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University of San Diego

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

San Diego, CA


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Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies | University of San Diego

The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies cultivates the courage in students to face the world’s most pressing challenges with original thinking and practical skills.

University of San Diego

The University of San Diego (USD) is a Roman Catholic institution committed to advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community and preparing leaders who are dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. Enrolling over 9,000 undergraduate, paralegal, graduate and law students, USD is the youngest independent institution on the “U.S. News & World Report” list of top 100 universities in the United States.

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego

The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (Kroc School) is the West Coast Capital of Peace Education, cultivating the courage and capacity in students to face the world’s most pressing challenges with original thinking, moral imagination, practical skills and inspired research. To drive positive peace, we creatively combine disciplines of peace, business, and sociology because it’s from those fusions that cycles of violence break and communities thrive.

Innovative and Forward-Thinking

Shaping a better future is in our DNA. We envision solutions sparked by empathy, creativity, knowledge and academic rigor. Ideas that feel to others impossible to realize inspire us because we know we must be bold and courageous to achieve peace and justice in today’s world. In 2007, the Kroc School was established as the first stand-alone school of peace in the United States thanks to the ambition and determination of a visionary philanthropist (Joan B. Kroc) and a university president (Dr. Alice Hayes) who dared to build what others hadn’t. 

We operate as an incubator of innovative ideas and research with: an institute focused on co-creating learning with lived experience peacemakers; diverse classrooms and global field-based learning opportunities; proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and long-term relationships with cross-border communities; a global hub for women, peace and security; and faculty who are encouraged to explore uncharted territories.

In addition to lectures from leaders like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Former President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, students from countries all over the world connect and collaborate through learning that goes well beyond papers and presentations. We put theory into action through: field-based learning opportunities abroad, Institutes focused on activating real-time change, and partnerships with people and organizations driving social impact. That action is tangibly improving communities locally and globally.

Driving Actionable Change

We are not content to wait for peace and justice. Our students, program officers, peacebuilding partners and faculty are impacting the world today with the promise to continue the legacy tomorrow. Whether it’s driving UN peace resolutions, publishing research that changes human trafficking policy, starting new social ventures, or negotiating peace talks in Afghanistan, our community thrives on creating change.
We are committed to providing our students an education filled with unique experiential learning and access to diverse peacebuilders and social innovators from the San Diego-Tijuana region and the world at large. We connect and learn with courageous doers who have unique levels of expertise because the urgency of the issues that face us demand the best talent united.

Academic Programs

Master’s degrees in Peace and Justice, Social Innovation, Conflict Management and Resolution, as well as Peace and Law prepare students for a wide variety of career paths — in non-governmental organizations and nonprofit organizations, businesses, foundations and government. Graduates are social innovators, inspired researchers, and moral imagineers shaping more peaceful and just societies.

The Kroc School offers the following academic programs:

Master of Arts - Peace and Justice

Broaden skills in peaceful change and social justice with a full-time 2-year program that teaches students actionable strategies for becoming a peace and justice practitioner.

Master of Arts - Social Innovation

Students advance as changemakers when they learn how entrepreneurship can be used to solve today's most pressing human rights and social issues.

Master of Science - Conflict Management and Resolution

Transform conflict into positive change in this 30-unit, 9-month or 15-month program where students learn how to anticipate conflicts, engage conflict actors and resolve complex issues in different situations.

JD/MA - Peace and Law Dual Degree

USD is home to the only program in the country that combines the teachings of peacebuilding and human rights advocacy with legal training.

Campus setting/surrounding area

University of San Diego’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border in conjunction with the Kroc School’s long-term relationships with cross-border communities provide students and faculty with unique opportunities as we confront refugee crises, human trafficking, environmental challenges, and transnational threats to peace. 

The Princeton Review has ranked USD among the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. USD's 180-acre space rests atop a mesa overlooking San Diego, Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The distinctive Spanish Renaissance architecture and breathtaking views provide an idyllic environment where our students can develop and thrive personally, intellectually and spiritually.

At USD, sustainability is a way of life. The university has reduced its energy consumption by nearly 20 percent since 2010 and reduced its water consumption by 38 percent since 2006. USD is also recognized as one of the most sustainable campuses in the nation, earning a gold ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Tuition and scholarships at the Kroc School

Change requires diverse insights and should not be limited by financial constraints. Approximately 80 percent of our students receive some type of scholarship funding. The Kroc School will continue to provide merit-based scholarship opportunities to all applicants, including international students from conflict-affected and underdeveloped nations, so they can acquire the skills they need to be Changemakers in any sector. 

