Justice and Peace Studies

Georgetown College offers an A.B. degree in Justice and Peace Studies, as well as a minor in Justice and Peace Studies (open to students in COL, MSB, and NHS) and a certificate in Justice and Peace Studies (open to students in SFS).

The emerging interdisciplinary field of Peace Studies—known variously as "peace and conflict studies," "conflict analysis and resolution," or "peace and justice studies"—is concerned with practical, normative questions of how to realize peace and justice in the everyday world. The ultimate goal of Peace Studies in the university context, however phrased, is to produce practically useful scholarship on how to create a more just and peaceful world. Such scholarship requires empirical accounts of the causes of war and violence; practical understandings of how to prevent and ameliorate harmful social conditions; and theoretical reflections on the definition of justice. Each of these investigations can take place at all levels of social organization, from the individual to the family, from the small group to the nation, or at the level of the international community.

Our subject matter asks many basic yet complex questions. What is peace? What is conflict? How can one be encouraged and sustained, and the other mitigated or avoided? Students are exposed to a rich and contentious literature on the nature of peace and justice, which informs discussions in many other traditions as well. Questions of central interest to the field concern the material and psychological determinants of aggression, the role of families and other institutions in producing aggressive or peaceful societies, the origins of social inequality, techniques and implications of representing others, and the role of such factors in the building of communities. We also explore issues including the role of religious identity in forming the social conscience, when wars are just or unjust and what causes them, the efficacy of international norms of conduct,  relationships between conflict and social structures, how nonviolence is practiced in social movements, and the effectiveness of various techniques of resolving conflict in different settings.

Such questions draw upon a wide range of existing disciplines including Psychology, Philosophy, Theology, History, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Literature, and Linguistics. Equally essential is that the field requires an active collaboration and dialogue between all of these elements. The goal is not just to combine existing scholarship, but to form a useful synthesis of such material with an eye toward improving the world around us.



The major requires students to take 11 courses as described below:

  • Introduction to Justice and Peace (JUPS-123) 
  • Nonviolence in Theory and Practice (JUPS-202)
  • Conflict Transformation (JUPS-271)
  • Research Methods in Justice and Peace (JUPS-299)
  • Senior Capstone (multiple options) approved by the program
  • Three (3) electives approved by the progam
  • Three (3) additional courses as part of a self-designed concentration, approved by the program 
  • Service Learning Requirement - Community-Based Learning (CBL) course or UNXD-130 Fourth Credit Option for Social Action 
  • Theories or Theologies of Justice and Peace course - taken concurrently as an elective course

The field of Justice and Peace Studies is defined by a commitment to promoting positive change through scholarship, pedagogy, service, and action.  Writing in the program runs the gamut from analysis to advocacy, requiring practitioners to possess a range of writing skills applicable in a variety of forums.  To this end, every JUPS course has substantial writing requirements included within its framework, in particular through the presence of reflective essays, critical reaction papers, advocacy pieces, policy statements, and/or thesis-driven articles.  In addition to the embedded aspects of substantial writing throughout our curriculum, there are specific points of contact where students in the program will cultivate the technical and substantive proficiency essential to success in the field.  By presenting a multiplicity of writing opportunities—from the creative and visionary to the analytical and policy-oriented—we strive to help students become effective communicators and strong writers in a wide range of contexts and settings.



The minor or certificate requires students to take Introduction to Justice and Peace (JUPS-123); Nonviolence in Theory and Practice (JUPS-202); Conflict Transformation (JUPS-271); and three electives. Students must also complete the CBL requirement. 

For more information on the Justice and Peace Studies program, see http://justiceandpeace.georgetown.edu/.

(For course listings for Justice and Peace, see http://courses.georgetown.edu.)