School of Peace Studies

Contact: Marisa Alioto
Phone: (619) 260-7929
Fax: (619) 849-8109

Location: KIPJ Room 113
Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

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Academic Programs

Fast Facts for Prospective Students

Considering a master's degree in peace studies from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies? You may have questions. We've collected some of the most frequently asked questions all in one place. If your answer isn't here, please feel free to contact us!

Can I schedule a visit to campus?

Absolutely! We'd be happy to meet with you to discuss the program. If you're visiting during the academic year, we also may be able to arrange for you to sit in on a class. Please contact Marisa Alioto, Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services, at or (619) 260-7929 to schedule your visit. 

Who can apply and what are the qualifications for admission?

Applicants must hold a four-year degree (in any area of study) from an accredited college or university.  Applications are evaluated holistically, and students are selected on the basis of grades, experience, exam scores, recommendations, and the personal statement.  

How do I apply and what are the application requirements?

In addition to the online application and the application fee ($45), all applicants are required to submit a personal statement, official GRE results, a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.  

International students must also submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.  Official transcripts must be translated by an outside agency such as World Education Services (WES).

For additional information, please reference the application checklist. International students should also reference the international student application checklist.

What standardized tests are required for admission?

All students are required to submit official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.  International students must also submit official TOEFL (minimum of 83) or IELTS (minimum band score of 7) scores.

What is the University of San Diego's (USD's) college code?


Where should I send supporting application materials?

Most application materials can be submitted as part of the online application.  If, however, you need to mail any documents, they should be sent to USD's Office of Graduate Admissions:

University of San Diego
Office of Graduate Admissions
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 15th of each year.  Applications are not accepted on a rolling basis.  

What is the difference between the 12 and 17-month track?

The 12-month track is intended for students who have a minimum of three years of experience relevant to the field of peace and justice (e.g. non-governmental agency (NGO), government or business experience with a focus on human rights, conflict resolution or development).  Those without this experience are eligible to apply to the 17-month track, which includes a 10-week summer internship.

Can I have an area of emphasis within peace studies?

While not required, students may choose to specialize in one of three areas:  conflict analysis, prevention and resolution, human rights or development and human security.

What is the size of each cohort?

The average size of each cohort is 25-30 students.

What kind of careers do people with degrees in peace studies have? 

Take a look at our impressive alumni profiles for real-world examples of careers that leverage a peace and justice education. Our students go on to do meaningful work in public health, environmental policy, human rights advocacy, youth leadership, as well as law enforcement, government, and religious pursuits — all over the world.

Does the Kroc School offer career placement assistance?

The school offers many opportunities for you to meet members of the peacemaking community through internships, volunteering, and events. The more active you are, the more likely you'll meet the right people to help advance your career! USD also has a robust Career Services department for undergraduate and graduate students.

How much is tuition, and do you offer financial aid and scholarships?

Here is the latest information about tuition, scholarships, and financial aid.

What does a day in the life of a master's degree student look like?

Master's students typically have classes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. three to four days a week.  Throughout the semester, we also offer workshops, which take place in the evenings or over the weekend.  Our students have many opportunities to engage in the USD and Kroc School community via events, lectures and social activities.   Some students take on leadership roles with the Peace and Justice Graduate Student Association (PJGA), while others engage with campus-wide graduate organizations. While the academic program keeps students busy, we encourage students to explore all of the great things that make San Diego "America's Finest City".

Is the master's program flexible enough for me to work full time while attending school?

At this point in time, we only offer a full time master's program.  Classes are typically offered during the day, with some workshops taking place during evenings and weekends. Due to the rigorous nature of the full time program, we strongly discourage students from working full time.  Many students in the master's program have part time jobs on and off campus to help offset their educational costs.

When does the program begin and is there an orientation for new students?

Yes, there is a required week-long orientation for all students in late-August.  Our international students are required to also attend a separate international student orientation, which begins in mid-August.  You will receive details and information related to orientation in July.

When are classes in session?

USD runs on a semester system.  Fall semester starts in August and ends in mid-December.  Spring semester starts in late-January and ends in mid-May.  Some students choose to take a course during intersession, which runs for three weeks in January between the fall and spring semesters.

Do you offer the option to start the program in the spring?

Unfortunately, we do not offer the option to start the program in spring semester.

Do I have to be an MA student to take a class at the Kroc School?

Any interested individual holding a bachelor's degree from an approved and accredited institution may apply for Special Student Status and may, with permission of the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Kroc School, take up to 6 units of course work offered by the school. Special Students may be prohibited from enrolling in specific courses.  

Where do students live?

USD offers very limited housing on campus to graduate students, and applications are typically due in early May.  Visit the USD Residential Life website to learn more about these opportunities and to submit an application.  Housing is plentiful in the areas surrounding the university — visit the Off-Campus Housing for Graduate and Law Students website for resources related to housing, local maps and neighborhoods, as well as information about transportation and parking.

Are graduate assistantships or other types of student employment available on campus?

USD offers many opportunities for student employment with various departments including libraries, dining services and the Torero Store.  You may contact the department directly to find out if there are any openings or visit USD Student Employment for additional information.

The Kroc School does not currently offer assistantships, however, students are encouraged to apply to assistantships open to all graduate students at USD.  Our students have previously held assistantships with offices such as the International CenterWomen's CenterUnited Front Multicultural Center and University Ministry.  Application deadlines for these positions may be sooner than you think, so please contact the office directly for details.

Where can I learn about other campus resources?

Learn more about campus resources such as the Graduate Student Council, Health Center and One Stop Services on the graduate student Resources page.