Peace studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that analyzes the causes of war and systemic oppression, and explores processes by which conflict and change can be managed so as to maximize justice while minimizing violence. It encompasses the study of economic, political, and social systems at the local, national, and global levels, and examines ideology, culture, and technology as they relate to conflict and change. In different settings, this field of study is known variously as “peace and conflict studies,” “peace and security studies,” “peace and world order studies,” “justice and reconciliation studies,” “conflict resolution” and so on. What distinguishes this field from others, however, is a concern with the modalities.

Career Opportunities

Entry level positions in the peace and conflict field are diversified and often highly competitive. Functional titles include analyst, program associate/assistant, education coordinator, research assistant, public relations liaison, regional monitor, etc. As an interdisciplinary field conflict resolution positions can be found in a variety of organizations not traditionally thought of as “Peace Groups.” Conflict resolution is often a component of other policy, analyst or non-profit careers. Human resources officers often specialize in mediation and staff bargaining, for instance. These positions, especially at the corporate level, pay substantially more than would be true at a small, grassroots organization.

Types of Jobs

  • Policy research
  • Legislative lobbying
  • Public education
  • Petitioning and protest action
  • Mediation
  • Community service
  • Intercultural diplomacy

Qualifications + Skills

  • Research and analytical skills
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Foreign language proficiency
  • Field experience
  • Flexibility to be successful in unstructured environments
  • Conflict resolution skills (mediation, collaboration, etc.)

PRO TIP: Many of these skills can be acquired in a domestic setting and then transferred to the international arena. If you are unable to go abroad for an internship, look for domestic opportunities to build development, mediation, and research skills.

Sample Employers

  • African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American-Mideast Education & Training Services
  • Amnesty International
  • CARE, Inc.
  • Carnegie Council on Ethics & International Affairs
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Carter Center
  • Center for War/Peace Studies
  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
  • INCORE (International Conflict Research)
  • Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • International Alert
  • International Crisis Group
  • Mercy Corps
  • Non-Violence International
  • Peace Brigades International
  • Peace Makers Trust
  • Search for Common Ground
  • The Carter Center
  • The Fund for Peace
  • The United Nations
  • The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • U.S. State Department
  • World Policy Institute

Sample Maxwell Classes

  • Stabilization and Growth in Emerging Markets
  • Fundamentals of Conflict Studies
  • Negotiating Resolution of International Conflict
  • Fundamentals of Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • Managing Interpersonal, Group, and Systemic Conflict
  • UN Organizations: Managing for Change
  • Related courses also available in Anthropology, Law, Political Science, and Geography


  • INCORE (International Conflict Research)
  • Peace & Collaborative Development Network
  • Peace and Justice Studies Association
  • Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (PARC)
  • National Peace Foundation
  • Search for Common Ground

Related Career Guides

  • International and National Security
  • International Development
  • Humanitarian Aid and Relief
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