Best Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs of 2022

Learn more about the best peace studies and conflict resolution programs and what you can do with this degree after you graduate.

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Published on July 1, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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Peace and conflict studies is an interdisciplinary social science field that analyzes structural reasons for violence and looks for ways to resolve conflicts. Peace studies and conflict resolution students often seek answers to violence by studying ideas like democracy, human rights, and gender.

A bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution packs all of this theory into a four-year, 120-credit degree. In the 2019-20 academic year, the average annual tuition for a bachelor's degree was approximately $9,350 for in-state learners and $27,020 for out-of-state students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Students who enroll online can save on true program costs, avoiding fees like room and board and transportation.

Read on to learn more about the 10 best bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution programs.

Our Top Pick

Swarthmore College – Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Why It's #1: Swarthmore College is the number one ranked school on our 2022 Best Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution list. This elite liberal arts college maintains a competitive admission rate of 9%. Nevertheless, the vast majority of students who enroll (94%) are able to graduate from the program. About 63% of Swarthmore's students receive financial aid, which helps offset some of the college's higher tuition rates.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

2022 Best Accredited Bachelor's in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1

Swarthmore College

School Information
Location Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $58,928
Out-of-State | $58,928

Credits to Graduate
32 units (8 major units)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College offers a bachelor's program in peace and conflict studies that explores conflict at micro and macro levels, including interpersonal dispute and global wars. 

The major is flexible, as students have options to take major courses in multiple disciplines like political science, English, and anthropology. Notable recommended courses include crisis resolution in the Middle East, introduction to peace and conflict studies, and global responses to violence. 

Swarthmore maintains a competitive admissions policy, as half of the school's applicants score 31-34 on the ACT. 

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#2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Information
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Admission Rate 23%
Graduation Rate 91%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In-State | $293
Out-of-State | $960

Credits to Graduate
120 credits (30 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in the Triangle Area, Carolina offers a bachelor's program in peace, war, and defense with three focus options: the culture of peace and war, international security and intelligence, and the evolution of warfare. All learners take three core courses: global history of warfare; the ethics of peace, war, and defense; and introduction to peace and security studies. 

Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. They can submit ACT or SAT scores if they wish.

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#3

Wellesley College

School Information
Location Wellesley, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 22%
Graduation Rate 91%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $61,584
Out-of-State | $61,584

Credits to Graduate
32 units (9.5 major units)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Wellesley offers a bachelor's program in peace and justice studies that grew out of the nuclear peace movement in the 1980s and the work of former faculty members. Required courses in the program's curriculum include introduction to the study of conflict, justice, and peace; conflict transformation in theory and practice; and experiential learning. All students must also complete a capstone seminar. 

Prospective students need proof of a high school or GED diploma. Wellesley has suspended standardized testing requirements through 2024.

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#4

College of the Holy Cross

School Information
Location Worcester, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $58,360
Out-of-State | $58,360

Credits to Graduate
32 courses (6 major courses)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based out of Worcester, Massachusetts, Holy Cross offers a concentration in peace and conflict studies through which students can also pursue a social justice track. To graduate, students must take at least one course in each of the following categories: ethical and philosophical approaches to peace, war, and conflict; in-depth examination of contemporary/modern large-scale conflict; and structural causes of violence and conflict. 

To earn admission, applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma. Holy Cross maintains a test-optional policy.

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#5

Villanova University

School Information
Location Villanova, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 90%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In-State | $3,377
Out-of-State | $3,377

Credits to Graduate
122 credits (30 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Located just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Villanova offers a major in peace and justice studies through the university's interdisciplinary Center for Peace and Justice Education, which is grounded in the Catholic social tradition. The 30-credit major curriculum includes courses like introduction to global interdisciplinary studies; race, class, and gender; an internship; and a thesis. 

After enrolling at Villanova, prospective peace and justice students are encouraged to set up a meeting with the director of the center.

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#6

University of Utah

School Information
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Admission Rate 62%
Graduation Rate 70%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $9,002
Out-of-State | $30,488

Credits to Graduate
122 credits (36 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Salt Lake City, the U offers a bachelor's program in peace and conflict studies that prepares graduates for careers as journalists, public relations professionals, and victim advocates. Notable courses in the 36-credit curriculum include introduction to peace and conflict studies; the political economy of race, class, and gender; current social problems in America; and justice and international affairs. 

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. They have the option of submitting ACT or SAT scores.

