Peacebuilding and Development Major

Join a campus where peace and justice are a big part of conversation across disciplines. Choose to major in peacebuilding and development and you’ll dig deep into the complexities of working for social change. Program professors have lived internationally and are committed to work for justice at home and around the world.

EMU’s undergraduate major is uniquely enriched by the presence of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding on campus which draws peace practitioners from around the world.

A major in peacebuilding and development consists of 52-54 SH. See the course catalog for course descriptions and curriculum info.

Understanding social change

This major provides a foundation for understanding social justice and helps student implement intentional social change through peacebuilding and development. It also prepares students for graduate study and/or careers in the field of social justice and social change. Our graduates are working right now in peacebuilding and conflict transformation, international development, community development, or related fields.

You’ll become an effective practitioner of change. We’ll equip you by providing the theoretical models and frameworks necessary for understanding intentional social change by teaching specific skills, tools and techniques to help create a more peaceful and just society.

Learning on the job

Students majoring in peacebuilding participate in internships or practicums every semester. These required practicums give students on-the-job training and enforce classroom skills like mediation, conflict analysis, program evaluation, group facilitation, community assessment, and organization of campus and community events. Professors help each student develop a portfolio from these experiences so that when they graduate, students are able to demonstrate to employers that they have immediate value and experience. Students are encouraged to either complete internships in Washington D.C. through the Washington Community Scholars’ Center, apply for the International Peacebuilding and Development Practicum (IPDP) program grant, pursue placements that previous students have completed in Harrisonburg, Virginia, or discover an agency that is uniquely suited to his or her interests.


on-the-job learning

Eastern Mennonite University Peacebuilding and Development student Sarah Hooley

  • “I co-trained for the first time during junior year, and then led a mediation. I’ve been studying for three years, learning the various styles and jargon, and practicing role plays. But I was nervous for this mediation – my first – and the beginning of my life’s work. I learned that I am capable. Thanks to my professors, I have the knowledge and the skills to do these things, and I’ll learn more through experience.”

-Sarah Hooley, senior peacebuilding and development major

Careers in peacebuilding and development include international and community development, mediation and conflict transformation/resolution, peace and justice advocacy, community and collaborative peacebuilding, program evaluation, city and regional planning, peace education, social services, research, law and social and public policy advocacy.

Resources on campus

Faculty in a variety of programs have worked and served internationally promoting development and environmental sustainability. Examples are:

Our graduate program in peacebuilding is also an asset to any undergrad in this field; dozens of grad-level international scholars flock to EMU each year to study at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. Lisa Schirch, EMU research professor and peace studies expert, is the program director of 3P Human Security (formerly 3D Security), which promotes conflict prevention and peacebuilding in U.S. security policymaking.

Program News