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Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

Acquire practical skills and strategies for peacebuilding based on a holistic, multidisciplinary approach and real-world experience in the field.

ClassroomSIT’s Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation program is designed to give students the analytical ability, theoretical knowledge, and practical skills necessary to work with groups of people in conflict. Student can choose to focus on conflict in relation to development, inter-group relations, youth programs, humanitarian aid, education, or human rights.
The program takes both an interpersonal and systematic approach to the identity-based dynamics of conflict. Faculty and staff foster a learning environment and social space in which students can reflect on core values and aspirations for constructive social change.
Students benefit from:

  • On-campus coursework. Study the theory and practice of peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
  • Experiential learning. Conduct in-depth, multi-angled analyses of conflict and explore potential solutions in diverse settings.
  • A real-world practicum. Complete a practicum with an organization relevant to peacebuilding in either the US or abroad.
  • Practitioner faculty. Learn from faculty and alumni engaged in peacebuilding activities in critical conflict zones.

 Students build core skills in the practice of:

  • Negotiation, facilitation, mediation, strategic nonviolence, social healing, and reconciliation 
  • Program design, management, and evaluation 
  • Training for capacity-building
  • Leading inter-communal dialogue
  • Cultivating positive and inclusive group relations through organizational change
  • Advocating for human rights and community organizing

Beginning in fall 2014, students in the program will also be able to acquire a specialization in one of the following professional areas:

  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Social Innovation and Management
  • Policy Analysis and Advocacy
On-Campus Coursework
Two Terms (9 months)
(28 credits)
Two–Three Terms (6–12 months)
(12 credits)
Capstone Paper and Presentation
Fall Term I & II: September–December
Field Courses (optional): January
Language Intensives (optional): January
Spring Term 1 & II: January–May
Two or three terms working with an organization Final paper and presentation on campus
  • Core Coursework (19 credits)
    During students’ nine months on campus, they complete a minimum of 28 credits. This must include the following two courses: 
    • Foundations in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management – 4 credits
    • Practitioner Inquiry – 3 credits
Students take an additional 12 credits, choosing from the following degree courses:
  • Theory and Practice of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation – 3 credits
  • Conflict and Identity – 3 credits
  • Initiatives in Peacebuilding – 3 credits
  • Post-War Development and Peacebuilding – 3 credits
  • Mediation – 2 credits
  • Skills and Practices in Inter-Group Dialogue – 1 credit
  • Special Topics in Conflict Transformation – 1–3 credits
  • Electives (9 credits minimum)
    While students can take any course offered at SIT Graduate Institute as an elective, recommended elective courses include Training Design for Experiential Learning and Youth Program Leadership. (Classes can vary from year to year.)

    Students can satisfy the program’s elective requirement in a number of ways, including by attending SIT courses offered in Vermont; participating in field courses offered around the world; or pursuing independent study. Students can also choose to take a course at a local institution and transfer the credit to SIT. Please note that in this situation, the course must be at the graduate level and the institution must be accredited.
  • Area Specializations
    Students may also choose a six-credit sequence of courses that constitute a specialization in one of the following areas:
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Social Innovation and Management
    • Policy Analysis and Advocacy
  • Reflective Practice (12 credits)
    This portion of the program is a structured approach for students to apply coursework learning to a related professional activity. During this phase (minimum six months), students receive course credit for documenting the integration of their knowledge and skills, working in a professional context in the field on conflict transformation while remaining engaged with faculty and other students on the program. Students can complete the practicum in the US or abroad.
  • Capstone Paper and Seminar
    Students demonstrate, assess, and synthesize their learning through preparation of a capstone project and participation in a one-week capstone seminar held multiple times each year on SIT’s campus in Vermont. Researching and writing the capstone paper takes students deeply into the experiential learning cycle, where they explore the meaning of the practicum experience, integrate theory and practice in written and oral presentations, and make a contribution to the field of conflict transformation. Review past Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation capstone papers.

Degree Requirements
Students have five years from the time they enter the program to complete all degree requirements. (For any student who, because of special circum­stances, studies part-time during two consecutive on-campus academic years, the program entry date is calculated from the beginning of their second on-campus year.) A student who does not complete all degree requirements (including the language and culture proficiency requirement) within five years of the entry date will be withdrawn from the program. A student with extenuating circumstances must apply to the dean of the program for an extension.

All students must fulfill a Language and Culture Proficiency Requirement before they are eligible to graduate.

View the current academic calendar.

Study abroad as part of your master’s degree program.

International and US-Based Intensive Courses
Students have the option of completing a short-term intensive course at sites in the US or abroad. Typically ranging in duration from one to four weeks, recent intensives have been offered in Washington, DC; Bangladesh; Mexico; and Turkey.

Intensive field courses offer students pursuing an MA in peacebuilding and conflict transformation the chance to interact with practitioners in the field, learn on-site, and expand professional networking. Short-term intensives are typically offered in January. Learn more about the intensive field courses.

View our 2015 course offerings

Apply the knowledge and skills you acquire in the classroom while engaging in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation in real-world settings.

Following the on-campus coursework phase, each student completes a professional practicum with an organization of his/her choosing.* The practicum must be related to the student’s coursework and career goals and be for a minimum of six months. Practicums may be paid professional positions or unpaid internships.
Israeli borderDuring this period — referred to as Reflective Practice — students remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of their knowledge and skills while working in a professional context.
Practicum placements provide in-depth, hands-on learning; enhance résumés; and expand professional contacts.
Recent practicum placements held by students in the peacebuilding and conflict transformation program include:
United States

  • Program Facilitator, SIT Youth Peacebuilding and Leadership Programs (Brattleboro, Vermont)
  • Assistant, Cross-Cultural Relationships, Kiskiminetas Presbytery (Yatesboro, Pennsylvania)
  • Program Director, Caribbean-Central American Action (Washington, DC)
  • Peace First Teacher, AmeriCorps (Washington, DC)
  • Peacemakers' Workshop Facilitator, Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee, Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Administrative Coordinator, Center for Cultural Interchange (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Regional Coordinator, Junior Youth Program, Magdalene Carney Baha'i Institute (West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • Intern, Middle East Children’s Alliance (Berkeley, California)
  • Reintegration Assistant, Mercy Corps International (Washington, DC)
  • Research Assistant, Hudson Institute (Washington, DC)


  • Peacebuilding Program Coordinator, The Pastoralist Peace and Development Initiative (Kenya)
  • Administrative Director, The Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center
  • Youth Empowerment Facilitator, Institut pour l'Education Populaire (Mali)
  • Conflict Transformation Intern, Henry Martyn Institute (India)
  • Coordinator Assistant, Cooperazione Internazionale  (Italy)
  • Program Coordinator, Sahabat Pesantren Indonesia (Indonesia)
  • Research and Mediation Project Assistant, CSSP – Berlin Center for Integrative Mediation (Germany)

 * Students find positions on their own with support from SIT's Career and Practicum Services Center.

The program prepares professionals to:

  • Design and lead conflict transformation programs
  • Develop peacebuilding and conflict sensitive interventions
  • Create and manage projects that address the causes and consequences of complex and multi-layered conflicts

workshopsGraduates are prepared for positions with NGOs, education institutions, the media, the private sector, the government, international organizations, and other professional venues.

SIT is a pioneer in the field of conflict transformation, which is an integral part of the institution’s broader academic focus on international peace studies and peacebuilding. Through SIT’s MA in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation program, students build awareness of their own attitudes and behaviors, the impact these attitudes have on others, and their own role in society. Students learn to see themselves as members of particular groups and the consequences such group memberships have relative to others in conflict.

