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Degree Overview:

Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies


Contents
Introduction What is conflict resolution? What are peace studies? Why a graduate degree in conflict resolution and/or peace studies? Who enters this program? Other names for a degree in this area Skills you can gain What about a certificate? What can you expect to find in program? General structure of programs Usual coursework and concentrations Graduation requirements Who gets this degree and what do they go on to do? Prior experience Career paths What should you know about admissions? Applying Financial aid Conclusion and further resources

About this document


This degree overview is part of a series developed for Idealist.orgs Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center, available as free PDFs at www.idealist.org/en/ psgerc/overviews.html. It is designed to give you a better understanding of an academic discipline and what you can expect if you decide to study this field. This overview was written by Amy Potthast and reviewed and edited by Idealist.orgs graduate education program staff and interns; for a complete list of contributors, please visit www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/about.html. If you read the PDF on screen, note that the blue text in the document is hyperlinked. Links are also spelled out in the text if you prefer to print the document. All links were active as of the documents creation in March 2010. Most but not all programs named in the text have attended Idealist Graduate Degree Fairs for the Public Good (idealist.org/gradfairs), and are intended to show a sampling of the diversity of study options in this field.

Introduction
Conflict resolution and peace studies are related multidisciplinary fields encompassing the practical and theoretical bases of mediation involving research, education, and skills-based training to help build conditions necessary for peace, constructive social change, and universal respect for human rights. Students learn how to analyze conflict and how to uncover the underpinnings of conflict situations. They gain skills to defuse and prevent conflict situations that arise among individuals, groups, and countries. People seeking conflict resolution and peace education can find these type of programs:

Certificate programs or adult learning programs in conflict resolution life skills Graduate certificate programs in conflict resolution M.S., M.A. in peace studies with some conflict resolution M.S., M.A., Ph.D. in conflict resolution Specializations within, and/or joint degrees with professional schools (law, international affairs, education, social work, business) Conflict resolution concentrations within other Ph.D., M.S., and M.A. programs

Conflict resolution and peace building can take on a variety of focal points, from working on international human rights throughout the world to creating healing relationships between

victim and offender in your own neighborhood. Therefore, as an academic field, conflict resolution and peace studies can focus on different aspects of conflict and peace, preparing you for different roles to play depending on the issue. Graduates of conflict resolution and peace studies programs can become activists, negotiators, mediators, teachers, and business executives, and focus on a wide range of issue areas including education, human rights, the environment, international affairs, law, and economic development.
What is conflict resolution?

Conflict resolution refers to strategies that eliminate the sources of the conflictand, optimally, that find the best outcome for all involved. To continue the example from above, through collaborative conflict resolution strategies, you and your boss may both realize that your need for recognition can be met in other ways. For example, granting you a more distinctive title, or offering you a new leadership role on your team. Your employer may be able to accommodate your need for higher income by offering better benefits such as tuition reimbursement, vision insurance, transit passes, etc. You may also decide to revisit the pay raise question once the organization is on better financial footing, say in another six monthsbefore your next annual review. Not all conflict resolution processes seek a win-win solution, however. Read on. Other terms used somewhat interchangeably with conflict resolution include dispute resolution, alternative dispute resolution, and external dispute resolution. Dispute resolution often refers to the processes ending conflict through a judicial process, i.e. one party filing a lawsuit against another. Litigation as a form of conflict resolution usually means that an impartial judge and jury will evaluate your case and determine the outcome. Unlike some conflict resolution methods, settling disputes through the court system does not always result in win-win situations. A lawsuit is often settled in favor of one side or the other. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (or external dispute resolution) refers to processes ending conflict outside the court system, often through a formal process involving the two parties in conflict having conversations with a neutral third party. ADR can be less expensive and quicker than litigation. Depending on the parties involved, ADR can also bring better outcomes that take into account diverse needs.
Processes and other terms

Conflict is defined as a serious or protracted disagreement between individuals or groups. The source of conflict is usually an unmet need of one or more of the parties involved in the disagreement. (A need could include anything from safe drinking water or a secure home, to protecting intellectual property rights or getting due respect for accomplishments.) Disagreements typically worsen when people identify a solution to the conflict that works for them but which doesnt take into consideration the needs of the opposing group. Often in conflict situations, opposing sides stick to their own solution or positionbecause they dont fully understand the needs of the other group, because they dont trust the other group, or out of pride. For example you may want a raise at work because you feel youve earned it through your dedication, long hours, and accomplishments. But your boss may resist because the organization cant afford it right now. What you may actually need is a sense that your employer really values your contributionsand a feeling of security that youll earn what you deserve in your next position, as well. (You also may need more money to pay your bills.) On the other hand, your employer needs to feel secure that the organization can afford payroll for all staff.

People who look at this degree also consider


Education Public interest law International affairs Economic development Community development Get overviews of some of these fields at www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/overviews.html

Conflict and dispute resolution rely on different processes: Arbitration: Two parties in dispute submit their cases to a neutral third party who reviews them both and decides how to resolve it. Although occurring outside the courts, its outcomes are legally binding (the decision is final)partially because the parties agree ahead of time to abide by the arbitrators opinion. Collaborative law: Two parties in dispute (often divorcing couples) and their lawyers hold meetings to work out a settlement
Degree Overview: Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies 2

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together, and agree ahead of time not to go to court. While many conflict resolution situations involve neutral third parties, collaborative law doesnt necessarilybut it does strive to account for the needs and priorities of both parties. Conciliation: Disputing parties take their issues to a neutral third party who meets with each party separately and helps them work towards an amicable solution by diffusing tension, opening up new options for resolution, and ultimately improving communication among the parties. The results of the conciliation process arent legally binding, and may involve sacrifice and compromise from each side in the conflict. Litigation: One party in a dispute, the plaintiff, sues the other party, or defendant in a civil (non-criminal) court of law. The plaintiff makes a case that theyve received damages by the defendant. A judge and/or jury decides the winner, and may decide on outcomes such as compelling the losing side to take a specific action to resolve the case including paying money. Mediation: Facilitated by a neutral third-party, the disputing parties enter into a dialogue that explores the sources of their conflict, their unmet needs, and solutions that can result in an equitable (win-win) outcome for all. The neutral third party the mediatordoesnt decide how to resolve the case. Sometimes mediation begins as litigationa judge may feel that disputing parties could resolve their issues more successfully through dialogue and order them to take part in mediation. Negotiation: Representatives of disputing parties (often called negotiators) meet to work with or against each other for their own position or pre-determined, desired outcome. Often formal negotiation proceedings take place between groups of people rather than individuals, and the list of tactics that negotiators may use is long and varied. Diplomacy: Negotiation among nations is called diplomacy and may take place over issues of peace-making, trade, war, economics, and culture. Ombudsmen processes: An organization or company hires someonean ombudsmanto respond to and represent constituent (or consumer) views and complaints. Using mediation techniques between the organization and constituents, and/or offering suggestions to the organization, the ombudsman attempts to address constituent concerns. The scope of conflict resolution studies includes learning about theories of conflict and various approaches to ending conflict and also may take into account practicing conflict resolution
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processes in specific settings, according to varying sets of rules or laws (i.e., laws and policies that govern school-based conflict may be very different from those that govern workplace conflict).
What are peace studies?

Closely related to resolving conflict, peace studies examine the prevention, de-escalation, and solution of conflicts by peaceful means. Often the work of peace building begins where the work of conflict resolution leaves offin post-conflict situations/ regions, peace workers (including international development workers and others) look to creating sustainable futures for affected communities, absent of violence. Peace studies sometimes distinguish between negative peace and positive peace processes. Negative peace refers to practices such as peacekeepingactivities that take place in a post-war situation like monitoring peace processes and helping former foes implement their peace agreements. Positive peace refers to peace building and peace making activitiesstrengthening societies so that structures and systems are in place to make violent conflict less likely. The scope of peace studies involves learning theories of conflict and processes of conflict resolution, but also incorporates countless other academic disciplines from psychology and sociology to economics and international relations.

Why a graduate degree in conflict resolution and/or peace studies?


According to the Masters Degree Program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at the University of Oregon (http://conflict. uoregon.edu/educational/), people are applying alternative dispute resolution approaches in a wide range of settings, from the workplace to public policy decision making, in community disputes, in schools, in international humanitarian and relief work, and within the courts and other sectors of legal practice. Increasingly, nonprofit, government, and business sector employers recognize the value of conflict management expertise and experience. In addition to the usual benefits of a masters degree education (network connections, credentials, training), a masters program in conflict resolution and peace studies can equip graduates with: New or enhanced marketable research and skills-based abilities Mastery of skills and expanded perspectives in conflict resolution: theoretical, practical, public policy, ethical and professional responsibility
Degree Overview: Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies 3

Graduates of conflict resolution and peace programs may go on to work in settings where conflict resolution skills are useful such as unions, religious organizations, court systems, schools, community centers, international relief and development organizations, and consulting firms that specialize in resolving conflicts.
Who enters a conflict resolution and peace studies program?

management, mediation, negotiation, and peace. Some specific names of the degrees that schools offer include: Master of Arts Dispute and Conflict Resolution Master of Arts Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies Master of Arts Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Master of Divinity with a Peace and Justice Emphasis Master of Laws in Litigation and Dispute Resolution Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Some sample joint degrees: Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Master of Arts in Teaching Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Masters of Theological Studies Master of Arts International Peace and Conflict Resolution and Masters of Business Administration Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts International Affairs with concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution Ph.D. International Relations with concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution
Skills you can gain

Like most graduate programs, professionals enter the field for a variety of reasons and with a range of backgrounds. Part-time programs like Teachers Colleges Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (http://ce.columbia.edu/Negotiation-and-Conflict-Resolution/Who-Should-Apply) may attract people like human resources professionals who are already responsible for solving conflicts in the workplace and who seek formal training to do their current jobs better. Some programs also attract people who have decided for a variety of reasons that theyd like to dedicate their careers to serving as mediators. Dispute resolution programs that are part of law schools, like the George Washington University Master of Laws in Litigation and Dispute Resolution (www.law.gwu.edu/Academics/FocusAreas/ litigadr/Pages/LLM.aspx), may attract practicing lawyers who want to increase their pre-trial advocacy skills in seeking alternative dispute resolution when two parties can come to a better outcome through negotiation and mediation out-of-court. Some schools, like University of San Diegos Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies (www.sandiego.edu/peacestudies/prospective/academic_programs.php), offer programs of varying lengths, depending on the amount of professional experience an applicant has had. People with three or more years of experience can apply to the schools year-long track; people with less experience apply to the schools 17-month track which includes an internship requirement. For examples of real people engaged in a Masters program in the field of peace studies and conflict resolution, check out the biographies of the class of 2010 at Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies: http://kroc.nd.edu/people/students/masters/2010
Other names for a degree in this area

In addition to a strong foundation in both practical and research skills, this degree will provide you with tools to analyze the roots of conflict and to understand how to prevent future conflict from arising. Some skills you can learn: Collaborative approaches to responding to conflict Functioning as a neutral third party in a conflict Thinking systematically and analytically about conflict Communicating well, especially cross-culturally Creating a safe environment for dialogue Facilitating agreement among diverse stakeholders in community-based settings Designing and implementing a research strategy and also writing up research findings Because conflict resolution is a fact of everyday life, the skills and strategies you learn over the course of your education can become life tools for promoting peace, collaboration, and dialogue at work and home.
Degree Overview: Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies 4

Like many professional degrees, a range of names exists. In general, programs use an array of related terms to describe the degrees components and focus areas, like arbitration, (alternative) dispute resolution, conflict resolution, conflict analysis, conflict
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What about a certificate?

online-conflict-resolution-certificate.html): Online Conflict Resolution Certificate Abilene Christian University graduate certificates in conflict resolution (www.acu.edu/catalog/2007_08/grad/graddegrees/ conflictres.html#Certificate-Conflict%20Res): Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution for Educators
Non-academic training in conflict resolution

A certificate in conflict resolution is one valuable alternative to a graduate degree depending on your learning objectives and your circumstances, such as how much time or money youd like to invest in further education. Certificate programs may be offered as post-graduate opportunities, or for graduate credit. The programs may last for a year, or only take a couple of weekends to complete. Certificate programs are offered in-person as well as online. Like most certificates, depending on the program, the credits you earn may stand alone for example, to demonstrate your commitment to gaining requisite skills for a jobor they may complement a graduate degree. According to the University of North Carolina at Greensboros post-graduate Online Conflict Resolution Certificate program (http://web.uncg.edu/dcl/icampus/degree/online-conflictresolution-certificate.html),
Conflict Resolution is a unique and dynamic field of study offering professional training for adults eager to expand their career opportunities. Conflict Resolution skills add a valuable and timely interpersonal dimension in the areas of independent mediation, community development, human resources management, social work, and business consulting, to name just a few.

