Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence

18-Month Practicum Track

Kristin Perry, MA COEX'20
Kristin Perry, MA COEX'20, completed her practicum in Iraqi Kurdistan with the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), Iraq’s leading think-tank focused on addressing policy issues in the Middle East. 
A group of people talking while sitting in a circle chairs, within a larger circle of chairs.
Ona Wang, MA COEX'20, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth: "Conference participants model peace circles during a "fishbowl exercise" in which audience members observe a restorative conversation at the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice Conference."
Police officers and youth with COEX student Kristal Corona
Kristal Corona, MA COEX'19 (far right), worked with the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration that focuses on providing conflict resolution programs to local youth in Cambridge, including using art as a way to address conflict.
Bakhtawer Abbasi, MA COEX'20, on a fellowship in Pakistan
Bakhtawer Abbasi, MACOEX’20, sent us a few snapshots from spending a month as a Bulandi Fellow in the remote regions of Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

The practicum track is the standard, 18-month track that most COEX students follow. Students spend two semesters in residence at Heller, then complete a 3-month, full-time practicum with a conflict resolution organization during the summer. During their final fall semester, students work on their practicum report and present their capstone in December. Students then receive their degrees in February. 

Students in this track identify and obtain practicum placements in the U.S. or around the world. They receive academic credit for their three-month practicum assignment with organizations such as a UN agency, an international NGO or a research think tank. Practicum positions often include monitoring and evaluation, project management, research and fieldwork.

  • The practicum is designed to test students’ application of theory to practice, to expand their policy and practical experience, and to increase their security and comfort levels in dangerous places
  • Past practicum organizations have included Search For Common Ground, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Carter Center, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and the International Organization on Migration. 
  • The practicum track makes the degree program more affordable because there are no course tuition fees during the off-campus summer practicum and fall writing semester. Instead, students pay the minimum enrollment fee, a small Heller program fee, and their health insurance fees.
  • Students may find paid research or practicum options, such as through the Boren Fellowship. However, the majority of practicums are not paid. Students receive credit for their work. 
  • Students may have to apply for visas if they choose to do their practicum outside of the United States. 

In lieu of a practicum, students may choose to complete a field project or independent field research over the three-month summer semester. Students also present at Capstone, either in person or remotely from the field. Students interested in these research options should contact Sarah LaMorey ( for more information.

Please note that due to COVID-19, Brandeis has temporarily suspended all international travel.

Sample Student Practicums

Francis Ojok

Francis Ojok, MA COEX’20

Massachusetts Immigrant Refugee and Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition

“While at MIRA, I worked in the administration department as a market research intern. The professional networking, exposure to working under pressure, and career development opportunities were invaluable. Every day of my practicum period, I was inspired to see how passionate, dedicated the MIRA Coalition family was to seeing an Inclusive America for all, regardless of citizenship or place of birth.”
Sami Rovins

Sami Rovins, MA COEX/MS’21

Shadhika Institute

"My COEX practicum was with Shadhika, a Denver-based NGO that strives to empower women and girls through holistic education initiatives throughout various parts of India. As Shadhika’s Human Rights Project Intern, I employed a human rights framework in order to map the programmatic gaps and successes. Working virtually had its challenges, of course, but my experience with Shadhika was so engaging, exciting, and very rewarding!"
Stephanie Tobler

Stephanie Tobler, MA COEX'20

Middle East Research Institute (MERI) (Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq)

“I supported the MERI team on a U.S. Institute of Peace project investigating the barriers to return and stability for thousands of internally displaced persons from the Nineveh province of Iraq. I interviewed Kurdish women working for civil society organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions; these conversations contributed greatly to my research on how the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is working towards gender equality and the participatory roles women have in political governance. Living in the KRI government capital of Erbil, I could observe some of the complexities of conflict situations in the Middle East, while also gaining an appreciation of the Kurdish culture.”