University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies Ph.D. Program in Peace Studies 2018, USA

Publish Date: Oct 12, 2017

Deadline: Dec 15, 2017

2017 Call for Applications: Ph.D. in Peace Studies

The University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies invites applications to its Ph.D. Program in Peace Studies. Peace studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on political science, history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, theology, law, and other disciplines to address some of the world’s greatest challenges and to shape the future of humanity and the planet. The Kroc Institute is a leading center for peace research and teaching.

Students apply for admission to one of these distinct yet related programs:

  • Ph.D. in Anthropology & Peace Studies

What are the cultural, social, and historical contextual dimensions of structural and violent conflict? How does an ethnographic focus create the possibility for better crafting conflict transformation?

The Anthropology and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with the theoretical and methodological tools of anthropology to answer these and related questions. The use of ethnographic and historical methods creates an in-depth understanding of the realities of situations as they occur on the ground and in local contexts, and make important contributions to understanding conflict and peace processes as they are experienced on the ground. A Ph.D. in Anthropology and Peace Studies has potential policy and aid implications as well as scientific and humanistic implications.

Two Academic Traditions

The dual degree program allows students to focus on their particular ethnographic project while embedding them in the theoretical and historical traditions of both anthropology and peace studies. Students' dissertation work will be informed by both perspectives, while potentially including aspects of our ever-evolving understanding of peace studies, with emergent foci in subjects such as climate change and social movements.

The Anthropology and Peace Studies program trains scholar-teachers and embraces potential practitioners. Students will design their own research programs, incorporating the methodological elements they deem, in coordination with their advisers, most relevant to the task at hand. In conducting dissertation research, students will immerse themselves within the cultural and social context of their project, learning the local language as relevant, living within the community in which they work, and developing an ethnographically informed perspective.

  • Ph.D. in History & Peace Studies

What are the historical or root causes of violent conflict? How have various social movements evolved over time? In what way is history manipulated for the sake of attaining political goals? How is foreign policy informed by historical information or knowledge?

The History and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with the analytical and conceptual tools of history to address these questions and related questions of peace and conflict.

Doctoral students in the joint program choose from a wide range of history subfields including cultural, social, political, gender or religious history. Notre Dame offers particular strength at the intersection of history and religion, offering students opportunity to focus on questions related to colonialism, imperialism, and their relationships to contemporary conflicts, or the historical foundations of socioeconomic inequalities on global and local levels.

With its attention to the elements of time and change and nuanced approach to case studies, history brings a valuable perspective to peace studies and enriches the analysis of conflict. Peace studies, in turn, with its unique concepts, language and body of literature, can enrich a historian’s study of violence and understanding of peacebuilding strategies.

Doctoral students in history and peace studies will be fully credentialed as historians, with the added benefits of exposure to and conversation with doctoral students and faculty from the doctoral program’s six partner departments. 

  • Ph.D. in Political Science & Peace Studies

What are the sources of violent political conflict? What institutions, strategies and tools are available to secure peace and justice? How can international and domestic actors foster peace, and what are the roles of norms, values and beliefs in continued peace efforts?

The Political Science and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame provides students with the theoretical and methodological tools of political science to answer these and related questions.

Students in the program explore a variety of topics, including the causes of violent conflict; the role of international actors, law and peace accords in ending civil and international wars; the possibilities of justice and reconciliation after mass violence; the relation between politics, religion and peace; and the role of structural factors such as climate change in peace and conflict.

The Kroc Institute also hosts the Peace Accord Matrix, an interactive database featuring data on comprehensive peace agreements signed since 1989, which is increasingly being used as a tool in peace negotiations around the globe. 

The doctoral program in political science and peace studies provides rigorous training in both political science and peace studies. Students receive advanced research training in qualitative and quantitative methods as well as normative political theory from faculty at the Kroc Institute and the Department of Political Science.

  • Ph.D. in Psychology & Peace Studies

How and why does political violence affect individuals, especially young people? What are the implications for the continuation or mitigation of violent conflict?

The Psychology and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with the theoretical lens and methodological tools of psychology to answer these and related questions. The integration of interdisciplinary peace research methods ensures practical applications for policymakers and for individuals in war, violent conflict, and post-war settings.

