Graduate Program in Conflict Transformation

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Preparing reflective practitioners

  • Nurturing a diverse learning community that values mutuality
  • Offering a practice-based curriculum
  • Encouraging nonviolent and restorative responses to conflict
  • Fostering reflective, value-based practice and critical self-reflection
  • Furthering the lifelong process of strengthening and acquiring the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values needed for peacebuilding
  • Sustaining a long-term commitment to justice and peace

The master’s program in conflict transformation prepares students to creatively work for long-term sustained, structural change, whether in an organization or community or on a large-scale level. The program is practice-oriented; faculty come from the field and the student body is made up of peacebuilding practitioners from around the world.

Students may choose to focus their studies on restorative justice; psychosocial trauma; strategic peacebuilding; community development; or organizational leadership. Students may also choose to create a unique specialization. Students engage in local, mentored practice throughout the program; with faculty and staff support, students work in the local community to develop their skills in concrete ways while addressing key justice issues in the Shenandoah Valley. All students are encouraged to develop a portfolio of practice highlighting skills, research and publications.

“CJP’s greatest strength may be that its professors are seasoned reflective practitioners: they have clearly done their homework and their fieldwork. And they teach on their toes with an agility that comes only from enacting their subject matter.” –Jonathan McRay, M.A., 2013

The Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation is awarded upon successful completion of 45 semester hours. This includes 24 credits of core requirements, courses taken towards a specialization, and electives. Students work with a faculty advisor to establish a course of study that will meet that student’s vocational goals. When pursued full time, the program can be completed in two years; limited-residency students normally finish in three to five years. All students are required to spend at least one semester on campus.

To graduate, the student must meet all course and practicum requirements, earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 for the Master of Arts or a minimum GPA of 2.75 for the Graduate Certificate program, master program assessment criteria for competency, and obtain formal approval of the faculty for graduation.

Master of Arts
Foundations for Justice & Peacebuilding I
Foundations for Justice & Peacebuilding II

Practitioner skills courses (Choose at least one):

Research methods (Choose at least one):

Practicum (6-9 credit hours)

Each student is encouraged to develop a specialization within their degree that is aligned with their vocational goals. Students will work with their advisor to assess their interests and goals and will plan their course of study to develop their specialization. A specialization will typically be rooted in two or three thematic courses, complemented by research and skills classes particularly relevant to that area of practice. Each student will be encouraged to create a portfolio of projects that build and demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Why we encourage students to design a specialization
In the past, we offered concentrations in restorative justice, in trauma healing, in organizations leadership, in development, and in whole-of-system change through strategic peacebuilding. Many students felt constrained by these concentrations and we have observed that many peacebuilding leaders who have the greatest influence typically integrate two or more areas of practice. So, we removed the designated concentrations and have started guiding students in the creation of a specialization that provides the best platform for their work in the world.

In recent years, students have combined:

  • Restorative justice with psychosocial trauma healing and resilience
  • Research, monitoring and evaluation with strategic peacebuilding
  • Arts-based practices with psychosocial trauma healing and resilience
  • Restorative justice with organizational development and leadership

Faculty members and the Practice Director work with each student to identify locations for their work such as countries in a war-to-peace transition, inside organizations, the school system, the criminal justice system, or community organizing. Student specializations are also used when advising students regarding their practicum placement.

A well-designed specialization combined with a rich practicum experience provides the best platform for making the school-to-work transition. Our goal is for each student to graduate with a strong resume, multiple skills, and a vision for changing the world that is clear and actionable.

Students at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding may opt for a dual Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation and Master of Divinity degree, offered in conjunction with Eastern Mennonite Seminary. This degree can be completed in four years of full-time, continuous study, one year less than if each degree were pursued separately. Students wishing take this course of study must be admitted to both programs.

Students are required to complete core requirements in both programs and work closely with advisors in both programs to establish a course of study that meets the student’s vocational goals. The dual degree is 111 semester hours: 78 in the seminary (57 hours of core coursework and 21 hours of ministry track electives) and 33 hours at CJP (24 hours of core requirements and specialization courses, and nine hours of electives). Seminary admissions requirements and additional information about the dual degree can be found on the seminary’s website.

Graduate Certificate in Conflict Transformation The 15-credit graduate certificate is designed for professionals who wish to develop secondary skills to further their work and organizational mission. The certificate can be completed in two semesters or two summers, or through a combination of summer, online and weekend courses. Participants work with a faculty advisor to develop a program that meets their needs. Required coursework: Foundations I OR Analysis: Understanding Conflict AND Practice: Skills for Peacebuilding. Review the gainful employment disclosure for the graduate certificate in conflict transformation.

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Also 15 hours, this graduate certificate equips leaders to manage nonprofits and understand how people function within organizations. Offered by EMU’s MBA program, with select coursework at CJP.

Graduate Certificate in Theology for Peacebuilding For students wishing to integrate biblical perspectives and peacebuilding studies. This certificate, offered by Eastern Mennonite Seminary , is 24 credit hours and combines 15 credit hours of coursework at the seminary and nine (including Analysis and Practice) at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding.

NEW Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice Are you a restorative justice practitioner or an international transitional justice consultant? This 18-credit-hour certificate will increase your knowledge and skills and provide space to reflect on your work.

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