Peace and Conflict Studies

Choose a degree that can change the world.

Find peaceful solutions to conflicts large and small and develop a toolkit for creating positive social change.

Understand the factors that drive conflict and violence. Think critically about how peace can be built in complex situations to move towards a healthy society where communities and individuals flourish. Explore the theory and practice of conflict resolution, human rights, and international development.

You’ll learn from renowned specialists in peace-building who bring both academic and practical expertise. Then put your classroom learning to work in a Peace and Conflict Studies internship at home or abroad — students have worked with not-for-profit organizations in more than 50 countries around the world, including Laos, Bangladesh, and Nepal.


First-year courses

September to December

  • Choose 1 from:
    •  PACS 101 - Peace is Everybody's Business
    •  PACS 201 - Roots of Conflict, Violence and Peace
    •  PACS 202 - Conflict Resolution
  • Arts First requirement 1*
  • 3 additional courses

January to April

  • Choose 1 from:
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • 3 additional courses
*The Arts First requirement consists of 2 first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

About 40% of the classes you’ll take will be Peace and Conflict Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas.

Sample upper-year courses

PACS 312 – Quest for Peace in Literature and Film
PACS 323 – Negotiation: Theories and Strategies​
PACS 316 – Violence, Non-violence, and War
PACS 331 – Trauma, Healing, and Conflict Resolution​


Elle - Peace and Conflict Studies


As a social entrepreneur working out of St. Paul’s GreenHouse incubator and Conrad Grebel University College, Elle’s experience has been a bit different than other Arts student startups.

briefcaseCo-op available through Honours Arts and Business

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve. Co-op is available if you choose Peace and Conflict Studies as your major in Honours Arts and Business.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Research & marketing assistant
  • Junior project analyst in enterprise strategic initiatives
  • Program coordinator
  • Workplace campaign coordinator
  • Communications assistant
  • Project coordinator

Sample co-op employers

  • Youth Challenge International
  • United Way Waterloo Region Communities
  • RBC Financial Group
  • Toronto District School Board
  • United Way Waterloo Region
  • Live Different

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor


Customize your Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one or more of the areas of focus in Peace and Conflict Studies.

  • Applied Conflict Resolution
  • Violence and Nonviolence
  • Religion and Culture
  • Development, Human Rights, and Social Justice

Popular areas of focus for Peace and Conflict Studies students include Human Resource Management, Religious Studies, and Social Development Studies. You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

What can you do with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies?

Waterloo Peace and Conflict Studies graduates commonly pursue careers in coordination, youth work, human resources, and more. They often work for cities, humanitarian organizations, and school boards.

Recent graduates

  • Fundraising Coordinator – Operation Groundswell
  • Pastor – Pastors in Exile
  • Corporate Disaster Preparedness Analyst – Toronto Hydro
  • Child & Youth Worker – Humber River Regional Hospital
  • Human Resource Generalist – Magna International 
  • Personal Support Worker – The Darling Home for Kids
  • Emergency Medical Service – City of Sault Ste. Marie

Create lasting friendships

Want to build even closer ties to your classmates and professors? Join the Peace and Conflict Studies Living-Learning Community.

Visit former conflict zones

Our third-year travel course gives you on-the-ground education in regions that have experienced conflict.


Learn more about Peace and Conflict Studies