Peace Studies majors are encouraged to conduct significant original research in their field. Engaging in research improves critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem solving abilities, and builds intellectual independence. Not only is their learning enhanced, but students are building a competitive profile for scholarships and awards, graduate school, law school and ultimately the job market. Peace Studies majors have conducted research projects in North Africa, South Africa, and Latin America, which resulted in conference presentations in the US and abroad. Talk to faculty affiliated with the Peace Studies program about developing your research project or assisting with their research. Additional funding and opportunities are developed through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA). The opportunity for undergraduates to work closely with faculty members on a project provides opportunities not found at many larger universities. The presentation or publication of a student paper enhances opportunities for graduate studies or professional employment.
Opportunities for local activism and civic engagement can be found through campus organizations, Civic Engagement Initiatives, and The Orange County Peacebuilders Network. Within the required Peace Studies Course 354 Nonviolent Social Change, students develop group projects on issues that they care about, and many of these have resulted in new campus organizations, multiple events, and products for local organizations. Chapman Peace Studies students have been active in developing organizations such as local chapters of Swipe Out Hunger and Health2Humanity, which develops leadership and economic sustainability in Kenyan communities. Students have also traveled to Costa Rica in order to analyze the communication strategies of various organizations that pursue peace and social justice, situating this communication within the specific history and culture of the area. You can read about their experiences on their blog. Students of Peace Studies are encouraged to develop their passion for peace and justice by volunteering and working with advocacy, social movement, charitable, and social entrepreneurship organizations.