Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace

PROGRAM: Doctor of Philosophy Program in Peacebuilding

DEGREE: Doctor of Philosophy (Peacebuilding)
Ph.D. (Peacebuilding)


The worldwide increase in recent decades of violent and potentially violent conflicts has given rise to a number of programs in the field of Peace Studies at several major universities. These programs research and study the various causes of violence and the ways and means by which these conflicts have attempted to be resolved. In addition to research and study centers, organizations devoted to the specific purpose of mediating conflicts through dialogue and other means have also been established.

Ideally, these theoretical and practical aspects of peace work should complement each other and thereby increase the chance of success in bringing peace in the world. Unfortunately this is often not the case. There seems to be a disconect between theory and practice that has resulted in fewer successes than there should be considering the resources and energy that have been put into this work. What is now needed is a rethinking and a joining together of the theoretical and practical aspects of peacemaking/peacebuilding.


The program will consist of a rigorous study of the theoretical side of Peace Studies combined with experiential fieldwork in the area of conflict transformation and resolution. The objective of this program is to develop ways in which theory and practice can be combined in ways that provide a better and more cohesive grounding for both theoretical peace studies and actual peacebuilding.

Rather than being “study for study’s sake”, it will be “study for practice’s sake”. Thus, it is analogous to advanced academic programs provided by schools of medicine, social work, music, and architecture. Reflective study resulting in a thorough knowledge of theories of peacebuilding is the starting point of the program; this is then followed by and combined with critical evaluation and the development of new improved theories.

An important and distinguishing aspect of this program which differs from many other programs in the field of peace studies is the attention given to the relationship between “religiousness” and peacebuilding. One of the assumptions underlying the program’s emphasis on religious diversity and relationships is that religious and cultural dialogue can contribute to peaceful relations among different communities. Human “religiousness” can thus become a positive force for peace.

PROGRAM OF STUDY. The total program is a 4 year program. The academic year is two semesters and runs from September through May. The language of instruction is English. The dissertation may be written in either English or Thai.


1. PB 801 Overview of Peace Studies I
2. PB 811 Cultural Dimensions of Peacebuilding
3. PB 821 Meaning and History of “Religiousness”


1. PB 802 Overview of Peace Studies II
2. PB 812 Peacebuilding as a Philosophical Enterprise
3. PB 822 Dialogue and Peacebuilding


1. PB 831 Directed Readings on Peace Studies
2. PB 832 Directed Readings on the Relationship between “Religiousness” and Peace
3. PB 833 Seminar (Issues of Peacebuilding)

(Students will take their written and oral comprehensive examinations at the end of the semester.)


PB 841 Field Study of a Specific Conflict


PB 851 Off-campus Study and Research (study abroad as research fellow or intern at a partner institution)


1. Develop dissertation topic
2. Present detailed dissertation proposal for approval
3. Begin writing dissertation

YEAR 4 PB 999 Dissertation (Write, Submit, and Defend)


In order to be qualified for the qualifying exam, the student must earn at least 3.25 GPA.


There will be 3 written examinations followed by an oral examination. The written examinations will cover the following subjects:
(i) peacebuilding, (ii) religiousness/spirituality/dialogue, (iii) area of concentration. The oral examination will cover all the above subjects.


PB 801 Overview of Peace Studies I
The course initially examines the emergence of Peace Studies as a specific discipline resulting from limitations of studies in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It then goes on to discuss major concepts and theories of peace studies, e.g., violence, conflict formation/resolution, mediation and reconciliation. Emphasis will be placed on discussing research methodology and essential components of peacebuilding. Throughout the course scholarly works will be analyzed to reveal their underlying foundations and their relationship with “realities on the ground”.

PB 802 Overview of Peace Studies II

This course is both a continuation of PB 801 and a deeper probe into debates within social sciences and humanities related to peace-building. The former will cover the current and most recent theories. The latter will take into account crictical perspectives within the disciplines themselves. Subsequently it will try to find ways and means to transcend these perspectives utilizing the concepts and theories developed within peace studies. Throughout the course abstract ideas will be analyzed in relation to concrete cases.

PB 811 Cultural Dimensions of Peacebuilding

This course explores the cultural dimensions of peacebuilding. It begins with a study of how different individual communities use cultural means to resolve their conflicts. This will be followed by a comparison of these different ways of conflict resolution. The course will conclude with a study of conflicts between different cultural communities, and how these cultural differences represent both challenges and possibilities for peacebuilding in these situations.

PB 812 Peacebuilding as a Philosophical Enterprise

This course will study three main obstacles to peacebuilding, namely, human frailty, social prejudices and entrenched paradigms. It will then look at different ways to overcome these obstacles. This will involve discussions of an ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical nature. These discussions will be illustrated through an analysis of particular conflicts.

PB 821 Meaning and History of “Religiousness”

This course is a study of the meaning, nature, and historical development of “religiousness.” The course will present a survey of prehistoric, modern tribal, ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian, Hindu Buddhist, Chinese. Zarathustrian, Judeo-Christian, and Islamic religious traditions. In each case students will study the relation between religious “faith” and its various cultural and religious expressions. The primary aim of the course is to give students a broader and better understanding and a deeper appreciation of human religiousness in its various historic forms.
This course will serve as preparation for the course on “Dialogue and Peacebuilding” (PB 822) and the course on “Directed Readings on the Relationship between Human Religiousness and Peace.” (PB 832)

PB 822 Dialogue and Peacebuilding

This course will identify and examine various religious/cultural understandings of the meaning and practice of peace. In addition to studying how peace is defined and understood by different religious/cultural communities, attention will be also given to explanations of why religious traditions and faith often contribute to conflict and violence between different communities. A major component of the course will be studying the role of interreligious, intrareligious, and secular-religious dialogue in peacebuilding. Students will explore ways of initiating and engaging in dialogue as well as considering obstacles that are likely to be encountered.

