Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
When most people think about the meaning of peace, they think along the lines of the absence of war. But there is actually much more to it than that. Peace studies courses on a graduate level elaborate on that limited definition of peace to include the welfare and quality of living of humanity, as well as the resolution of conflicts between entities with strained relationships. Peace studies curriculums are integral in today’s world of growing globalization and the increasingly serious consequences of war.
Peace studies courses
Students in peace studies courses explore the theories and practices of peace and justice throughout history. They also investigate the nature of peace, freedom, justice and war. Peace studies curriculums aim to equip students with the ability to contribute to establishing conditions that promote peace and human welfare across the world.
Peace studies curriculums integrate numerous different study fields, including international affairs, government, humanities, psychology, political science, economics and theology. Philosophy, literature, women’s studies and minority studies are also some possible peace studies courses. Much of the peace studies curriculum will challenge students to pose questions regarding peace, justice, war, and international laws and relationships.
Students have their choice of a number of peace studies concentrations. Some of these concentrations that can be offered by peace studies curriculums include:
- Peace Education
- International Law and Human Rights
- International Peace Studies
- Conflict Analysis and Negotiation
- Environmental Security and Peace
No matter which peace studies concentration they choose, students will be required to take certain credits. Some of these peace studies courses may include economic, political and civil rights classes, as well as morality, diplomatic decision-making and conflict analysis. Topics such as ethics, nonviolent action and the transformation of individual and group behavior are very important to peace studies curriculums at the graduate level.
Other peace studies courses may include topics such as protection from and avoidance of violence, patterns of violence and peace-building. It is important that students explore the origins and outcomes of peaceful social movements of the past, as well as gain the ability to assess geographic and demographic data. Students enrolled in peace studies graduate curriculums may also study oppression, exploitation, and peace and justice in world politics.
Those pursuing a Masters or PhD degree in peace studies may be able to take courses in negotiation, mediation, reconciliation and disarmament. Some students will decide to take peace studies courses that focus on world religions, and how religion has played a part in times of both war and peace. The topics covered by peace studies curriculums prepare students for a variety of peace studies careers.
Careers in peace studies
Completion of a masters or PhD degree in peace studies can lead to careers specific to the industries of law, education, politics, science, and international affairs and business. Other peace studies careers can be found in the conflict management, social work and criminal justice sectors. Those who undertake peace studies careers have an overall desire to create a better world for all.
Students who have graduated from a peace studies curriculum at the graduate level can become social services specialists and command an average annual salary of $45,000. Other peace studies careers include social worker positions, which earn average annual salaries of about $50,000. Journalists with a masters or PhD degree in peace studies can earn about $50,000 annually.
Peace studies job opportunities also include careers as mediators, from which they can earn about $56,000 per year. If students are lucky enough to land a job as an international business developer, they can earn as much as $115,000!
Students can enter peace studies careers as foreign affairs officers and earn an average of $67,000 a year, while diplomats can make about $65,000 each year. Those who earn a PhD degree in peace studies can become professors and command an average salary each year of $72,000. Other PhD holders can enter careers in peace studies as senior globalization or poverty officers and earn about $90,000 per year.
Peace studies curriculums and careers give students an excellent opportunity to study and work overseas. Of course, foreign language courses will be needed if students plan to deal in countries in which their native language is not spoken. A career in peace studies enables students to become part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem, or simply bystanders.