The Psychology of Peace and Violence Program trains doctoral students to examine the origins and nature of group
conflict and violence through social psychological theory and research,
and to use this knowledge as a foundation for reducing conflict and
promoting positive group relations.
Toward that end,
students enrolled in the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program fulfill the
requirements for a doctoral degree in Social Psychology. In
addition, students take three specialized courses to understand
conflict, violence, and peace-building at individual, intergroup, and
international levels. In addition, each student completes an
internship in a non-governmental or community-based organization and
participates in monthly interdisciplinary seminars and a weekly
Requirements (in addition to departmental and divisional):
- Core course 1: Roots of
intergroup conflict and violence.
- Core course 2: Approaches to
improving intergroup relations.
- Seminar in Program (or
other relevant seminar in psychology or relevant field).
- Interdisciplinary seminar on conflict and violence
- Peace and Violence research workshop (weekly).
The Psychology of Peace and Violence Program typically admits between one and three new students every year who will fulfill
the requirements of the social psychology graduate program, as well as
the requirements for the Psychology of Peace and Violence
Program. These students will earn a Ph.D. in Social Psychology
with a Departmental Certificate in the Psychology of Peace and Violence.
The Psychology of
Peace and Violence Program makes every effort to provide graduate
students with financial support for four years. This support carries a
tuition waiver and may take the form of teaching assistantships,
research assistantships and/or graduate fellowships.
In addition to
meeting all of the University of Massachusetts requirements for
admission, an applicant must submit the following:
- Personal Statement.
- Application forms.
- Official transcripts from
undergraduate and relevant graduate studies.
Three letters of recommendation, one of
which must be from a faculty member in the applicant's major field.
Scores on the general aptitude sections
of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken in the past five years.
- Scores on the TOEFL for foreign students.
- Application Fee.
See the Psychology Department’s Graduate
Application website for more specific information about application
procedures and policies:
Application forms can be obtained from:
Rm. 530 Goodell
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
The completed application and all
supporting documents should be sent in duplicate to the Graduate
Office. For detailed information regarding materials required to apply,
please visit: www.umass.edu/gradschool.
Applications can also be submitted online at: www.umass.edu/gradschool.
Application Deadline: The application deadline for all students is
January 1st. However, international students are encouraged to submit
application materials as early as possible to ensure adequate
Applicants will be notified about whether or not they have been
accepted between March and May each year.
Admission Criteria for the Psychology of Peace and Violence
In considering an application, our faculty will be particularly
interested in the following:
This aspect of the application is probably the single most important
item. Of particular note are indications that the applicant has
interests that match those of our faculty and research programs, that
the applicant's long range goals are appropriate to the training he or
she would receive in our program, and that the applicant writes in a
manner that indicates the skill and ability to communicate effectively.
our students have achieved a grade point average at or above 3.7 on
a 4 point scale. However, we also carefully consider the difficulty of
the courses taken and the general reputation of the undergraduate
institution from which the degree was received. We do accept students
who have not been psychology majors during their undergraduate years.
We expect that students have, however, some coursework or research
experience in psychology since these are considered to be foundational
aspects of the Program.
Research and Practical Experience
Evidence of undergraduate research (or post-undergraduate research)
involvement is important and practical experience that demonstrates an
interest and commitment to both research and intervention is favorably
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required. Where possible, letters
should be from faculty who have been associated with the research the
student has undertaken.
There are no minimum GRE scores for consideration in the program;
however, our typical graduate student has scores in the 650s or higher
on each subtest.
All of these factors are taken into consideration in the application
and no one factor (except mismatched interests) is fatal to chances for
admission. If a student has lower than average GRE scores, but
excellent grades and letters of recommendation, for example, the GRE
scores will tend to be de-emphasized.
The Psychology of Peace and Violence Program is committed to
recruiting graduate students who represent a variety of perspectives and
types of social and cultural backgrounds. In order to achieve this end,
special consideration is given to applicants (a) who have the potential
to bring distinct perspectives to research and/or (b) who may use their
training to address problems of groups with limited access to
psychological and peacebuilding services. All criteria ordinarily used
by area admissions committees also apply to candidates competitive in
terms of the diversity criteria.
Admission: Frequently Asked
Questions (Click Here)