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    Saybrook University
  May 21, 2024
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Peace & Conflict Resolution Certificate

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Certificate Program Lead: Marc Pilisuk, Ph.D.
Sponsored by: Department of Transformative Social Change


In a historically troubled world, peace does not happen by accident; it takes the effort of many people working together to resolve deep-rooted conflicts. The past century left a legacy of violent international conflict, genocidal wars, massive casualties among civilians and soldiers, the dislocation of people, and the usurpation of resources for destruction. The new century has so far continued that destructive force and the danger of destroying all life as we know it. Conflicts may be inevitable and may sometimes be a force for constructive change, but only if we are able to understand and to affect the causes of violence and the potential of non-violent efforts for resolving them.

Many of the founders of humanistic psychology and, indeed, many of the Saybrook faculty, have recognized the futility of seeking fulfillment of human potential without attending to the destructive forces that preclude its development and understanding what we can do to build a culture of peace. This internationally-focused Certificate program is designed to provide information and skills for individuals seeking an understanding of issues related to peace and conflict and who wish to work in a variety of settings for peace building, conflict resolution, and assistance to victims of violence and displacement. This Certificate provides students with the social science knowledge about violent conflict and about the requirements for peace. It introduces some of the practical skills needed to be effective in conflict resolution and to be a peace practitioner.

Curriculum: The Certificate program in Peace and Conflict Resolution consists of four 3-credit courses, a 3-credit practicum, and a 1-credit integrative paper for a total of 16 credits. 

Required Courses:

Learning Outcomes: Upon completing this Certificate program, students will:                                                    

  • Understand the breadth and depth of contemporary global challenges to a world at peace.
  • Be able to evaluate existing theories and models of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation.
  • Be able to work with some of the tools, techniques, and practices now available to peace practitioners.
  • Be more skilled and knowledgeable about one or more areas of practical application, such as teaching about peace, promoting non-violent resolutions of conflict, and assisting those who have been displaced or otherwise harmed by war.
  • Appreciate the cultural, ethical, political, economic, and psychological aspects of violent conflict and of its alternatives.

College of Social Sciences Certificate Programs

Saybrook University’s College of Social Sciences offers a number of exciting certificate programs intended for non-matriculating students (e.g., professionals, activists, community leaders/organizers, etc.) who want to expand or deepen their knowledge and skills pertaining to specific foci.  Our certificate programs offer a variety of topics relevant in today’s world. From existential psychology to integrative healthcare, the College of Social Sciences certificates offer students the humanistic and interdisciplinary education students desire in a convenient certificate program.

Delivery Model

All entering students will begin their program in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty in order to clarify requirements and ensure that their interests are integrating within their learning experience. Students can change their study plan later, but need to make an initial plan at the outset, including a tentative plan for a one-year enrollment for those individuals not enrolled in a Saybrook degree program. Typically, certificate requirements can be completed within one to two years (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details). Students progress through certificate requirements through a combination of on-line cohort courses and either face-to-face experientials during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance platforms such as video-conference or conference calls. Additionally, students participate in online Graduate Colloquia shells, which are virtual classrooms utilized to foster community among all enrolled in specializations that sponsor the certificates; deepening the learning environment and broadening the application of theory and practice.

These certificates are available to degree and non-degree students alike. Non-degree students who subsequently pursue a degree at Saybrook may be able to transfer credits toward degree requirements.  Students formally enrolled in one of Saybrook’s degree programs may be able to integrate the certificate into their program as the certificate course requirement may satisfy either specialization requirements and/or degree electives.  In the event that a doctoral student wishes to complete more than one Certificate program, only one course (3 credits) may be counted toward a second Certificate. No course overlap may occur for fulfillment of a third (or more) Certificate. In addition, fulfillment of each Certificate requires completion of a unique practicum (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8151: 3 credits) as well as a unique final paper (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8950: 1 credit). No overlap of required Certificate coursework will be permitted for M.A. students who wish to declare more than one Certificate.

Core Components

Though each certificate is specific to the area of focus, there are general Core Components or expectations.

  • Required course(s) (3 credits each)
  • Choice of Electives (3 credits each) to be determined in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty
  • Practicum/Project (3 credits) which is individually designed by the student in consultation with Practicum Instructor based on his or her interests and goals. This may involve related theory, research, and/or practical application. Several Certificates require the presentation of the Practicum/Project during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance presentation through video conference platforms such as Go To Meeting or Skype (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details).
  • Integrative Paper/Seminar (1 credit) which can be a capstone paper, professional poster presentation, or mini-project designed to allow reflection, assessment of progress, integration of experience and academic learning, and forward projection into how one will use these learnings and skills. It also invites a look into other competencies one might still wish to add. (Not all certificates require an integrative paper).


  • Applied Consciousness Studies
  • Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing
  • Building A Sustainable World
  • Community Health & Development
  • Complex Trauma & The Health Process
  • Creativity Studies
  • Death, Loss, and Meaning
  • Dream Studies
  • Foundations in Existential-Humanistic Practice
  • Multiculturalism and Social Justice
  • Organizational Leadership & Transformation
  • Peace & Conflict Resolution
  • Professional Studies in Psychophysiology
  • Socially Engaged Spirituality
  • Stress Management Education
  • Transpersonal Psychology

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