Frequently Asked Questions


What is Peace and Conflict Studies?

Peace and Conflict Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on understanding the root causes of conflict, violence and war as well as studying the ways in which individuals, communities, institutions and states are involved in building peace. PACS draws on diverse insights from fields such as history, political science, law, psychology, sociology and anthropology in order to make sense of how and why conflict and violence occur, and what can be done to build healthy, peaceful societies. Learn more about Peace and Conflict Studies at Grebel.

What is unique about the master of peace and conflict studies (MPACS) programs at Grebel?

While the field of peace and conflict studies has been steadily growing over the last decade, there are still very few graduate programs offered in this field. The MPACS at Grebel is one of only a few such programs in Canada. The MPACS program’s holistic approach to peace as something that requires thorough understanding of the relationship between the state, the marketplace, and civil society, also makes this program unique. The program’s intentional focus on civil society — a sector of society that is often overlooked and neglected by other academic programs — will prepare students well for work in a variety of fields, and ground them with the knowledge they need to work across different sectors. The MPACS program is also unique in its emphasis on preparing students for careers as practitioners. The option to complete an internship and skill-building workshops give students the unique opportunity to apply class-room theories to real-life settings. MPACS students will also have the opportunity to take advantage of a range of resources available to Waterloo students.

What kind of jobs do graduates of peace and conflict studies (PACS) programs normally pursue

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. 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. Alumni of the Waterloo MPACS program have profiles available to showcase what they have pursued.

Check out the MPACS Career Guide (PDF) for more on potential careers. 


When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is February 1 for fall term admission. Visit the Waterloo Graduate Studies web page for more details.

What do I need to do to apply?

All applications to the MPACS program are made through an online application, through the University of Waterloo's Graduate Studies Office. For assistance with the on-line application process, contact the Graduate Studies Office. In addition to this application, all applicants to the MPACS program will be required to provide references, and will also be contacted to set up an interview either in-person or by telephone. To apply, follow the instructions at the graduate application required documents web page.

I do not have an undergraduate degree in peace and conflict studies. Can I still apply?

Because peace and conflict studies is an interdisciplinary field, applicants to the MPACS program do not need to have an undergraduate degree in peace and conflict studies, and students with an undergraduate degree in PACS will not be granted advanced placement. Applicants must have a 4-year BA, BSc, or other relevant degree from a recognized university or accredited liberal arts college.

How many students are admitted into the mpacs program every year?

The MPACS program will normally admit 16 full-time equivalent students per academic year.

I have submitted my application to the MPACS program — Now what?

After completing the online application you will receive notice that your application was received. All short-listed applicants will be invited to participate in a phone or in-person interview.

Can I defer admission to the MPACS program?

No, admission deferrals will not be allowed at this time.

What is the difference between full-time and part-time studies?

Full-time students are those who enroll in at least 1.0 unit of courses (normally two or more courses) per term. Part-time students are those who enroll in less than 1.0 unit (normally one course) per term. As noted below, while most courses are weighted at 0.5 unit, a small minority of courses are weighted differently (PACS 625 - Internship and PACS 626 - Conflict Resolution Skills Training).

Can I apply for winter term (January) admission?

A limited number of applicants will be considered for admission in Winter term for part-time studies only


What kind of classes do MPACS students take?

The Master of Peace and Conflict Studies is an interdisciplinary program that integrates scholarship with opportunities for practical experience. MPACS students will take a combination of core PACS courses, PACS electives, and PACS cross-listed electives, offered with the cooperation of other departments at the University of Waterloo. Core courses introduce students to key themes related to systems of peace and governance, building civil society, conflict analysis, and conflict transformation and peace-building. PACS Electives allow students to begin narrowing their studies to intentionally focus on their specific interests. Cross-listed electives allow students to explore complementary values or views of peace as taught through the lens of Global Governance, International Development, Political Science, Theological Studies, or any other approved relevant course.

How many courses are needed to graduate?

Eligibility for graduation with a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies requires successful completion of 5.0 units. 5.0 units is the equivalent of 10 regular, one-term courses (weighted at a 0.5 credit). All of the core courses, and most electives, are 0.5 credit courses. A small minority of courses are weighted differently: PACS 625 (Internship) is worth 1.0 credit, and PACS 626 Conflict Resolution Skills Training is a 0.25 credit course.

How long does the program take to complete?

Full-time students will normally complete the program in four terms, enrolling in three courses for each of the first two terms and at least two courses in the 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. Students who register for the spring/summer term will normally be expected to complete PACS 625 (Internship), or enroll in PACS 621 (Peace Research), or PACS 623 (Peace Readings), and two offerings of PACS 626 (Conflict Resolution Skills Training); course may be repeated once. Part-time students are expected to complete at least two courses per academic year, and have five years to complete their program from the date of their initial enrolment.

How much does the program cost?

Grad program fees are set by the University of Waterloo. Fee schedules are published here shortly before the start of each term. Please use the most recent fee schedule to estimate fees for future terms. 

Scholarship information can be found on our scholarships and bursaries page.

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