Call for Applications: Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Graduate Program in Coexistence and Conflict

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Brandeis University

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence

Understanding conflict.  Facilitating Peace.

Conflict takes many forms in today’s world.  The ability to manage it, resolve it, and seek productive pathways forward is more critical than ever.  At Heller, we’re giving the next generation of peacebuilders the tools and perspective they need to see the full picture, and to guide individuals, families, communities, and nations toward common ground that promotes peace.

Out Conflict Resolution and Coexistence program (COEX) offers a practical, skills-based curriculum that prepares students to become responsible peacebuilding practitioners in conflict areas around the world.  The program is built around three key pillars:  understanding the problems of conflict, developing the process for coexistence intervention, and supporting people and communities through conflict resolution skills.

Whether your goal is to address or prevent war or ethnic violence, work in humanitarian aid and development, negotiate or mediate between individuals or states, implement policy through governments and international organizations, or foster change in your home community, the COEX program will provide you the tools you need.

We are a vibrant, diverse, passionate community that shares a common thread:  advancing knowledge and interventions for sustainable peace.

Elevate your perspective

The COEX program draws socially conscious individuals from all walks and phases of life – security, military and diplomacy, development, education, human rights, journalism, law, civil society, racial and social justice, migration, arts, peacebuilding, health, development, public policy or those with nonprofit, government or international organization experience, as well as AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni.

Master the fundamentals

The COEX curriculum provides a solid theoretical framework in contemporary coexistence and conflict prevention, as well as the practical and professional skills to design and implement successful conflict interventions.  You’ll learn:

  • Contemporary and developing theories on root causes of conflicts
  • The skills to design strategic interventions that prevent, mitigate, or resolve intercommunal conflict
  • Tools to implement coexistence and conflict knowledge and skill sets within governments, international and intergovernmental organizations
  • Evaluation, dialogue, and mediation skills that apply across the full spectrum of conflict scenarios
  • Partnership and coalition-building techniques that will expand your network through political, security, legislative, mediation, human rights and equity, and development sectors


A 16-month program

Over the course of 16 months, COEX students develop and refine essential core competencies, and explore more specialized skills through a broad array of electives.  Two semesters of academic coursework (September – May) are followed by field work and a final capstone paper or thesis (June – December).  You may also choose an extra concentration semester in humanitarian aid and disaster management,or a semester abroad at the Conflict and Peace Research Program at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Field Experience 

Fieldwork is designed to test your application of theory to practice, to expand your policy and hands-on experience, and to increase your security and comfort level in high-risk situations.  Practicums take place over three months in an area of conflict related to your field of student, and come in many different forms – from roles within existing peacebuilding organizations to self-designed independent field research. Recent practicums include:

  • Carter Center, Middle East and Africa Programs
  • United Nations, Department of Political Affairs
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Search for Common Ground
  • Conflict Dynamics International
  • International Organization for Migration
  • Oxfam America
  • Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • Collaborative Learning Projects


From high-level advocacy organizations and local government initiatives in the US, to government work in nations around the world, to UN program management positions, there’s no limit to the impact you can have as a COEX graduate.  More than 15 percent of our graduates go on to pursue PhDs.  Placement for recent COEX graduates includes:

  • Humanitarian Access/Negotiation Support Officer, Conflict Dynamics International
  • Asylum Officer, Department of Homeland Security
  • Women, Peace and Security Specialist, UN Women
  • Conflict Program Manager, West Africa, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Conflict Program Analyst, Gaza, United Nations Development Program
  • Humanitarian Access Specialist, Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Senior International Policy Organizer, Corporate Responsibility International
  • Advisor on Gender, Governance, and Humanitarian Affairs, Embassy of Sweden in Khartoum
  • First Secretary, Embassy of Afghanistan, London
  • Senior Protection Delegate, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Mediator and Housing Stabilization Coordinator, Just-A-Start Corporation



Dual and Joint Degrees

You can also extend your program with the following Dual and Joint degrees:

MA in COEX/MA in Sustainable International Development

MA in COEX/MS in Global Health Policy and Management

MA in COEX/Social Impact MBA

MA in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence and Near Eastern Judaic Students (Joint Degree)

MA in COEX/MA in International Law and Human Rights at University for Peace in Costa Rica

MA in COEX/MA in International Public Policy at KDI School of Government in South Korea

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The COEX program considers each applicant for a generous partial tuition scholarship. We also award guaranteed scholarships to returning National Service volunteers such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and City year volunteers, and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans.

We also have full scholarships available: the Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship,the Social Policy and Coexistence Scholarship.

The COEX Program is also offering one full scholarship for fall 2019 for returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs). Please see the following website on how to apply https://heller.brandeis.edu/admissions/financial-aid/national-service.html

For more details please contact:

Sam Sanchez

Assistant Director of Admissions, [email protected]  or

Sandra Jones, Associate Director, COEX

[email protected]




Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Dr. Craig Zelizer is the Founder of PCDN.global, which connects a global community of changemakers to the tools, community and opportunities to build careers of impact and scale change. He has strong experience in the development sector, academia and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2016 he served as a professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University (where he still teaches). He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. Dr. Zelizer spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
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