Graduate Student Handbook

This Handbook is a resource for MPACS students, faculty, and staff. It introduces the people, partnerships, policies, and procedures that guide and support students in this program at Waterloo and Grebel MPACS Handbook (PDF)

MPACS Program Overview

Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College! We are glad you are here.

Throughout your studies, you will be part of a cohort within a community united by a commitment to pursuing justice and peace, undergirded by values of local and global engagement, compassionate service, responsible citizenship, and scholarly excellence.  These values inspire us to create a setting within which each person is part of the community and a resource for others.  We expect that you will learn in the classroom as well as in the hallways, from fellow students as well as from professors and members of our administrative team.  We look forward to getting to know you better and hearing your stories.

Faculty and staff are here to guide and assist you as you refine your interests, ask new questions, engage with new challenges, explore new opportunities, and develop your strengths.  We take our roles as teachers and mentors seriously, and do our best to create a caring and collaborative environment that supports academic success, personal reflection, and professional growth.  You are our future colleagues in the pursuit of social justice, conflict transformation and peace. 

Conrad Grebel is an affiliated college of a research university recognized internationally for integrating innovative academic curriculum with experiential learning and practical applications.  In MPACS we see ourselves as continuing this tradition with our unique blend of interdisciplinary scholarship, research, experiential learning, and reflection. Our academic partners provide course options for MPACS students at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, in the Political Science Department, and in the School of Environment, Enterprise Development. We also see ourselves benefiting from being located in a college rooted in the Anabaptist/Mennonite heritage and informed by Grebel’s mission to “seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.”   There are also elective course options for MPACS students within Grebel’s Master of Theological Studies program.  

Our building and the University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldminad Tract and the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples.  It is territory governed by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum and is land promised to the Six Nations Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) to sustain them in perpetuity.  At Grebel we recognize that we have benefited from living and working on this colonized land.  Our work at reconciliation with Indigenous peoples includes decolonizing our education, historical narratives, our minds, and our hearts. This is an ongoing process, and we have a long way to go.  We do this in humility and gratitude to our Indigenous neighbours, past and present. We invite you to join us in this work during your MPACS studies.

This Handbook is designed to help you navigate the MPACS program and to take advantage of the many opportunities open to you as a graduate student at Grebel and the University of Waterloo.  The Handbook includes a roadmap through your MPACS journey, an inventory of resources and services, helpful information relating to student finances, MPACS policies, and material related to career development.  We are mindful that graduate studies can be stressful and encourage you to develop a plan for self-care and wellness during your studies.  While we look to support a healthy MPACS community here at Grebel there are many more resources and professional supports helpfully offered through Campus Wellness.  

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the contents of this Handbook, and let us know if you have any suggestions for updating and improving it.  

We wish you much success as you begin the academic year and look forward to being part of your learning journey. 

Reina Neufeldt, PhD

Program Overview

Program Mission

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 MPACS program is an interdisciplinary program that integrates scholarship with opportunities for practical experience. Each year, the program welcomes a cohort of approximately 16 full-time students, and 2-3 part-time students. MPACS students take a combination of core PACS courses, PACS electives, and PACS cross-listed electives, offered with the cooperation of other programs and departments at Waterloo.  In order to graduate, students must complete 5.0 units: 2.5 units (5 courses) of core courses; a minimum of 1.0 unit (2 courses) of PACS electives; and 1.5 units (3 courses) of either PACS electives or PACS cross-listed electives. In addition to these course requirements, MPACS students must complete two Milestones: the Research Colloquium (completed during any term except the first), and the Academic Integrity Workshop (usually completed during orientation). These requirements are detailed in full in the section in this manual entitled Program Requirements and Options.

Approach to Peace

The Peace and Conflict Studies department at Conrad Grebel University College envisions peace holistically as a healthy society where communities and individuals flourish. Peace involves just relationships among its members; it is a space where all people are welcome to pursue goals that enhance the well-being of themselves, their communities, and their environment. Building a culture of peace requires the efforts and responsibilities of individuals or groups of individuals who will intersect all sectors of society. 

Rooted in this holistic vision of peace, the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program is premised on the belief that an effective and healthy society is one in which the state, the marketplace, and civil society act as equally-balancing building blocks. As the three-legged stool diagram illustrates, if one sector governs or overrides the others, like the dominant leg of a stool, the overall structure becomes unstable — unable to carry the "load" of peace. When stress occurs and the ground begins to shake, people run the risk of "falling off" or being left out of the equation. More serious yet, in times of extreme crisis or catastrophe, an unbalanced stool can collapse entirely under the dynamics of unequal weight. Not only must all three sectors of society be strong, but they must function in relationship to one another. They must work together while performing their respective functions, supporting proportions of the load in different areas of the terrain.

Why Civil Society?

While recognizing the importance of all three sectors in building an effective and healthy society, the MPACS program focuses on the pivotal role that civil society plays as the glue that binds a nation together across sectors and towards a common goal. Civil society institutions are sometimes described as the "long shadow of a peacemaker" as their impact and ripple effect often far exceeds the capability of any one person. While this sector is as essential in building a peaceable world as is government or business, it is often under-emphasized in academics and its role misunderstood. The focus on civil society within the MPACS program, then, seeks to provide a perspective on peace that is often overlooked in other graduate programs. 

People and Contact Details

MPACS Administrators

Reina Neufeldt Chair

Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
519-885-0220 x 24252
Thomas Fraser

PACS Administrative Officer and Graduate Studies Coordinator
CGUC 2103 

519-886-0220 x 24248
Susan Baker
Manager of the Certificate Program in Conflict Resolution 
CGUC 2103D 
519-885-0220 x24254
Ndagire Brendah
Undergraduate Officer and Internships Coordinator
CGUC 2103
519-885-0220 x24269
MPACS General Inquiries  

PACS Core Faculty

Paul Heidebrecht
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies 
CGUC 4203 
519-885-0220 x24225
Eric Lepp
Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies 
CGUC 4207 
519-885-0220 x24259
Nathan Funk
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies 
CGUC 4205 
519-885-0220 x24295
Johonna McCants-Turner
Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies 
CGUC 2114 
519-885-0220 x24227
Reina Neufeldt

Chair, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
CGUC 2103A

519-885-0220 x24252
PACS-Affiliated Departments  

Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs

Faculty Profiles and Contact Details 
Development Practice Program Details 
Political Science Faculty Profiles and Contact Details 
Climate Change Program Details 
Theological Studies Faculty Profiles and Contact Details 
Finance Office and Student Accounts  
Student Financial Services
Student Accounts (General)  
Financial Aid & Student Awards
Other Services on Campus
Other Services on Campus    
Centre for Career Action William M. Tatham Centre, Rm. 1214  
519-888-4567 x84047 
Student Success Office South Campus Hall, 2nd floor
519-888-4567 x84410 
International Student Experience

South Campus Hall, 2nd floor (Student Success Office)  

519-888-4567 x84410 
The Writing and Communication Centre South Campus Hall, 2nd floor (Student Success Office)  

Information for New Students

Navigating the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel University College

The relationship between Grebel and UWaterloo may not always be clear, especially for new students entering the program.  While MPACS is housed entirely at Conrad Grebel University College – all PACS faculty are located at Grebel, and all regular courses take place on the Grebel campus – the MPACS program is part of the broader Faculty of Arts, located on main campus. The University of Waterloo confers MPACS students’ degrees. As a basic rule, the PACS office is the place to begin with questions about the program, and information about admission, funding, tuition, courses, etc.  Students are encouraged to contact the Grebel PACS office well before completing a formal application.  At the same time, MPACS students are fully UWaterloo graduate students.  All academic policies of the University of Waterloo apply.  All UWaterloo services available to graduate students are available to MPACS students.  

Orientation at UWaterloo and Grebel

At the beginning of the academic year, the MPACS program organizes an orientation session for all incoming students. MPACS Orientation is an important event in the program and is typically held the first week of classes in the fall term. It is an opportunity to meet other students in the program, meet faculty, become familiar with facilities and services available to you, and have many of your questions answered. Some of Grebel’s events are held together with returning MPACS students and with students in the Master of Theological Studies program.  Participation is required for all new students, including those who may have begun courses in the winter term. Orientation includes some events organized by the Faculty of Arts, including a mandatory Academic Integrity Module (completed online).

The University of Waterloo offers a very useful resource for incoming graduate students called Waterloo Grad Ready. New students are automatically enrolled and can access the program content through their LEARN account.

Additionally, the Graduate Student Association offers a series of orientation events for all graduate students.  This includes a full-day campus-wide orientation, a welcome reception and sessions for international students.  

Academic Integrity Module

Academic integrity is an integral part of academic research, teaching and learning. MPACS students, as well as all other UWaterloo students and faculty, are expected to demonstrate academic integrity in their work. In order to assist students in understanding what academic integrity entails, and what constitutes academic misconduct (for example, plagiarism), all MPACS students must complete and pass the Academic Integrity Module (AIM) in their LEARN account. This is a Milestone requirement of the MPACS program – while students do not receive academic credit for completing the workshop, it is a requirement for graduation. 

The Office of Academic Integrity has a number of useful online tools, including a learning tutorial for graduate students. Students should also familiarize themselves with the UWaterloo policies on student discipline and appeals. 

