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About Peace Studies

The Peace Studies program embarked upon its inaugural year in 2013.  The program was initially developed by Drs. Kerby Neill and Clayton Thyne.  While the study of conflict dates at least to Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War, the emergence of programs focusing on conflict resolution and Peace Studies is relatively recent.  Today, around 400 colleges and universities offer Peace related programs, and institutions like the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) provide cutting-edge work in theory and data collection.  Recognizing the growth and importance of Peace Studies to students, Kerby and Clayton designed this program to prepare students to enter a world challenged at every level by growing populations, shrinking resources, and the impacts of changing climate.

Why Choose Peace Studies?

Peace Studies benefits students by enhancing their understanding of personal, social, political, cultural and economic issues that reduce or promote prospects for peace. They should gain skills in the analysis of social problems and be introduced to an array of skills in communication, advocacy, conflict resolution, and collaboration that empowers them to become focused actors in promoting a more harmonious and sustainable world. A Peace Program must be able to answer the student’s question, “What can I do to foster peace?” as an active citizen or leader or in my chosen vocation.

A Peace Studies certificate offers a valuable credential and an appealing focus for students in many disciplines.  While UK offers a plethora of courses relevant to Peace Studies, this is the single program that brings these elements into a coherent peacemaking focus.  Because Peace Studies is inherently interdisciplinary, it can create an important context that may be missed when courses are completed within the framework of a single discipline. 

Listen to peace studies students tell their compelling stories about why they decided to study peace at UK:

What are the Costs?

Except under very rare circumstances (when students choose majors and/or minors with little leeway room for electives), the Peace Studies program costs students absolutely nothing in terms of money or time to degree.  The two Peace Studies courses required by the program (PCE 210 and PCE 410) serve as electives and satisfy the Inquiry in the Social Sciences and Citizenship-Global Dynamics UKCore requirements, respectively.  Meanwhile, the 6 credit hour elective requirements in most cases also serve as requirements for the student’s major and/or minor area of study.

Rules and Guidelines

This webpage is meant to provide a general overview of the Peace Studies program.  Click here for full documentation of rules and procedures as approved by the Faculty Senate on 05/08/13.  The Director, Dr. Jesse C. Johnson, can be contacted with any remaining questions or concerns at: