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International Peace and Conflict Resolution | SIS

Degrees in IPCR

IPCR offers a variety of degree options and concentrations at the graduate and undergraduate levels, as well as a certificate option. This expansive offering provides students with many choices for interdisciplinary exposure to the field. 

Degrees offered in IPCR:

Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution

The Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution is the core degree option within IPCR. The 39-credit program explores the following critical issues: theories on the causes of war and organized violence at the international and intra-national levels, alternative approaches to resolving and preventing conflict, approaches to peacemaking, the formation of cooperative global relationships, cross-cultural negotiation, crisis management and response, and individual and community transformation. The curriculum is unique in the field as it bridges peace studies with conflict resolution studies in an international and cross-cultural approach.

Students learn to analyze current conflict situations and develop policy proposals for their resolution. Since culture and religion play strong roles in the resolution and transformation of conflict, students also develop strong cross-cultural communication skills.  Students have the opportunity to explore peace theory through religious and spiritual traditions, nonviolent social movements, as well as sustainable economics. Students also have the opportunity to develop practical skills in conflict resolution techniques through the classroom setting, hands-on practical institutes, and internship opportunities. These skills assist in transforming conflict through policy making, mediation, negotiation, activism, and other peacebuilding activities. The multidisciplinary approach combines both micro- and macro-level analysis that links theory with practice and research with action to provide training in implementation of skills as well as critical analysis. Graduates will have the analytical and practical competencies to serve at all levels of public policy–making institutions. Students may specialize in a variety of different concentrations based on the core program.

Master of Arts Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs

The Master of Arts in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs offers an ethical response to contemporary global problems. This 39-credit, interdisciplinary program is offered jointly by International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service and the Department of Philosophy and Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program prepares students broadly in the practical application of ethical theory and policy analysis to difficult ethical choices in global affairs, and specifically to the dynamics of war, peace, and conflict resolution. Hallmarks of the curriculum include interdisciplinary inquiry; solid grounding in the foundational concepts and issues of both philosophical ethics and international affairs, practical applications of ethical and policy analysis to contemporary social problems in global affairs; and interactive teaching utilizing case studies, simulations, interactive exercises, and intensive class discussion.

The program builds directly on the intersection of the IPCR idea of “positive peace” and contemporary ethical theory. Students select one of six different tracks—specially selected sets of courses in a content area of specialization. These tracks are human rights and social justice, peace and conflict resolution, global environmental justice, ethics of development, international economic justice, and global governance and international organizations.

Read more about the EPGA Program.

Dual Degree: Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Master of Arts in Teaching (secondary education)

Secondary schools across the nation are seeking to improve students’ academic performance as well as to teach them safe, productive, and creative ways of dealing with conflict. This dual degree program prepares students to excel in that effort. It offers challenging course work, field experience, and the credentials to move to the forefront of the growing field of conflict resolution education. Students attain expertise that is valuable to education efforts in the United States and abroad. Theoretical and practical course work is brought together with intensive on-site teaching practice in Washington, D.C. area schools.

Future secondary-school teachers learn to infuse communication, negotiation, peacemaking, problem-solving, peer-mediation, and team-building skills into teaching, classroom management, and curriculum development. Courses and resources are drawn from International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service and from the School of Education in the College of Arts and Sciences. This 57-credit, three-year program comprises 15 specific courses, a 150-hour internship, 500 hours of student teaching, and optional weekend conflict resolution skill-building workshops.

Dual Degree: Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Masters of Theological Studies

This dual degree combines training in international peace and conflict resolution with theological study. Ordained and lay persons alike benefit from the study of these highly complementary disciplines. Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits for the Master of Arts degree at the School of International Service and a minimum of 42 credits for the master of theological studies degree at Wesley Theological Seminary—for a total of 72 hours—to successfully earn both degrees.

