in peace studies or a cognate discipline.
- Two Letters of Recommendation: Your letters of recommendation should speak directly to your ability to produce quality academic output, consistently meet deadlines, engage in peace studies practice, and be a collegial community member. We appreciate concrete examples as well as a candid assessment of areas of growth as appropriate.
- English language proficiency (see Admissions section for proficiency requirements)