Peace Studies Internship

Peace Studies Internship

The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies administers the International Peace Studies (IPS) concentration as part of the Keough School’s Master of Global Affairs (MGA) program.

The IPS curriculum is rigorously interdisciplinary and pushes students to move beyond simplistic solutions to violence, and toward conflict transformation in complex and dynamic environments.

Hallmarks of the IPS concentration include:

  • Opportunity for Global Internship Experience – IPS students spend their entire third semester embedded in an organization working on issues of peace, justice and conflict transformation. They gain hands-on experience with peacebuilding initiatives in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East or the United States.
  • Training as Strategic Peacebuilders – This extended time of six months in the field gives students the opportunity to think in new ways about theories they have learned in the classroom, and to consider the challenges raised by practical situations they encounter on the ground. While in the field, students integrate theory with practice in communities dealing with issues of peace and conflict, inequities in economic development, environmental violence, human rights, and justice.
  • Practice as Reflective Scholar-Practitioners – During this time, students also conduct independent research that forms the basis of their final integrative project during the subsequent fourth semester. Upon returning to the university after their field placement, students systematize their experience and research in the form of an innovative capstone project that spans the bridge between theory and practice.

Semesters 1 and 2: Foundational Learning

First-year courses are designed to give new MGA IPS students foundational “building blocks” that equip them with theory, skills and knowledge. For instance, the “Developing a Peacebuilding Practice” course introduces models for thinking strategically about the intersection of theory and practice in settings of conflict and peace.

Foundational courses present an integrative understanding of global affairs, which deepens students’ understanding of the field of peace studies. Among the course topics are economics, global politics, research methodology, and Integral Human Development.


Semester 3: Strategic Peacebuilding/Immersive Field Internship

Field placements take place between July 1 and December 15 each year. Students intern an average of 30-35 hours per week with their organization so that they have sufficient time to develop their own research. Internship times and weekly schedule will be determined by mutual agreement to meet the needs of both the organization and the student.

Read reflections from International Peace Studies students in the field on the Keough Insider blog.

Recent placements have included:

  • American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Beirut, Lebanon
  • Bangsamoro Transition Authority, Mindanao, Philippines
  • Catholic Relief Services, Mindanao, Philippines & Baltimore, Maryland
  • Chicago Torture Justice Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • Creative Associates International, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Diálogos y Capacidades para la Paz Territorial, Fundación Redprodepaz, Colombia
  • International Civil Society Action Network, Washington, D.C.
  • International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Geneva, Switzerland
  • International Rescue Committee, Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Life and Peace Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  • RAFT, formerly known as Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding Effectiveness in Myanmar (CDA), Yangon, Myanmar
  • Sembrando Paz, Sincelejo, Colombia
  • World Bank, Washington, D.C., and Bogotá, Colombia

Semester 4: Bridging Theory and Practice as Reflective Scholar-Practitioners

Students return to campus for their final semester to complete an integrative master’s capstone project. They participate in a retreat to reflect on their field experience in conversation with their cohort peers and advisors. In the capstone course, they complete and present the integrative project based on their independent field research.

Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Joan B. Kroc, the Kroc Institute offers all students who are accepted into the master’s program a full scholarship and stipend for housing and living expenses. This includes financial and professional support during the field experience, such as the cost of travel to and from the field site.