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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

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Undergraduate Programs

Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences


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
*M. Soetero-Ng, PhD—teacher education, peace studies

Cooperating Faculty

*I. Aoude, PhD—ethnic studies
*J. Barkai, JD—law
K. Bennett, JD, MSW—child welfare policy and law, mediation, family and divorce law
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
*K. Lowry, PhD (Emeritus)—ADR, coastal management, community planning
L. Minerbi, PhD—urban and regional planning
A. Rieser, LLM—geography, law, marine conservation
*R. Robinson, PhD—management
*W. Sharkey, PhD—conflict and relational management
*L. Sponsel, PhD (Emeritus)—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 Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars, students, and practitioners who through academic programs and outreach promote cross-cultural understanding and collaborative problem-solving. Residing within the Public Policy Center (PPC), the institute emphasizes critical thinking and collaboration to groom future leaders to address contemporary and complex issues in Hawai‘i, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world.

Peace Studies broadens students’ perspectives and strengthens critical thinking on issues of war and peace, justice and human rights, and governance. Conflict resolution processes such as facilitation, mediation, and negotiation are necessary in organizational, community, and civic relations, and build important interpersonal skills that are vital to good leadership. Students develop a theoretical foundation to advance scholarship in peace studies, including human rights and advocacy, leadership and governance, policy analysis, and communications, while they learn and hone practical conflict management skills to develop as professionals in their chosen field.

Students may enroll in Peace and Conflict Education (PACE) courses, either as an intellectual endeavor or to enhance personal and professional skills. Students who understand the causes of conflict and the methods for resolving conflicts will be better equipped for a wide range of careers in the fields of education, law, human resource management, industrial relations, government, foreign service, security, urban and regional planning, sociology, and social work, to name a few.

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”); and
  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 perspectives; the institute is committed to building on Hawai‘i’s cultural heritage and island values of aloha, mutual aid and respect, and sense of community. The institute is dedicated to honoring the memory of U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga and implementing his hope that; “every student enrolled in Hawai‘i’s public university system will be exposed to peace studies.”

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, student designed BA in Peace and Conflict Resolution (36 credit hours).

The core of the program consists of three courses that are meant to give students the basic skills and knowledge of conflict resolution and the opportunity to put these skills into practice. Students are then free to design an academic program that aligns with 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 specific 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 Office of Undergraduate Education.


  • 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) is equivalent to a minor. The certificate exposes students to the fundamentals of peace and conflict resolution while they learn methods to remedy social injustice and manage and resolve conflict. These skills are highly valued by employers in a wide range of professional fields, making the certificate a valuable complement to many popular majors. Students enrolled in a degree-granting program may obtain the Certificate in Peace Studies. Some students may wish to focus primarily on peace studies as a personal, intellectual endeavor. Others may seek a career in an area relevant to peace studies and will use the certificate to enhance their credentials and expertise.

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 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 430 Leadership for Social Change
  • PACE 468 Introduction to Facilitating Organizational Change
  • 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 319 International Organization
  • POLS 375 Constitutional Law I: Institutional Power
  • POLS 394 Co-ops, Communes, Collectives
  • SOC 433 Analysis in Law and Social Change
  • SOC 446/WS 446 Gender Violence Over the Lifecycle
  • WS 304 Women, War, and the Military

Options for Introductory Courses

  • PACE 247 Survey of Conflict Management
  • POLS 201 Problems of War and Peace

*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 Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution (GCCR) allows students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in another area to become acquainted with conflict resolution theory, practice, and activities. Students learn the fundamentals of conflict resolution including conflict dynamics, dispute resolution systems, deliberative dialogue, and culturally appropriate dispute resolution processes. The program offers basic and advanced courses to develop and practice foundational skills such as negotiation, facilitation, and mediation.

Students are encouraged to use the certificate program to increase their competence in conflict resolution as it relates to their major area of study. It is a compliment to many degrees and can be earned concurrently with a JD, MA, MPA, MS, PhD, MEd, MBA, or MSW. It is also available to students seeking the certificate only. Unclassified students, as well as degree students, are considered for admission.

The certificate attracts 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, along with working professionals in the community.

Students are required to complete fifteen (15) credits from the approved course list, which is divided into core skills and elective courses. Students must complete at least two skills courses from the list of core and three from the list of electives.

The program is multi-disciplinary in nature. The following list shows examples and is not a comprehensive list of courses that can be approved for the certificate program.