Available funding includes several scholarship, fellowship and loan options, in addition to external resources. Many graduate students are also offered financial assistance in the form of need-based grants or student loans. Please note that scholarship funds are subject to eligibility criteria and require compliance with guidelines set forth by donors and the University.

Additional opportunities for financial assistance:

Kroc School Practice Fellowships:

The Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice provides sought-after fellowships in which students — embedded as Kroc IPJ team members — support Women, Peace and Security; Trans-Border Initiative; Impact:Peace Initiative; and other San Diego-based peacebuilding programs. The Institute accepts applications from the time of acceptance to the Kroc School, and positions begin on the first day of classes. These 15-hour per week positions are paid and receive additional tuition support in the amount of $5,000 per year.

Graduate Assistantships:

Designed to enhance student learning by working in collaboration with faculty, graduate assistantships are valuable opportunities to assist in research, the design of pedagogical innovations, and tasks that further prepare students for careers of impact. Over the course of 40 hours per semester, they receive tuition support while gaining valuable experience.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness:

Kroc School graduates who hail from the U.S. and work for at least 10 years in qualifying public service job are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Find out more at 

Tuition and fees are subject to change. For the most current information, visit Student Financial Services.


Faculty and Research at the Kroc School

At the Kroc School, we have a global team of peace and social innovators at the Kroc School — an extraordinary group of experts who are as deeply passionate about their students' success as they are about shaping a better world. As researchers, practitioners, and moral imagineers, they push themselves to remain at the forefront of their field, knowing that peace depends on their ability to equip and empower the next generation of Changemakers. Whether at the whiteboard or on the streets of a distant city, each professor draws from real-world experience — making their lessons impactful, actionable, and relevant. Small class sizes foster collaboration, dialogue, and relationship-building, enabling professors to customize their teaching based on student ideas and feedback. The result is a caring culture in which learning flourishes.

Faculty members have active research agendas on a variety of issues related to peacebuilding, human rights, development and conflict resolution. From human trafficking, to small arms research, to drones for good — the greater the knowledge, the better the chance for change.

Alongside peace research initiated by faculty is the research happening at our institutes and centers. By reporting on those impacted by the refugee crisis across the border, digging deep into issues of extremism, documenting stories of gendered peacebuilding, or highlighting how social innovation can make an impact in situations of conflict, we are helping students understand the problems so they can take action.


Kroc School of Peace Studies Alumni

With every graduating class, the Kroc School challenges its new alumni to go out into the world to make change. From ESL teachers to company CEOs, Field Representatives to Foreign Affairs Officers, Community Security Specialist to International Trade Specialist, our alumni are pursuing careers that position them as leading changemakers. 

Here is a small selection of our alumni helping to shape more peaceful and just societies:

John Patterson ’13 (MA)
Regional Advisor, USAID – Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)

Eleonora-Markella Mantika '06 (MA)

Political Affairs/Liaison Officer, United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia

His Honorable Roosevelt Z. Willie ’11 (MA)

Judge, Criminal Court 'A', Montserrado County, Liberia

President, National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia

Janice Deaton, JD ’10 (MA)

Training Course Director, Justice in Mexico's OASIS Initiative, Law Offices of Janice M. Deaton

Kevin Turner ’03 (MA)

Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Science (MS) Conflict management and resolution
Master of Arts (MA) Peace and justice
Juris Doctor/Master of Arts (JD/MA) Peace and law
Master of Arts (MA) Social innovation

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 58

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? Yes
Distance learning programs available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Portfolio project


Acceptance Rate



applications accepted?

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0, Official transcripts, Current Resume, Short Essays, Letters of Recommendation

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 580
TOEFL IBT score: 83
TWE: Required

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards April 1
Types of financial support available Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 20.88%
Black or African American 6.59%
White or Caucasian 39%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 6.59%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 19.78%
Unknown 6.59%


Male (18%)
Female (81%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 10
Part-time - 2
Male (8)
Female (4)


Focus of faculty research: Conflict analysis and resolution, human security and peacebuilding, development and peacebuilding, human rights and transitional justice, religion and peacebuilding, and social innovation
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA  92110-2492
United States
Contact Dr. Patricia Marquez
Dean, Kroc School of Peace Studies
Phone: 619-260-7919

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University of San Diego
Update my info
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