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Academics / Peace Studies Courses

Peace Studies Courses

Effective peacemakers must appreciate the perspectives of others, communicate in ways that reduce conflict, and grasp the historical, cultural, economic, and structural, as well as the impersonal conditions, that ease or exacerbate conflicts.  They acquire skills to help forge just, nonviolent, and transformative responses to relational, local, regional, and global problems.  Developing knowledgeable and engaged peacemakers can greatly benefit both university and society.  The courses presented by the Peace Studies program help achieve these goals, and the required electives provide extensive opportunities exist to synergize Peace Studies with existing academic programs at UK. These include not only the rich offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences, but also offerings in Agriculture, Business, Education, Law, Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work.

Completion of the Peace Studies program requires 4 courses (12 total credit hours) that must be taken in the following sequence:

  1. PCE 201: Introduction to Peace Studies.  This course provides an overview of Peace Studies and will serve as a portal to the program.  This course meets the UK Core requirements for Inquiry in the Social Sciences.
  2. Elective 1 (see below for an explanation)
  3. Elective 2 (see below for an explanation)
  4. PCE 410: Peace Studies Capstone Seminar. This course serves as a capstone learning experience for Peace Studies students.  The course will involve selected readings, discussion, and a research project addressing conflict relevant to the student’s past peace-related coursework.  This course meets the UK Core requirements for Citizenship-Global Dynamics.

Elective Requirements

The Peace Studies program will require a minimum of two electives involving a minimum of 6 credit hours.  While Peace 201 will provide students a general background on a broad array of areas for study and methods of inquiry, the electives will be geared towards allowing the students to focus on particular areas of emphasis that best meet their interests.  These particular areas of emphasis will then be brought back into the Peace Studies framework in the capstone course (PCE 410).  Peace Studies Electives are selected from existing courses in the University catalog and reflect both different departments and colleges. They are grouped into four Focus Areas, including:

  • Focus Area I: Peacebuilding.  Addresses systems and infrastructure needed to create more peaceful societies.
  • Focus Area II: Peacemaking.  Addresses leadership skills, skills for resolving and transforming conflict.
  • Focus Area III: Promoting Understanding, Cooperation, and Development.  Addresses cross cultural issues, international organizations, economic and social development.
  • Focus Area IV: Addressing Global and Regional Pressures.  Addresses problems of population, scarcity, trade, sustainability, ecosystems, climate, and immigration.

To qualify as a Peace Studies elective, at least 50% of the course must address one or more of the Focus Areas listed above.  This requirement may be determined by reviewing either the course syllabus or a recent syllabus for the same course.  Peace Studies electives require approval of the Director to count towards the Peace Studies Certificate requirement.  The “Elective Requirement: Student Approval Form,” which can be found here, lays out the procedures by which courses will be presented to and approved by the Director.