Conflict is ubiquitous in human societies. Understandably, the study of conflict has become a major endeavor by academics and professions alike, both on and off the Boulder campus. The Peace, Conflict, and Security Program (PACS) is designed to help students explore why conflict and violence occur and learn how conflict can be managed and transformed to accomplish constructive ends. The certificate is granted by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, but any student at the University of Colorado may earn it.

The program has three specific educational objectives:

  • Prepare students to contribute to the creation of just, equitable, and peaceful conditions in the world through understanding the complex dynamics of peace and conflict at interpersonal, organizational, societal, and global levels of human interaction.
  • Provide students with analytical skills and expression competencies for pursuing careers in human rights, conflict resolution, peace-related endeavors, and more generally, in responsible undertakings in a wide range of professional settings.
  • Provide an appropriate academic background for students interested in advanced study in peace, conflict, and security or related fields.

The program takes an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of conflict, cooperation, war, and peace. Course work from various departments focuses on personal and social change, intra- and international conflicts, processes of conflict resolution, creative nonviolent activism, and the analysis of violence of various forms. The program encourages hands-on, "in the field" learning of peace, conflict, and security issues through volunteer and internship placements with a wide variety of peace, justice, and development agencies. The integration of personal, professional and political aspects of life is pursued through a commitment to positive relations with others and the environment and a thoughtful exploration of values.

The management of conflict and development of collaborative relations require an appreciation of human diversity and understanding issues related to environmental sustainability and equitable distribution of resources and power across community boundaries. Students are encouraged to explore different cultures and consider race, ethnicity, gender, and class structure in relation to conflict.

PACS also works to connect and integrate peace, conflict, and security related work and research programs around campus and in the Boulder community providing important resources to these other programs.