Enrolling in Classes

Applicants who have met all of the conditions on their Offer of Admission (e.g. have sent all official transcripts) will notice that their status in Quest will change from “Intent to Matriculate” to “Matriculate.” When the term enrolmen period opens (check the GSPA Important Dates calendar) students will be able to enroll in classes through their Quest account. Students will see an “Enroll” link in the “Academics” tab in of their Quest account.

Students decide on courses by consulting with the Graduate Coordinator. Course descriptions and the Schedule of Classes are available on the MPACS website. The University of Waterloo’s Schedule of Classes for graduate students has official scheduling information.

Graduate course enrolment for the fall term opens in late July and continues throughout the summer. Enrolment for winter classes begins in November.

For step-by-step instructions for enrolling in courses on Quest, see “How do I add classes?

Please note for enrolment purposes that the “Course Subject” is PACS, the “Course Number” is a three-digit number (e.g., 601, 604) and the “Course Career” is Graduate. If you leave course number blank, the search will return all available courses.

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Though Grebel operates a residence program with dormitories and apartments, these are available only to undergraduate students.  MPACS students have access to the graduate housing through the university, including the Columbia Lake Village-North for single students, and for families, as well as apartments through St. Paul’s University College.

The Kitchener/Waterloo area has a large stock of rental houses and apartments.  Students who are coming from a distance are advised to ask a friend or relative who lives locally to check out an apartment and speak to the landlord before signing a contract or paying rent. The following sites may be helpful for beginning a search for off-campus housing 

WatCards and Local Transit

A WatCard is the official Photo Identification Card for the University of Waterloo. In addition to being the primary identification card of students at UWaterloo, WatCards can be used to access many facilities both on and off-campus. 

Getting a WatCard

All new students need to get a WatCard.  Once your status in Quest has changed to matriculated you can request your WatCard by following the instructions on the WatCard webpage.

WatCard Office Phone: 519-888-4567 x32751 

WaCard Uses

WatCards can be used to access a variety of facilities and services, as well as to make purchases.  Some uses include:  

  • Access to, and borrowing privileges from UWaterloo’s library, and the various College libraries on campus.  WatCards can also be used to borrow library materials at other TUG libraries (Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph) 
  • Access to the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) and computer labs
  • Making payments for food on-campus, as well as at participating restaurants off-campus
  • Making payments for printing and photocopying services
  • A pass for local transit (see below)

To use a WatCard in place of cash, students must add money to their account.  This can be done in person (at the SLC or Dana Porter library), or online. 

 Local Transit

WatCards are also valid as a transit pass on all Grand River Transit (GRT) buses and trains for full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students can tap their WatCard on the smart card reader located on the farebox on the bus and at LRT stations. Note that, unlike the bus, you must tap your WatCard at the farebox before boarding a train. Part-time student WatCards are not valid as a transit pass. There is more information on GRT routes and schedules available on the GRT website.

UWaterloo’s Online Tools and Platforms


University of Waterloo Identity and Access Management (WatIAM) is the main online identification system of UWaterlooThe WatIAM user ID is a universal password for all UWaterloo online services. You manage your userid and password using the WatIAM system.

WatIAM is secured by two-factor authentication (2FA). All students must enroll in 2FA in order to use their WatIAM credentials. 


Quest is the University of Waterloo’s student information system. It is used to manage university-related affairs, such as enrolling in courses or paying tuition fees. It is accessed with WatIAM credentials. 


Email is the primary means of communication at the University of Waterloo. All students are given a unique email address ( and are required to check it for important messages from the university. Students may choose to redirect mail sent to their address to another account. Email addresses can be found on a student’s Quest account.

All graduate students gain access to the Office 365 suite of applications, including Outlook, through their email login.  

Waterloo LEARN

LEARN is a web-based course management platform. It is where a student would find the “course website,” if there is one.  Most MPACS instructors will use LEARN to post important information for their courses. Students access LEARN with their WatIAM credentials.  (Auditors must contact the MPACS Graduate Studies Coordinator for access to their courses on LEARN.) 

Grad Space

MPACS students are welcome to use Conrad Grebel’s library, atrium, dining room, Common Grounds café and other public spaces. Students needing space for small group projects may book classrooms through the MPACS Graduate Studies Coordinator; group study rooms are also available for reserve in the Grebel library. Additionally, the “Grad Hive (lounge and study area) is located on the fourth floor as part of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement and is a space designed specifically for Grebel graduate students

There are also lockers available to rent on a term by term basis. They can be registered at the through the CPA Coordinator, who can provide a locker # and the combination for the lock. 

Milton Good Library

Conrad Grebel is home to the Milton Good Library. While MPACS students have full access to all UWaterloo and other Omni libraries (described below), the Milton Good Library is home to a large collection of PACS-related material and is the most easily accessible library to students based at Grebel. The Milton Good Library acquires reference and research materials in academic fields of PACS, Music, and Theology. A second, specialized, concern of the library is to develop a research-level collection in Anabaptist-Mennonite materials.

Milton Good Library Hours

Please see the Milton Good Library webpage Hours and Access for the most up-to-date service hours.

Typically the library is open the following times: 

Fall and Winter Terms (September-April) 

Monday to Thursday: 8:30 AM - 10:00 PM  
Friday: 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM  
Saturday: 1 PM - 5 PM 
Sunday: Closed

Spring Term (May to August) 

Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM 

Saturday-Sunday Closed

Reference Services are generally available Monday to Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

Milton Good Library Facilities

The Milton Good Library offers: 

  • Public computer stations with Internet access and Microsoft Office applications 
  • Use of 2 scanners, a photocopier with WPrint access (operated by funds on your WatCard), and a microform reader. 
  • Wireless access for all Uwaterloo Students
  • Course Reserves are available upon request at the Circulation Desk. Login to your personal course reserves list using your WatIAM username and password.
  • A pickup location for books requested from the library catalogue. Choose “CGC (UW) Circ Desk” as your pickup location from Conrad Grebel.  
  • A pickup location for books and articles requested from Interlibrary Loan.  Choose “Waterloo Conrad Grebel Library” as your pickup location.
  • Book Return location for books from other OMNI libraries, interlibrary loan books, and books from other Ontario universities that are not a part of OMNI.
  • Designated study carrels may be requested by full-time MPACS students for the term on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the library desk. 

Research Assistance

The Library is vital to the success of your research and studies.  Check out the Graduate Student Library Information page for UW library services and research tools available to graduate students, including library workshops and online tutorials. The Peace and Conflict Studies Subject Guide is another helpful link for research assistance.   

Personal assistance is also available from library staff. Laureen Harder-Gissing, Archivist-Librarian, manages the Mennonite Archives of Ontario and Conrad Grebel’s Milton Good Library. She is also the Liaison Librarian for Peace and Conflict Studies and available to MPACS students for assistance with PACS research. 

UWaterloo Libraries


The main library of the University of Waterloo is the Dana Porter Library, located in the centre of campus.  The bulk of UWaterloo library collections for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are located here, along with group and individual study spaces, computer labs, and a café available for students’ use.  In addition to the Dana Porter Library, the UWaterloo library also includes several other subject-specific libraries.

UWaterloo students also have access to the libraries of the affiliated University Colleges. This includes access to the Milton Good Library at Conrad Grebel, as well as the libraries at Renison University College and St. Jerome’s University College.

Access and Services

Once students have registered at UW and have obtained a WatCard, they may borrow books and explore the services and resources available to you. The University of Waterloo Library  homepage is an important starting point for the many library services offered, including the “Get Access From Anywherelogin which is your first step when using online library resources (research databases, electronic journals, etc.) from off-campus. The Peace and Conflict Studies subject guide holds an abundance of information about library services. The library offers a variety of services for graduate students, including online and in-person tutorials, workshops, and one-on-one assistance with a library liaison. 

Omni and the Library Catalogue

The University of Waterloo is a member of the Omni library consortium, which is a collaborative initiative of 14 Ontario University libraries, including the University of Waterloo.  Omni combines the library resources of 14 university libraries into one shared catalogue.  All that is needed to borrow an item from any Omni library is a WatCard.  Students at UWaterloo may request that a book from any participating library be sent to the library of their choosing for pick-up. 

Students can also search for electronic articles and resources directly in the catalogue.  However, not every resource that the library has access to will show up in a catalogue search.  All of the databases with PACS content are listed in the PACS Study Guide.

InterLibrary Loan

While the Omni library has a vast amount of resources, there may be times when an item you need is not available in Omni.  This is when you could place an Interlibrary Loan request.  All students, staff, and faculty have access to this service, which includes borrowing privileges from most other Canadian university libraries.

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Student Life at Grebel

Community-Building and Networking within the MPACS Program

Community-building is an important aspect of the MPACS program – the people you meet during the program may become colleagues or friends who you stay in touch with long after you leave.  The MPACS program is made up of diverse cohorts of students from a variety of backgrounds. Socializing with other MPACS students can make your time more enjoyable, allow for more depth, openness and learning during conversations in class, and help you form a professional network in the field of peace and conflict studies.  The Orientation Day for MPACS students (described in the New Students” section), is an important feature of the program, and offers students their first opportunity to get to know each other. Occasional social events will be planned throughout the program to help you get to know one another; participation in these extra-curricular activities is encouraged.  

Community Life at Grebel

In addition to hosting a variety of academic programs, Grebel also has a residence and on-campus apartments for undergraduate students.  While MPACS students may not live on-campus at Grebel, they are encouraged to participate in other elements of community life at the College. MPACS students are welcome to attend weekly chapel services, eat in Grebel’s dining room, attend events hosted by Grebel, and make use of other community spaces on campus, such as the atrium and Common Grounds café. 

The Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, which is located on the fourth floor of the new academic building includes space designated for MPACS students. This space is intended as an important informal meeting place for students to gather. 

Thursday Talk Series

The Thursday Talk series is an opportunity for our Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) students to develop professional skills and meet guest speakers who are experts and practitioners in fields such as conflict management, mediation, restorative justice, women´s rights, international development, human rights, law, policy analysis and community development. 

MPACS Listserv

All MPACS students will be added to an email list, along with faculty and staff.  This listserv is an important means of communication between students, faculty and staff.  Anyone on the mailing list can send information about lectures, events, job postings, conferences and any other topics that are relevant to others in the program.

Emails to the MPACS Listserv are monitored by the Graduate Studies Coordinator. To send a message to the listerve, email:  

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Student Finances: Tuition, Scholarships and Awards

Tuition and Incidental Fees

Visit Waterloo's finance website for a current fee schedule. Without scholarships or awards applied, approximate tuition plus incidental fees for Canadian and Permanent Residents is $2,715 per term (as of Fall 2020). International students should expect to pay approximately $10,150 per term (as of Fall 2020). 

Each term, students are charged a number of incidental fees, which help to cover the costs of non-academic services on campus. For graduate students, this includes a non-refundable Graduate Student Association (GSA) fee, as well as a bundled compulsory fee administered by the GSA.  These fees cover the supplementary health and dental plans, a Grad House Fee, and the UPass fee (transit pass).  Students may opt out and be refunded from some of these fees, with the exception of the UPass. To opt out of the health and dental plans, students must show proof of equivalent coverage from another insurance provider.  

Other incidental fees include a non-refundable health services building fee, non-refundable student services fee and a refundable graduate studies endowment fund fee.

All international students will also be assessed a non-refundable premium for University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). International students will automatically be enrolled into UHIP when they become “fees arranged” for each term. 

Payment Procedures

Students must arrange to pay their fees before the university posted deadline (see GSPA Important Dates) usually by submitting a promissory note and making an online payment for the remainder. See Payment Options.

Promissory Notes for Funding: Students receiving scholarships, bursaries and awards will need to submit a “Promissory Note” through their student Quest account as proof of forthcoming funds for outstanding tuition fees.  More information on becoming “Fees arrangedand submitting your “Promissory Noteis available online.  

Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

The Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) program provides a limited number of scholarships and bursaries for full time students but does not guarantee financial support. Peace Scholar Awards (research assistantships) and Marking Assistantships are limited in number

Students may be eligible for other Waterloo scholarships and bursaries, external funding, or loans. Information on University of Waterloo awards and funding and external awards is provided by the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Office. 

Peace Scholar Positions

The Peace Scholars program provides stipends for MPACS students who apply and are chosen to work with Conrad Grebel faculty members as research assistants for peace research projects. Three to four stipends of $1,000 each will be awarded in Fall and Winter terms. The number of awards available depends on the number of research projects submitted by Conrad Grebel faculty members. The stipend is not considered to represent an hourly contract for a specific number of hours worked, but rather to serve as an incentive to accomplish agreed research tasks. It is anticipated that Scholars will invest approximately 33 hours in the agreed research task per each of the two terms.   

Marking Assistantships

A limited number of marking assistantships are available to MPACS students, and may help to offset the cost of tuition.  The Marking Assistant Policy and other logistics related to Marking Assistantships are outlined below.

Marking Assistant Overview

  1. Marking Assistants differ from Teaching Assistants in a number of ways. Marking Assistants are not expected to attend classes (although this may be negotiated with the supervising faculty member), to teach classes or to lead seminars. In cases when Marking Assistants are required to attend classes these hours can be claimed on their time sheets. 

  1. PACS Undergraduate courses that typically require additional marking support are PACS 101, PACS 201, PACS 202, and PACS 203. 

  1. In some cases, more than one Marking Assistants will work together and divide the work between themselves in consultation with the Course Instructor.

Process for Selecting Marking Assistants

  1. At the beginning of the term, students are invited to apply for Marking Assistant positions by a stated deadline. 

  1. Interested applicants will be asked to submit a CV or resume as well as a letter of interest stating how they meet the criteria, describing previous relevant work experience and explaining why they want the position (e.g. financial need). 

  1. The department will review applications and select the most suitable applicants.

Criteria for Marking Assistants

  • Marking Assistants will typically have an Undergraduate and/or Master’s average of 82% or higher. 

  • Applicants must have excellent written English language abilities. 

  • In cases where an instructor desires continuity, MPACS students in their third or fourth term will be given priority over incoming students.  

  • Fulltime students will be prioritized over parttime students.

