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Peace Studies

College of Social Sciences/Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Saunders Hall 523 and 723
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-6433
MIPCR Fax: (808) 956-9121
Email: uhip@hawaii.edu
Web: www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*C. Petersen, JD (Director, Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution)—international human rights, equality and non-discrimination, women and the law
*B. Barnes, JD, LLM (Chair, Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution)—conflict resolution
*B. Hallett, PhD—peace studies

Cooperating Faculty

*I. Aoude, PhD—ethnic studies
*J. Barkai, JD—law
*K. Bennett, MSW, JD—social work
*J. Campos, PhD—political science, terrorism studies
*R. Chadwick, PhD—political science
*D. Chandler, PhD—sociology, conflict resolution
*S. Chandler, PhD—public policy/child welfare
*M. Coffman, PhD—environmental economics, planning
*D. Foley, PhD—deliberative dialogs, conflict resolution
*A. Hubbard, PhD—conflict and relational management
*M. Jones, PhD—physics
*G. Kent, PhD—political science
*K. Lowry, PhD—ADR, coastal management, community planning
*L. Minerbi, PhD—urban and regional planning
*R. Robinson, PhD—management
L. Ruby, PhD—art
*W. Sharkey, PhD—conflict and relational management
M. Soetero-Ng, PhD—teacher education, peace studies
*L. Sponsel, PhD—anthropology
*C. Stephenson, PhD—political science

Degree and Certificates Offered: Certificate in Peace Studies, BA in interdisciplinary studies (peace and conflict studies), Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution

The Academic Program

The Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution is a multi-disciplinary academic community of scholars, students, practitioners, and visitors, who, through teaching, research, service, and application, seek to groom future leaders and professionals in applied peacemaking and conflict resolution. A goal of the institute is to empower students to better address contemporary problems within Hawai'i, the Asia-Pacific region, U.S., and the world.

The institute was established to carry out the vision of U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga that "every student enrolled in Hawai'i's public university system will be exposed to peace studies." The institute is committed to building on Hawai'i's cultural heritage and island values: aloha, mutual aid and respect, sense of community, and caring for the land, to promote cross-cultural communication and peacemaking leadership.

Peace and conflict resolution is a dynamic field, one that is increasingly relevant to our graduates' professional careers and to other fields of academic inquiry. Students from all colleges in UH Manoa may enroll in Peace and Conflict Education (PACE) courses, either as an intellectual endeavor or to enhance their personal and professional skills. We believe that students who understand the causes of conflict and the methods for resolving conflicts will be better equipped for a wide range of careers, including, but not limited to, positions in education, law, dispute resolution, human resource management, industrial relations, government, foreign service, security, urban and regional planning, sociology, and social work.

For students who wish to obtain an academic qualification in peace and conflict resolution, the institute offers three programs:

  1. The Peace and Conflict Resolution major for undergraduates (a flexible inter-disciplinary program offered in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Studies BA program).
  2. The Certificate in Peace Studies (open to undergraduate students and equivalent to a "minor").
  3. The Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution (open to graduate students seeking the certificate only or concurrently with another graduate-level degree program).

Inherently interdisciplinary and international in perspective, these programs encourage critical thinking and further the university's mission to expand leadership in international affairs and advance stable, peaceful, prosperous, and democratic relations in the region. The institute has also built a reputation for leadership in dispute resolution and facilitation of community dialogues on controversial issues. The requirements for the degree programs are set forth below.

Undergraduate Study

Bachelor’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution

In collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Studies program, the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution offers a flexible, self-designed BA in peace and conflict resolution. With the exception of three required courses, students are free to design an academic program that is appropriate for their interests, needs, and goals. Students work closely with faculty advisors from the Matsunaga Institute and Interdisciplinary Studies to develop a coherent, multidisciplinary course of study. This gives students the flexibility to concentrate on a special area of interest or to take a broader approach to peace and conflict studies. Additional information is available at www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu and from Interdisciplinary Studies in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.


  • PACE 310 Survey Peace and Conflict Studies (3)
  • Either PACE 429 Negotiation (3) or PACE 447 Mediation Skills: UH Basic (3)
  • PACE 495 Practicum and Internship (or a faculty approved substitute) (3)

The remaining credit hours, to meet the major's minimum requirement of 36 credit hours, can be drawn from courses offered by the Matsunaga Institute (designated as PACE courses) as well as courses offered by other departments. Although a list of suggested electives is set forth below, students may also propose other courses, provided that they can achieve a coherent program of study that meets the requirements of the Interdisciplinary Studies program. An overall GPA of 2.5, with no grade below a C, is required in the major course work.

Certificate in Peace Studies

The Certificate in Peace Studies (15 credit hours), which is equivalent to a minor, equips students with the fundamentals of peace and conflict studies, allowing them to broaden the reach of their major with insights from this multidisciplinary field. The certificate gives students a greater awareness of what can be done to remedy the social injustices of our times and to manage and resolve conflict, skills that are highly valued by employers in a wide range of professional fields.

