Peace Engineering Program

Designed for engineering students interested in becoming responsible critics of contemporary societies and effective agents for positive social transformations. Students should expect this program to take one additional semester. The study options lead to B.S. degrees in any Engineering field (i.e. civil, computer, electrical or mechanical) and a minor in Justice and Peace Studies. 

The purpose of the peace engineering program is to engage and teach students to collaborate with and empower those experiencing injustices to develop innovative and sustainable solutions from a service mindset. The integrative program brings the social analysis of justice & peace studies together with the technical skills of engineering to find the best way for our engineers to promote the common good.

Peace Engineers might work on projects such as:

  • energy & water resources
  • aid of technology in areas of conflict or natural disaster
  • public safety in engineering decisions
  • agricultural tools to fight poverty and hunger

All these examples are meant as just that, examples to stimulate your ideas about the places your passion for social, environment, and economic justice and your growing technical skills may lead you.

Collaborate: see the pre-existing value of the community to find commonality.

Empower: co-create with those experiencing injustices with designs and decisions that enable a new future.

Serve: respect the full dignity of all involved by seeing people not as problems to be fixed, but as human beings – whole and worthy of service. 

Below are the requirements to complete the peace engineering program. To register for the program through the registrar, students should declare their intended engineering degree (i.e. mechanical, computer, electrical, etc.) as their major alongside a peace engineering minor. 

  • JPST 250 Introduction to Justice and Peace Studies
  • One of the following JPST focus classes:
    • JPST 355 Public Policy Analysis & Advocacy
    • JPST 375 Conflict Analysis & Transformation
    • JPST 365 Leadership for Social Justice
  • THEO 421 Theology of Justice and Peace
  • ENGR 480 & ENGR 481 Senior Design (with peace engineering designated project)
  • JPST 473 Vocational Seminar (concurrent with either ENGR 480 or ENGR 481)
  • Significant cultural experience (See ‘Experiential Opportunities’ section)


The following list contains examples of programs which have been available to St. Thomas students. Use this list as a starting point to get you thinking about the places you’d like to go, issues you’d like to work with or the experiences you’d like to have. Please always work with the St. Thomas Office of Study Abroad to determine the availability of programs and the classes that will make it work for you.

  • School for International Training (SIT): Project provides a variety of ‘Summer Innovation Labs’ (Such as a Water Innovation Lab over the summer in Jordan) as well as Semester Internships and independent research around the world.

  • Arcadia University: STEM summer research is available in Brisbane, Australia. Projects change every year so check to see if there’s something you are interested in.

  • CIEE: Take a January (J-term) course on sustainable development for the topics in Costa Rica.

  • AIFS:Expand your knowledge of environmental science by studying in Ecuador over J-term.

  • HECUA: Spend a semester in Italy learning about Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Justice.

  • Learning Abroad Center: Learn about water and energy in Kenya over the summer.


  • VISION is a service and cultural immersion program run through the Office for Service and Social Justice. VISION provides the opportunity to travel with fellow Tommies to be in community with and serve others from around the world.

  • International Development Innovation Network (IDIN): Look for other opportunities through IDIN network including their annual design summits.

  • Engineering for Change (E4C) provides the opportunity to be involved in the socially minded engineering global community. They provide training, an “opportunity portal”, and information about opportunities of all sorts from all over. Find all these resources at

  • Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) If you are part of an engineering society and interested in public policy, consider this opportunity to spend a summer in Washington D.C. Experience the decision-making process that impacts our nation and our world, and how engineers can advise lawmakers in technical decisions. This program also provides the opportunity for a research paper from the summer to be published in the Journal of Engineering and Public Policy. Find out more about the job and application process at

Organizations and Non-Profits:

PeaceTech Lab

Works at cross-section of: Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering, Conflict Transformation, International

Mission: PeaceTech Lab works to reduce violent conflict using technology, media, and data to accelerate and scale peacebuilding efforts. An independent nonprofit organization, the Lab brings together engineers and activists, MBAs and conflict experts, social scientists, data scientists, and other innovators to develop effective peacebuilding solutions.

Learn more:

Compatible Technology International

Works at cross-section of: Mechanical Engineering, Leadership, International

Mission: Compatible Technology International (CTI) is a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping families in developing countries access innovative farming tools so they can produce food more sustainably and bring their crops to market.

Learn more:

Community Engineering Corps

Works at cross-section of: Civil Engineering or Mechanical Engineering, Leadership, Domestic

Mission: Leveraging the membership of Community Engineering Corps’ alliance partners – American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Water Works Association, and Engineers Without Borders USA – to bring more than 200,000 technical professionals and students together to serve communities across the United States. These individuals volunteer their time and expertise to assist communities that do not have the resources to access engineering services. With a strong commitment to community-driven projects, our volunteers work alongside community members to design solutions to identified problems.

Learn more:


Conferences, Journals, and Networks:

Notre Dame Student Peace Conference for students by students about their experiences of peace studies. This annual conference provides a unique opportunity for student to share their work. Find more information about past and future conferences at

Journal of Engineering and Public Policy in connection with the WISE program mentioned above, IEEE supports a journal to highlight how engineers have informed law makers in public policy.

Engineering, Social Justice and Peace Journal, Network, and Conference (ESJP) is a growing group of academics, practitioners and students who explore how engineering can be utilized to create a more equitable world through democratic practice. The community of engineers meet annually and publish a journal of essays, poems, articles, and conference notes in conjunction. Learn more about ESJP at


Graduate Schools:

  • Drexel University launched their MS degree program in Peace Engineering in 2018 in partnership with Peace Tech Lab. The degree program focuses on integrating peace studies with engineering studies and utilizes Drexel’s strong reputation as a co-op school to establish relationships and opportunities for projects. Find out more at

  • Ohio State University provides opportunities to focus a traditional engineering degree on humanitarian applications on a variety of scales. Research, MS thesis, PhD dissertations and courses possibilities are all available for exploration. Find out more at

  • Oregon State University has a humanitarian engineering program which can be integrated into any discipline. Your degree is specified by participating in research, Humanitarian Engineering Science and Technology courses (HEST), the Evans’ fellowship, or seminar speakers/ workshops. The Evans’ fellowship provides funding to projects and people to visit and implement their innovations abroad. Find out more at
  • Santa Clara University School of Engineering’s ‘Frugal Innovation Hub’ (FIH) works in collaboration with non-profits, NGOs, and community organizers to create innovative solutions to challenges the organizations need assistance in solving. Multiple projects run simultaneously in the lab and involve faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students. Find out more at

Career Opportunities:

  • International Development Innovation Network (IDIN): Look for opportunities through IDIN’s network including their annual design summits. Learn more at
  • Engineering for Change (E4C) Engineering for Change provides the opportunity to be involved in the socially minded engineering global community. They provide training as well as the platform for posting about opportunities. Find all these resources at