Finally, if you are looking for training in a different setting, local mediation centers throughout the country often offer intensive professional development training in conflict resolution that can expose you to the basic principles of mediation and offer documentation you can use to demonstrate what youve learned. The practical skills you can gain in such a training should touch on the basic principles of what causes conflict, and how to find common ground in building win-win solutions. Community mediation training takes much less time than grad school (typically 24 to 40 hours of in-class learning and practice), and costs less moneybut also has less depth. As a result of the training, you may earn some kind of certification or other documentation of your achievement that you can refer to as needed on your resume/CV or in job interviews. Participating in such workshops also offers you a local network of people who are interested and/or engaged in conflict resolution. To find mediation centers near you, the easiest way may be to search the web for your location name (for example, the nearest city) and mediation center.
Learn more about the benefits of a certificate www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/certification.html Learn about the benefits of a joint-degree www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/jointdegrees.html

Some examples of conflict resolution certificates offered through graduate schools: George Mason University Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution certificate offerings (http://icar.gmu.edu/certificates.html): Certificate in Environmental Conflict Resolution and Collaboration Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Advanced Skills Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Collaborative Leadership in Community Planning Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution for Prevention, Reconstruction and Stabilization Contexts Certificate in World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution American University School of International Service peace studies certificate (www1.sis.american.edu/academics/graduatecertificates/cpb.htm): Certificate in Peacebuilding University of North Carolina at Greensboro conflict resolution certificate (http://web.uncg.edu/dcl/icampus/degree/
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What can you expect to find in a program?


Students who want to study conflict resolution and peace studies at an advanced level may choose from a great variety of program designs and offerings. In addition to certificate programs discussed above, masters degree programs can be full-time or part-time, and cohort-based (where you go to classes in lockstep with other students who started at the same time as you), or individually paced. Most masters degree programs offer interdisciplinary courseDegree Overview: Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies 5

work. Depending on the program you choose, the emphasis may be on: practice: practical skills for resolving disputes between two parties, and/or facilitating decision making among diverse community stakeholders research: research into the causes of conflict and violence.
General structure of programs

The psychology of bargaining What it means to be a third party in a conflict mediation setting

Both practice-based and research-based programs usually offer a foundation in conflict analysis, as well as an introduction to conflict resolution theories and ethics. Very often students must gain field experience (i.e. an internship or practicum) as part of their degree requirements. For example, during a five-month field experience at Notre Dame University Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (http://kroc.nd.edu/aboutus/peacestudies), masters students integrate peace building theory with practice in institutions and communities dealing with issues of peace and conflict, economic development, human rights, and justice. The conflict resolution field can include issues such as bullying or other school-based conflicts, conflict in marriages and families, conflict within an organization, violence prevention, mediation, negotiation, facilitation, restorative justice, nonviolent social change, international conflict resolution, and dispute systems design and evaluation. Importantly, the study of conflict resolution and peace also includes looking at the conditions that can sustain peace like human rights, physical and food security, access to clean drinking water, and education for all.
Professional versus research focused degree programs

Other programs are more research-focused, preparing you to study the causes of conflict and to create and test models for establishing peaceful outcomes in a variety of settings through best practice and policy. According to Notre Dame Universitys Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, peace scholars largely focus on contemporary issues, like terrorism, genocide, civil war, and religious and ethnic violence. Programs that establish new theories in the field often strive to apply their theories in real-life settings, as wellboth to test the theories and to contribute meaningfully to the world outside the classroom. Most programs emphasize bridging the gap between theory and practice, and strive to prepare graduate students to relate disciplinary and cross-disciplinary theories of conflict resolution and peace to real-world problem solving.
Read Going to grad school part-time to learn more about some pros and cons of part-time study www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/goingparttime.html

Usual coursework and concentrations

Graduate degree programs in conflict resolution and peace studies place a strong emphasis on conflict analysis and understanding the root causes of conflict in order to resolve disputes and prevent violence. Common core courses for conflict resolution programs cover the following topics: Conflict in different settings: Grad programs offer specialized courses that focus on conflicts that occur in distinct settings, such as schools and organizations. Conflict related to different issue areas: Other courses specialize in conflicts that arise in the context of issues such as the environment and human rights. Intercultural conflict resolution: Coursework explores the impact of cultural views and norms on the conflict resolution process and helps grad students take culture into account during conflict resolution processes. Negotiation and mediation skills and practice: Students learn how to play a neutral third party role, and work on skills involving conflict analysis, communication, creating a safe environment that enables disputing parties to trust the process and move away from their positions, and
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Among degrees that focus on conflict and peace studies, two main distinctions exist: those that concentrate on practical skills to prepare students for dispute resolution expertise, and those that focus on research skills to prepare students for academic and teaching roles. A program geared toward practical conflict resolution skills prepares you to directly help others (individuals, large and small groups, businesses, governments) settle disputes. Coursework may offer a foundation in: Traditional mediation Negotiation Adjudication Conflict resolution models and theories Ethical issues Cross-cultural competency The causes of conflict
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ensuring satisfaction in outcomes. Philosophy, theories, and ethics of conflict and conflict resolution: Readings and discussions explore sources of conflict according to different schools of thought, as well as responsible ways to deal with conflict as a neutral third party. Psychology of conflict resolution: Coursework examines how individuals experience and respond to conflict by taking a look at psychological research that undergirds conflict and conflict resolution theories and practices. Self-care for practitioners: Depending on the grad school, courses may explore the intersection of maintaining mindfulness and renewing spiritual grounding for people training to resolve conflicts and create sustainable peace. Theory and practice: Coursework introduces practices based on conflict and conflict resolution theories.
Read the benefits of working part-time while studying www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/goingparttime.html Read the challenges of working full-time while studying full-time www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/workstudyft.html

Who gets this degree and what do they go on to do?


Prior experience

Most graduate schools in conflict resolution and peace studies strongly recommend, and some require, professional experience and/or demonstrated interest in using conflict resolution skills or in the field of peacemaking. Since conflict can be found everywhere, you can build skills resolving disputes in any sector and in any job. Some grad students are motivated by a passion to end a specific conflict, while others are driven by an urge to increase their conflict management skillsbecause they are already engaged daily in conflict situations, possibly playing a role that puts them in a mediation role. Chana Kaunda, Elections Project Officer with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Zambia), who graduated in 2006 from Kennesaw State Universitys Master of Science in Conflict Management program says,
With the passion I have of helping victims as a result of natural causes around the world and knowing that I originate from a continent (Africa) that is flooded with wars, I felt the need to study conflict and peace studies in order to mitigate the effects of conflict and inculcate a culture of peace amongst my people. Further to this, I had a relative working in the foreign service in the late 90s who educated me on this degree known as conflict studies and encouraged me to undertake this while he consistently shared various papers presented by experts at symposia in Japan over conflict and peace in Africa.

Graduation requirements

Similar to other professional masters programs, in order to complete your degree, you may be required to complete a capstone project, culminating field experience, and/or thesis. A capstone project is a chance for you to apply skills and perspectives acquired in your courses to a current or developing problem in the community. Capstone projects often culminate in a written report and/or presentation and are sometimes team-based. A culminating field experience may or may not be part of your degree requirements. While internships are common options in a conflict resolution degree program, some schools require that students spend a minimum amount of time (a semester or longer) engaged in conflict resolution in the field in order to graduate. A masters paper or thesis involves writing about the research that youve conducted on a topic relevant to conflict resolution and peace studies and your area of interest. A masters paper may be a shorter piece of research, while a thesis is typically longer and worth more academic credit.

Julie Shedd, Associate Director for Administration at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, says,
For most of our students, conflict resolution is a field that they have found based on their personal, professional, or volunteer experiences. Successful students do not necessarily have a background in conflict resolution. What they have is life experience, whether personal experience or career experience, that has engaged them in thinking critically about what is going on in conflict around them and utilizing problem solving and communications skills to address those conflicts. Many of us do conflict resolution every day using our intuition about how the world works to guide us. What academic study in the field does is refine this common sense with theories and research that help us identify why what we are doing works or doesnt work. The academic program provides the knowledge to design processes that work
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more effectively and translate our skills from working with one kind of conflict to working in a variety of settings with different sizes of groups involved in conflict. For students considering education in conflict resolution reflection on the skills, abilities, and experiences the student already has is a very important part of the application process. Conflict resolution is a field of people who have a passion, and an applicant needs to be able to identify what their passion is and where in the experiences or education it comes from.
Read Setting yourself up for success: Things you can do while youre an undergrad www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/settingyourselfup.html

