What might four years in PACS courses look like?

Polly Walker and students

Dr. Polly Walker, Baker Institute Director and Elizabeth Evans Baker Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies, center, meets with students in her office.

First Year

  • Explore the field of Peace and Conflict Studies through these introductory courses:
    • Introduction to Conflict Resolution
    • Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
    • Mediation
    • Conflict Intervention
    • Psychology of War and Terrorism
    • Introduction to International Politics
  • Pursue language study
  • Join PAX-O and work for peace and justice issues on campus, in the community and around the world

Second Year

  • Expand your interdisciplinary understanding of the field and develop your skills as a peace builder
  • Potential courses include:
    • Nonviolence: Theory and Practice
    • Anthropology of War and Peace
    • Just War Theory
    • Bargaining and Conflict Management
    • Nuclear Threat
    • Intercultural Communication
    • Media Violence
    • Social Violence in Latin America
    • International Law and Human Rights
  •  Plan for a study abroad program, short- or long-term
  • Take a leadership role in PAX-O
  • Attend the Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference or the Nobel Peace Prize Forum through funding from The Baker Institute

Third Year

Final Year

  • Integrate theory and practice through independent research
  • Write your Honors Thesis and present it at NCUR or the Juniata Liberal Arts Symposium
  • Provide leadership for PAX-O
  • Use upper level courses to synthesize your knowledge and experiences of conflict and violence:
    • Conflict Transformation (PACS Capstone)
    • Honors Thesis
    • Gender and Conflict
    • Crimes Against Humanity
    • Art and Activism in Latin America
    • International Law and Human Rights


PACS-105   Introduction to Conflict Resolution (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) A survey of the field of conflict, this course explores the causes and consequences of social conflict. Theory and case studies are used to understand interpersonal disputes, the intricacies of groups in conflict and international issues and crisis. Emphasis is given to understanding the basic theoretical concepts of the field and developing basic conflict resolving skills.

PACS-108   Mediation (Either Semester; Yearly; 1.00-3.00 Credits; S) Students learn the basic model of interest-based mediation and the theoretical framework that guides its use. Role-plays and simulations will be used to prepare students to serve as mediators in a variety of contexts. Students will be trained to use a co-mediation model to resolve interpersonal and small group conflicts. There will be Saturday and Sunday meeting times 9 am-5 pm. There are 3 weekends. You will enroll for 1 weekend if you take 1 credit, 2 weekends if you do 2 credits and 3 if you take 3 credits. Homework assignments will be completed online.

PACS-110   Introduction to Peace & Conflict Studies (Either Semester; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; I,SW-GE) This course explores war and deep-rooted conflict as human problems and peace as a human potential. Students collaborate in small groups to explore a range of different approaches to peace around the world. Prerequisite or corequisite: FYC or CWS

PACS-199   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer topics not normally taught. Prerequisites vary by title.

PACS-205   Conflict Intervention (Either Semester; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) The course explores the roles third parties play in managing and resolving conflicts. Students become familiar with both the central components of intervention design and the nature and structure of third party roles ranging from managers as mediators to conflict intervention in community disputes, or third party intervention in international disputes. The focusing questions of the course center on issues of how and when third parties can effectively and ethically intervene in conflicts. Research, case studies, and simulations are used to explore the answers of these questions and to increase students understanding of how third parties affect the course of conflict. Prerequisites: PACS105 or PACS108.

PACS-299   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) An examination of an area of study not regularly included in departmental offerings. Prerequisites vary with topics.

PACS-305   Gender and Conflict (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,I,CW) Examines how an understanding of gender issues is critical to understanding, assessing, and effectively addressing many conflicts. The course takes an interdisciplinary look at conflicts ranging from the differing experiences of women and men in conflict to interconnections between masculinity, femininity, security and warfare. An analysis of the ways in which gender issues cause and escalate conflicts is paired with discussions of how to address, challenge, wage and/or resolve gendered conflicts. Prerequisite: Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing.

PACS-308   Nonviolence: Theory & Practice (Either Semester; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S,H,CW) A study of the theory and practice of non-violence, this course explores both the theoretical development of nonviolence and the use of nonviolence as a means for waging and resolving conflict. The course explores nonviolence theory as it applies to issues of social change, alternative defense, and personal transformation, using writings from political, sociological, feminist, religious and philosophical perspectives. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing recommended.

PACS-399   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer special topics not normally offered. Departments may offer more than one special topic. Prerequisites vary by title.

PACS-405   Conflict Transformation (Variable; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S,I,CW) This is theCapstone course for students with PACS in their POE. The course explores the possibilities for achieving justice, reconciliation, and sustainable peace in societies where protracted ethnic and political conflicts have had a devastating impact. The course examines the root causes of such conflict with a particular focus on how the practices of peace building and conflict transformation seek to mobilize people and resources to transform unjust structures and relationships. Prerequisites: PACS-105 or PACS-110 or PACS-205. Also must have senior standing or permission of the instructor.

PACS-455   PACS Honors Thesis I (Fall; Yearly; 3.00-6.00 Credits; H) Designed to serve as a course for students who emphasize PACS in their POE. The student will produce a major research paper that examines in depth a topic, theme, issue, or problem that has served as an area of special interest for the student throughout the previous two years of study. Prerequisite: Senior standing, PACS105 and PACS110 and a minimum of 4 200+ level PACS courses.

PACS-455B   PACS Honors Thesis II (Spring; Yearly; 3.00-6.00 Credits; S) Designed to serve as a capstone for students who emphasize PACS in their POE. The student will be expected to produce a major research paper that examines in depth a topic, theme, issue, or problem that has served as an area of special interest for the student throughout the previous two years of study. Prerequisite is Senior standing. PACS105 and PACS110 and a minimum of 4 200+ level PACS courses.

PACS-490   Peace & Conflict Studies Internship (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-9.00 Credits; I) An opportunity which requires students to relate theory and practice to a working environment and to reflect upon that experience. Corequisite: PACS 495. Prerequisite: Permission and Jr. or Sr. Standing.

PACS-495   PACS Intern.Res.Sem. (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-6.00 Credits; I) Requires students to reflect on the internship experience and/or pursue research related to the placement. Prerequisite: PACS110 and permission. Corequisite: PACS490.

PACS-TUT   PACS Teaching Assistant (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits; S) See catalog