International Peace Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is International Peace Studies?

International Peace Studies examines the sources of war and armed conflict and suggests methods of preventing and resolving them through processes of peacemaking and peacebuilding.

Peace Studies allows one to examine the causes and prevention of war, as well as the nature of violence, including social oppression, discrimination and marginalization.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in International Peace Studies in the following subject areas:

  • International Peace Studies (M.Phil) – An interdisciplinary cutting-edge course of study that examines the causes and consequences of war and armed conflict, with a view to understanding how to achieve sustainable peace.
  • War and Peace in Modern Europe – In this module, we discuss how Europe was defined and redefined through war, military occupation, civil conflicts, and peace agreements.
  • HISTORY: IRELAND, 1798 – 1998 – War, Peace and a Study of the People and Efforts in Between – This course will examine the people and events that shaped Modern Irish History.
  • International History (M.Phil.) – The M. Phil. in International History offers students the chance to pursue historical research outside the boundaries of the nation-state.
  • MA in International Relations – This MA programme aims to equip you with tools to analyze our world and the choices we face.

Studying International Peace Studies

There are many courses in International Peace Studies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing an International Peace Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of International History, Law and Humanitarian issues.

There is tremendous flexibility for peace studies graduates to tailor their coursework to their specific interests; graduates pursue jobs and careers in a variety of fields. The skills you gain as a peace studies major transfer into almost any setting. For example, companies and organizations of all types seek out candidates who demonstrate the ability to think strategically, resolve conflicts non-violently, communicate effectively, and solve problems creatively.

Humanitarian aid work often involves responding to emergency situations, helping those affected by natural and man-made disasters, such as earthquakes and war.

As an international aid or development worker, you would work with developing countries to set up long-term, sustainable solutions to problems. You could also be involved with the development of urban and rural areas and small businesses to work on development projects in fields such as education, sanitation, health and agriculture.

You may decide to go into law or politics and work towards raising awareness of international policies.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Fixed-term contracts, ranging from a few months to three years, are typical for overseas postings – making career breaks, as well as periods of unemployment between assignments, a possibility. Overseas working hours may be long and unpredictable, particularly in emergency relief situations.

Related jobs include:

  • Civil Service fast streamer
  • Diplomatic service officer
  • Government social research officer
  • Intelligence analyst
  • International aid/development worker
  • Policy officer
  • Political risk analyst
  • Public affairs consultant
  • Armed Forces operational officer
  • Border Force officer
  • Broadcast journalist
  • External auditor
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Risk manager
  • Solicitor

Further study

After completing a course in International Peace Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Economics, Human rights, International development or development studies, Languages, Logistics, Medicine, nursing and other health-related subjects, Social policy, Water or sanitation engineering.


What skills could be helpful for a career in International Peace Studies?

If you are considering a career that makes use of an International Peace studies course it may be helpful to have some of the following skills or experience:

  • Cross-cultural sensitivity
  • Self-awareness and organizational awareness
  • The ability to relate to and communicate with a range of people
  • Problem-solving skills and the ability to operate effectively under pressure
  • The ability to build and maintain effective relationships in changing teams
  • Management of both people and projects and the ability to motivate others
  • Drive and determination to achieve results and initiate action
  • The ability to manage the workload, prioritize tasks and delegate when necessary
  • Patience and a willingness to adopt a long-term view
  • The ability to learn and to acquire new skills rapidly and the flexibility to transfer learning from one situation to another
  • Operational decision-making skills
  • Willingness to live and travel in basic conditions
  • Language skills – French, Spanish and Portuguese are often requested and knowledge of Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Swahili or other African and Asian languages may be advantageous, depending on the region
  • Highly specific skills and experience – may be required for humanitarian and disaster relief assignments.

Where can I study International Peace Studies?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • Different countries and cultures have their own symbols of peace but a few are used commonly across the world like the dove and olive leaf. Legendary Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s ‘Dove of Peace’, was first chosen as the emblem for the First International Peace Conference in Paris in 1949.
  • Aggressive war was prohibited by international law in 1945. Governments have a legal obligation to not use force against others. This obligation is written into the Charter of the United Nations. There are only two exceptions: self-defenses and operations authorized by the UN Security Council. The crime of aggression is now recognized by the International Criminal Court, which means that political leaders might one day be prosecuted for launching wars.
  • Gender-equal societies are far more peaceful than patriarchal societies. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a connection between gender equality and peace. More gender-equal societies are less likely to wage aggressive wars, less likely to experience civil wars, and more likely to support international institutions.
  • September 21 is International Day of Peace, a holiday designated by the United Nations. The idea behind the day is to raise public awareness through events and shared resources in order to strengthen the ideals of peace around the world.

Mariza Halliday

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