Careers for Graduates of Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Peace and Conflict Academic/Scholar

Description: Peace and conflict studies scholars recognise the fact that wherever humans exist, conflict is inevitable. Peace scholars delve beyond the surface of conflict or conflict situations, by attempting to understand its remote, immediate and underlining causes. They realise that understanding conflict is a necessary pre-requisite for engaging in conflict resolution. Conflict scholars also look into a combination of factors such as circumstances, perceptions, behaviours, differences, interests, and goals, as possible triggers of conflicts among individuals and groups, as well as between nations. Peace scholars also help to explain how to deal with conflicts effectively as an essential life skill to promote peace, harmony, and understanding, and to prevent impulsive, destructive and frequently violent responses to disagreements.

Qualifications: The number of schools awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees in peace and conflict studies is on the increase globally. Most peace academics have at least a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies, human rights, and justice, international relations, and diplomacy, social work, as well as theology. Some peace academics have backgrounds in media and journalism (peace journalism experts) and other fields in the social sciences and humanities. For further academic pursuit in the field, a Ph.D. is typically required and many institutions now offer peace and conflict studies at Ph.D. level.

Salary: The salary for academics in peace and conflict studies depends on factors such as location, institution, and qualification. Typically, Ph.D. holders start off on a higher salary scale than master’s degree holders. Individuals with sufficient hands-on experience on the field also get paid relatively high.

  • Conflict Resolution Expert

Description: Conflict resolution experts work in a multi-disciplinary, analytical, and problem-solving context. They approach conflicts and conflicting situations in ways that seek to enable the participants in a conflict work collaboratively towards its resolution. Various disciplines such as arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators collaborate to ensure that factors facilitating conflict resolution such as knowledge and skills, value changes and healing receive the relevant attention needed.

Qualifications: Most conflict resolution experts have undergraduate and graduate degrees in peace and conflict studies. Many come from multidisciplinary backgrounds such as law, public policy, social work, etc. and typically earn postgraduate degrees in peace and conflict studies. It is expected that those interested in this field should have

Salary: Salary for conflict resolution experts also differ according to location, qualification, and experience. The US Bureau of Labour and Statistics (BLS) estimates that conflict resolution experts earned $58,020 in 2015. The salary for conflict resolution experts such as arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are obviously different in other countries.

  • Peacebuilding Professional

Description: Peacebuilding professionals work in two very important areas in the societal peace and development process. First, they are actively involved in actions aimed at reducing structural violence, so as to reduce the likelihood of armed conflict. Second, they are active players in the recovery processes following an armed conflict with the aim of building a sustainable peace so that armed conflict does not occur again. Peacebuilders are often from the very multidisciplinary background. Given that the peacebuilding process requires substantial human and financial resources, peace builders often come from bodies such as the UN, the World Bank, regional development organisations, etc.

Qualifications: Typically, peacebuilding experts have graduate and postgraduate degrees in peace and conflict studies, with many having backgrounds in international relations, diplomacy, international law, political science, public administration, social work, development studies, and communication.

Salary: Peacebuilding specialists or experts earn $58,000 to $65,000 annually depending on their qualifications, years of experience and geographical location.

  • Gender and Development Specialist

Description: Gender and Development Specialists recognise that direct violent conflicts are 95% of the time committed by men. Often, women, children and the elderly are considered ‘soft targets’. Gender specialists analyse gender discourse critically through assessment surveys and other gender-related research with the aim of mitigating or completely stemming gender-based violence such as physical beating, emotional or psychological abuse, as well as structural violence such as economic deprivation.

Qualifications: Gender specialists typically have graduate and postgraduate degrees in peace and conflict studies, gender studies, advocacy, human rights law, social work and development studies. They must be knowledgeable in current gender discourses, as well as contextual issues in the debates about gender equality/equity.

Salary: Gender Specialists earn a base salary of $76,278 annually in the United State of America. This salary base will differ significantly in other countries, and will also depend on the individual’s qualifications, years of experience and geographical location.

  • Development and Communication Specialist

Description: Development and Communication Specialists work directly with civil society leaders to provide relief to vulnerable members of the society. Perhaps one of the most vital aspects of their work is that they monitor conflicts and present a more balanced and conflict-sensitive view to the members of the public and policymakers, thereby enhancing public understanding of the immediate and remote causes of conflicts, which in turn helps to consider nonviolent responses to conflicts. Development and Communication Specialists also carry out grant writing, news analysis, and the development of effective communication strategies for the attainment of set developmental goals.

Qualifications: Development and Communication Specialists often come from multidisciplinary backgrounds with degrees in public affairs, peace and conflict studies, mass communication, journalism, international relations, political and/or social sciences, etc. Additionally, Development and Communication Specialists are required to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, as well as impeccable organisational abilities.

Salary: Development and Communication Specialists earn between $51,100 and $102,600 yearly, depending on qualifications and years of experience.

  • Human Resources Specialist

Description: Human resources specialists are very important to the smooth running of organisations. They are often required to manage the process of talent acquisition, including sourcing, testing, interviewing, hiring and onboarding. Human resources specialists also play a very vital role in developing training and performance management programmes that are in tandem with set organisational goals, as well as compliant with relevant state and national laws. Peace and conflict studies graduate fit seamlessly into human resources specialists’ roles as their academic and practical training helps them handle investigations and the resolution of employee issues, concerns and conflicts in ways that foster peace in the workplace, thereby improving organisational productivity.