Process for Setting up Marking Assistants

  1. When the Marking Assistant has been chosen, the Graduate Coordinator will notify the Academic Dean’s office and a contract will be issued. 

  1. The course instructor and Marking Assistant will negotiate an agreement and expectations for the amount of work required. The Marking Assistant is given a time sheet for keeping track of hours worked. 

  1. When the contract has been signed and returned, the Marking Assistant will fill out the necessary paperwork with the Grebel Finance office in order to be setup as a UWaterloo parttime (casual) employee. 

  1. The Marking Assistant may submit time sheets at any time throughout the term. All hours must be submitted by the end of the term. 

  1. Upon completion of the work, the student will have their timesheet signed by the instructor and submit to the Graduate Studies Coordinator for processing. 

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Program Requirements and Options 

In order to graduate, students must complete 5.0 units: 2.5 units (5 courses) of core courses; a minimum of 1.0 unit of PACS electives; and up to 1.5 units of PACS cross-listed electives. In addition to these course requirements, MPACS students must complete two ‘milestones’: the research colloquium (taken at the end of the program), and the academic integrity workshop (usually completed during orientation).  Students can track their progress towards meeting these requirements by using the MPACS Degree Requirement Worksheet, a copy of which is available in Appendix A.

Core Courses

All MPACS students must take 5 required core courses (or 2.5 units), which will introduce students to key themes related to systems of peace and governance, building civil society, conflict analysis, and conflict transformation and peace-building. These courses build upon our theoretical approach to peace, which emphasizes the potential of civil society to act as a catalyst for peace, while preparing students for effective engagement across societal sectors. These courses will ground students in core concepts of a multi-sector, and multi-disciplinary approach to peace building and conflict analysis emanating from civil society, in both theory and practice.

The core courses include: 

  • PACS 601: Systems of Peace, Order and Good Governance 

  • PACS 602: The Practice of Peace 

  • PACS 603: Building Civil Society 

  • PACS 604: Conflict Analysis 

  • PACS 605: Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding


In addition to core courses, students must take at least an additional 1.0 units (or two regular 0.5-unit courses) of PACS electives. These courses will allow students to begin narrowing their studies to intentionally focus on their specific interests. Students will have the chance to focus on the study of non-violent movements, reconciliation, religion and culture, or to more specifically engage in individualized peace research. Students in this category will have the option of emphasizing theoretical or experiential learning (Internships and Conflict Resolution Skills workshops). 

The elective courses include: 

  • PACS 610: Contemporary Nonviolent Movements 

  • PACS 611: Reconciliation 

  • PACS 612: Culture, Religion, and Peace-Building 

  • PACS 620: Special Topics in Peace and Conflict Studies 

  • PACS 621: Peace Research 

  • PACS 623: Directed Readings 

  • PACS 625: Internship (1.0 unit) 

  • PACS 626: Conflict Resolution Skills Training (0.25 unit)

Additional PACS cross-listed electives

An additional 1.5 units may be chosen from courses offered by the International Development, Global Governance, Political Science or Theological Studies graduate departments. 

The PACS cross-listed electives include: 

  • PACS 634/GGOV 630/PSCI 678: Security Ontology-Theory 

  • PACS 650/INDEV 604: Sustainable Cities 

  • PACS 651: Economics for Sustainable Development 

  • PACS 652/INDEV 608: Water and Security 

  • PACS 670/TS 637: War and Peace in Christian Theology 

  • PACS 671/TS 619: The Bible, Peace, and Violence 

  • PACS 672/TS 731: Christianity’s Encounter with Other Faiths 

Full-time and Part-Time Studies

MPACS students may enroll as either full-time or part-time students.  The definitions of full-time and part-time studies, and expected times for completion, are detailed below. 

Full-time Option

In the MPACS program, a student who takes 2 courses (1.0 credits) or more per term is considered to be studying full-time. Full-time students will normally complete the program over a four-term period, enrolling in three courses during each of their first two terms and two courses during each of their last two terms. A regular term at the University of Waterloo is four months long, so full-time students can expect to complete the program in 16 months.  

Full-time students will be admitted only in the fall term of a given year (starting in September), and be expected to complete their studies at the end of the fall term in the subsequent year (at the end of December). 

Term 1: students enroll in 3 courses, including at least 2 core courses. 

Term 2: students enroll in 3 courses, including at least 2 core courses. 

Term 3: students enroll in 2 courses; students who choose the internship option will normally complete it during this time (as the equivalent of two courses). Internships must be for a minimum of 50 working days. 

Term 4: students enroll in 2 courses and must present at a Research Colloquium (orally present a major paper you have written, receive peer review, and respond to questions and critique). 

