New PhD programme in theology and peace studies

By Simon Barrow
September 10, 2010

The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, USA, is now offers a PhD programme in theology and peace studies.

The new programme, which is a partnership between Notre Dame's Department of Theology and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will educate and train scholars in both theology and interdisciplinary peace research.

Applications are now being accepted for students seeking to begin in fall 2011.

Notre Dame's doctoral programme in peace studies, a partnership with the departments of history, political science, sociology, and psychology, began in 2008.

The leading Mennonite scholar, John Howard Yoder, taught at Notre Dame. When he went there, he discovered that, to his surprise, the library held his and other Anabaptist texts - which would once have been proscribed by Catholic foundation institutions. Thankfully, ecumenism has moved forward considerably in recent years - and Catholic-Anabaptist discussions on peace theology have deepened a great deal, in the US and well beyond.

Adding theology as a track of the programme is a natural step for Notre Dame, says Robert C. Johansen, director of doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute.

He commented: "People's understanding of religious faith often determines if a conflict erupts into violence or instead moves toward new relationships and peaceful communities," he says. "It's exciting to receive inquiries from outstanding students who aspire to be leaders in religious thinking and teaching and who are very serious about studying the causes of war, the conditions of peace, and how to build peace."

Notre Dame's Kroc Institute is a leading centre for research on the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace.

Along with undergraduate and master's degrees in peace studies, the Institute offers PhD degrees in history and peace studies, political science and peace studies, sociology and peace studies, psychology and peace studies, and theology and peace studies.

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