Prior work experience in any sector will help define your professional interest and goals before entering into a graduate program, affecting how you approach your studies from the classes you take to, types of learning opportunities you look for both in and out of class, and ultimately help you get the most return on investment in your education. If you have not worked professionally using conflict resolution skills and/or in the field of peacemaking, some ways to gain significant experience and insight into issues unique to public service work include: Participating in a national service program such as such as AmeriCorps. Full-time service is a good way to develop professional skills while gaining experience in nonprofits and/ or working with local government. The conflict resolution skills you gain may be from working with key stakeholders in your community to make decisions that satisfy everyone, or they may be from learning how to handle your own conflicts among your team of AmeriCorps members or at your placement site. You can search AmeriCorps opportunities by positions that allow you to use conflict resolution skills (the positions with a star next to them are currently open for applications) at www.americorps.gov. Participating in an international service program like Peace Corps (www.peacecorps.gov) or Atlas Corps (www.atlascorps.org). Long term international service regardless of your professional role overseasallows you to spend significant time in another culture, and develop a deeper understanding of how people can develop very different perceptions of the exact same situation based on values, cultural norms, and past experience. International experience also helps you understand your role as a thirdparty player in a conflict resolution setting, where you must listen and elicit ideas from those in conflict rather than advisesimply because advice thats appropriate in your home culture may be out of line in your host culture.
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Sitting on the board of a nonprofit or local government agency is an opportunity for professionals from any sector to learn to problem-solve in a group, facilitate group discussion, and build consensus in decision makingall great practice for a conflict resolution degree. Be aware that many boards may expect their members to contribute money to the organization. Make sure you know what the minimum expected contribution is, as well as the legal obligations of board service. Volunteering your skills for special projects with nonprofits or local government is another way to explore conflict resolution work, e.g., volunteer or intern with a local mediation center to learn about community issues that can be resolved through the process of alternative (out of court and nonviolent) dispute resolution.
Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers. Choose your preferred version and read Chapter Five (Become a stronger candidate) www.idealist.org/careerguide Learn more about service programs and their benefits www.idealist.org/service Learn more about volunteering www.idealist.org/volunteer Find volunteer opportunities www.idealist.org/if/as/vol Learn more about volunteering as a board member www.idealist.org/if/i/en/faqcat/3-1 Read our series of articles offering tips on how to prepare for grad school www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/preparing.html

Career paths

Graduates of conflict resolution and peace programs may go onto work in settings where conflict resolution skills are useful such as: Unions, as negotiators Religious organizations, as community builders or individual and family counselors Court systems, as facilitators of alternative dispute resolution Schools, as counselors and teachers Community centers, as organizers and mediators International relief and development organizations, as diplomats and/or liaisons to host countries Consulting firms, as experts in conflict resolution hired to tackle or advise on projects Nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses as human resources staff, policy advocates, ombudsmen, and community relations leaders.

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And they play roles such as: Playing a neutral third-party in conflict resolution processes including mediating, arbitrating, and negotiating Teaching people at all age and grade levels Environmental consulting Providing legal assistance for the poor Serving as government diplomats and advisors Running nonprofits and government agencies Researching and writing policy recommendations for think-tanks Community organizing for urban planning issues like economic development and affordable housing Because conflict exists everywhere that humans do, one approach to thinking about careers in conflict resolution is to be entrepreneurial. According to Rob Scott, a 1990 graduate of George Mason Univeritys Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution (ICAR),
Conflict resolution is a great field with expanding opportunities every year. But its still a developing field and the advice I was given when I started at ICAR in 1984 still applies: Youve got to have an entrepreneurial and creative approach to finding and creating post-graduate employment opportunitiesyouve got to be willing to create a new job, develop a new program to fill an unmet need, redefine your existing job to bring conflict resolution in as part of what your organization is already doing, get together with your classmates to build a new organization as well as networking with alumni and others to find traditional conflict resolution jobs.

Health-related Ombudsman For-profit business Under the direction of the Director, Consumer Affairs, identifies, evaluates and resolves patient grievances/problems in order to support and maintain the highest quality patient standards set by Authority X and ensure compliance to these standards. Role model for diplomacy and customer service. Provides ongoing training and support to Ombudsmen staff; participates regularly in agency-wide Ombudsman/patient representative initiatives. Provides support and training to agency departments and family health centers as requested. Collaborates with Office of General Counsel in program development. Represents the Ombudsman Department throughout the state and nationally. Requirements: Bachelors Degree in communications, psychology, sociology or related field. Broad, general knowledge of Foundation, i.e. polices, procedures, personnel, organizational structure, etc. required. Understanding of administrative management to include analysis and assessment of systems, staffing, data management, and supervision. Role model for diplomacy. Ability to effectively develop programs to increase patient satisfaction and decrease litigation. Ability to develop assumptions about consumer dissatisfaction, forecast events pertaining to same and define courses of proactive action. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Excellent analytical and problem solving skills. Working knowledge of personal computers. Must have superior customer service skills. Minimum five years extensive public relations experience preferably in an Ombudsman capacity in an interdisciplinary patient care setting. Franklin Fellows Program

Furthermore, for some conflict and peace studies grads, the next step after the masters degree is the Ph.D. According to Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies:
Approximately half of the Institutes graduates continue their graduate education in doctoral or professional programs, either in their home countries or in the U.S. Some return to jobs they had before Notre Dame, bringing new perspectives, while others find or develop work opportunities in new areas.

