College of Arts & Sciences

Peace Studies Certificate


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The purpose of the Peace Studies program is to develop students with increased interests and understanding of issues of peace and justice from individual to global levels; to provide them with basic skills in peaceful communication, nonviolent and transformative conflict resolution; and to help them develop peaceful and cooperative cultures. The Peace Studies program will empower students to understand and reduce conflict at multiple levels, and will provide them with conflict resolution skills that are increasingly valued by employers, graduate programs, and are much needed in our communities. 

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. Students in Peace Studies will be better prepared to take advantage of co-curricular opportunities at UK. Many avenues also exist for fruitful synergy between the Peace Studies program and a student’s major and minor fields.

Certificate Requirements 

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.

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.
Peace Studies Website


Dr. Jesse C. Johnson

Director of Peace Studies

Department of Political Science

College of Arts & Sciences