Devina and colleagues standing in gazebo
Diana and colleagues in the jungle
Allison playing guitar and singing with children

An internship allows you to engage in experiential learning with an organization that engages in peace and conflict-related issues, in either a Canadian or international context.

This course integrates theory and practice while facilitating the development of attitudes, strategies, skills, and knowledge that support work in a Peace and Conflict Studies related setting. You will identify an appropriate placement, read relevant texts, and submit journals reflecting on what the internship revealed about the integration of peace and conflict studies theory and practice.

PACS 390 Internship course (0.5 units) provides an opportunity for you to "learn by exposure," by applying classroom lessons to a hands-on experience. Peace practitioners understand that there can be a significant difference between theory and practice: encountering peace and conflict issues in real life expands horizons and challenges assumptions.

The internship course is not a requirement for completing a PACS undergraduate degree, although more than 200 students since 1985 have chosen to take this course. If you're interested in pursuing an Internship, make an appointment to discuss it with Ndagire Brendah, the PACS Academic Advisor.

Learning Objectives

The internship course helps to integrate theory and practice while facilitating the development of attitudes, strategies, skills, and information that undergird work in a PACS-related setting. In this course, you will: 

  • Sharpen your professional skills,
  • Demonstrate the ability to use the knowledge gained from your academic PACS program,
  • Understand the connection between classroom theory and professional practice,
  • Develop reflectional practice through writing journals relevant to future planning, monitoring, and evaluation of peace-building and sustainable development projects,
  • Explore career possibilities to expand your horizons and/or discover future career goals/purposes,
  • Expand your critical evaluative and intellectual skills, and
  • Immerse yourself in the work environment of another culture or context to aid your growth.

Placement Criteria

Finding an internship placement is similar to a regular job search process. However, the primary goal is to find an internship placement that provides a great learning opportunity related to your academic and career goals. The clear you are about what you want to do, the more valuable you will be to the organization, and the more you will learn what you want to do.

Placements can be in international, domestic (within Canada), or local (within Ontario) contexts and completed either full-time or part-time. An appropriate placement normally involves approximately four months with at least 40 full-time working days (300 hours) or longer with the host agency.

In keeping with the various emphases of the overall PACS program, placements should be related to one of the following three primary interest areas:

  1. Community mediation programs and programs in local conflict resolution and negotiation;
  2. Agencies promoting justice, sustainable development, and peacebuilding either locally and/or internationally; and
  3. Organizations involved in international issues of war and peace, disarmament, and negotiation.

Finding a Placement

Finding a placement is the first step in the internship process. This is a self-directed internship experience which means you take the initiative to seek a placement that meets your academic and professional goals, and then propose it to the department.

Ndagire Brendah is available to support you during the entire internship process, including the initial search period. It is also recommended that you visit the “Find your placement” page on the PACS website for some helpful reflection questions and resources as you begin your search process.

Once you have a placement secured, your proposal will be due and should be submitted two months before the term your placement will begin.

Academic Components

1. Proposal

Once accepted by a host agency for a placement, you will prepare a proposal to be submitted to the PACS Administrative Group, through the PACS Internship Instructor, for review and approval. This will form 20% of your grade.

2. Reflective Learning Journal

The Reflective Learning Journal will make up the majority of your grade in PACS 390. Keeping a journal helps you to "teach yourself" by reflecting on your daily experiences. While your host organization has made a commitment to providing you with a learning opportunity, the people with whom you will work will still be more focused on meeting the goals of their organization than on meeting your learning goals. In fact, you would not have an authentic learning opportunity if it were otherwise.

A learning journal involves regularly recording your experiences, observations, and insights. It provides you with an opportunity to "make personal sense" of your journey, while also connecting this journey to aspects of your academic knowledge of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) themes and issues. It can also involve;

  1. Reading required books or recommended articles that help to explain your location,
  2. Exploring the theory or concepts that inform practices associated with your work placement, or
  3. Analyzing items that provide context to the culture or organization with which you are working.

The journal will be made up of at least 12 entries of 2-3 pages (double-spaced) each, and the completed journal should be about 25-30 pages in length and contribute 70% of your course grade.

3. Participation

One of the learning objectives for the course is to help you “sharpen professional skills.” Strong communication, punctuality, and the professional quality with which you engage with the internship experience and the PACS Internship Instructor help to achieve this objective. This is an evaluation category where you can easily excel and do well and will make up 10% of the grade.


For full details, please review the PACS 390 syllabus (PDF).

Internships & Co-op

On some occasions, co-op students may be allowed to pursue PACS 390: Internship Course credit for a work-term placement that fulfills the above principles if they complete all necessary academic work for the Internship in addition to the normal work-term PD courses. Consult with Ndagire Brendah for more information.