PB 831 Directed Readings on Peace Studies

Each student will work with an assigned supervisor on specialized areas of Peace Studies. The goal of the course is to provide advanced knowledge that will enable the student to develop appropriate methodologies and research skills to use in developing the thesis of his/her dissertation.

PB 832 Directed Readings on the Relationship between
“Religiousness” and Peace

This course is a follow-up of “Meaning and History of Human ‘Religiousness’.” Its purpose is to deepen students’ knowledge of special issues or particular religious and cultural traditions in preparation for writing the dissertation.

PB 833 Seminar (Topics & Issues of Peacebuilding)
This course is a joint effort of students and faculty to explore theoretical issues in peace studies in relation to the practical problems in peacebuilding. Each student is required to present a topic of his/her interest in a written form for discussion.

PB 841 Field study of a Specific Conflict

The student is to study a conflict situation first hand by means of intellectual and practical engagement. This is to enrich theoretical understandings from concrete experiences and vice and versa. At the end of the course the student is required to present a written report reflecting their findings and experiences.

PB 851 Off-campus Study and Research

This semester is intended to expose students to peace studies/research being conducted at other prominent universities and/or peace institutions throughout the world. The students are to participate in educational activities both inside and outside the class. She/he is required to produce a substantial written work as an outcome of the study/research.

PB 999 Dissertation

The dissertation is to be a theoretical analysis of empirical findings. It is expected to be a new and significant contribution to the field of peacemaking/ peacebuilding.


1. Mark Tamthai (PhD, Philosophy of Science), Philosophy of Peacebuilding and Reconciliation; Dialogue and Mediation; Religiousness and Peacebuilding.
2. Chaiyan Rajchagool (PhD, Sociology), Political Economy of the State; Social Theories and Peacebuilding; Literary Studies
3. Paul Chambers (PhD, Political Science), Civil-Military Relations; Politics of Peacebuilding.
4. Suchart Setthamalinee (M.A., PhD(ABD), Sociology), Cultural Dimension of Peacebuilding; Violence and Peacebuilding in Islam
5. John Butt (M.Div, S.T.M., ThD(ABD), Comparative study of religions), History of Human Religiousness; Buddhist and Christian Religion; Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding
6. Ishwar Harris (Ph.D, History of Religions), Indian Philosophy and Religious Thought; Gandhi’s Philosophy of Peace and Nonviolence.


Minimum Qualifications for Application

(1) Bachelor Degree
(2) 3 years of work experience
(3) 550 TOEFL score (or equivalent)

Application fee

US$30 (under special circumstances may be waived)

Method of selection. Selection will be based on :

(a) completed application form
(b) all official post-secondary transcripts
(c) statement of purpose (750-1,000 words)
(d) list of writings/publications (if any)
(e) letters of recommendation (two from former college/university instructors, and one from work colleague/supervisor)
(f) personal/telephone interview

The tuition fee is Baht 200,000 (US$ 6,000) per year.

For further information please contact: Dr. Chaiyan Rajchagool at


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i am interasted in this coarse, how do i get the admistion form?


Grace Anyaegbu
i am interested in this coarse, how do we get the admission form?


Grace Anyaegbu

Thank you for your interest in this program.

Please visit :
for application form and other details.
For your convenience, I have attached herewith.
Bimal Dahal
Very interesting indeed. Many thanks.
Thank you
Please feel free to contact me should you require any further information about this program.
Dear Bimal,

This program sounds very interesting indeed! Can you tell me where to find more information on scholarships? I was also having a look at the document on your website "PhD Students" and it made me wonder about how many students can participate in the program and what level of work experience you prefer.
Thanks in advance for answering these questions!

Best regards,
Nina Koevoets
Dear Nina
Thank you for your interest.

About scholarship:
1. The University has scholarship fund based on merit and needs
( you can apply for this only when you are accepted)

2. The institute too offers stipends that virtually covers your fees
(you please submit your application along with a scholarship request, institute will decide on it)

3. The partnering institutes and universities have some provisions to support(kroc, Notre Dame, Bradford etc.)
4. There are some local and regional trustees willing to support Ph.D. students, you need to apply personally.

Now, we are three students, and hopefully institute will accept maximum 5 students this year, therefore it is a small intensive, and of course, interactive group in Thailand.
Moreover, we have some research fellows from Europe and North America.

I visited your page, and I hope you have sufficient skill and experience to join this course. However, as a prospective friend, I would like to suggest you to write a motivation letter explaining your career goal substantiated by research conception about what you intend to do and how.
I hope, I answered.
I am interested in this program. Are there any scholarships for this program?

Thank you

Thank you Ilan for your interest in this program.
Yes, we have scholarship for needy scholars.
Great indeed.
Many thanks to PAYAP UNIVERSITY and Prof.Mark Tamthai.
You are most welcome!
Hai Everyone,

Greetings of peace and Joy form Peace Cahannel!
I am indeed very happy to know about your esteemed centre. Thank you so much Mr. Craig Zelizer for this wonderful methods of information. Presently, I am a registered student for doctoral studies in t he Central Governement University of Nagaland, North East India. I am doing my first year of research on traditional and Modern methods of Conflict Resolution, a case studyin Nagaland. This is the research topic. Here, i would like to know wheteher i can have a few months of intensive study on the theory part of Peace studies and Conflict Transformation methods.
Thanking you all.

Founder and Director,
Peace Channel


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