Peace Studies


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Peace Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is an interdisciplinary inquiry into the conditions that promote social justice and the non-violent resolution of conflict in relations among individuals, groups, and societies. It combines philosophical inquiry, historical knowledge, critical analysis of contemporary social conditions, experiential learning, and a deep commitment to educating and empowering students for citizenship in a world of greater peace, equity, and social justice. Our objective for the minor in Peace Studies is to prepare students to speak and act in their lives out of deep commitment to creating conditions of social equity and respect for others.

The peace studies program offers an interdisciplinary minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in peace studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 7 courses

  • One foundation course: PCST 201 Teaching Peace or WMST 372 Peace.
  • Two core courses: one from Group A and one from Group B. Group A courses provide a theoretical foundation for the study of peace, justice, and conflict. Group B courses provide close observation and experiential learning relevant to the peacemaker role and/or meaningfully incorporate a substantial community service requirement. In the case of the latter, the program faculty adviser must approve the content of the community service component as appropriate to the minor.
  • Two electives from Group 1 or 2: Courses in Group 1 provide a substantive foundation in the study of peace and justice; courses in Group 2 provide a substantive foundation in the study of peace and conflict.
  • Two one-half unit supervised community service practica or one supervised full credit internship (PCST 399): ordinarily a full credit practicum represents a minimum of 150 hours (75 hours for one-half credit) of community service, internship placement, or other experiential learning, approved by the student’s program adviser and documented by a weekly reflective journal and final report.
  • Senior Independent Project (PCST 450): Enacting Peace: A self-initiated project that enacts in some way a peacemaker role under the supervision of a Peace Studies program faculty adviser. Projects may include creative works and performance and include summer projects judged of equivalent sustained commitment by the student’s Senior
    Practicum adviser. Note: Additional information regarding program requirements is available from program faculty.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with the tools they need for citizenship in a world of greater peace.

Below is a sampling of some of our classes, as well as suggestions for making peace studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

PCST 201 Teaching Peace


Explore the effort of activists in peace work through their writings, interviews, and possibly by working alongside of them. Learn how to practice negotiation, arbitration, conflict transformation, and recognize the legitimacy of anger in this service-learning course, while peace building in the Geneva community. Further explore love, kindness and compassion by enrolling in ASN 225 Tibetan Buddhism.

HIST 285 The Middle East: Roots of Conflict


Examine the historical, social, and ideological roots of conflict in the Middle East and the prospects for a durable peace and sustained development in the region. Delve into the complex and changing relations among Arabs and between Arabs and Israelis, as well as the Egyptian and Iranian revolutions, Lebanese sectarianism, Kurdish quest for statehood, the politics of oil and water, secularism, and the challenges of religious fundamentalism. Next, discuss whether or not war is ever morally justified by taking PHIL 155 Morality and War.

SOC 290 Sociology of Community Peace


Examine the concept of community as it has been applied to kinship groups, neighborhoods, and rural and urban settlements. Also, sharpen your analytic and conceptual abilities, and investigate historical and contemporary utopian and intentional communities. Delve further into this topic by enrolling in HIST 272 Nazi Germany.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.