Part-time Option

An MPACS student who takes less than 2 courses (either 0.25, 0.5 or 0.75 units) a term is considered to be studying part-time. A limited number of students will be admitted to the program on a part-time basis. Part-time students must also complete 5.0 units in order to graduate. Part-time students are expected to complete at least two courses per academic year, and have five years to complete the program from the date of their initial enrolment. 

Tuition differential between full-time and part-time studies

MPACS tuition costs at UWaterloo are not computed on the basis of the number of courses taken, but rather on the basis of whether a student is enrolled in full-time or part-time studies. The University of Waterloo collects tuition fees from students one term at a time. 

Time required to complete the MPACS degree

MPACS students are required to complete the degree within five years from first enrolling in a course.  This applies to both full-time students who may shift into part-time studies and part-time students who may shift into full-time studies.   

Potential Pathways through the MPACS Program

There is some degree of flexibility within the MPACS program as to how students may proceed through the program.  The following chart depicts four potential pathways through the MPACS program.  Johannes* and Jean Paul are taking the MPACS program as full-time students. Elise begins as a full-time student and changes her enrolment status to part-time for Spring term and then back to full-time for Fall term. Fatima is studying as a part-time student and will continue with coursework beyond what is depicted in this chart. Terms shaded in light grey indicate part-time status, while those shaded in dark grey indicate ‘Inactive’ status. 

  Fall Term 1 Winter Term 2 Spring Term 3 Fall Term 4 Winter Term 5  

Student A

3 courses 3 courses Internship (1.0 unit equal to 2 courses) 2 courses and Resarch Colloquium (R.C.)    
Student B 3 courses 3 courses 2 courses 2 courses and R.C.    
Student C 3 courses 3 courses 2 workshops (0.5 unit) 3 courses and R.C.    
Student D 1 courses 1 courses Inactive 1 course and 1 workshop (0.25 unit) 1 course and 1 workshop (0.25 unit) 1 course until completion of programming

Changing Your Enrollment Status

To change enrollment status from full-time to part-time (or vice versa), students must seek verbal permission from the PACS Chair, fill in a change of enrolment status form available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, and bring the form to the Graduate Studies Coordinator to get the required signatures

Students pursuing an internship should change their status to “full-time off campus.” This will result in a slight reduction of tuition fees. The above procedure should be followed in order to make this change. 

Students may apply for “Inactive” status for a term for circumstances such as illness, maternity/parental leave or temporary financial difficulties. Students should follow the above procedure in order to become Inactive. Normally, Inactive status is approved for a maximum of two consecutive terms. 

See the Residency/Enrolment page of the Graduate Studies Calendar for more information. 

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Other Academic Policies

Taking Courses at Other Universities

Taking a course at another university in Ontario

  1. Contact the Graduate Coordinator or Instructor of the program at the University where you want to take the course to find out if they will allow an extra student in the course you desire. 

  1. If the host university is in agreement, write a petition to the PACS department (with a letter explaining what the course is and why you want to take it along with a copy of the course syllabus) to have the particular course count towards an elective for your MPACS degree. 

  1. If the PACS AG agrees to your petition, fill out an “Ontario Visiting Graduate Scholar” (OVGS) form, which allows you to pay your regular tuition to UWaterloo, take a course at another Ontario university, and transfer the grade back to UWaterloo. 

Taking a course at another Canadian university outside of Ontario

  1. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for the Graduate Transfer Agreements of Canadian Universities available on the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies website. 

  1. Contact the Graduate Coordinator/Director of the program at the University where you want to take the course to find out if they will allow an extra student in the course you desire. 

  1. If the host university is in agreement, write a petition to the PACS Administrative Group (with a letter explaining what the course is and why you want to take it along with the course syllabus) to have the particular course count towards an elective for your MPACS degree. 

  1. If the PACS AG agrees to your petition, complete the Graduate Transfer Agreements of Canadian Universities form.  Bring the form to the PACS office to retain the necessary signatures.  Forward the form to the host institution to get the necessary signatures. Once all of the signatures have been gathered, return the form to the Graduate Studies Office at UWaterloo. 

  1. Pay fees directly to the host institution.  

  1. Upon completion of the course, arrange with the host university to have a transcript sent back to UWaterloo, paying the necessary fees at the host institution. 

Taking a course at a university outside of Canada

  1. Contact the Graduate Coordinator/Director of the program at the University where you want to take the course to find out if they will allow an extra student in the course you desire. 

  1. If the host university is in agreement, write a petition to the PACS Administrative Group (with a letter explaining what the course is and why you want to take it along with the course syllabus) to have the particular course count towards an elective for your MPACS degree. 

  1. If PACS AG agrees to your petition, find out the procedures for registering as a student at the host university (you will most likely need to apply to the host university as a “non-degree student”). 