U.S. federal government program The Franklin Fellows Program is open to mid/upper-level professionals from both private-sector and non-profit entities (including NGOs, academia, foundations, associations and others). Such professionals must be U.S. citizens and be able to obtain a security clearance. The clearance will be processed prior to the start of the Fellowship. The Department will make the final selection and placement of Fellows but will take into account suggestions from the nominating / funding entity. This program is NOT open to current U.S. Government employees. The Department welcomes professionals with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences. There is no fixed percentage of nominees from any particular sector, but the Department seeks a good mix of candidates from both private and non-profit sectors. The Fellows will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the strengthening of policy formulation and programs within the Department of State. Further, Fellows may work with other

Here are a few sample job postings for conflict resolution positions at a nonprofit, a government organization and a forprofit found at Idealist.org and on the web. A conflict resolution and peace studies graduate degree would help prepare you for the following responsibilities and duties (italics added for emphasis):

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government entities, such as the Congress, White House, the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Homeland Security and other Executive Branch agencies, depending on their duties. At the same time, Fellows will enhance their own knowledge of government and global issues. Fellows will gain valuable professional experience and enrich their nominating organizations and communities upon their return. Program Details: Fellows will be matched with State Department bureaus and offices that can utilize their expertise. The expected duration of the Fellowship will be approximately one year, with a possible one-year extension. Fellows must recuse themselves from matters that might directly and predictably affect the financial interests of their employers and must comply with other federal ethics regulations. Applicants must submit a financial disclosure form and receive an ethics clearance, prior to serving.

Incumbent should be detail oriented and well organized, assertively following and bringing activities to closure. A high level of personal energy and positive attitude are essential. Strong writing and communication skills and competence with computer applications are musts. Experience working with conflicts in Africa and the Middle East is preferred. Familiarity with NGOs and project-based fundraising is advantageous. Foreign language skills are preferable. Explore nonprofit careers in our Nonprofit Career Center www.idealist.org/career

What should you know about admissions?


Applying

The Department of State will cover costs associated with the security investigation and clearance, as well as transportation and per diem necessary for official travel, once the Fellow begins service. Assistant director with a conflict resolution program International NGO The X Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. The Assistant Directors (2 open positions) will assist the Director of Conflict Resolution Program and the Vice President of Peace Programs in designing, implementing and evaluating the programs mission and strategy. Designs, implements and coordinates activities of the Conflict Resolution Program, including projects, conferences, field missions, and other daily activities. Tasks include project development, implementation, and management; grant development; budget planning; program promotion; report production; networking and negotiating. Incumbent provides staff support and/or leadership in short-term trips to countries of potential programmatic interest. Incumbents may supervise staff, interns, and volunteers. The successful candidates will have a Postgraduate degree in

Similar to other professional masters degree programs, conflict resolution and peace studies programs are looking for a track record of academic talent as well as rich professional and personal experiences that can inform your understanding of conflict, culture, communication, and other relevant fields. Your application may require: That you clearly establish your academic and professional preparation for the programthrough your essay(s) and resume. An application form (often online these days)the school or department may have a separate application from the grad school or university as a whole Official transcripts of your undergraduate degree (for admission to a masters program), and possibly of masters degree (for admission to a Ph.D. program). Most schools want to see transcripts of all your past academic work, even prior, interrupted graduate level studies. Your school may ask for more than one copy of your transcript(s). Official test scoresusually the GRE or Millers Analogies Test; TOEFL, too if you are a non-native English speaker applying to a school in the United States. Some programs may not require standardized test scores; programs that do require them may or may not have minimum test score requirements in order to admit an applicant. A sharply written and well-edited essay and/or lengthier academic writing samplecommunication is often key both to conflict resolution processes as well as for highlevel academic success. Youll want to demonstrate your capacity for communicating clearly through your writing. Letters of recommendationoften from a combination of
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conflict resolution, international relations, area studies, international law, or related fields and five years of experience in international conflict resolution, preferably in the field, including negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and program design. Idealist.org Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center (idealist.org/psgerc)

professional and academic references. The school may offer your references specific instructions. If not, in addition to evaluating your potential for success in grad school, ask references to speak to your diplomatic qualities, your ability to see multiple sides of an issue, your experience working with people from diverse cultures, and your communication and facilitation skills. Depending on your school, an interview with someone on the admissions committee. An application fee.

Of course it would be great to find that free ride (and its possible that you will). But even a full-tuition waiver youd get from a graduate assistantship may not cover books, fees, transportation, entertainment, food and lodging, so other sources of income will be helpful. Note that some scholarship opportunities arent attached to your field of study, but to your own identity. For example, you may find funding opportunities that are open to you because of your religious affiliation, race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, home state, or some other characteristic. In the financial aid section of your target schools website, you may find sources of internal funding (open to the students enrolling in your grad program) and sources of external funding (open to grad students of any program who fit eligibility requirements). Some tips for navigating these options: Look both at your school or departments site, and at the more general university or graduate school sitetheir financial aid resources may differ. Its also worth it to browse the websites of other grad schools in conflict and peace studies, which may feature their own lists of external funding opportunities that you could apply for. Some students continue working professionally in a related field during graduate students. One anonymous survey respondent, who is alumnus of a conflict resolution Ph.D. program, says, I had many reasons for continuing to work while going to graduate school including: I enjoyed my job and did not want to give it up; there was potential cross-fertilization between my work and studies; I had a good income that I did not want to lose; my employer was willing to provide flexibility on scheduling my work and some funding. Benefits included: I have no student loan debt; I was eventually able to move to a new position that is very related to my degrees; I was able to bring my work experience to my education and vice-versa. Challenges included: my graduate school experience was mostly related to the coursework with limited time for extra-curricular activities; it took much longer to complete graduate school; and I had much less time for other things in life beyond work and school. Idealists Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center (idealist.org/psgerc) offers articles on graduate assistantships, other on-campus jobs, and the skinny on different types of student loans. A couple articles look at working full-time or parttime while going to schoolboth of which offer financial and other benefits (and challenges).
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Additionally, schools vary in the way they expect to receive the materials! A target school may require you to submit some parts of your application online, and other parts in hard copy in one large packet via the mail system. You may have to collect your recommendation letters and submit them altogether, or you may have to instruct your recommenders to send letters to you. Furthermore, you may mail some items to the department or school youre applying to, and other items to a central graduate admissions office for a large university. Make sure you are clear on the instructionssome schools offer application checklists to make your job (slightly) easier. Whatever you do, follow the instructions and stay organized. Your target schools should offer you explicit application instructions. If you are confused about what the admissions committee is expecting and/or have other questions not posted online, its a great idea to call the admissions or departmental office and ask. It also might help to keep a spreadsheet of requirements if youre applying to several programs at once so you can track whats still due, and whats been submitted.
Read our series of articles offering practical advice on applying to grad school www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/applying.html Read our series of articles offering tips on how to prepare for grad school www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/preparing.html

Financial aid

As with any degree, its crucial to: Start looking for financial aid at the same time you start looking for schools. Youll give yourself a leg up if you start both processes early. Look for diverse funding sources, including loans, grants, scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, and part-time or full-time workrather than holding out for a single scholarship that will cover all of your costs.

Idealist.org Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center (idealist.org/psgerc)

Learn more about funding your graduate education www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/financing.html Read our series of articles offering tips on how to prepare for grad school, including discussions of working while studying www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/preparing.html Read our series of articles about the variety of graduate study options, including part-time study www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/studyoptions.html

Conflict resolution and peace studies quick links


These links provide useful further reading on this degree area.
The Association for Conflict Resolution www.acrnet.org Global Directory of Peace Programs www.peacejusticestudies.org/globaldirectory/ Listing of peace and CR journals www.peacejusticestudies.org/membership/journals.php Kroc Institute free downloadable courses http://ocw.nd.edu/peace-studies Teachers College ICCR list of must-read books on conflict resolution

Conclusion and further resources


A graduate degree in conflict resolution and peace studies will give you the theoretical and practical skills necessary to both analyze and understand conflicts as well as to effectively mediate and create situations of lasting peace. The growing field of conflict resolution and peace studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to conflict mediation and counseling, preparing graduates for careers in a number of different areas. Depending on your focus, you will be able to use your certificate or degree in education and counseling settings, organizational and business settings, and international settings.

www.tc.columbia.edu/icccr/index.asp?Id=ICCCR+Opportunities +and+Resources&Info=Resources+for+Students#Books

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Education Public interest law International affairs Economic development Community development Get overviews of some of these fields at www.idealist.org/en/psgerc/overviews.html

Idealist.org Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center (idealist.org/psgerc)

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