Certificate of Advanced Study in Postconflict Reconstruction


The Certificate of Advanced Study in Postconflict Reconstruction (PCR) is a 12-credit, multidisciplinary program for law and graduate students preparing for careers in PCR, peace building, humanitarian relief, and international development.

Topics include the international law and the rule of law, human rights and human security, conflict studies, diplomacy and international relations, humanitarian relief, economics of development, and capacity-building. A sequence of specialized coursework is coordinated across SU’s campus, at the Maxwell School, College of Law, Whitman School, and Newhouse School. All students take the core course Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction and complete a Capstone Project related to PCR.

Download program description/requirements

An additional, unique aspect of INSCT’s CAS in PCR graduate program, the David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series brings established, widely known postconflict experts to SU to deliver a lecture and to meet with students.

Who Can Apply?

This certificate is available to matriculated Syracuse University law and graduate students. Interested students are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to visit the INSCT office during the spring semester of their first year to register for the certificate and to discuss a course plan with staff.

How Do I Apply?

How Do I Receive the Certificate?

What Are the Requirements?

Course Options

Fall 2015 Schedule of Classes

1) Required Core Course

Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction (PAI 719)

The goal of this class is to familiarize students with the main concepts of postconflict reconstruction, the various dimensions and goals of postconflict work, the types of actors that conduct it, the trade-offs and dilemmas they face, and the lessons learned from its application across various settings.

The course will devote considerable attention to the applied side of postconflict reconstruction; that is, the techniques and tools used by international intermediaries (states, IOs, and NGOs), as well as local stakeholders, to transition societies from violence to sustainable peace. It will also address many of the key issues that frame the debate in postconflict reconstruction work:

  • The tension between externally and internally generated recovery efforts.
  • The possibilities and weaknesses of formal peace and reconciliation commissions.
  • The challenges of civilian-military cooperation in postconflict zones.
  • The trade-offs between stability and liberty.
  • The quest for viable exit strategies for international actors.

In the first half of each class, students will meet in plenary session for a formal lecture given by a member of the faculty team or by a guest speaker either from within the Maxwell School or from the applied world of postconflict recovery. During the second half of each class students will meet in their respective course section for discussion of weekly readings and small group work. Offered by Catherine Bertini and Renée de Nevers.

2) Secondary Required Core Course—choose one from the following …

Civil Wars & State-Building (PAI 730)

Why do civil wars occur? What explains patterns of violence and displacement? How do wars end? This course will introduce students to a variety of questions on and approaches to the study of civil wars. It will be organized around three dimensions of civil wars: onset, dynamics, and termination. The course will challenge students to evaluate critically how well social science research explains a range of civil wars from different regions and time periods. We will approach the analysis of civil wars comparatively, and focus on various levels of analyses, from the
behavior of individuals and groups in the context of communities, to armed groups and state agencies. By the end of the course, students should be able to evaluate cutting-edge social science research and to analyze actual cases. In addition, students will have substantive knowledge of various civil wars and violent conflicts.

Economics of Development (ECN 651/PAI 757)

This course familiarizes students with a variety of alternative theories on what causes (or hinders) economic development. Different strategies and outcomes from a variety of settings will be presented and discussed. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of international, national, sectoral, local, and household-level issues related to economic development and the language used by economists to discuss these issues. Special attention will be given to the following research questions:

  • Are there differences between economic growth and economic development?
  • What are the environmental implications of economic development?
  • How are industrial/urban needs balanced against agricultural/rural needs?

Offered by John McPeak. For more information, click here.

Rule of Law in Postconflict Reconstruction (LAW 813)

The course addresses the legal challenges faced by the international community in reconstructing societies following armed conflict or other crises. The course is divided into two sections:

Part 1 focuses on core issues, including:

  • Defining and identifying the rule of law.
  • The relationship between the law and reconstruction.
  • The question of transitional justice and international criminal law.
  • International human rights.
  • Protecting vulnerable populations.
  • Regulating the security sector.

In Part 2, case studies—South Africa, Rwanda, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and East Timor—test some of the theoretical premises and stimulate debate.

Offered by Isaac Kfir.

Fundamentals of Conflict Studies (PAI/SOC 601)

This course provides students with a broad overview of the interdisciplinary field of conflict analysis and resolution, introduces them to faculty and the work they are doing in this field, and helsp them to develop a framework for diagnosing and responding to conflicts within their own area of interest.

Over the course of the semester we will explore the diverse range of theories of social conflict found across social science disciplines. Of particular interest will be the uncovering how our theories about the nature of social conflicts result in our making particular choices about which conflict resolution activities make sense under which conditions. Relying on a number of guest speakers, documentaries, and group projects, we will consider how conflict manifests across multiple topics and levels of analysis. Offered by Bruce Dayton.

Humanitarian Action: Challenges, Responses, Results (PAI 765)

This course will examine major humanitarian activities worldwide since 1992, including disasters caused by nature and by man, such as conflicts and major economic stress. While the course will be organized around those themes, it also will …

  • Discuss key challenges for women and children, refugees, and displaced peoples.
  • Review the involvement of governments, UN agencies, NGOs, militaries, donors, the press, and others.

Multimedia presentation will include books, articles, and videos. Students will be graded on class participation, presentations, and written reports. Offered by Catherine Bertini.

Multilateral Peacekeeping (ANT/PAI 701)

Peacekeeping has become an increasingly important area of international action. In this seminar we will consider how this situation came about and the current challenges that face multilateral peacekeeping. This seminar has two interconnected sets of activities:

  • The first involves the history, theory and practice of peacekeeping; the high points in the development of peacekeeping; and social and cultural perspectives on peace operations.
  • The second activity is research leading to the preparation of a white paper dealing with an aspect of peacekeeping. The papers may be individual projects or conducted jointly by up to three participants. Several developmental milestones for preparing the white paper occur throughout the semester.

Taught in New York City and Syracuse.

3) Elective Course—choose one from the following …

Elective course descriptions (CAS in PCR)

NOTE: Elective courses change each semester.

4) Internship/Capstone Project


300 Dineen Hall | 950 Irving Avenue
Syracuse University College of Law
Syracuse NY 13244