We need only look around us to see the negative impact of human conflict on an international and national scale, as well as within our own communities. The program seeks to understand the reasons for confrontation and violence on all levels and, by understanding, to find ways to transform or prevent destructive conflicts.
The discipline of peace studies covers a wide range of fields including philosophy, religion, politics, anthropology, the sciences, and many others.
Peace studies is an engaged discipline, with many faculty members actively involved in the promotion of human well-being through projects for peace education around the world. It attracts dynamic students who are able to apply what they are learning in the classroom by taking practical action in society. Graduates of peace studies are in demand as teachers, mediators, consultants, and development workers, by organizations working at home and abroad to resolve conflict.
Peace Studies is concerned with war and peace, violence and nonviolence, conflict and conflict transformation. Peace researchers also study concepts of justice and the ways in which people organize and wage conflict to achieve what they perceive as just ends. By focusing attention on problems of conflict, particularly of a violent nature, researchers attempt to improve our methods of analyzing and dealing with these problems. Peace studies is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing subject areas from the Faculties of Science and Social Sciences as well as Humanities.
Combined Honours in Peace Studies and Another Subject (B.A.)
Peace Studies is interdisciplinary, drawing from many disciplines, and inviting creative intellectual and practical contributions from instructors and students seeking to support social justice, sustainability, and health. We recognize, and adopt the principles and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and to implement our commitment, we strongly encourage students in Peace Studies to consider the Combined Honours Program in Indigenous Studies and Peace Studies. McMaster offers a number of Peace Studies courses devoted to experiential, community-oriented, service-learning. We also emphasize individual and peer to peer learning, while placing intensive research opportunities within reach of undergraduates at all program levels. Study abroad through consultation with the Faculty of Humanities Office is encouraged. In alignment with our commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Peace Studies students are also encouraged to consider minors, such as the Minor in Sustainability, the Minor in Indigenous Studies, and the Minor in Community Engagement.
Careers for majors in Peace Studies
Peace Studies seeks to create peace practitioners who will have an informed understanding of the roots of social justice, the necessary skills to put their knowledge into practice and who can work humanely and creatively to achieve justice and peace in their homes, communities, organizations and societies at large.
Some examples include:
Graduates of Peace Studies are in demand by governmental, non-governmental and international organizations to work as mediators, educators, policy advisors, consultants, and development workers
Business: Public relations; Mediator
Law: Human rights; Immigration; Refugee resettlement; Environment
Educators at all levels
In their own words - students tell us what studying in the Peace Studies program is all about.
This year, the Peace Studies program and McMaster University celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.