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, SFS, MSB, and NHS). 

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 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 informing 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 and Religious Studies, History, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Literature, and Linguistics. Equally essential is that the field requires 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.

Major in Justice and Peace Studies

To declare the JUPS Major, students should fill out the online form on the JUPS website. All students interested in the Major are required to have completed JUPS 1010 ( offered every semester and online in the summer) prior to declaration. 

Requirements for the A.B. in Justice and Peace Studies

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

  • JUPS-1010 Introduction to Justice and Peace 
  • JUPS-2010 Nonviolence in Theory and Practice 
  • JUPS-2030 Conflict Transformation 
  • JUPS-3040 Research Methods in Justice and Peace 
  • JUPS Senior Seminar: Fulfilled by taking three 1-credit JUPS courses in senior year
  • Six Electives courses – selected from JUPS offerings or JUPS designated cross-listed courses
  • Service Learning Requirement – Community-Based Learning (CBL) course or UNXD-1130 – can be taken concurrently as an elective course
  • Theories or Theologies of Justice and Peace course – taken concurrently as an elective course

Integrated Writing in the Justice and Peace Studies Major

The field of Justice and Peace Studies is defined by a commitment to promoting positive change through scholarship, research, 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, applied research, critical reaction papers, advocacy pieces, and policy statements.  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.

Minor in Justice and Peace Studies

Requirements for the Minor

The Justice and Peace Studies Program (JUPS) accepts applications for the Minor from sophomores in the COL, SFS, MSB, and NHS at the start of every spring semester. All applicants are required to fill out an application form on the JUPS website and complete JUPS 1010: Introduction to Justice and Peace Studies ( offered every semester and online in the summer) prior to declaration. Students are notified of their acceptance prior to the opening of the Fall registration.


  • JUPS-1010 Introduction to Justice and Peace
  • JUPS-2020 Nonviolence in Theory and Practice
  • JUPS-2030 Conflict Transformation
  • Three Electives courses- from JUPS offerings or JUPS designate cross listed courses
  • Service Learning Requirement-Community-Based Learning (CBL) course or UNXD-1130 can be taken concurrently as an elective course

For more information and an updated list of course offerings, see the Program on Justice and Peace website.