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.
Grebel Convocation (2023)
Conrad Grebel University College honours graduates who have lived and studied at Grebel while completing their University of Waterloo degree programs. This special Convocation takes place prior to the University of Waterloo Convocations where official degrees are conferred. Faculty, staff, students, families, and friends are invited to celebrate this significant accomplishment together.
Student Profile: Rebaz Kursheed - Re-Learning and Re-Shaping
Before studying at the University of Waterloo, Rebaz worked in development and human rights law, gained his Ph.D. in Law, and worked with various non-profits in the Middle East. He decided to join the Master's in Peace and Conflict Studies program as a way to re-learn many of the systems he took for granted and to connect past lessons in new ways. In addition to development and human rights law, he also worked campaign design, humanitarian work, and program development. However, when working in these areas, he noticed that something was missing about whose responsible to change the system, and realized that “the somebody to do anything about [these issues around us], is everyone”.
Student Profile: Zerihun Addisu Kinate -the Education of an African Peacebuilder and Educator
Zerihun Kinate, an outgoing student in the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program, has a rich background of knowledge in law, political science and international relations, combined with experience as an economic diplomat and expert in foreign trade relations and negotiations. Before joining the MPACS program, Zerihun described himself as a change-maker determined to disrupt systems and practices for the greater good. As he nears the end of his studies, he recognizes increased nuance and sensitivity in the issues he is passionate about, along with a critical understanding that there are no easy solutions to complex problems.
Current Student Profile: Sidra Khan
Sidra Khan is an MPACS student from Pakistan with a passion for grassroots movements and community-building. Now in her 3rd semester, she is strongly driven to connect with people – a quality that ties directly into the MPACS program.
Sidra completed her undergraduate studies in social sciences, with a major in advertising and went on to work as a journalist before choosing the MPACS program. She chose the MPACS program due to its robust courses, rich discussions, diverse community, and balanced mix of professional and academic elements.