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Peace and Justice Studies

Peace and Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for careers aimed at studying and building peace and social justice, including law, nonprofit leadership, and social work. Students take courses from across the college and pair research with experiential learning in local non-profits and international organizations working for peace and human rights alongside the United Nations.

​Why Choose Peace and Justice Studies?

You will understand and evaluate structural injustice, the aspects of human nature that lead to violence and war, and the work of social movements that seek to realize peace, nonviolence, and social justice. You will be able to take courses from across an array of disciplines in the Schools of Liberal Arts, Business, and the Sciences, and so develop an interdisciplinary, and thus profound and complete understanding of these issues. The program prioritizes rigorous training in critical thinking and research, practical peacebuilding skills, and experiential learning in the form of internships and community-engaged courses.

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Peace is not something that is won and achieved for all time. It is a state that has to be nourished constantly with works of peace ...It is imperative to educate in the ways of peace and to be educated in those same ways.

Pope Paul VI, in a letter to Manhattan College on the occasion of the inaugural peace studies convocation in 1967

The Classes

The program is interdisciplinary in nature, and includes courses in Biology, Communications, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Economics, English, Environmental Science, History, Management, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Sociology.

The Faculty

The faculty span 12 disciplines and several schools of the College, drawing from the social sciences, the humanities, business, and the natural and applied sciences. Many have strong relationships with international peace organizations, including the United Nations. Small class sizes and a robust calendar of campus events allow you to develop a close connection with your professors.

The Experience

You will have many opportunities to make your voice heard, on and off campus, such as being a member of Just Peace, the college’s student-run social justice organization. In addition, our students take advantage of New York City’s position as home to numerous national and international organizations involved in contemporary questions of peace in a globalized world. Our majors and minors get real-life experience as interns with fair trade groups, political campaigns, international nonprofits, and other non-governmental organizations. Recent internships include:

  • Center for War, Peace and the News Media
  • Council on Foreign Relations MADRE –an organization in solidarity with Latin American women
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation RAINBO –a group working to end female genital mutilation in Africa
  • MEKONG NYC - a group working to improve the quality of life of Cambodian- and Vietnamese-Americans in the New York City area
  • September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Students also benefit from the many social justice events organized every semester by the program. With such a rich history as a program, the College has hosted many major social justice events, such as the Human Rights Film Festival, and esteemed speakers, such as:

  • Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement
  • Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
  • David Shipler, author of The Working Poor

What Will You Learn?

As a graduate of the program, you will be able to

  • Identify current issues of conflict and injustice;
  • Describe normative models about peace, nonviolence, and social justice;
  • Explain how both social structures and the psychological make-up of humans promote conflict and injustice while also promoting social justice;
  • Synthesize knowledge across academic disciplines concerning the psychological and structural dimensions that promote conflict and injustice with the goal of creating blueprints to achieve negative peace (i.e., the absence of violence) and positive peace (i.e., the development of practices, customs and institutions that promote peace);
  • Apply specific skills needed to understand and critique problems of conflict and injustice, as well as contemplate solutions to these problems. These skills may include: 
    • Critical thinking skills;
    • A knowledge of quantitative and qualitative data analysis, so that you can both identify and separate accurate evidence from misinformation or poorly gathered data, and also generate accurate evidence;
    • Peacebuilding skills that can be employed in your own lives.

Manhattan College offers Peace Studies as a major or minor field of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. It is encouraged that students interested in a major in Peace Studies pair it with a major in another academic discipline. Peace Studies is housed in the Kakos School of Arts and Sciences, but is also available as a major or minor for students in the School of Engineering, and is possible as a minor for students in the O'Malley School of Business.

See degree requirements

What Will You Do?

​Students graduate from the Peace Studies program with a broad, interdisciplinary knowledge of issues related to peace, conflict and war, human rights and social justice, as well as advanced critical thinking, peacebuilding and research skills. Our students are thus prepared for a wide array of professions, as well as for advanced study in many disciplines and professional schools.