The Peacebuilding and Social Innovation Minor Courses

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2019-2020, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2019. Access the catalog of record at

PJS 101, PJS 417, PJS 431, PJS 441, PJS 479, PJS 494, PJS 495W, PJS 498, PJS 499


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Core Attributes: Law - Experiential, Domestic Diversity level 1

This course provides historical and contemporary perspectives on the nature of conflict, the conditions of sustainable development, and strategies for global order. Students will explore the links among these issues as a means for understanding the obstacles to, and opportunities for, peace and justice.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course has been designed to address how teams collaborate through a project-based approach designed to cultivate empathy across disciplinary boundaries. This will help position students to be discipline-bridging changemakers. Drones present technical and ethical challenges that cannot be addressed in isolation. The course involves designing and building the device (a clear engineering challenge) with the more conceptual work of planning for its integration into pro-social organizational processes (a clear peace and justice challenge).


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

How can universities teach peacebuilding to people in dangerous situations without resorting to hand-wringing paternalism or simply using other people’s misfortunes as teachable material? This is the guiding question behind: “Teaching Applied Peace Education in Mexico.” Students serve as facilitators for the Trans-Border Institute’s “diplomado” [certificate program] in Applied Peace Education, given in collaboration with local educational institutions and civil society organizations in the areas of Mexico most affected by the drug war. The program is designed for the leaders of non-governmental organizations, civil servants, and local university students interested in building sustainable peace in Mexico. The USD student facilitators travel to Mexico with TBI staff and attend the seminars, where they learn a broad interdisciplinary curriculum in Applied Peace Education along with the local participants. The curriculum presents seven interconnected paths to sustainable peace: human rights, citizenship, history and memory, conflict resolution, social innovation, digital technology, and ecology. The student facilitators lead group exercises and discussions that reinforce the course material and assess its local relevance. In weekly meetings between each seminar, the student facilitators help TBI staff to tailor the material to local demands, to design and redesign the group exercises to maximize their effectiveness, and hone their own skills as discussion leaders and facilitators. Each diplomado program carries out a collaborative or “hive model” research project, where TBI leverages the local insight, experience, and connections of the seminar participants to produce useful knowledge about the most pressing local problems of peace and justice. The student facilitators participate in the design, implementation, and analysis of the research project and produce a final report for publication in collaboration with TBI. In the process, the student facilitators receive formal training in conducting ethical and effective interview-based research and intensive mentoring from TBI staff.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

On the ground and in the global hotspots, Kurdish women are fighting ISIS, Liberian women locked a dictator and rebel leaders into a negotiating room, and a Filipino woman called for a ceasefire and then created the first civilian team to monitor it. Yet in mass media and in history books these stories often go untold. In the first course of its kind, students learn from and work with four courageous women peacebuilders and human rights defenders who will be in residence at USD in the fall.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

The course begins with a comprehensive review of the origins and substance of U.S. immigration and asylum law, with a special emphasis on how they interface with the broader history of international humanitarian and human rights norms. Students will then work with staff of the Trans-Border Institute (TBI) to provide expert testimony for asylum claims filed by individuals fleeing persecution in contemporary Mexico and Central America. Working with the most important national and local networks of pro bono immigration attorneys in the country, the students will assist TBI staff in verifying and reinforcing the most important facts and claims in each case, and preparing effective, thorough, and well-documented expert testimony. Students will mobilize the underlying research and their experience working on the individual cases to develop policy briefs of specific aspects of immigration and asylum policy. Each student will produce a significant written contribution to at least one actual asylum case, one fact sheet, and one policy brief to be published by TBI. In addition to a broad introduction to immigration and asylum law grounded in the practice of real-world cases, the students will learn to work collaboratively, designing and dividing up particular research tasks on hard deadlines, and they will learn to ask effective questions of the lawyers, the asylum seekers, and a variety of experts. The course will meet once per week for 3 hours, and students will be expected to complete approximately 10 hours per week of reading and research.


Units: 1-3 Repeatability: Yes (Repeatable if topic differs)

A specialized course focusing on a topic in conflict analysis, peacebuilding, justice, human rights, development or social innovation. May be repeated for credit if the topic changes.


Units: 3

Core Attributes: Writing-Pre F17 CORE

This course integrates the knowledge and skills students have acquired through coursework and experience. The course also provides a foundation for possible future engagement with peace and justice concerns through graduate work, career choice, or volunteer activities. Under the supervision of the course instructor, students will develop a research project or paper designed to illuminate the dynamics of domestic and international peace, sustainability, cooperation, and justice. Completed projects will become part of a student archive designed to provide guidance and inspiration for future students of peace and justice.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Practical experience under professional supervision under the broad theme of conflict, social justice, peacebuilding and social innovation. Internships can be pursued with Kroc School faculty, the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ), the Trans-border Institute (TBI), the Center for Peace and Commerce (CPC), the Mulvaney Center or other relevant units at USD. Internships are intended to allow students to gain hands-on experience in a particular area within a structured work program. Accordingly, the supervisor and the intern need to develop a concrete work program with assigned tasks, learning goals, desired outcomes, and time commitment. The internship needs to be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and the faculty advisor for the minor before the student can formally register. Only a total of 3 internship units may be used toward the minor.


Units: 1-3 Repeatability: No

An independent study for up to a total of three units provides students an opportunity to research a topic of particular interest to them relevant to Peacebuilding and Social Innovation under the supervision of a faculty member, including staff with teaching responsibilities. Students can pursue an independent study within the Kroc School or other departments at USD. As with internships, the faculty supervisor and the student need to develop a concrete work program with assigned tasks, learning goals, end product and time commitment. The student’s faculty advisor and the faculty advisor for the minor must approve the independent study proposal before the student can formally register.