Peace and Conflict Studies

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.

Why Study Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS)?

Learn diverse ways to promote peace, equitable justice, and social change through a vibrant interdisciplinary program that combines the study of history, political science, sociology, and psychology to understand better the causes and impact of interpersonal, communal, and international conflicts and violence in different societies. You will explore theory, research, and practice in classes taught by leading peace and justice scholars and practitioners. As an arts student, you will bring a unique perspective and set of skills to peace and conflict studies. Your creativity, critical thinking, and empathy can help contribute to finding new and innovative solutions to the complex challenges of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. 

Take courses on conflict mediation, non-violent social change, gender and peacebuilding, religion and culture, environment, community transformation, human rights and social justice, refugees and forced migration, negotiation strategies, trauma, healing, and restorative justice. 

Prepare to become a peace practitioner, community leader, or entrepreneur in conflict management programs or work with community and international development organizations, education systems, law firms, social services, refugee resettlement program support agencies, and more after graduation. 

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Who are PACS graduates?

PACS graduates have gone into many careers and used their training in different ways.

To learn more about what students can do after they graduate from PACS, check out our alumni profiles


For Imogen Sloss, the desire for peace has always been an anchor in her life; growing up, it was a central value in her family and her community. Throughout high school, Imogen fostered this desire for peace through her passion for social justice, and after graduation, she continued to seek out opportunities to make a difference.

As she searched for the right undergraduate program to further her studies, her passion for peace and restorative justice drew her towards the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo.

It is a cliché story—the one where the hopeful, career-hunting traveller stumbles into New York City and discovers it is the promised land of opportunity—but for Kenny Hildebrand (BA 2015), the story is all too real. He laughed when summarizing his journey from St. Catharines to New York City; it started with an old friend jokingly suggesting he move there and ended shortly after with an offer to work at one of the largest law firms in Manhattan. “Moving here was an inside joke that went a little too far,” he mused.

“Growing up, I was–and still am–terrified of conflict. I run away from conflict, which is hilarious considering what I do,” shared Hannah Redekop (BA 2011), who has facilitated meetings between warring groups in Colombia, documented the Israeli occupation's human rights abuses against Palestinians during a year spent in Palestine, and now shares the stories of those who bear conflict's violent burden.