Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Leadership (Online With Brief Residencies in Vermont and South Africa)


3 locations available

Program Description

Learn to design and lead interventions to transform conflict and build more just systems.


  • Learn from a leader and innovator in the field, training conflict managers and peacebuilders for more than 25 years.
  • Stay in your job while earning your degree.
  • Get on-the-ground training in post-conflict transition during two weeks across different locations in South Africa.
  • Interact with peacebuilding specialists from around the world at the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program
  • Expand your professional network with peacebuilding experts outside of SIT through an innovative partnership with two leading peace and justice organizations in the US

The world needs peace and justice advocates more than ever. Get the skills you need to design and lead interventions that address the causes and consequences of complex and multi-layered conflicts and that can help build sustained peace.

You’ll learn from peacebuilding experts in government, nongovernmental, and international organizations both in the United States and abroad. You’ll examine and practice strategies for conflict transformation at interpersonal, intercommunal, national, and international levels.

With the training you’ll receive through this program, you’ll be prepared to introduce interventions that address the root causes of conflict, such as poverty, chronic inter-communal violence, non-representative political systems, gender inequality, and cultures of intolerance. You’ll be ready to work in NGOs, development initiatives, humanitarian aid, educational settings, youth programs, inter-group relations efforts, human rights organizations, and elsewhere.

On-the-Ground Training in South Africa

Spend two weeks witnessing post-conflict transition in action in three South African cities: Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town.

Excursion highlights include:


  • The Apartheid Museum
  • The Nelson Mandela Foundation
  • Desmond Tutu’s and Nelson Mandela’s houses on Soweto’s Vilakazi Street
  • Gandhi’s house to learn about his philosophy of nonviolence — visit will include a conversation with his granddaughter


  • ACCORD, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
  • Research institutes examining issues of peace and justice in post-apartheid South Africa
  • The Luthuli Museum to learn about Inkosi Albert John Luthuli, a South African teacher, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and former president of the ANC

Cape Town:

  • Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress (ANC) leaders were imprisoned


  • Weekend excursion into the bush


With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you’ll learn how to put theory into practice. In addition to core courses, a broad range of elective choices let you focus on courses that will help you meet your career goals.

Year One: First Term, Two-Week Residency Vermont; Washington, DC (optional); and Online

  • CONTACT Summer Program (Peacebuilding 1 & 2) – 2–3 credits (One credit takes place in DC and is optional.)
  • Practitioner Inquiry – 3 credits

Year One: Second Term, Online

  • Theory and Practice of Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation, and Justice Promotion – 3 credits
  • Negotiation, Mediation, and Dialogue – 3 credits

Year One: Third Term, Online

  • Policy Advocacy Concepts – 1 credit
  • Civil Resistance – 2 credits
  • Leadership and Change – 3 credits

Year Two: Fourth Term, Two-Week Residency in South Africa and Online

  • CONTACT Mid-Year Field Seminar – 2 credits
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Concepts – 1 credits
  • Design Monitoring and Evaluation in Fragile Environments – 1 credit

Year Two: Fifth Term, Online

  • Strategic Peacebuilding – 3 credits
  • Special Topics in Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding, and Justice Promotion – 2 credits
  • From Grant Writing to Policy Briefs: Essential Skills in Peace and Justice Promotion – 1 credits

Year Two: Sixth Term, Online

  • Reflective Practice – 3 credits
  • Capstone Project – 3 credits

Admissions Criteria

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.

To be considered for admission to the MA in Peace and Justice Leadership program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • US bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Experience and familiarity with instructional technology, distance learning, and/or independent learning
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning

SIT Graduate Institute’s Selection Process

Our admissions staff work one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to talk with SIT faculty and staff and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education — grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments — they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.

English Language Ability

Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS practice tests online.)

Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of

  • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
  • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
  • 100 on the internet-based iBT.

Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher. Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.

Last updated Mar 2019

About the School

SIT Graduate Institute offers internationally focused master's degrees, certificates, and professional development programs in the fields of conflict transformation, international education, sustainab ... Read More

SIT Graduate Institute offers internationally focused master's degrees, certificates, and professional development programs in the fields of conflict transformation, international education, sustainable development, and TESOL. Since 1964, SIT has been preparing professionals to be successful in intercultural and international environments. Read less
Brattleboro , Washington , Oaxaca , Johannesburg + 3 More Less