  1. When you have completed the course and grades have been submitted, request that your transcript from the host university be sent to the Graduate Studies Coordinator in the PACS department (Conrad Grebel University College, Attn. Graduate Coordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies, 140 Westmount Rd. N., Waterloo, ON N2G 3G6). It should be sent directly from the host university or come in a sealed envelope if the student is hand delivering it. 

  1. The Department will submit the grade to the Graduate Studies Office to have it added to your transcript. 

Adding/Dropping Courses

For an up-to-date listing of Course Drop/Add Dates, as well as other important calendar events and academic deadlines, please visit the Graduate Studies Calendar. 

Auditing Courses

A student wishing to audit a class must fill out a Course drop/add form with the designation of “A” and get the appropriate signatures from the instructor and Director of the dept. At the end of the term, the instructor must email a Graduate Studies Records Specialist to indicate whether or not the student has fulfilled the requirements for auditing his/her class. If the requirements have been completed, the course title and grade of Audit” will appear on his/her transcript. 

Assessment Methods

Courses offered in the MPACS program will be assessed by a variety of methods that best fit the objectives of each course.  Student work will be evaluated by a combination of written work (papers, reflections, case studies, policy briefs, book reports, conceptual mapping), application projects (digital assignments, programming projects) as well as by some exams and quizzes. 


The University of Waterloo uses a numeric grading system.  All Faculties assign grades on a scale of 0-100.  For more information on UWaterloo’s grading scheme, and the approximate equivalent to alpha grades, consult the Graduate Student Calendar

Students must obtain an average of at least 70% in the set of courses that they present in fulfillment of course requirements for any graduate degree. 

Incomplete Courses

In extenuating circumstances such as illness, students may not be able to complete their course work during the enrolled term.  In such cases, if the instructor agrees, the student and instructor will choose a date for the work to be completed and submitted. The student will then receive a grade of INC for that term which will be changed to a numeric grade when the work has been completed and graded.

Style Guides

While there is no standard style guide used in the field of peace and conflict studies, the preferred referencing style for MPACS courses is Chicago.  Professors may be open to other styles, as long as you are consistent. Further information on citation/style guides is available through the UWaterloo library.

Students are encouraged to use reference software that allows you to collect, store and organize citations for articles, books, websites and more. 


Once your degree requirements have been met, students must apply to graduate on Quest by the appropriate deadline.  Deadlines vary depending on which convocation date you wish to attend.  Further information is available on the Graduate Studies Convocation page.

In addition to UWaterloo’s convocation ceremony, Conrad Grebel holds its own convocation ceremony in April of each year.  Graduate students are encouraged to participate and attend. More information will be made available by the MPACS Graduate Studies Coordinator. 

Additional UWaterloo Academic Policies

In addition to the policies that govern the MPACS program, students should familiarize themselves with the various policies and regulations of the University, which govern all graduate students.  Detailed information is available on the Policies and Guidelines page of the Graduate Studies Calendar.  

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Career Opportunities for MPACS Graduates

Potential Career Paths

Graduates of Peace and Conflict Studies programs pursue a wide variety of careers in non-governmental and governmental organizations, universities and schools, business, and international institutions. While the MPACS program is particularly geared towards preparing students to work for peace from within the civil society sphere, graduates pursue careers in fields ranging from conflict management, mediation and restorative justice to international development, human rights work, research and policy analysis, to name just a few. 

The following diagram, developed by John Paul Lederach and Kathryn Mansfield at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies visually represents a variety of peacebuilding pathways that graduates of PACS programs may take in their careers, while depicting how these pathways fit together to collectively promote peacebuilding activities. The inner circle highlights the three major areas of peacebuilding: efforts to prevent, respond to and transform violence; efforts to promote structural and institutional change; and efforts to promote justice and healing.  The outer circle illustrates a variety of sub-fields of practice, and potential career paths within each of these fields.  

Alumni of Grebel’s undergraduate PACS program have gone on to work in positions within the fields of law, international development, agriculture, social work, environment, education and many others.  Some positions of recent alumni include: 

  • International Supervisor, Kitchener Waterloo YMCA 
  • Project Coordinator, The Working Centre 
  • Coordinator, First Year Experience, University of Waterloo 
  • Educator, In the Current Customer Service and Marketing Intern, REEP Green Solutions 
  • Pastor 
  • Organic Farmer 
  • Policy Analyst, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)   
  • Police Officer 
  • Child Protection Worker, Children’s Aid Society of Oxford Country 
  • Social Worker 
  • Research Associate, Educational Policy Institute Canada 
  • Municipal Planner, Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency 

Useful Professional Development Resources

In order to assist MPACS grads in their career development and job search post-graduation, the MPACS department has prepared a special career resource guide, tailored specifically to MPACS students.  This guide may also be useful for you as you consider potential internship options. The guide is available as a “Related Link” on the MPACS homepage.

The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Career Development also has tools and resources to assist in both professional development and job-searching.