The Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation is a one-year, low-residency professional development program offering 14–16 graduate credits. Through a combination of face-to-face and distance learning, participants develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to design and manage programs that transform conflict and promote reconciliation for individuals and communities torn by violent conflict. This model minimizes time away from jobs and families while maintaining an international learning community and the experiential learning pedagogy characteristic of SIT Graduate Institute.

The program begins with the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program, and students who complete the program may be eligible to count the program either toward a portion of a master’s degree at SIT or as a hybrid MA in TESOL, Conflict Transformation, and Peacebuilding.

Core Faculty

John Ungerleider
John Ungerleider

Peace and Justice Leadership


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

John has been teaching about conflict transformation at SIT for 25 years. He 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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Adjunct Faculty and Guests

Mehlaqa Samdani
Mehlaqa Samdani


Mehlaqa Samdani is the executive director of Critical Connections, which she founded in 2013. She also serves as a peacebuilding associate at the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, where she is implementing a project to address sectarian violence in Pakistan.

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The first step of the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation is completion of the Summer Peacebuilding Program at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, and Washington, DC.

Future Summer Peacebuilding Program Dates:

2017: June 5–23
2018: June 4–22

Directly following the Summer Peacebuilding Program is an additional week of face-to-face coursework designed to provide skills and training for distance education and learning:

  • Frameworks in Peacebuilding (1 credit)
    This course runs concurrently with the summer peacebuilding program in Vermont and Washington, DC. It has three components:
    1. First, the essential conceptual frameworks that underlie the yearlong academic work are established, including models that address the intersection of individual, community, and societal needs in post-conflict social healing and reconstruction.
    2. Second, participants evaluate their previous experience, skills, and knowledge of the field to establish professional goals and learning objectives for the year.
    3. Third, participants receive training in the use of Internet resources and web conferencing methods for the distance-learning phase of the program.

Online fall courses: Once students have returned home, they engage in a series of online courses beginning in September.

  • Intercommunal Conflict Analysis (3 credits)
    Through readings and web-based discussions, this course explores the root causes of ethno-political violence. Topics include geopolitical factors and structural causes of conflict; the roles of identity, religion, and culture in conflict; and the dynamics of conflict escalation and maintenance. The course also examines the systemic effects of war trauma on individuals, families, communities, and nations.
  • Independent Study: Skills Development (1 credit)
    Participants study a specific conflict-intervention skill such as dialogue, mediation, or negotiation. Through a learning contract, participants develop a learning plan that includes relevant readings, skills trainings, and documentation of learning.

Mid-Year Field Seminar in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2017 (1 credit)
Upon completion of one semester of online coursework, students meet in January for a face-to-face weeklong seminar in an overseas post-conflict region. The seminar is led by faculty and experts from the region. The Mid-Year Field Seminar gives participants the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the conflict dynamics of a particular region, to assess the effectiveness of a range of peacebuilding interventions, and to discuss challenges and lessons learned with local practitioners. Participants also share progress on their reflective practice projects with certificate faculty and peers.

Online spring courses: Students engage in more online coursework in the spring semester.

  • Intercommunal Conflict Intervention (3 credits)
    Building on the content of the fall distance learning, this course examines culturally appropriate models for intervention to promote social reconstruction and healing. Topics include ethical issues surrounding intervention, program design, integrating Western and local approaches, dialogue and reconciliation, restorative justice, and providing support for humanitarian field workers.
  • Reflective Practice (1–3 credits)
    Reflective Practice is a field experience related to the practice of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. CONTACT certificate faculty work with participants to develop appropriate projects or placements that fit with participants’ areas of interests. One credit is awarded for 45 hours of full-time experience.
  • Final Synthesis Project (1 credit)
    In this culminating course of the certificate program, students complete a final paper and portfolio demonstrating the skills and lessons learned through a synthesis of their academic work and internship experience. Students evaluate their key intellectual, personal, and intercultural learning as well as competencies and growth as self-reflecting practitioners in the field of peacebuilding.

Due to state regulations, students cannot complete their reflective practice for this program in Kentucky.

Joint MA in TESOL and CONTACT Peacebuilding Certificate Program

The CONTACT Certificate can be combined with the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. Students would complete the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program in June before the start of their master’s degree program in the fall and would work with their advisor to choose electives that would satisfy the requirements for completing both the MA in TESOL and the CONTACT Certificate. MA in TESOL students would complete their internship in the mid-year seminar location after the CONTACT workshop there.

Participants are selected for their maturity, life and work experience, educational background, proficiency in English, and the capacity to apply skills and theories of peacebuilding in their professional lives. Participants include nonprofit and NGO administrators and field staff; human rights workers; humanitarians and social workers; government employees; and professionals in the field of law, medicine, and religion.

This program is popular with working professionals who have a higher degree in another field and are looking to increase their understanding of mediation, conflict resolution, conflict transformation, and peacebuilding. It also appeals to individuals who are unable to leave their work or communities to enroll in a residency-based program and are therefore seeking a one-year, low-residency program to add to their professional and educational credentials.

How to apply to the CONTACT Graduate Certificate program

Apply online to the CONTACT Low Residency Graduate Certificate Program. Please submit the following materials via your online application.

  • Your résumé or curriculum vitae in English.
  • An essay of approximately 500–750 words responding to the prompt below.

    Everyone has their own philosophy about conflicts, that is, why they emerge, how to manage them, and what roles they play in social relationships, in social settings, and in politics. Write a brief overview of your own conflict philosophy. In addition to describing your philosophy, include information about the important people or events that have shaped your view and how/whether it has changed over the years.

    Please also write an original essays of 250–300 words responding to the prompt below.

    Identify a community, national, or international conflict that you are particularly interested in and/or concerned with. Analyze the primary drivers of that conflict as deeply and systematically as you can. Based on your analysis, discuss practical actions that might be taken to address the issue constructively.
  • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities
    Note: In some countries the term "transcript" may not be used by colleges and universities and thus may not be a familiar term. To be official, a transcript must include the following information: (1) the dates you attended the institution; (2) the titles of the specific courses or subjects in which you were enrolled; (3) the number of hours of instruction or other learning involved in each course or subject; (4) the grade, mark, or other evaluation you received for each course or subject; and (5) any degree, diploma, certificate, or other qualifications awarded for completion of studies. To be official, the document(s) must contain the institution's stamp or other certification which clearly indicates authenticity. In cases where the above requested information is not available, an applicant should consult the Graduate Admissions Office at or at 802 258-3510 (outside the US) or at 800 336-1616 (toll-free in the US) for advice on the best way to proceed.
  • Three (3) letters of reference in English. (The reference writers should complete your reference online after you’ve clicked the “Send Request” button in your online application.) If possible, please request a reference letter from your current or most recent supervisor who knows your work.
  • Non-native speakers of English must demonstrate their ability to participate in a graduate-level academic program in English through a standardized exam such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or through other indicators of English language proficiency, such as a phone interview, certificates of English language study, or reference letters.

Scholarships and Financial Aid
A limited number of competitive scholarships are available to participants of the Graduate Certificate program. These scholarships cover only tuition expenses, and do not cover room, board, transportation, visa fees, the Mid-Year Field Seminar, or other personal expenses. Participants are encouraged to seek out funding sources within their own communities or organizations to cover the cost of participation.

Federal financial aid is not available for this program.

The expenses below do not include travel (to the Vermont campus or the Mid-Year Field Seminar site) and personal expenses.

Tuition and Fees for CONTACT Graduate Certificate Program
Summer Peacebuilding Tuition $2,250
Room and Board* $1,098
Health Insurance for International Participants $65
Administrative Fee $75
Fall Term Tuition $3,750
Administrative Fee $75
Spring Term Tuition $3,750
Administrative Fee $75
Total $11,138

*Prices are subject to change. Participants are not required to stay in on-campus housing.

Special notice: These fees are for students who intend to complete ONLY the Graduate Certificate program and not continue to the master’s degree.

Payment Methods

Summer term tuition and room and board must be paid in full prior to the start of the Summer Peacebuilding Program. Fall term and spring term tuition must be paid in full before the start of each term.

SIT accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, personal or bank check, cash, or wire transfers. Please email for more details regarding the payment process.