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Peace and Justice Studies

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Peace and Justice Studies

Students who want to help shape a more just and peaceful world can prepare themselves with the interdisciplinary Peace and Justice Studies major. Students shape their studies around a major theme, such as international conflict, conflict resolution or social inequality.

An Interdisciplinary Major

The Peace and Justice Studies major prepares students with the theoretical and practical knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to help shape a more just and peaceful world. Courses familiarize students with the major ideas, concepts, and theories of peace and justice; detailed knowledge of problems, issues and challenges such as poverty, racism, and war; and various approaches to solutions.


Five core courses which provide an introduction to major themes:

  • PJ101
  • PJ301
  • PJ302
  • SO211 or PO203, or CJ02
  • PJ400 Senior Capstone

In consultation with her/his advisor, the student will select a minimum of six elective courses developed around a major theme (e.g. international conflict, conflict resolution, social inequality, gender or race, etc.). These will include a minimum of two descriptive courses and two normative/theoretical courses.

In addition, students will immerse themselves in the issues of peace and justice through an experiential component involving service learning, internships, and/or study-abroad in appropriate settings.


Students will complete a minimum of six of the following electives. At least two must be selected from the Descriptive courses and at least two from the Normative/Theoretical course list.

Courses seen as descriptive are those that primarily involve the empirical study of the economic, political, social, and cultural realities of society, and the historical events that produce them.

Courses seen as normative/theoretical primarily use models and theories to draw conclusions from past and present experience. They usually involve a moral judgment on existing societies; study of alternative possibilities; and analysis of the moral values at stake.

Experiential Learning

Integrative learning is a key feature of the Peace and Justice Studies major. Its aim is to provide students with the opportunity to combine insights from different disciplines so as to develop a broad understanding of the integrated nature of peace and justice; to explore how their own serious questions about faith, peace and justice are related to concrete work for peace and justice.

In matters of peace and justice, integrative learning cannot occur without a significant focus on experience and the concrete. Through both individual and communal service learning experiences, students will engage in an "Experiential Learning Cycle" providing a framework for understanding the nuances and complexities of issues of peace and justice.

The integrated experiential component must be broadly related to the student's senior thesis project. Additional experiential learning may include service learning, communal service projects for majors in the local community or in international experiences (i.e. Peru summer program).

Experiential Learning Components - students must complete one of the following:

  1. Service Learning in TWO of the Peace and Justice Studies major courses AND internship OR
  2. a program of international study or urban immersion OR
  3. an alternative experiential component as approved by the program director

Recommended Course Sequence

Freshman Year
Humanities I Humanities II
Freshman English 103 Freshman English 104
Science Science
Language Language
PJ 101 PJ 301
Sophomore Year
Humanities III Humanities IV
Philosophy/Theology Philosophy/Theology
Language Language
PJ302 SO211/PO203/J202
Elective Elective
Junior Year
Philosophy/Theology Philosophy/Theology
Major Elective Major Elective
Major Elective Major Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective
Senior Year
Major Elective PJ400
Major Elective Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective
Elective Elective

Contact Information

Dennis Sweetland
Director, Peace and Justice Studies
Professor, Theology
Saint Anselm College
100 Saint Anselm College
Manchester, NH 03102

(603) 641-7052

Office: Bradley House, 224