To receive a Certificate in Peace Studies, students are required to take PACE 310, 429 or 447, and 495 (or a faculty approved substitute) and six additional credit hours selected in consultation with the student's certificate advisor. A GPA of 2.5, with no grade below a C, is required in certificate courses.

Suggested optional courses for the major in Peace and Conflict Resolution and for the Certificate in Peace Studies include:

  • PACE 247 Survey of Conflict Management
  • PACE 315 Personal Peace: Stories of Hope
  • PACE 345/ANTH 345 Aggression, War, and Peace
  • PACE 373/POLS 396 Nonviolent Political Alternatives
  • PACE 399 Directed Reading
  • PACE 410 History of Peace Movements
  • PACE 412 Gandhi, King, and Nonviolence
  • PACE 413 Terrorism
  • PACE 420 Introduction to Human Rights
  • PACE 477 Culture and Conflict Resolution
  • PACE 478 International Law and Disputes
  • PACE 485* Topics in Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • PACE 489 Hiroshima and Peace (summer only)
  • ANTH 423 Social and Cultural Change
  • BIOL 310 Environmental Issues
  • COM 340 Intercultural Communication
  • COMG 455 Conflict Management
  • ECON 414 Global Economic Crisis and Recovery
  • FAMR 350 Leadership and Group Process
  • GEOG 435 Political Geography of Oceans
  • GEOG 436 Geography of Peace and War
  • POLS 201 Problems of War and Peace
  • POLS 319 International Organization
  • POLS 375 Constitutional Law I: Institutional Power
  • POLS 394 Democracy in Organizations
  • SOC 433 Analysis in Law and Social Change
  • SOC 446/WS 446 Gender Violence Over the Lifecycle
  • WS 304 Women, War, and the Military

*There may be more than one section of this course offered, each focusing on different specialized topics in the field. Examples include Protest Under Occupation, Indigenous Peacemaking, and Advocating for Children: Rights and Welfare. The course is repeatable one time.

Graduate Study

Certificate in Conflict Resolution

The Certificate in Conflict Resolution allows students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in another area to become acquainted with conflict resolution theory, practice, and activities. It is also available to students seeking the certificate only and considers unclassified students, as well as degree students, for admission. Students enrolled in public administration, education, law, urban and regional planning, political science, sociology, anthropology, geography, health, social work, human resource management, environmental science, and psychology are part of the program, along with professionals in the community. Students are encouraged to use the certificate program to increase their competence in conflict resolution as it relates to their major area of study. The Certificate in Conflict Resolution introduces students to the fundamentals of conflict resolution; mediation systems; dynamics for group conflict; skills for organizing and leading group deliberations and dialogues; and culturally appropriate dispute resolution.

Students are required to complete at least fifteen (15) credits from the approved course list. Each student will be assigned a temporary advisor upon acceptance into the program, with the option of making an alternate choice at a later time. Toward the end of the course of study students will complete a "capstone" paper under the supervision of their advisor, which is intended to integrate their academic and practical experiences in the certificate. Each student will also successfully complete a "skills assessment" before the certificate is awarded.

The graduate certificate in conflict resolution is available to students seeking the certificate only or concurrently with a JD or an MA, MPA, MSc, PhD, or professional degree. International students must have a 600 (paper), 250 (computer), and 100 (internet) TOEFL score to be admitted.

The approved list of certificate courses is divided into "core" and "elective" courses. Students are required to complete at least six credits from the list of core courses. Courses are multi-disciplinary in nature. The areas include negotiation, mediation, facilitation, culture and conflict resolution, international disputing/international law, ADR systems design, conflict resolution for educators, political science, and communicology. Up to two classes at the 400-level may be counted toward the certificate, subject to advisor approval. See the website at www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu or contact the program office for a complete list of courses.

The capstone paper will reflect knowledge of conflict theory and analysis and the application of resolution processes. A practicum, PACE 695, is offered as an elective with variable credits and is repeatable once up to 3 credits. The precise form is to be determined in consultation with the advisor. Practicum guidelines are available in the office or can be obtained from an advisor. Specific information about the required and elective courses, including the graduate certificate brochure, can be found on our website.

Upon completion of the core courses, students are expected to demonstrate their skills in facilitation, negotiation, mediation, or process design. The demonstration may be either an actual intervention or a simulated mediation or other problem-solving process organized by faculty. Skill outcome areas will be observed and assessed, including: ability to develop and maintain a collaborative atmosphere and approach; ability to use communication skills such as appropriate questions, summarization, active listening, and re-framing, where appropriate; ability to clarify, analyze, frame, track, and link appropriate issues; ability to identify and use objective criteria in evaluating dispute resolution proposals; ability to use interest-based negotiation principles effectively; and ability to develop and test dispute resolution options using interests and criteria.

Successful completion of the program leads to a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution. Consideration for admission to the certificate program requires filing of an application form available from the department and the Graduate Division, and a supplemental program application that can be found online at www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu.

PACE Courses