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#7

DePauw University

School Information
Location Greencastle, Indiana
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 84%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $54,400
Out-of-State | $54,400

Credits to Graduate
31 courses (11 major courses)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Greencastle, Indiana, DePauw offers a bachelor's program in peace and conflict studies that prepares graduates for careers in law, nonprofits, politics, education, and public policy. The program's 11-course major curriculum includes plenty of opportunities for flexibility, and students can take courses in disciplines like anthropology, economics, political science, history, philosophy, and religion. 

Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores.

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#8

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach

School Information
Location Daytona Beach, Florida
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 62%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Self-Paced Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $53,774
Out-of-State | $55,688

Credits to Graduate
121 credits (39 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, ERAU offers a bachelor's degree in global conflict studies that prepares graduates for careers as private defense contractors, nonprofit executive directors, and intelligence agency operatives. Relevant courses in the core curriculum include war, terrorism, and diplomacy in cyberspace; human geography; introduction to international relations; and theories of nations and nationalism. 

Prospective students must hold a high school or GED diploma and are strongly encouraged to submit ACT or SAT scores.

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#9

California State University-Dominguez Hills

School Information
Location Carson, California
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In-State | $239
Out-of-State | $635

Credits to Graduate
120 credits (48 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Located in Carson, California, CSUDH offers an interdisciplinary bachelor's program in negotiation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding, focusing on intercultural communication, the role of women in culture, and mediation. The program leads directly into a master of arts program in the same field, which students have the option of completing online. Possible courses include Chicana/o popular culture, Africana literature and culture, effective communication skills, and sociology of law.

In-state applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, while out-of-state applicants need a 3.0.

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#10

Whitworth University

School Information
Location Spokane, Washington
Admission Rate 91%
Graduation Rate 75%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Self-Paced Classes

Cost per Year
In-State | $62,090
Out-of-State | $62,090

Credits to Graduate
126 credits (43 major credits)

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Spokane, Washington, Whitworth offers a bachelor of arts program in peace studies that can lead to careers in teaching, law, nonprofit organizations, and research. The program's 43-credit major curriculum includes relevant courses like American national politics, international relations, comparative politics, and nonviolent defense and conflict resolution. All learners must also complete a relevant internship experience in the field. 

All applicants to Whitworth need a high school diploma or its equivalent.

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Popular Online Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 62 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs

Is a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution worth it? true

For the majority of students, a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution is worth it. However, the value of any degree is subjective and depends on each individual student's goals and circumstances.

A peace studies and conflict resolution degree teaches broad skills — including decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking — that apply to careers in nearly any field. As such, students can qualify for most entry-level careers, taking their futures into their own hands.

What can I do with a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution?

Thanks to their liberal arts foundation and broad skill sets, bachelor's degree-holders in peace studies and conflict resolution can pursue entry-level careers in nearly any field. Possible industries include law, the nonprofit sector, education, business, research, and public policy. Peace studies and conflict resolution graduates can also pursue master's and doctoral programs in various fields.

With a bachelor's degree in peace studies in conflict resolution, you can pitch yourself for any job requiring critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

What continuing education is available for peace studies and conflict resolution graduates?

Many bachelor's degree-holders in peace studies and conflict resolution immediately pursue entry-level careers after graduation. However, since the degree provides such a broad liberal arts education, many students continue their education in master's and doctoral programs in various fields.

One common pathway is pursuing a master's degree in negotiation and conflict management, which can build upon the skills that bachelor's degree-holders learn in their undergraduate programs. However, graduates can also pursue master's programs in business, political science, and the humanities. They can also take the LSAT and apply to law schools.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution?

According to PayScale, bachelor's degree-holders in peace studies earn an average annual base salary of approximately $54,000. This range can vary widely and depends on occupation, as certain careers pay much better than others.

Keep in mind that salary potential is individualized and also depends heavily on factors like location, employer, industry, and experience. The longer you work in a given industry or for a given employer, the more money you can make with your bachelor's degree in peace studies and conflict resolution.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution?

The highest-paying job that you can get with a bachelor's in peace studies and conflict resolution is likely social and community service manager.

These professionals take charge of day-to-day operations at nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, and social services agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, these managers earned a median annual wage of $74,000. The top 10% of earners in the field made more than $118,650 annually.

Keep in mind that while these jobs are usually open to bachelor's degree-holders, job candidates often need significant relevant professional experience before they can apply.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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