Examine the driving factors behind violent conflict and pathways to constructive conflict transformation through online coursework and field studies in the Balkans.

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This certificate program will introduce you to theory and practice of peace and conflict studies. You will begin with an online course, which will provide a broad overview of this interdisciplinary field. You will examine the diverse range of theories about inter-group conflicts found across the social science disciplines as well as the applied side of conflict transformation and peacebuilding; namely, the techniques and tools used by practitioners in the field to manage conflicts of different types across different settings and contexts. Among the debates you will explore in the class will be top-down or bottom-up peacebuilding, negative verses positive peace, and the justice–peace divide.

The in-country portion of your program will provide experiential insights into peacebuilding and peace formation processes in the Balkans. You will examine the local turn in peacebuilding by exploring the role of international and local actors in peace formation and processes of dealing with the past. Through lectures, site visits and meetings with local activists and international representatives, you will also learn about international intervention, internationally mediated peace processes, local initiatives of peace from below, dialogue programs of inter-ethnic relations and everyday peacebuilding, transitional justice, and memory activism as a branch of peace activism.


  • Learn about Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans and gain country specific knowledge about Serbia and/or Kosovo.
  • Explore how prominent peace, social justice, and human rights groups use activism to contend with past processes in the Balkans.
  • Build theoretical knowledge and practical skills in peace and conflict studies.
  • Examine contrasting theories about what drives, sustains, and de-escalates different types of social conflicts.

Syllabus coming soon

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Fundamentals of Peace and Conflict Studies (online, 3 graduate credits)
Critical Peace and Conflict Studies: The Case of Kosovo-Serbia (Serbia and Kosovo, 3 graduate credits)

Online Term Details

The four-week online course can be taken during either the summer or fall semester. Class content will be provided on SIT’s Moodle online platform and will include a mix of synchronous class discussions, pre-recorded lectures and interviews with peace and conflict experts, discussion forums where students exchange ideas and experiences, and links to articles and documentaries. Topics explored in the class will include conflict escalation, de-escalation, and settlement; dialogue and negotiation; social identity in conflict processes; post-conflict reconciliation; conflict analysis and mapping; direct, cultural, and structural violence; the tension between peace and justice; and gender in conflict and peace studies.

In-Country Term Details

During your field studies in the Balkans, you will be based in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and largest urban space in Southeast Europe, and join an excursion to Kosovo. Following an introduction to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and the wars of the 1990s, you will concentrate on post-war Kosovo-Serbia relations, the concept of frozen conflicts, international initiatives for settlements, and local activism and initiatives toward conflict transformation/reconciliation and peace formation. Both in Belgrade and Prishtina, you will learn from civil society actors, visit local NGO and sites of memory, and engage with local academics.

Program Components

  • 40 hours online
  • 20 hours devoted to course assignments and group work

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Bruce W. Dayton, PhD, Chair and Associate Professor Master of Peace and Justice Leadership

Dr. Orli Fridman, Academic Director SIT Study Abroad, Balkans

Nenad Porobic, Program Coordinator


Bed & Breakfasts, small hotels.

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Possible Career Paths

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.

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  • Fulbright research scholar in Serbia or Kosovo
  • Fulbright scholar teaching English in Serbia or Kosovo
  • Global networks program manager at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York, NY
  • Senior program assistant at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Washington, DC
  • Leading team member with International NGOs assisting migrants on the Balkan route
  • Social media editor, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)
  • Conflict-sensitive development practitioner
  • Peace and Conflict NGOs
  • Humanitarian aid worker
  • Government foreign aid programing
  • Advocacy and activism
  • Peace education
  • Dialog facilitation and mediation

See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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The total cost for this program is $4,815.

  • $2,160 – online tuition (a 40 percent discount off of normal tuition)
  • $2,200 – in-country tuition
  • $455 – room and board in country

Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.