Master of Arts in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation
Format: On Campus (Brattleboro, VT)
Program Start: September
Duration: 16-24 months Read more
Application Deadline: February 24, 2016
Common Career Areas:Alternative Dispute Resolution, Conflict Prevention and Education, Nonprofits and NGOs, Peacebuilding & Conflict Transformation
- On-campus coursework
- (9 months)
- (6-12 months)
- Capstone in Vermont
- (1 week)
Acquire practical skills and strategies for peacebuilding based on a holistic, multidisciplinary approach and real-world experience in the field.
SIT’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
Interested students can acquire a specialization in one of the following professional areas:
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Social Innovation and Management
- Policy Analysis and Advocacy
Learn how this program helps students acquire the skills to become peacebuilders.
On-Campus Coursework, Two Terms, 9 months, (28 credits)
- Fall Term I & II: September–December
- Field Courses (optional): January
- Language Intensives (optional): January
- Spring Term 1 & II: January–May
Practicum, Two–Three Terms, 6–12 months, (12 credits)
- Two or three terms working with an organization
Capstone Paper and Presentation
- Final paper and presentation on campus
What is conflict transformation?
Conflict transformation is a social process through which individuals and/or groups divided by conflict come to gain a systematic understanding of conflict sources and contexts and use this understanding to generate a mutually acceptable solution and sustainable platform of relationship-building. This vision and process of conflict transformation have successfully been practiced in the United States and around the world during the past few decades.
Diverse cultural and context-specific adaptations of conflict transformation have been used at all levels of society, including within families, local communities, civil society organizations, movements, companies, provincial and national governments, international organizations, and regions incorporating multiple nations.
It is possible to complete this degree in as little as 16 months, provided students work with their advisor to ensure they complete a summer practicum and capstone in December. To get the most out of the program, students typically choose to lengthen their practicum and complete the program in 20 to 24 months.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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 2016 course offerings
- Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation: Practice – India
- Leading and Managing Social Sector Organizations: Cases and Frameworks – Jordan
- TESOL Certification – Costa Rica
- Practice in Cross-Cultural Research: Caribbean School Systems – Barbados, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines
- Post-Conflict Reconciliation and Peacebuilding – Rwanda
- International Policy and Citizen Advocacy: Immigration – Washington, DC
- Leading and Managing Social Sector Organizations: Cases and Frameworks – Washington, DC
- Policy Advocacy: Practice – Washington, DC
- Monitoring and Evaluation: Practice – Washington, DC
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.
During 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:
- 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.
Due to state regulations, students cannot complete their practicum for this program in either North Carolina or Kentucky.
The demand for well-trained conflict transformation practitioners has never been greater. Career opportunities in the field are numerous, especially for conflict transformation practitioners who can become pioneers in expanding the scope of conflict transformation practices that society can recognize and value.
The program prepares students 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 multilayered conflicts
- Introduce and advocate for conflict consciousness and sensitivity within organizations and communities
- Gain awareness of a student’s own power and existing limitations in transforming or mitigating conflict at home and abroad
Graduates go on to work for NGOs, education institutions, the media, the private sector, the government, international organizations, and in other professional venues.
Alumni develop their own distinct and diverse paths—paths that may be collectively described as integrated peacebuilding, a wide spectrum of sustained group-based processes, which seek to bring members of divided groups and communities together to meet their shared needs and purposes that can transcend the underlying reasons for their divisions.
This work may include:
- Leading youth camps
- Organizing community-based arts and sports events
- Developing inclusive educational curricula
- Teaching languages through means that promote intercultural harmony
- Working as human rights and gender sensitivity advocates and defenders of marginalized people
- Supporting political and social change campaigns
- Working in government agencies and international organizations with conflict awareness
- Working as socially responsible media professionals
- Providing humanitarian assistance to refugees, immigrants, and internally displaced persons
- Providing disaster relief
- Creating socially and environmentally responsible business practices
- Advocating community-based inclusive health services
- Creating religious services that promote social harmony
- Using monitoring and evaluation skills to facilitate social change initiatives
Past positions held by alumni of the peacebuilding and conflict transformation program include:
- Executive Director, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Trainer, Somali Refugee Association, Silver Spring, MD
- Founder, Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women, Washington, DC
- Community Organizer, Vermont Interfaith Action Group, Vermont
- International Human Resources Systems Manager, Nonviolent Peace Force, San Francisco, CA
- Libya representative, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Washington, DC and Libya
- Consultant, Refugee Youth Program Director and Teambuilding, Burlington, VT
- CEO/Director, Red Kite Project, Philadelphia, PA
- Director of Programming, Encounter Program, Boston, MA, Israel, and Palestine
- Youth Adjustment Counselor, RefugeeOne, Chicago, IL
- Community Educator, Silicon Valley Faces, San Jose, CA
- Education Consultant, UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Uganda
- Political Specialist, National Reconciliation & Humanitarian Mine Action, Rangoon, Burma
- Program Director, Global Kids, Washington, DC
- Community Organizer, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Washington, DC
- Program Manager, British Council, Azerbaijan
- Health Technical Specialist, Save the Children International, Liberia
- Assistant Director, RAMP Youth Services, Putney, VT
- Founder & President, Daya Center for Peace, Hyderabad, India
- Director, Prison Theater Program, SingSing, New York
- Outreach & Dialog Facilitation Associate, Unity Productions Foundation, California and Washington, DC
- Associate Director for Diversity Services, Suffolk University, Boston, MA
- Program Officer, Hunt Alternatives Fund, Sudan
- Peace Journalist, TRANSCEND Media Services, Springfield, MA
While the career paths taken by alumni of this program are truly diverse, the common threads that connect them are as follows:
- Dialogue facilitation and mediation. This involves interacting directly with conflict parties to promote relationship-building and problem-solving. Mediation in particular is a form of conflict transformation dialogue in which an intermediary actively supports conflict parties’ voluntary and self-motivated efforts to understand the roots of their conflict and explore mutually satisfactory solutions.
- Reconciliation and psychosocial healing. This requires understanding the roots and dynamics of traumas and other psychosocial challenges that result from violence and crises. These forms of practice seek to develop a broad range of holistic, inclusive, and culturally appropriate means by which to enable affected individuals and groups to process their traumas and make sense of their histories and identities in a constructive manner.
- Active nonviolence. This aims to create a sustained, inclusive, and integrated platform of social engagement and mobilization that proactively seeks to achieve a well-defined goal of social change. It utilizes a broad range of creative nonviolent means by which to transform deeply-entrenched historical undercurrents and a structural basis of power imbalance that perpetuates political repression, economic exploitation, and cultural alienation.
- Training and coaching. This facilitate capacity-building that enables conflict parties, intermediaries, and other stakeholders to address their conflict-related challenges on their own. These activities include trainings of trainers and peace education. While coaching is part of training, coaching tends to focus more on supporting groups and individuals in such a way as to enable them to pursue their goals of conflict transformation in their own self-guided ways.
- Tatsushi Arai
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, multi-track diplomacy, sustainable development, and cross-cultural communication with 20 years of diverse international experience. He is associate professor of peacebuilding and conflict transformation at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont, fellow at the Center for Peacemaking Practice at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Virginia, and research associate of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research in Hawaii.
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- Bruce W. Dayton
PhD, Maxwell School of Syracuse University
MA, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
BA, Ithaca College
Bruce W. Dayton (PhD, Syracuse University, 1999) has been active in peacebuilding and conflict transformation work for over twenty years as a practitioner, a researcher, and an educator. His work focuses on the intersection of social identity and intractable conflicts and the role that intermediaries can play in transforming them.
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- 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
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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- Susal Stebbins Collins
MA, SIT Graduate Institute
BA, St. Louis Conservatory of Music
Susal Stebbins Collins teaches intercultural communication and the arts in SIT's Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management program.
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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.
Tuition and Fees
Year 1 Tuition: $33,450
Year 1 Fees: $1,950
Year 2 Tuition: $6,600
MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $42,000
Year 1 On-Campus Room and Board: $10,200(Estimated off campus housing is $11,750)
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.
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: $225
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.