Core Course Selection (6 credits minimum)

  • LAW 508 Negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (2)*
  • PACE/PLAN 629 Advanced Negotiation (3)
  • PACE 640/EDCS 640K Seminar: Social Studies (3)
  • PACE 647 Mediation: Theory and Practice (3)
  • PACE 660 Family Mediation (3)*
  • PACE 668 Facilitation: Facilitating Community and Organizational Change (3)
  • PLAN 627 Negotiation & Mediation Planning (3)
  • PLAN 661 Collaboration Between Sectors (3)


  • LAW 529 Peacemaking (3)*
  • LAW 547/WS 647 Gender and Law (3)*
  • LAW 590 Mediation Clinic (variable 1- 3)*
  • MGT 660 Negotiation (3)
  • PACE/EDCS 640K Seminar in Social Studies (3)
  • PACE 650 Dispute Resolution System Design (3)
  • PACE 652/EDEA 652 Conflict Management for Educators (3)
  • PACE 690 Topics: Conflict Theory (3)
  • PACE 695 Conflict Resolution Practicum (variable 1-3)
  • POLS 633 International Conflict Resolution (3)
  • POLS 635 (B) International Relations and War (3)
  • POLS 635(E) International Organization (3)
  • SOC 730 Conflict Analysis/Resolution (3)
  • PACE/COMG/SOC/PLAN 699 Directed Reading/Research (variable 1-3)

*May be counted toward the certificate, subject to approval of an advisor and the Office of Graduate Education.

Up to two classes at the 400-level may also be counted toward the certificate, subject to advisor approval. The following 400-level courses can be considered for approval by an advisor:

  • PACE 420 Introduction to Human Rights: International and Comparative Perspectives
  • PACE 429 Negotiation (3)
  • PACE 447 Mediation Skills (3)
  • PACE 477 Culture & Conflict Resolution (3)
  • PACE 478 International Law and Disputes (3)
  • COMG 455 Conflict Management (3)

Skills Assessment

Students earning the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution will also be required to pass a skills test showing their understanding and mastery of skills acquired in mediation, negotiation, or facilitation. The skills assessment will be coordinated with the student's advisor. Criteria used to evaluate skills proficiency vary according to the focus of the student and are designed to evaluate either mediation, negotiation, or facilitation skills.

Capstone Paper

Graduate certificate students are required to submit a capstone paper as their culminating project in the graduate certificate program. The capstone paper will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. The final version of the paper should be submitted to the paper supervisor for assessment no later than two weeks before the end of the semester in which the student hopes to graduate. The graduate certificate program is complete pending the acceptance of the capstone paper from their advisor. Students can choose between the following two types of capstone papers:

A Type-One Capstone Paper should reflect on the Student Learning Outcomes for the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution (which are summarized in this paragraph) and the ways in which the student has attained these learning outcomes though the curriculum. In particular, the capstone paper should review the courses taken and the extent to which the student has gained an understanding of: (a) the dynamics of different types of conflicts and the range of dispute resolution alternatives; (b) the methods for assisting parties to analyze their conflict or problem and to choose an appropriate problem-solving process; (c) the methods for working with parties to design culturally appropriate problem-solving processes that are attentive to the parties’ substantive, relational, and procedural interests; (d) the methods for assisting parties to identify and articulate their interests, to hear and be heard, to clarify options, and to understand the implications of the choices they are making; and (e) the methods for assisting parties to evaluate the degree to which the processes in which they have engaged were efficient, fair, effective, culturally appropriate, and set a good precedent. The capstone paper should also analyze at least one ethical issue that can arise in conflict resolution. Students are also encouraged to offer constructive criticism of the curriculum in the graduate certificate program in the capstone paper. The suggested length of the paper is 5,000-6,000 words and it will be supervised and assessed by the student’s advisor in the graduate certificate program.

A Type-Two Capstone Paper is a traditional research paper on a topic related to conflict resolution, which must be approved by the paper supervisor. The student may not write on a topic that he/she has already researched for another course (unless he/she obtains permission and can demonstrate that the capstone paper will represent significant new research and writing). The paper supervisor will normally be the student’s advisor in the graduate certificate program. However, the student may seek permission to work under supervision of another instructor in the graduate certificate program if the other instructor is willing to supervise the student on a topic within the instructor’s area of expertise. The suggested length of the paper is 5,000-7,000 words, including footnotes. (We allow an additional 1,000 words in the suggested word limit because this type of capstone paper will necessarily have more footnotes than a Type-One Capstone Paper.)

The Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution is an approved certificate program by the Office of Graduate Education and follows guidelines outlined in Executive Policy E5.205 of the University of Hawai‘i System.

The Matsunaga Institute also highly encourages, but does not require, a practicum to deepen the student’s understanding of conflict management and to develop their skills in a real world setting. 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.

See the website at www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu or contact the program office for a complete list of courses.

Each student will be assigned a temporary advisor upon acceptance into the program and may choose an alternate advisor during the first semester of coursework based on the student’s interests and the advisor’s area of expertise. Prior to completing the program, and under the supervision of their advisor, students will complete a capstone paper that integrates both academic and practical experiences in the certificate.

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, a simulated mediation, or other problem-solving process organized by the student with the help of their advisor. Students are assessed on their ability to develop and maintain a collaborative atmosphere and approach; their ability to use communication skills such as appropriate questions and active listening; their ability to clarify, analyze, frame, track, and link appropriate issues; their ability to use interest-based negotiation principles effectively and 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 Office of Graduate Education, and a supplemental program application that can be found online at www.peaceinstitute.hawaii.edu. International students must have a 600 (paper), 250 (computer), and 100 (internet) TOEFL score to be admitted.

PACE Courses

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