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.  The Director will post a list of courses deemed acceptable as electives on the program’s website, though students will be encouraged to seek courses beyond this list that best meet their interests.

Example Elective Courses
(Please note: below is NOT a comprehensive list -- these are examples that are meant to give a general idea of the types of courses that would count as electives; many courses not listed here count as electives; see above for more information on this)

In order to give the reader a general idea of the types of courses that would qualify as electives, below we provide potential elective courses that will fall under each focus area. 

Focus Area I: Peacebuilding.

  • CLD 302: LEADERSHIP STUDIES. From an overview of theories of leadership, leadership styles, and leader-follower relationships, the course moves to a consideration of other factors influencing contemporary leadership and management (e.g., conflict resolution, ethical decision-making, group processes). Readings, case study analyses, interviews with community and business leaders, and self-diagnostic inventories help students develop both conceptual and reality-based understandings of contemporary leadership.
  • ANT 532 ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE STATE. This course offers an anthropological examination of the state in historical, cross-cultural perspective. We will cover such topics as modern state and imperial practices and institutions, state and non-state actors, resistance, citizenship and globalization.
  • SOC 339 INTRODUCTION TO CRIME, LAW AND DEVIANCE. A sociological study of the extent and nature of crime, delinquency, and more general deviant behavior. Topics may include the relationship between crime, deviance and law; measurement of crime and deviance; sociological theories of crime and deviance; and crime/ deviance typologies.
  • SW 320 GLOBAL POVERTY: RESPONSES ACROSS CULTURES. An examination of poverty in various non-Western cultures. The course will cover the nature, scope, and distribution of poverty, definitions of poverty, common characteristics of the poor, as well as cultural traditions and folkways which contribute to the problem. Social welfare responses and humanitarian efforts which address the problem are examined.

Focus Area II: Peacemaking

  • STUDIES IN AMERICAN MILITARY HISTORY.   This course will furnish upper level UK ROTC Cadets and qualified History majors or minors with the methodological tools and materials needed to gain a more detailed understanding of American Military History and to put together a major research paper. AMS/HIS 320 will emphasize basic research skills: understanding historiographical debates within a military framework developing effective note taking outlining techniques picking a feasible research topic finding useful primary sources and drawing inferences from them examining American military campaigns and leaders in order to complete a battle analysis and short research assignments.
  • SW 511 GENOCIDE: INTERVENTION WITH SURVIVORS AND GLOBAL PREVENTION. This course will examine the psychological, cultural, and societal roots of human cruelty, mass violence, and genocide. It explores what enables individuals collectively, and individually to perpetrate mass cruelty/genocide or to stand by and watch such horrors. The course will cover key concepts, perpetrator psychology, biopsychosocial effects on and intervention with survivors.
  • PS 431G NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY. The organization and formulation of military policy; the theory and practice of deterrence; and the problems of disarmament and arms control.
  • COM 425: Communication, Negotiation, and Conflict Management in Organizations.  This course explores the role of communication in negotiation and conflict management in organizations.  The course examines conflict theories and approaches, negotiation processes, and third party intervention through the study of strategies and tactics, interaction processes, phases and stages of negotiation development and conflict framing.  The course examines strategies and tactics used in exchange of offers and counteroffers, salary negotiations, buying and selling of products, team bargaining, and multiparty negotiations.

Focus Area III: Promoting Understanding, Cooperation, and Development.

  • ANT 340 DEVELOPMENT AND CHANGE IN THE THIRD WORLD. This course introduces the student to how anthropologists approach the study and practice of economic development. It explores crossculturally how local populations have responded to development; the different topics of development anthropology, such as agriculture and rural development; and the ways anthropological knowledge is applied in addressing development problems.
  • PSY 314 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND CULTURAL PROCESSES. A selective survey of classic and contemporary theories and research in social psychology from a multicultural perspective. Topics will include social perception, the self, attitudes, aggression, prejudice, and group processes.
  • AIS 340 FUNDAMENTALISM AND REFORM IN ISLAM. This course focuses on the revival of Islam in the 20th century and the various responses of Islam to modernism and western political and intellectual domination. Particular attention will be given to the rise of militant Islam and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The original writings of major thinkers will be read and discussed.
  • JPN 451G SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN MODERN JAPAN. This course will explore selected movements within Japan that have arisen in the last one hundred and fifty years. This course will ask questions about the specific nature of these movements, the context of these movements within Japan, and within the context of other movements around the world, whether contemporary in time or theme.

Focus Area IV: Addressing Global and Regional Pressures.

  • AEC 532 AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD POLICY. This course surveys a variety of current public policies that influence the agricultural and rural economies. Students are exposed to the conflicting views of those concerned with food and agricultural policy issues in an international economy. Economic principles are used to evaluate alternatives in terms of the general welfare of society.
  • GLY 385 HYDROLOGY AND WATER RESOURCES. The occurrence, movement, and quality of fresh water in the water cycle, including environmental problems and possible solutions. Case studies are explored through readings, videos, and required field trips.
  • FOR 230 CONSERVATION BIOLOGY. The basic history and principles of conservation biology, including diversity, extinction, evolution, and fragmentation. Students will learn the applications of conservation biology to such topics as forest management and wetland management and study the ethical perspectives related to conservation biology, including environmental ethics, deep ecology, and the land ethic.
  • GLY 210 HABITABLE PLANET: EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH SYSTEM. Earth is a 4.55-billion-year-old planet undergoing continuous evolution. We will explore aspects of Earth’s evolutionary changes that have affected both climate and life through time. The chemical and physical interactions between the solid Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere are investigated, providing the basis for understanding how Earth behaves as a self-regulating system that controls the global environment. The effect of human activity on modern Global Change will also be emphasized.


Enter your linkblue username.
Enter your linkblue password.
Secure Login

This login is SSL protected