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An M.S. in Peace Engineering: A flexible and valuable degree open to a range of backgrounds

Craig Zelizer

April 20, 2017

This is a sponsored post on PCDNetwork

Our degree in Peace Engineering is a first, but it is not the origin of the field. In fact, engineers have practiced peace engineering for a very long time. The fundamentals of peace engineering involve conflict, decisions during conflict, directing designs to promote peace v. violence, and improve lives in the process. To date, the field of peace engineering has been “training though apprenticeship”, or as some would say “learning the hard way”. With focused education, one can rapidly accelerate leadership and impact as an engineer in these complex, challenging conditions in a wide range of career paths.

Outcomes of conflict are determined by a number of decisions made both in parallel and in series. In engineering terminology this is what we call a complex system. There are many examples of complex technology systems that you use every day: the internet, transportation, electrification, etc. In all of these examples, actions and reactions of the system control outcomes. For example, the successful operation of out power grid is measured at your light switch. Did the light come on or not? A peace engineer needs to understand systems, dynamics, and decision making under uncertainty with an analogous outcome of “yes, the light came on when I wanted it to”!

Unlike the previous complex system’s example, the outcome of peace engineering work involves the understanding of human conflicts. Most engineers never get any exposure to conflict science in their education. They can have great engineering skills, but without a compass to guide them in dynamic social environments. Also, they can be challenged in communications. This program addresses this void and compliments the understanding of systems – under dynamic stress.

While the program offers flexibility to students of varying backgrounds, its core elements are parallel series of courses in systems engineering and in conflict science and technology. These course are intended to build and synthesize a student’s “tool kit” for work in peace engineering, and they are intended to improve communication skills by embedding of writing and speaking throughout both series. Students have the ability to choose elective series that add depth an an area and may compliment their backgrounds. For example, an electrical engineer may choose an elective series in cyber-infrastructure, or a civil engineer may choose water or project management, etc. More detail on the courses and opportunities for learning can be found on our website

Where will students land? International firms of all types; banking; insurance; non-for profit organizations; government; cyber-infrastructure; logistics; humanitarian relief; and, beyond. The rate of technological advancement is measured in a doubling every 18 months. Imagine what that means for a Peace Engineer in a decade or a career. The challenges and impacts will be profound. Opportunities are wide-ranging and important.

We are actively accepting applications for our 2017 class. Financial aid is available. Please contact us if you have questions! For more information click here

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