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, and get some first-hand experience through co-op placements.

You’ll learn from renowned specialists in peace-building who bring both academic and practical expertise. Build even closer ties to your classmates and professors? Join the Peace and Conflict Studies Living-Learning Community. 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 Peru, Guatemala, Laos, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Elle, a Peace and Conflict Studies student

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.

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable through the co-op and regular systems of study

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Peace and Conflict Studies as your major at the end of first year.

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First-year courses

September to December

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

January to April

  • Choose one from:
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • Three additional courses

*The Arts First requirement consists of two 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


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

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.

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

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 program's areas of focus.

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

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

What can you do with a degree in 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

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

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