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About PJS

The planet faces a set of interrelated challenges related to violence and war, peacemaking and peacebuilding, justice and human rights and, increasingly, environmental degradation and climate change. The Peace and Justice Studies Program (PJS) was founded to provide students with an academic means to understand these crises and to explore the means for achieving a just peace and sustainability. To this end, PJS has created an interdisciplinary course structure which examines the obstacles, conditions, and paths to addressing these challenges. It also explores the ways that governmental and nongovernmental organizations, social movements, and individuals have confronted such problems and worked to resolve them. This structure is also designed to develop students' critical and analytical skills as well as competencies in fields that contribute towards peace and social transformation.

Five overlapping areas of study are emphasized:

  • the causes of war, the techniques of war prevention, and the conditions and structures of a just peace;
  • the meaning of justice, the means to achieve justice, and the relationship between justice and peace;
  • the theory and practice of conflict resolution operating along a continuum from individual disputes to international diplomacy;
  • the relationship between violence and peace in culture, with particular emphasis on investigating the traditions of nonviolence and in understanding ethical social behavior;
  • the origins, strategies, and visions of social movements and their relationship to other means of social change agency such as community organizing, Internet activism, civic engagement, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and institutionalized processes such as elections and lobbying.

PJS nurtures an active sense of social responsibility for the human condition, and encourages students to participate actively in developing their education by combining their talents and imagination through formal study and experiential education. The program presents a broad range of educational events and co-curricular activities which promote an engaged intellectual and civic climate on campus. In this sense, PJS complements the university's mission and the liberal arts tradition by encouraging the student's awareness, responsibility, and active engagement in the affairs of the world.

PJS offers both a major and a Certificate. To fulfill requirements for the major, a student must complete eleven courses: the introductory course (PJS 1), one intermediate course in each of five core areas, an internship (PJS 99), the integrative seminar (PJS 190), and three elective courses on a particular theme to be chosen in consultation with the student's PJS adviser. Students with a qualifying academic record are also encouraged to enroll in a senior honors thesis in Peace and Justice Studies (PJS 198).

To complete the Certificate, a student must complete eight courses: the introductory course (PJS 1), an internship (PJS 99), the integrative seminar (PJS 190), one of two possible intermediate courses (PJS 120 or PJS 135), and four elective courses on a particular theme to be chosen in consultation with the student's PJS adviser. Completion of the Peace and Justice Studies Certificate will be noted on the student's transcript. Courses fulfilling the Certificate requirements may also be used, where applicable, to meet major concentration or distribution requirements.