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Peace Studies and Social Justice Minor

Peace education is a rapidly growing multidisciplinary field, informed by a vision of a global civil society based on nonviolence and ethical values that include mutual respect, tolerance, principles of social justice and democracy, socioeconomic wellbeing, and sustainable management of natural resources. The minor in Peace Studies and Social Justice will help students develop the skills needed to become the next generation of peace scholars and activists and empower them to be leaders in designing and developing strategies to reduce violence, promote non-violence, and build a more peaceful and just society.

Why do it?

This minor will introduce students to the broad principles of peace studies and social justice to build a foundational understanding of the causes and consequences of violence and strategies for peacefully managing conflict. It will address how social justice, peace, and violence are intertwined and manifested in the real world, why they matter, and what gives rise to them.

“This minor expanded my worldview and educated me on important topics being discussed in public spheres.” - Peace Studies and Social Justice graduate, 2022


This 18-credit hour minor in Peace Studies and Social Justice includes a 3-hour required introductory course focused on the root causes of violence and strategies of promoting peace; 12 hours of elective courses from four categories designed to build on students' understanding of the root causes of violence, the triggers of violence, and the strategies for remediating violence, and a 3-hour required integrative capstone course.

Pathways diagram of minor

PSVP 2044: Peace and Violence (introductory course)
PSVP 4104: Global Society, Violence, and the Prospects for Peace (capstone)

Students select 12 credit hours of elective courses from either the local issues or the global issues track. Course topics range from peace economics and cyber criminology to writing and social justice, ethical theory and social movements. At least 3 credits must be outside the student’s major. At least 3 credits must be at the 3000 level or above. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

Students from all majors who are drawn to existing minors in Peace Studies or Diversity and Community Engagement should consider this Pathways minor. Recent Peace Studies minors have included the following majors: biology; computer science; human nutrition, foods, and exercise; engineering, science, and mechanics; fish and wildlife conservation; psychology; criminology; German; international studies; political science; professional and technical writing; and sociology. Many are from the Corps of Cadets. 

This minor is hosted by the Department of Sociology in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
4 - Reasoning in the Natural Sciences
5f - Foundational Quantitative and Computational Thinking
5a - Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness