Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence

About COEX

Our 16-month Conflict Resolution and Coexistence program (COEX) offers a practical, skills-based curriculum that prepares students to become responsible, peacebuilding practitioners in conflict areas around the world or in their own community. The program is built around three key pillars:

  1. Understanding conflict
  2. Developing conflict intervention skills
  3. Supporting people and communities through conflict resolution

The COEX program can give you the tools you need to address or prevent war or ethnic violence, work in humanitarian aid and development, negotiate or mediate between individuals or states, implement policy through governments and international organizations or foster change in your home community.

Our Global COEX Community

The Heller COEX student community is uniquely diverse both in individual backgrounds as well as in academic interests. In a typical year, about 60% of our students come from outside the U.S., representing between 20 and 30 different countries (mostly from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia). Many of our U.S. students have worked internationally or served in the Peace Corps or military, while others have built careers focused on issues of domestic conflict. Similarly, our faculty includes professors with expertise in both domestic and international conflict resolution, and we draw heavily on instructors who are active practitioners working in the field.

Learn to Dialogue Across Difference

The COEX program trains students to mediate and dialogue across differences, even in situations of heightened emotional stress, trauma and power imbalances. The teaching model is heavily discussion-based, incorporating structured debates and simulation exercises as well as facilitated discussions that occur organically in class.

Faculty strive to create safe, respectful, supportive spaces for students to have thoughtful conversations that are often uncomfortable, yet can be transformative. This includes teaching students to be mindful of the individual and collective experiences and traumas that contribute to violent conflicts, including one’s own experiences and biases. Gaining this practical experience gives students the facilitation and mediation tools they’ll need during their field practicum and eventually, their career.

Join the Dynamic and Growing Field of Peacebuilding

Conflict resolution, peace studies, coexistence, negotiation: In academic terms, our field is relatively young and extremely dynamic. It’s also rapidly growing to accommodate the changing nature of conflicts, including issues of online radicalization, growing nationalism and white supremacy movements, and the role of the internet and social media in the promotion or regulation of speech.