Qualifications: Many graduates of peace and conflict studies have found job placements as human resources specialists. Many have undergraduate degrees in the humanities and management sciences, with many having postgraduate degrees in peace studies, conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation, etc.

Salary: The average base salary for human resources specialists is $71,687 per year. This amount differs according to location, qualifications and years of experience. Those with doctorate degrees earn more.

  • Diplomat

Description: Peace and conflict studies graduates are often employed as diplomats because of their vast knowledge of conflict-sensitivity, conflict resolution, mediation as well as development communication. Diplomats often work in partnership with their host countries to tackle issues such as human trafficking, climate change, as well as promote democratic development and build infrastructures for peace in their host countries.

Qualifications: Peace and conflict studies graduates are in training, equipped to fit into diplomatic positions. Many have undergraduate degrees in the humanities and management sciences, with many having postgraduate degrees in peace studies, conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation, etc. Many diplomats have bachelor’s degrees in international relations, law, economics, journalism and human resources management. Some have postgraduate degrees in peace and conflict studies, and this has given them an edge in the selection process. Given that diplomats sometimes work in difficult environments, they are often required to possess strong communication and interpersonal skills, be highly adaptable and very tolerant, as well as possess a keen sense of conflict-sensitivity.

Salary: Diplomats earn salaries that are completely country-dependent. Although the base salary is generally around $65,230, each country often establishes its own system of reward, which may be tied to what civil servants generally earn. Typically, PhD holders earn significantly more than individuals without PhDs.

  • Policy Officer

Description: Graduates of peace and conflict studies also function effectively as policy officers, where they assist in the formulation of policies on political, commercial and socioeconomic matters. They contribute primarily to the policy influencing areas of the organisations they work. Their rich background in the dynamics of conflicts means that they are often equipped to write progress reports on peace negotiations, conflict resolution, as well as peacebuilding initiatives. Policy officers also play a multiplicity of roles such as in press and public affairs, consular and immigration management, as well as active involvement in the process of mediation and negotiation.

Qualifications: Policy officers need to have a degree in peace and conflict studies. Many have postgraduate degrees in international relations/affairs, development studies or human rights. Most organisations require that policy officers have at least five years progressively responsible work experience in related fields such as climate change, human rights, development studies, social work, and anthropology.

Salary: Policy officers earn a base salary of 43981.481. The salary varies according to the place of employment and on organisational salary scales. Postgraduate degree holders tend to earn higher to the base salary.

  • Legal Advocate

Description: It is pertinent to state that legal officers are not lawyers, and they do not give legal advice. Legal officers provide advocacy for victims of all forms of violence, especially victims of domestic violence. The legal advocate provides direct services to victims who need help in terms of information, advocacy, and court accompaniment. They also provide assistance with services such as obtaining restraining orders, civil, criminal, and other court matters, and referrals.

Qualifications: Typically, legal advocates must hold a minimum of a four-year college or university degree in the humanities and the social sciences. Graduates of peace and conflict studies have been found to play the role of legal advocates. Legal advocates need skills and experience in working with trauma survivors, knowledge of victim’s legal rights. Candidates must also have sufficient knowledge in civil and criminal legal systems.

Salary: Legal Advocate average salary is $29,120. Like the other careers earlier listed, the salary scale depends on geographical location, qualifications, and years of practical experience.

  • The Ombudsman/Woman

Description: Peace and conflict studies graduates have been found to make excellent ombudsmen/women. They play very important roles in mediating between parties in conflict by acting as intermediaries. They participate in the process leading to the resolution of complaints and provide confidential consultations. They also recommend appropriate strategies in order to resolve conflicts between parties. Ombudsmen/women also conduct research and write reports concerning the grievance. This helps them identify problem and pattern areas, which in turn helps them in recommending areas of improvement, and ways in which conflicts can be completely transformed.

Qualifications: Ombudsmen/women come from diverse academic backgrounds. Degree holders in peace and conflict studies can function effectively in this position. It is also required that ombudsmen/women possess relevant attitudinal and relational skills such as confidentiality, excellent interpersonal communication skills, good conflict resolution skills, problem-solving skills, as well as excellent emotional intelligence.

Salary: In the United States, the median pay for Ombudsmen/women is in the range of $53,650 per annum. Like most positions, factors such as geographical location, years of experience and educational qualifications play a huge role on earnings.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Description: Graduates of peace and conflict studies go on to work as monitoring and evaluation officers. Given that most peace and development projects are people-centered, monitoring and evaluation officers review projects to assess whether or not interventions reached the intended target, and whether or not set objectives were achieved. Using systematic methods of data gathering and analysis, monitoring and evaluation officers measure the sustainability, effectiveness, and viability of projects, and recommends necessary policy changes to aid the attainment of project efficacy. They also ensure through effective monitoring and evaluation of projects, that donors get value for money invested in developmental projects.

Qualifications: Although many institutions now offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in monitoring and evaluation, graduates of peace and conflict studies function effectively in this position. Many graduates have gone on to obtain postgraduate degrees in monitoring and evaluation, while many have attended relevant courses. Monitoring and evaluation officers are often required to have sufficient experience in M&E Systems and tools design and implementation, data collection, entry, analysis and reporting. They must also possess excellent verbal communication, as well as IT skills.

Salary: In the United States, monitoring and evaluation officers earn a base salary of $33,361 per year.  Factors such as geographical location, years of experience and educational qualifications may affect salaries of monitoring and evaluation specialists in other countries.