In order to obtain their M.A. degree in Peace Studies, students need to successfully complete 36 credits, of which 27 are core course, 3 credits are an elective and 6 credits are for the Thesis.


Each course is worth 3 credits

Core Courses (12 credits total)

  • PST 501 Religion and Empires
  • PST 504 Political Economy of Peace and War
  • PST 511 Peace, Politics and Religion
  • PST 513 International Law

Elective Course (choose one, 3 credits)

  • GSB 501 Principles of Business: Accounting, Finance and Economics
  • GSB 502 Principles of Business: Marketing Management and Operations


Each course is worth 3 credits

Core Courses (15 credits total)

  • PST 503 Negotiation and Conflict Management
  • PST 512 Political Islam in Context
  • PST 514 Democracy and Government: Contemporary Challenges
  • PST 515 International Response to Humanitarian Crises
  • GSR 503 Research Methodology

Audit Option (additional fee)

  • GSB 504 Principles of Fundraising


  • PST 599 Thesis
    The thesis is worth 6 credits

Audit Option (additional fee)

  • PST 550 Peace Studies Internship


Religion and Empires

The course provides students with a systematic knowledge and understanding of religious topography and religious history of Rome, Europe and the Mediterranean. It explores various religious traditions from the foundation of Rome to the Protestant Reformation. The focus is on topics related to the ancient Etruscan religion, Roman religious beliefs and practices, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as traditions that shaped to a significant extent the cultural and political history of Rome, Italy and Europe. Students will also learn about the cultural, social and political impact of these religious traditions on the later development of Europe and the Western world in general. This course enables students to choose elective courses and helps them design their own academic profile, which best suits their research interests and future careers.

Negotiation and Conflict Management

Conflict is part of daily life: it can be destructive as well as constructive but it needs to be dealt with productively. Resolution is a collaborative process by which differences are handled and outcomes are jointly agreed by the interested parties. It is the transformation of the relationships and situations such that solutions are sustainable and self-correcting in the long term. This course will introduce the student to the common causes of conflicts, and enable them to understand how and why they appear. Techniques and methods to approach, manage and resolve conflicts will be introduced, including the strategies of good listening and good communication skills. Various techniques will be examined and applied using selected case studies, including negotiation from a humanitarian perspective and negotiation with armed groups.

Political Economy of Peace and War

This course focuses on the international political and economic aspects of conflicts from WWII up to today. It explores the concepts of Empire and Hegemony in the contemporary international affairs. The course also investigates various theories and strategies to avoid conflicts, such as hegemonic stability theory, balancing between major powers, cooperation within international institutions, trade integration, or socialization of norms and principles.
The absence of a major war on a global scale does not indicate the presence of peace, since conflicts and competitions take place on a different level (through, for instance, trade wars, sanctions, boycotts, embargos, etc.). In addition to that, global actors in contemporary international political economy (ranging from states, religious and non-governmental organizations, to multinational corporations, arm dealers, transnational extremist organizations, etc.) often have competing objectives when waging the costs and benefits of war and peace. Only when the actors of conflicts, and the political economy factors that drive them are addressed, can one understand the conditions of resolving the conflicts and promote peace.

Peace, Politics and Religion

The course analyzes the reciprocal influences of politics and religion in the Western tradition, and how philosophy has enquired into the interdependency of these two modes of human experience and social life. The aim of the course is to understand how religion affects politics and vice versa by considering the theoretical background offered by major philosophers and theorists. Through a combination of historical and theoretical analysis students will be able to critically examine various case studies, from early modern history to the present.

International Law

This course is a study of the current system of international law, tracing its historical development and concluding with a discussion of recent proposals to strengthen international system of law and justice. The course will also look into the recent cases relevant for the international legal system, such as the cases of international terrorism, genocide and the work of international tribunals, and the International Court of Justice.

Political Islam in Context

Scholars, government analysts and terrorism experts have examined the relationship between Islam and politics for years. Although this field of study is not recent, it became both dominant and essential since 9/11. This course intends to provide a comprehensive, analytical, and in-depth examination of political Islam in an increasingly globalizing world. The purpose is thus to show the interaction of Islam and politics and the multiple and diverse roles of Islamic movements, as well as issues of: i) authoritarianism; ii) democratization; iii) religious extremism; and iv) terrorism.The first part of the course will give a general overview; the second part of the course will focus on case studies at the regional and global level.

