PACS 4500 Senior Seminar in Peace and Conflict Studies

Instructors Contact:

Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess


About the Course:

The face-to-face version of the Peace and Conflict Studies Senior Seminar (PACS4500) features a great deal of small-group discussion. Unfortunately, that is just not possible in a self-paced, online format. The course is, therefore, structured much more like an independent study built around six major assignments. The total workload is comparable to a senior-level, three-credit-hour, face-to-face course. The amount of time you should expect to spend on the course should include the 2 1/2 hours of class time typically associated with such a face-to-face course plus the amount of time that you would typically spend doing class readings, preparing for tests, and writing a term papers.

Recognizing that online courses can be a pretty interpersonal impersonal way of learning, we encourage students to take advantage of opportunities for direct, personal contact with your instructors via Skype, Google Hang Out, e-mail or office visits for those living in Boulder.

This is an advanced course designed for students completing the Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Colorado and others with comparable levels of interest in the peace and conflict field. The course is structured more as a graduate class focused on independent research than as an undergraduate class focused on passing exams covering a tightly defined collection of materials. The course also recognizes that the peace and conflict field is extremely diverse. After providing students with a common foundation of the latest ideas for dealing with today’s most complex and difficult conflicts, we offer students the freedom to pursue very different courses of study within the broad field.

The course recognizes and supports the work of students who approach conflict topics from both advocacy and intermediary perspectives. Here the primary goal is to help students develop and apply a sophisticated image of conflict dynamics in ways that can help them more wisely, equitably, and efficiently handle those controversial issues that must be constructively addressed as part of any sincere effort to equitably advance the common good.


Overall, the goals of the course are:

  • To give students a set of “lenses” and skills that will enable you to analyze complex conflicts effectively–particularly systems analysis and conflict mapping
  • To give students a sense of how difficult conflicts can be constructively addressed and interventions designed
  • To prepare students for further work in this and associated fields–either in grad school, a job, or civic and volunteer activities

Required Texts:

There is no traditional, paper text for this course — all readings are online.

Course Grading:

  • Assignment #1: 2% — Get Acquainted E-Mail
  • Assignment #2: 12% — Reading / Listening Reflections Unit #1
  • Assignment #3: 12% — Reading / Listening Reflections Unit #2
  • Assignment #4: 12% — Reading / Listening Reflections Unit #3
  • Assignment #5: 12% — Reading / Listening Reflections Unit #4
  • Assignment #6: 2% — Course Project Topic
  • Assignment #7: 24% — Conflict Map
  • Assignment #8: 24% — Concept Papers

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado