Peace and Social Justice Studies
Berea College student holding a demonstration sign

Peace and Social Justice Studies

Peace and Social Justice Studies

The interdisciplinary field of Peace and Social Justice Studies focuses on practical questions of how to realize peace and justice in the everyday world. We are concerned with building peace with justice locally: with families, communities and organizations, and we also strive to reduce injustice and build peace nationally and internationally. 

In Introduction to Peace and Social Justice Studies, I learned to think globally. I was no longer the center of my universe; I was a small peon in a much larger world. Peace and Social Justice Studies have widened my view of society and global issues. I constantly see injustices now, whereas before, I would not have recognized them.

Lolly Saleem

Opportunities & Internships

Peace and Social Justice Studies majors and minors are encouraged strongly to engage their studies in and beyond the classroom. We promote experiences in local and global partnership organizations and shared leadership in the Peace and Social Justice Studies Department.

Berea and our surrounding area offer tremendous teaching and learning resources for Peace and Social Justice Studies’ students. Because of the rich history of Berea College and responses to poverty and community development, this part of Central Appalachia has become a working laboratory for studying environmental and economic issues. Courses in this program typically include opportunities for community engagement and social change in Berea and Central Appalachia.

Careers & Outcomes

Students in peace and social justice studies typically acquire a broad and comparative understanding of conflict, violence and peace. Our primary goal is the development of students’ knowledge and competencies in fields that contribute towards peace and social transformation. The department brings intellectual and experiential inquiry to the fundamental interrelationship between peace and justice.

Through our classes, programs and interactions, PSJ students and faculty seek to

  • understand, respond, and reduce conflict on both individual and social levels
  • develop approaches to and methods for prevention and resolution of war, genocide, terrorism, and violations of human rights and
  • contribute to the development of social systems and societies that promote peace with social justice.

A major or minor in Peace and Social Justice Studies opens many doors and career paths as you develop your knowledge and practice of peace-building. As a graduate, you can:

  • Pursue graduate studies in Peace and Conflict Studies,  Social Work, Public Administration, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, Public Health and others
  • Work as an organizer, social worker, public-interest lawyer, researcher
  • Teach in primary school, secondary school, college or university
  • Participate in community action work
  • Serve with volunteer and nonprofit organizations

Student Stories

Sarah McLewin ’12 explains how Berea’s Peace and Social Justice Program introduces students to a “new world view” through learning about global issues. The program also offers a theoretical understanding of nonviolent solutions. Through looking at the processes of past social movements while also analyzing current issues, students gain an ability to apply theory to action—now, and in their future.

Watch Sarah McLewin’s retrospective here.

Contact Us

Berea College | Draper 102A | CPO 1956 | Berea, KY 40404 | 859-985-3331