Peace and Social Justice Studies

Division VI Chair: Althea Webb


Department Chair: J. Strange


Faculty: M. Mendel-Reyes and J. Strange




Courses: PSJ Courses


Course Sequencing Table: Peace and Social Justice Studies


Major/Minor Requirements: Peace and Social Justice Studies B.A.; Peace and Social Justice Studies Minor

A study of the causes of social injustice and violence, and of the conditions and practices necessary for establishing social justice, equity, and sustainable peace in human life and human interactions. Peace and Social Justice Studies draws on courses from a number of disciplines to accomplish the following goals: (1) understand, respond to, and reduce conflict at the interpersonal, institutional, cultural, and global levels; (2) contribute to the development of systems and societies that promote peace with justice. Through interactive, experiential, and service learning, students acquire peacebuilding knowledge and skills, and are encouraged to make their own personal commitment to the realization of peace and social justice in the world.

The College offers both a major and a minor in Peace and Social Justice Studies.

In addition to supporting students' achievement of the Aims of General Education, the Peace and Social Justice Studies Department seeks to assist students in meeting the following learning goals and associated learning outcomes:

Peace and Social Justice Studies Student Learning Goals & Outcomes

Learning Goal 1: 
Develop an understanding of major sources of inequality, injustice, and violence.

Learning Outcome 1.1: World-historical processes.

Students should be able to describe and analyze major social and economic systems that give rise to oppression, injustice, and violence, particularly against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups; these systems include European colonization, slavery, capitalism and state socialism, neo-colonialism, and neoliberal globalization. Students should be able to link local events and social patterns to these larger systems.

Learning Outcome 1.2: The nature of violence.

Students should be able to speak and write in an informed manner on the nature and sources of both state and interpersonal violence, and on the differences between violence and conflict and between positive and negative peace.

Learning Goal 2: Learn about methods of social change that promote justice, equality, and positive peace.

Learning Outcome 2.1: Historical movements and figures.

Students should be able to evaluate major nonviolent social movements, both intranational and international, and identify the contributions of important figures in the history of those movements – in particular, the contributions of women, people of color, working-class individuals, and other unheralded participants.

Learning Outcome 2.2: Alternatives.

Students should be able to describe and analyze actually-existing alternative social institutions, models, and processes that promote positive peace and justice, including but not limited to participatory democracy, economic democracy, cooperative ownership, restorative justice, and sustainable development.

Learning Outcome 2.3: Practices of nonviolent activism.

Students should be able to describe and analyze key practices of nonviolent social activism, movement development, peacebuilding, and community organizing.

Learning Outcome 2.4: Practical experiences

Students should engage competently in practical experiences with social activism, peacebuilding, and conflict transformation through course-based projects, internships, service learning, international work, and other hands-on activities.