Turbulent times like ours call for people who understand systems of violence and conflict, and who are prepared to build peace with justice. This involves identifying and transforming systems of violence, marginalization and oppression, including racist, gendered and colonial violence at home as well as around the world. Whether working locally or globally, Peace and Conflict Studies is committed to imagining, educating and ongoing learning that equips our graduates to pursue justice and peace.
PACS as a department is located on territory that is governed by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum and land promised to the Six Nations Confederacy in 1784 as part of the Haldimand Declaration. For more information, see Conrad Grebel University College's land acknowledgement and read about decolonization at the University of Waterloo's Office of Indigenous Relations.
A Vibrant, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
The Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program is a coursework-based, professional degree that empowers students with knowledge and skills to contribute to nonviolent peacebuilding. Combining rigourous interdisciplinary scholarship with experiential learning opportunities, the program provides graduates with tools to understand sources of conflict, polarization, and systems of violence, as well as to imagine and initiate transformative peacebuilding. Our distinctive focus is on civil society and community-led change.
The master's degree is typically completed in 16 months (four terms), consisting of coursework, an optional internship placement, and practical skill development courses, with options for independent research. Part-time studies are also possible.
Recognizing conflict as an inescapable part of the human experience, and a potential vehicle for positive change at local, national, and international levels, this master’s degree offers a cutting-edge approach in which dynamic, sustainable, and creative solutions to conflict can be imagined, tested, and applied. Students learn with field-experienced faculty, developing their critical, analytical, and reflective thinking skills, and preparing to plan and implement effective programming, principled advocacy, and innovative peace initiatives.
Agents of peacebuilding
Equipped with interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills of peacebuilding, MPACS graduates are ready for careers in the non-profit, public, or private sectors, as agents of peaceful change at community, institutional, and systematic levels. Common careers paths include: conflict management, community development, mediation and restorative justice, education, human rights work, research and advocacy, and social change entrepreneurs.
Prior to starting graduate studies at Grebel, Fariba Atkin had a successful career in Software Engineering, had immigrated to Canada, and had happily raised two children. “Career and family gave me a sense of achievement but not fulfillment,” she explained.
Before joining the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program at Conrad Grebel University College, Alley McDonald had worked as a butcher, baker, and peace educator – meaning that she brought a multitude of talents to her studies.
After Emily Charron completed her undergraduate degree in Global Studies, she found herself drawn to local issues. She went on to work for Compass Refugee Centre, a local non-profit organization that supports refugee claimants in the Waterloo Region. It was there that she was inspired to pursue graduate studies and soon learned of the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel University College.