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Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies

Bethel seeks to make the study of peace, justice and conflict management a part of every student’s experience, regardless of religious affiliation or philosophical perspective.

Bethel places such high value on peace, justice and conflict studies that courses have been incorporated into the Common Ground requirement, providing all students the opportunity to explore PJCS issues through classes in multiple departments.

The peace, justice and conflict studies program reflects Bethel’s pioneering presence in this field:
  • Bethel established one of the first undergraduate peace studies programs in North America (1972)
  • developed the concept that resulted in Mennonite Conciliation Service (founded 1976)
  • started one of the first regional peace institutes in the country (1985)
  • and served as founding host for the Peace Studies Association and the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (now merged to form the Peace and Justice Studies Association)

Bethel is strongly committed to community development, conflict management and international development, growing out of our Anabaptist heritage. To reflect that commitment, we take seriously the idea that peace is an academic discipline that should be studied alongside other disciplines.

If you aspire to a profession in a peace-related career, combining a peace, justice and conflict minor with another major is excellent preparation for further graduate study and vocational training in the field.

Immersing yourself in peace, justice and conflict studies at Bethel will challenge your assumptions about the world around you, lead you to delve into a broad liberal arts curriculum and help you to view the world holistically. At Bethel, you can combine a peace, justice and conflict studies minor with any other major, or earn a Conflict Resolution Certificate from Bethel’s Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR).

Bethel’s peace, justice and conflict studies minor stands in a long tradition of such programs on campus.

Our earliest graduates did voluntary service locally, nationally and internationally and that has continued. From relief work in Germany following World War II to community development in Bolivia, our alumni have embraced the poor and oppressed throughout the world.


Collaboration with local, regional, national and international peace, justice and conflict management organizations provide students with focused internship and field opportunities. In addition, to complete a peace, justice and conflict studies minor, you will do a major research project, perhaps in connection with your major, a requirement that can be tailored to your specific interests.

This program will prepare you for work in relief, development or peace and social justice efforts in the United States or abroad, with church, community, government and other organizations, as well as for graduate study in related fields.

Our graduates have worked with programs such as:

  • Even Start, a literacy program serving immigrant families and preschool children in Washington, D.C.
  • REDPAZ, a regional multi-national peace and justice educational network in Guatemala

They have held positions including:

  • senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International U.S.A. in New York City
  • professor of international peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame

Regardless of your major, you can easily add a minor in peace, justice and conflict studies. This minor combines courses in multiple disciplines and a research project (in conjunction with a senior seminar in another major, or a separate project). Because the minor requires only 17–19 additional hours in a variety of areas, you’ll have a good deal of choice in which courses you take.

If you’re interested in a major with a peace, justice and conflict studies emphasis, you might want to explore the possibility of an Individualized Major. Contact Kip Wedel, coordinator of the peace, justice and conflict studies minor, with questions or for more information.

Required courses:
  • SSC 235 Introduction to Peace Studies
  • SSC 250 Introduction to Conflict Management
And one of the following:
  • BRL 372 Nonviolence: Theory and Practice
  • SSC 345 Structural and Cultural Violence
And one of the following:
  • HIS 240 Twentieth-Century Global Mennonite History
  • HIS 348 History of American Capitalism
  • HIS 443 History of U.S. Foreign Policy
One of the following electives, or an additional course from the above lists, or a course approved by the program director:
  • BIO 110 Environmental Science
  • BRL 301 Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • BRL 330 Christian Social Ethics
  • COA 313 Gender, Race, Class, and the Media
  • COA 415 Communication and Culture
  • LIT 241 Studies in Fiction: War Literature
  • PSY 260 Social Psychology
  • SSC 222 Principles of Sociology
  • SWK 364 Social Development and Social Justice

See Academic catalog  for additional approved electives.

Mission Statement

Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.