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


“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.

“Openness to possibility has been really important to me and my journey,” shared Katie Gingerich (BA, 2015), a Grebel alumna who founded The Ripple Effect Education (TREE) – a non-profit peace education organization, during her undergraduate studies. “Stepping out and starting this organization didn’t just happen overnight,” explained Katie. “Grebel’s opportunities are what made me who I am.”

Navigating a gunpoint situation in Kenya. Camping near the flaming Darvazaa gas crater in Turkmenistan. Manually flagging down a train in Sicily. Co-creating a Great Lakes funding program with Ontario Indigenous groups. Relaxing in hot springs in Iceland. Developing a climate peace and security policy for the Canadian government. Grebel alumnus Patrick Quealey (BES 2002) enjoys regaling friends with stories of his adventures – anecdotes collected during his extensive personal travels and experiences from his career with Canada’s government. Patrick shines while trying new things, exploring unknown territory (both physically and in policy), and creating connections.