Dual Degree: Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Masters of Business Administration

This dual degree combines training in international peace and conflict resolution and business. The MA in IPCR is completed in the School of International Service and the MBA portion of the dual degree is completed in American University’s Kogod School of Business for a total of 72 credits. Students interested in issues such as corporate social responsibility, economic sources of conflict and peace, and post-conflict peacebuilding and development have pursued this dual degree option.

Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts International Affairs with concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution

This degree links a concentration in international peace and conflict resolution with AU’s Washington College of Law.

Ph.D. International Relations with concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution

American University’s School of International Service has one of the most selective international relations Ph.D. programs in the United States. Each year, SIS selects a class of eight students from approximately 150 applicants. All entering students are guaranteed three years of full funding, including tuition remission and stipend. Students may pursue a concentration in international peace and conflict resolution as part of their doctoral degree.

B.A./M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution

The B.A./M.A. program is a distinctive opportunity reserved for top BA students currently in SIS to pursue advanced studies and complete both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree consecutively. There are several benefits to the program. First, students applying to the BA/MA in any SIS field are not charged an application fee, and do not need to take the GRE or submit GRE scores. Admitted students are not required to pay a deposit, and are able to share up to 12 credits between the two programs, effectively reducing the time required in the graduate program by more than one semester. Additionally, students may be able to take MA-only courses (known as reserved credits) while still a BA student and pay for them at the undergraduate tuition rate, further reducing the amount of work required to complete the MA. Students interested in applying for the BA/MA program MUST have at least a 3.5 GPA and have completed 90 credits in SIS undergraduate coursework to receive consideration. You should apply through the BA/MA admission cycle in the summer between your junior and senior year. If you don’t meet either of these criteria, you are still welcome to apply to an SIS graduate program, but would need to go through the normal application process.

Academic Advising Practices for BA/MA Students

Bachelor of Arts International Studies with concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution

The BA option requires a concentration in international peace and conflict resolution. 73–77 credit hours with 9 credit hours in IPCR. ( The combined BA/MA option is also available to students in their third year of the BA program).

Graduate Certificate in Peacebuilding

IPCR offers a new and innovative 15 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Peacebuilding, with concentrations in Conflict Resolution, Conflict and Development and Human Rights. All courses are available through the Summer Institutes and some elective courses may be taken during the regular terms. The Certificate is designed for early and mid-career professionals as well as SIS graduate students who want to extend their knowledge and expertise in one of the areas of concentration or want to explore the growing interfaces among these fields of professional practice. The certificate can be completed over a one to four year period, and requires enrollment at one Summer Institute.

The practice of peacebuilding is evolving in challenging directions, requiring an understanding of the connection between international development, humanitarian assistance, conflict analysis and resolution, democratization, human rights, and civil society. Within this context, the Graduate Certificate in Peacebuilding is designed to provide early and mid-career practitioners with an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in peacebuilding, with a concentration in conflict resolution, conflict and development, or human rights. The certificate is designed for professionals working in nongovernmental organizations, government departments or agencies, or international organizations, who wish to extend their existing skill set or acquire tools in a related area of practice.

Through a participatory and interactive learning environment, the certificate program engages participants as active learners and as resources for each other in a community of scholar-practitioners. The faculty are professionals with experience in various forms of practice, including training, facilitation, post-conflict reconstruction and conflict intervention, and who are knowledgeable about the theoretical underpinnings of their work.

Washington Semester in Peace and Conflict Resolution (for undergraduate students)

The Washington Semester program in Peace and Conflict Resolution is for undergraduate students interested in spending a semester in DC with courses and internships related to peace and conflict resolution.

It's not just a semester program, it's an adventure! Washington, D.C., is an international hub and the place to study this new and growing field. But the Washington Semester Program takes you even one step further and sends your class on a three-week overseas field practicum to a region which has experienced the conflict and peace process firsthand such as Northern Ireland, or the Balkans. You meet the people involved in and affected by regional strife and post-conflict rebuilding, and get the rare opportunity to put a human face on conflicts you may have only heard about on the news. This program draws students from many majors, all with the common interest of making the world a better place to live.