The dual degree program focuses on how people are affected by violence and how resilient individuals can serve as models for and active agents of change at the individual, community, and societal level. Students in the program study how exposure to intergroup threats affects mental health, aggressive behaviors, and delinquent acts; explore the constructive role that young people and practitioners can play in reconstructing communities in the wake of violence; and focus on the role of the family and community in youth development.

Research incorporates multiple methods within and across projects, including qualitative and quantitative methods. Students learn leading methodological techniques for analyzing longitudinal and multilevel data and have access to advanced statistical training. At the same time, in conducting research, Ph.D. students engage with global networks that connect them to the real-life problems faced by children, families, and communities around the world.


Faculty with active research programs in developmental and clinical psychology may provide training and mentoring to Ph.D. students. For students applying to the joint program in Psychology and Peace Studies, a primary research adviser in the Department of Psychology should be indicated by name in the application, in addition to a brief articulation of the research fit between the adviser and potential advisee and a discussion of how the students’ research in the department with psychology will be consistent with the goals and interdisciplinary nature of peace studies. Students are encouraged to explore the faculty research pages at to determine which mentor and research lab provide the best fit for their research interests in the joint program. Because not all research labs consider new student applications every year, we encourage students to reach out to specific advisers of interest to determine if they are willing to consider an application for admission via the joint program.

If you have specific questions regarding the joint program, please feel free to contact any of our current graduate students in Psychology and Peace Studies or Dr. Laura Miller-Graff, Assistant Professor of Psychology & Peace Studies at

  • Ph.D. in Sociology & Peace Studies

How does the structure of society influence conflict or post-conflict peacebuilding? What variables affect the capacity of nonviolent civil resistance movements? How do religious norms and practices contribute to conflict and peacebuilding?

The sociology and peace studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame provides its students with the theoretical background and methodological tools to answer these and related questions. The doctoral program provides rigorous training in both sociology and peace studies.

Doctoral students are trained in quantitative methods — surveys, demographic data and statistical models — and qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups and ethnography. They also are trained in sociological theory at the Kroc Institute and in the Department of Sociology. Notre Dame faculty offer particular strengths in the subfields of social movements, the sociology of religion, education and social psychology.

  • Ph.D. in Theology & Peace Studies

How do theological thought and practice shape violent conflict? What is the relationship between theological thought, practice and peacebuilding? What do sacred scripture, ethics, liturgy, history and systematic theology contribute to peace and conflict in theory and practice?

The Theology and Peace studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with frameworks and methodologies to help them think theologically about peace and conflict.

Through courses and seminars with leading scholars of theology, students are immersed in the scriptural foundations of the Christian faith, as well as in the liturgical, spiritual, ethical, and pastoral dimensions of the Christian tradition. They are encouraged to explore from within this theological matrix the opportunities, gifts, and challenges of peace in the modern world. Notre Dame’s Department of Theology also has particular strengths in ancient and medieval Judaism and early Islam, and students can pursue their course of study by focusing on these world religions.

Interdisciplinary Focus

During their tenure in the Ph.D. program, theology and peace studies students interact with scholars and students from other disciplines—history, sociology, anthropology and political science—as a way to develop interdisciplinary research skills and to bring theology into vibrant conversation with the social sciences.

Scholarship & Practice

The overarching goal of the program is to form the next generation of scholar- practitioners who are able to bring disciplined theological scholarly attention to the practical realm of peace efforts around the globe. Students will emerge from the program equipped with skills to help them better understand the world of faith-based peace practitioners, the visions that drive their work and the disciplines that sustain their engagement. They also will emerge with literary skills to enable them to produce a fresh genre of literature at the intersection of theology and peace practice.

The program is ideally suited for candidates who aspire to not only to teach in an academic theology or peace studies program, but also to engage and make theological resources available for broader church audiences and faith-based peace practitioners.

The Kroc Institute provides Ph.D. students full financial support in the form of fellowships, graduate assistantships, and tuition scholarships, plus a stipend for living expenses for five years. Students are trained in the research methodologies associated with one of the six disciplines and immersed in the questions and findings of interdisciplinary peace research.

Graduates are fully credentialed in one of the six disciplines as well as in peace studies. They are prepared for positions in research and teaching — in anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology, theology, or peace studies — and for contributions to peacebuilding practice.

The application deadline is December 15, 2017.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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