Students listening in class.

Experiential learning is at the heart of our curriculum, which is enriched with simulations, networking trips and fieldwork.

While at Heller, students participate in two conflict assessment days that allow them to test the skills they need in challenging real-world situations. Then, they embark on a three- to six-month field practicum where they apply and refine skills on the ground with international agencies, government and non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to coexistence, nonviolence, conflict prevention and conflict resolution work, such as UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Search for Common Ground, the Institute for Inclusive Security and the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum.

COEX students are part of a community of peacebuilding professionals, both at Heller and off-campus. We collaborate with other Heller School programs through our dual and joint degree options for students who want to combine their coexistence work with other policy areas, such as development or nonprofit management. We also have strong partnerships with external organizations and agencies, like the Harvard Program on Negotiation in nearby Cambridge, Mass., the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and the Department of Peace and Conflict Research in Uppsala, Sweden. These multiple opportunities build our students’ networks as well as their expertise.
Learn about our dual and joint degree programs

Alumni Outcomes

Jennan Al-Hamdouni, MA COEX’16

Jennan Al-Hamdouni, MA COEX’16, Humanitarian Access & Negotiation Support at Conflict Dynamics International

"The COEX program helped provide me with a profoundly passionate and experienced network of faculty and peers from all over the world…I got into my job, sat at my desk and realized, ‘Wow, I know how to do this.’”

Tessa Tompkins Byer, MA COEX'16, Housing Stabilization Coordinator at Just-A-Start

What’s her advice to young professionals? Be confident and stand your ground, no matter who you’re working with, be it lawyers or local residents. The reward of helping someone keep their housing motivates her every day. 

Peter Ter, MA COEX/SID’14

Peter Ter, MA COEX/SID’14, Peace Corps Response Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia

“[At Heller] we go through simulations that relay real-world experiences. Our professors are respected international experts in their field — and we learn the word is mightier than guns, and that by bringing people together, they can work through their differences.”