Department Website:


  • Zia Haque, Director of Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies  - ext. 3465
  • Stacia Fleegal, Lecturer, Baker Institute Program Coordinator - ext. 3464

Background Information:

The Peace and Conflict Studies Program is directed and supported by The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. The Program is an interdisciplinary inquiry into the human problems of war and deeply rooted conflict, and peace as a human potential. Courses in the PACS program systematically explore how and why humans resort to violence to resolve conflicts, and examines how peace and cooperation might be institutionalized through peacebuilding, conflict transformation and the study of human behavior and social institutions.

Special programs, facilities, or equipment:

  • The Oller Center for Peace and International Programs provides seminar and meeting rooms for PACS students and houses special library and multimedia collections related to war, peace and conflict resolution.
  • Support is available for PACS students to attend special conferences and training workshops related to peace and conflict studies.
  • The program supports a rich array of visiting speakers and practitioners. Past speakers have included ambassadors, heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize winners, admirals, generals, activists, revolutionaries, and victims of war. Arrangements are made for PACS students to have personal discussions with visitors to the program.
  • Select PACS students have an opportunity to serve with faculty, staff and trustees on the Baker Institute Advisory Board, where they have an equal voice in planning program activities.
  • Students have opportunities to work directly as mediators and/or trainers in community conflict situations.

Programs of Emphasis:

  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Communication and Conflict Resolution

Examples of Individualized Programs of Emphasis:

  • World Politics and Conflict Studies
  • Peace and Environmental Studies
  • Social Conflict Studies
  • Political Peace Making
  • International Conflict Resolution

Secondary Emphasis:

  • Requirements: PACS 105, PACS 110, plus at least 12 credits selected from PACS courses.
  • Women and Gender Studies

Internship/Research Experiences:

  • Special internships are available for PACS students, both in USA and abroad. Some organizations with which PACS students have interned include: The United Nations NGO Committee on Disarmament; The Committee on East West Accord; Bread for the World; The Washington Center for Research on Women and The American Friends Service Committee..
  • Funds are available to support student-initiated research, especially in relation to the Senior Thesis. Previously, students have done research in New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, India, Ireland,  several countries in Central and South America, Bosnia, Sri Lanka and Rwanda


PACS-105   Introduction to Conflict Resolution (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,WK-SI) 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. Pre- or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

PACS-108   Mediation (Either Semester; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,SW-ER) This course is an introduction to the theory and skills that constitute the practice of interest-based mediation. Students will learn the fundamentals of mediation, become familiar with their own conflict resolution styles, and consider some cultural and ethical issues relevant to the practice of mediation. Weekly readings will provide a theoretical framework, but this course's emphasis will be on skill development. Through small-group role-play and simulation, students will work toward proficiency in the mediation process and provide constructive peer evaluations in a collaborative, spirited atmosphere. Pre- or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

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 and Social Justice (Either Semester; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S,H,CW,SW-US) 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: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109. (Formerly titled Nonviolence: Theory and Practice)

PACS-310   Digital Peacebuilding (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits) This course will examine how tech entrepreneurs, programmers, peacebuilders, NGOs, and civil society groups leverage smartphones, Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), crowd-mapping platforms, SMS-based mass texting tools, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for coordinating natural disaster and humanitarian crisis responses, countering election violence, and raising public awareness against corruption and gender-based violence across the world.

PACS-391   Scholar in Residence Special Topic (Variable; Variable; 3.00 Credits; WK-SI) This course will be offered by the PACS Scholar-in-Residence and section topics will vary depending upon the expertise of the visiting scholar. Topics will help students explore theories and frameworks for understanding negotiation within the field of peace and conflict studies as well as links to related fields such as psychology, communications, anthropology, international relations, and political science. Students will then apply their skills by conducting negotiations through simulation, role play, and practical exercises.

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 the Capstone 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 thatexamines 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-499   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-TUT   PACS Teaching Assistant (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits; S) See catalog