Peacebuilding and Development Major
Join a campus where peace and justice are a big part of conversation across disciplines. Choose to major in peacebuilding and development and you’ll dig deep into the complexities of working for social change. Program professors have lived internationally and are committed to work for justice at home and around the world.
E.M.U.’s undergraduate major is uniquely enriched by the presence of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding on campus which draws peace practitioners from around the world.
A major in peacebuilding and development consists of 52-54 SH.
The peacebuilding and development major prepares students for professional practice in the fields of peacebuilding and international and community development. It focuses on understanding and promoting constructive social change toward peace, justice, and well-being for people in situations affected by conflict, poverty, and inequality.
The major has an emphasis on the development of practical skills through experiential learning grounded in extensive in-class simulations, on campus and local practice opportunities, and a practicum in the field. The required practicum is typically completed through the Washington Community Scholars’ Center in Washington, D.C., through the grant-supported International Peacebuilding and Development Practicum (IPDP), or through a local or student-initiated internship. It provides experience and opportunities for networking and skill development. This focus on practice is paired with a rigorous interdisciplinary grounding in theories of violence, peace, and social change as well as investigation of theological, philosophical, economic, political, cultural, and ecological motivations for change.
To graduate with this major, students must be admitted to the program. This normally will occur by application during the spring semester of the sophomore year. Transfer students beyond the sophomore level will apply for admission after their first semester at E.M.U. Only students admitted to the program will be permitted to participate in program practica.
Students seeking admission to the program must complete an application and an interview with their PXD advisor, meet the GPA standards of 2.0 overall, and earn at least a C in all PXD courses. Students must achieve at least a C in all upper-level PXD courses for graduation with the major. Students who have not met the requirements of admission to the department by the beginning of their senior year will not be able to graduate with this major.
PXD majors are required to take one Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) course that may substitute for any other requirement (as approved by their PXD advisor). Exposure to the Summer Peacebuilding Institute of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding provides students with a unique opportunity to connect with professional peacebuilding and related areas of practice. Students are eligible to take SPI courses in the summer of their junior or senior year.
Graduates are prepared for graduate study or entry-level positions in non- governmental, government, non-profit, and private organizations whose missions are to address social problems and to create and sustain social change. Areas of practice could include peacebuilding and community and international development, mediation and conflict transformation/resolution, peace and justice activism, collaborative problem solving, community organizing, program evaluation, peace education, social services, research, restorative justice, law, and social and public policy analysis and advocacy.
Understanding social change
This major provides a foundation for understanding social justice and helps student implement intentional social change through peacebuilding and development. It also prepares students for graduate study and/or careers in the field of social justice and social change. Our graduates are working right now in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, international development, community development, or related fields.
You’ll become an effective practitioner of change. We’ll equip you by providing the theoretical models and frameworks necessary for understanding intentional social change by teaching specific skills, tools and techniques to help create a more peaceful and just society.
Learning on the job
Students majoring in peacebuilding participate in internships or practicums every semester. These required practicums give students on-the-job training and enforce classroom skills like mediation, conflict analysis, program evaluation, group facilitation, community assessment, and organization of campus and community events. Professors help each student develop a portfolio from these experiences so that when they graduate, students are able to demonstrate to employers that they have immediate value and experience. Students are encouraged to either complete internships in Washington D.C. through the Washington Community Scholars’ Center, apply for the International Peacebuilding and Development Practicum (IPDP) program grant, pursue placements that previous students have completed in Harrisonburg, Virginia, or discover an agency that is uniquely suited to his or her interests.
Careers in peacebuilding and development include international and community development, mediation and conflict transformation/resolution, peace and justice advocacy, community and collaborative peacebuilding, program evaluation, city and regional planning, peace education, social services, research, law and social and public policy advocacy.
Resources on campus
Faculty in a variety of programs have worked and served internationally promoting development and environmental sustainability. Examples are:
Nursing program’s Ann Hershberger
Bible and religion’s Peter Dula
Business and economics’ Jim Leaman and Chris Gingrich
Environmental studies’ Doug Graber Neufeld.
Our graduate program in peacebuilding is also an asset to any undergrad in this field; dozens of grad-level international scholars flock to E.M.U. each year to study at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Lisa Schirch, E.M.U. research professor and peace studies expert, is the program director of 3P Human Security (formerly 3D Security), which promotes conflict prevention and peacebuilding in U.S. security policymaking.