Students also gain awareness of both their power and their limitations in transforming or mitigating conflict at home and abroad, whether as a third party in internal and external conflicts or as an intermediary, intervener, program consultant, or self-reflective advocate. Students develop the ability to introduce and advocate for conflict consciousness and sensitivity within organizations and communities.

Tatsushi Arai
Tatsushi Arai

Associate Professor
Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

PhD, George Mason University
MA, Monterey Institute of International Studies
BA, Waseda University, Japan

Dr. Tatsushi (Tats) Arai is a scholar-practitioner of conflict resolution, sustainable development, and cross-cultural communication with seventeen years of international experience. Currently, he is an associate professor of peacebuilding and conflict transformation at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and a fellow of the Center for Peacemaking Practice, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University in Virginia.

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Paula Green
Paula Green

Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation
Program Director, CONTACT

EdD, Boston University
MA, New York University
BA, Kean College of New Jersey

Paula Green is a professor of conflict transformation at SIT Graduate Institute, and the founder-director of Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT), a graduate certificate program of the SIT Summer Peacebuilding Institute held annually for peacemakers from around the world.

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John Ungerleider
John Ungerleider

Professor and Chair
Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

EdD, University of Massachusetts
MA, Antioch University
BA, University of California, Berkeley

John Ungerleider has been teaching about conflict transformation at SIT for 25 years — a timespan he finds hard to grasp. John started the Youth Peacebuilding and Leadership Programs at SIT, which over the years have brought together future leaders from communities — in locations such as Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Iraq, Rwanda, Pakistan, India, Liberia, and Burma — facing conflict to dialogue about issues and conflicts they have inherited.

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Chen Jianrong
Chen Jianrong

Visiting Scholar
Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation

PhD Candidate, Jinan University, China
MA, Jinan University, China
BA, China Foreign Affairs University

Mr. Chen Jianrong is a scholar of international relations, peacebuilding, and conflict transformation. Currently, he is lecturer in the School of International Studies, deputy director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, and director of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China. Previously, he was visiting scholar at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; Rotary International Peace Fellow; and the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Fellow.

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Boyce building

To be considered for admission to the MA in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • US bachelor's degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning

English Language Ability
Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS  practice tests online.)

  • Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of
    • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
    • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
    • 100 on the internet-based iBT.
  • Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher.
  • Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.

SIT Graduate Institute’s Selection Process
Our admissions staff work one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to attend an open house, talk with SIT faculty and staff, and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education — grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments — they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.

Direct Costs

Tuition and Fees

Year 1 Tuition: $31,260
Year 1 Fees: $1,800

Year 2 Tuition: $6,150

MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $39,210

Year 1 On-Campus Room and Board: $9,120 (Estimated off campus housing is $11,250)

Indirect Costs

SIT estimates the costs to students for books, personal expenses, transportation, and off-campus housing/food. Individual expenses may vary. Off-campus living expenses and transportation costs are based on student survey data; individual costs vary depending on a variety of factors such as the type of housing and location of practicum.

Year 1 Books: $800
Year 1 Personal Expenses: $2,700
Year 1 Transportation Costs: $1,200-$2,250

Year 2 Books: $1,200
Year 2 Personal Expenses: $3,600
Year 2: Travel, housing, and other costs associated with the reflective practice phase vary depending on location and duration of position.

Additional Costs

Field Study Courses in year 1:

Costs range from $2,200 to $5,450. See details on the locations, schedule, and costs of individual field courses.

Estimated Health Insurance:

$3,000 (per year)

Health insurance is required for all students, and may be waived if a student can document health insurance coverage.

Estimated Student Loan Fees:

Year 1: $800
Year 2: $300

Estimated fees are based on the average amount borrowed by SIT Graduate Institute students. See details on student loan options.


Direct costs and on-campus room and board are billed by SIT Graduate Institute. Indirect, off-campus housing costs, transportation expenses, and additional costs are not billed by SIT, but represent educational expenses associated with being an enrolled student.

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