Notre Dame Establishes Ph.D. Program in Theology and Peace Studies

Author: Julie Hail Flory

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The University of Notre Dame has established a Ph.D. in theology and peace studies to educate and train scholars in both theology and interdisciplinary peace research. The program is a partnership between Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Notre Dame’s Ph.D. in peace studies, a joint program with the Kroc Institute and the departments of History, Political Science, Sociology, and Psychology, began in 2008. Adding a partnership with theology is a natural step for Notre Dame, says Robert Johansen, director of doctoral studies at the Kroc Institute.

“People’s understanding of religious faith often determines if a conflict erupts into violence or instead moves toward new relationships and peaceful communities,” Johansen says. “It’s exciting to receive inquiries from outstanding students who aspire to be leaders in religious thinking and teaching and who are very serious about studying the causes of war, the conditions of peace and how to build peace.”

While the promotion of peace has long been an important theme of Catholic social teaching, more recently other areas of theology have considered it a priority, says J. Matthew Ashley, chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology.

“Theologians increasingly are aware that answering questions of peace and reconciliation requires a penetrating and nuanced grasp not only of diverse aspects of Catholic theology, but also of cultural, political, and economic conditions in which this theology is to be brought to bear,” he says. “This new track will provide an unparalleled opportunity to meet both requirements and produce scholars who will provide invaluable service to the church and to the world.”

Applications are now being accepted for students seeking to begin in fall 2011.

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