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Peace Studies, B.A.

As a Whitworth peace studies major, you will develop a holistic understanding of peace and conflict through integrating insights from several academic disciplines. Internships, service-learning opportunities and study abroad programs will allow you to put your learning into context and experience peacemaking efforts up close. Ultimately, the peace studies major will empower you to become an effective agent of change for a more just and peaceful world.

Why major in peace studies at Whitworth?

  • Immerse yourself in one of the earliest peace studies programs in the Northwest and one that is uniquely built on integrating faith and learning throughout the curriculum.
  • Get to know your professors inside and outside of the classroom. You can conduct research with faculty or work as a teaching assistant. You'll also be invited to interact with faculty informally over coffee or meals and at gatherings in their homes.
  • Gain real-world experience. Through a required internship, you'll develop job skills related to the area of peacemaking you find most interesting. Through service-learning, you'll gain intercultural competence as you interact with people involved in peacemaking in the local community. 
  • Build transferable skills that are valuable in many career fields. Learn to think critically, conduct rigorous research, communicate clearly and listen well.
  • Take a variety of courses and delve deeper into topics that interest you. In addition to studying political science, you'll also choose from courses in sociology, theology, economics and history.
  • Build community within the department through special events like an annual pizza gathering, film screenings and policy discussions on current issues.
  • Become who you're meant to be.

Our peace studies grads make a difference (and get jobs)

Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of careers that emphasize the peaceful resolution of conflict and the promotion of justice. Graduates possess a strong capacity to build careers in nonprofit organizations, law, teaching, government and research, and in related fields such as business and ministry/missions.

Recent job placements include:

  • Ashley Greene, assistant professor of holocaust and genocide studies at Keene State College and academic programs officer at Africa for the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation
  • Whitney Jester, agriculture extension volunteer, Peace Corps, Paraguay
  • Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street director, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Seattle
  • Shaina Western, lecturer in international relations and quantitative methods, University of Edinburgh
  • Kyle Navis, policy analyst, Center for Global Development, Washington D.C.
  • Morgan Hamrick, associate attorney, Kontnik | Cohen, LLC

Our recent peace studies grads further their studies in top graduate programs at institutions including:

  • University of Oregon School of Law
  • Georgetown University, Conflict Resolution Program
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Washington

Opportunities outside the classroom

  • Gain hands-on experience through an internship suited to your passions and interests. One internship is required, but many students choose to do more. Students have recently completed internships at the refugee resettlement agency World Relief, at women’s shelters, and even through study abroad in other countries like Tanzania, Nicaragua and Belgium.
  • Participate in service-learning in the Spokane community by becoming involved with after-school programs, peace advocacy organizations and community support agencies.
  • Perform research under a professor’s supervision and present it at the Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference.
  • Work with professors and community organizations on mobilizing for change in the Spokane community through schools, the government and nonprofits.

Pack your bags!

Political science department faculty lead several off-campus programs that focus on themes of interest to peace studies majors. One option is the Peace and Conflict in Ireland and Northern Ireland program. You'll learn about the many episodes of violence in these two countries as well as the role that peacemakers and community builders are now playing in cross-community work to heal divided societies. The Jan Term program in South Africa explores similar themes.

The department also encourages students to study independently as international exchange students. Our students have recently studied in Cuba, New Zealand, Spain, Belgium and Malta.

Ask our faculty

Ask Professor Stronks

Professor Julia Stronks teaches courses on law, gender and American politics and advises pre-law students.

Ask Associate Professor Hershey

Associate Professor Megan Hershey's areas of expertise include African politics, comparative politics and international development.

Ask Professor Lee

Professor Kathy Lee teaches courses on women's and gender studies and American politics.

Ask Assistant Professor Zhao

Assistant Professor of Political Science Bi Zhao's areas of expertise include international relations, global environmental governance and international organizations.

What related areas of study can I explore?