Democracy and Government: Contemporary Challenges

This course explores the complexities of governmental system and functioning in the contemporary global society. The course will explore different countries, focusing on the issue of democracy and government in regard to the country’s size, geo-political position, official ideology and economic development. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the functions of political/state institutions and the factors that influence political processes in the global era, such as constitutions, legislation procedures, interest groups, political parties, elections, NGOs.

International Response to Humanitarian Crises

The course enables students to understand the functioning of international humanitarian interventions and aid supply in countries affected by a crisis (such as conflicts or natural disasters). It gives a firsthand understanding of what it is like to work under pressure in difficult circumstances. The course provides students with both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to equip them with all the tools necessary for a successful work in the humanitarian sector. The course uses interactive tools and scenario‐based teaching (such as simulation exercises). 

Research Methodology

This course provides a background research methodology for graduate students of Sustainable Cultural Heritage and Peace Studies. The course will develop skills in the areas of on-line and library research, quantitative analysis, focusing on appropriate use and interpretation of quantitative techniques, qualitative analysis, analysis of social media data. The last part of the course will be devoted to developing a research proposal that will be the basis of the thesis to be carried out over the summer and fall semesters.

Peace Studies Thesis

In order to complete the MA degree in Peace Studies students are required to write an MA thesis. Students are expected to conduct their thesis preparations in intense consultations with their advisor. Preparations include specification of the thesis topic, development of the draft thesis, choosing appropriate methods, research and/or practical work, study trips (if necessary), work in archives, and other required activities. MA thesis should be related to the practical work, and based on experiences, knowledge and data that students collected during their internship period. The thesis will expand students’ knowledge on a particular subject, and will prepare them for future professional work

Principles of Business: Accounting, Finance and Economics (elective)

This course provides a survey of accounting, finance and economics basics.  Accounting methodologies, financial analysis, valuation, and macro and micro economics (fiscal and tax policy, privatization, investment, tariff/subsidy, regulation), are studied for both large and small organizations and enterprises.  Case studies, lecture and in class exercises provide for a practical approach to financial business management.  Valuation, international macroeconomics, public goods, externalities and the role of business in society are also examined.  The course assumes no prior knowledge of business techniques or terminology.

Principles of Business: Marketing Management and Operations (elective)

This course teaches the core elements of marketing in nonprofit, public, for-profit and social enterprise organizations. In the first section, students examine the strategic marketing process from initial research and analysis through writing a marketing plan. The second course section highlights the latest tactics used in executing the plan, including digital content marketing and offline real time techniques. The course content reflects continuing changes in the operating environment, including the imperative to develop sustainable organizations, the impact of digital technologies, the continued blurring of boundaries among the nonprofit, for-profit, and public sections in the economy and the increasing interconnectedness of local and global markets.

Principles of Fundraising (audit option/additional fee)

Fundraising is a complex and potentially very time-consuming task; so that a carefully targeted approach will certainly save time and produce better results for the hard-pressed academic, archaeologist or heritage manager. This course will examine the matter of funding from the applicant’s point of view, looking at questions such as how to choose an appropriate funding source (government, private, corporation, NGO or individual donor) and develop a relationship with them, how ethics impinge on that choice, and the reporting procedures and proof of sustainability which may be required if you are successful. At the end of the course, students will be challenged in a group project to produce a complete campaign plan for an actual non-profit organization.

Peace Studies Internship (audit option/additional fee)

This is a practical internship with a Peace Studies or related organization. It requires 150 hours of practical work experience, a journal with the daily activities detailed as well as reflections on the internship as a learning experience and a presentation and written paper at the end of the work experience period. AUR will make every effort to place a student in the best possible situation but students should be aware that internships in Italy are not abundant due to Italian employment laws. Students are advised to begin thinking well ahead of time of the kind of internship they would like and to have a few alternatives in case their first choice does not work out.