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Peace and war are among the oldest dreams and most difficult challenges of human experience. The Curriculum brings together faculty and courses from many disciplines to provide undergraduates with a wide range of approaches to the fundamental issues of human conflict and national and global security and defense.

The Curriculum introduces majors to interdisciplinary perspectives with a core of three courses:

  • “The Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense” (Phil 272/Pwad 272),
  • “Global History of Warfare” (Hist 266/Pwad 266), and
  • “Introduction to Peace and Security Studies” (Pwad 250).

Beyond these core courses students then choose a concentration in one of three topical areas:

  • The Culture of Peace and War
  • International Security and Intelligence
  • The Evolution of Warfare
  • Race, Gender, and Conflict Legacies

The Curriculum also sponsors a wide array of guest speakers and field trips, and provides majors with help and advice on internships and career planning  (see the “Links” page for more on internships)

The Curriculum encourages all undergraduates to study abroad, either for a summer, semester, or entire year. Students should consult the study abroad website and visit that office as early as possible in their course of study to meet with a study abroad adviser. There are a number of foreign programs that contain courses that qualify for major credit. Of particular usefulness is studying at the King’s College, University of London War Studies Department, the closest analogue to Peace, War, and Defense in the English speaking world and a program with a renowned faculty. Students with at least a 3.3 grade point average are eligible to apply to King’s. While supervision arrangements need to be negotiated with the relevant faculty at King’s College, students writing honors theses in their senior year may also apply to spend the year at King’s.

The Curriculum prepares majors for graduate work in several of the humanities and social sciences, for a variety of professional schools, and for a wide range of employment. Graduates have found employment with federal agencies, state and local governments, international NGOs, banks, and other businesses. Others have attended graduate and professional schools in security studies, government, history, international relations, and law. The strength of the Curriculum is its broad, interdisciplinary perspective combined with its depth of focus on topics that span the range of human experience across time and national boundaries, from science and technology to ethics and public policy. Students interested in federal work in the defense and intelligence fields are strongly encouraged to pursue advanced study in a “strategic language” such as Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, or Russian.  But it is important to note that this major prepares a student broadly for success in many fields.  It is a liberal arts major, and recent studies have shown that such degrees are the best preparation for long-term career success because it fosters analytical and communicative skills.  See the Wall Street Journal‘s take here.

NEW: Peace, War, and Defense now has an agreement with the MA programs at both Mercyhurst and the Institute for World Politics for assured early admission while still a junior.  The IWP is also offering partial funding for UNC graduates.

The Curriculum’s offices are on the fourth floor of Hamilton Hall, where visitors and members of the University community are always welcome. Prospective majors are encouraged to visit the chair of the Curriculum.  As of AY 2019/20 that will be Dr. Navin Bapat.

For registration and enrollment assistance, please contact Shakierah Clark,


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