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 studies, rule of law initiatives, humanitarian relief, international law, and international development.

Download Program Description Fall-2024-Classes-Calendar-PCR


“I enjoyed the PCR program and learned a lot , especially in Humanitarian Action, which helped reaffirm my passion for the field of international development and encouraged me to work for the United Nations.”—Ruitong (Flora) Zhou, MPA ’17

“The PCR program combines a very practical and grounded perspective on policymaking and policy implementation with theoretical insights on how PCR should best be conducted, across the entire security-development spectrum. What I gleaned from the program came to be instrumental in my fieldwork in Afghanistan on private sector development.”—Jiayi Zhou, MAIR ’12

The CAS in PCR provides students a documented familiarization with the various dimensions of postconflict work, the actors who conduct it, the trade-offs and dilemmas they face, and the lessons learned from its application across settings throughout the world. Students learn the tools required for success in public service careers in reconstruction, human security, and development, including:

  • Analytical techniques tailored for work in international development communities.
  • A better understanding of how the US and the international community can effectively participate to rebuild shattered societies.
  • New ways of thinking about the nature of conflict, cooperation, and security.

Specific topics include international law and the rule of law, human rights and human security, refugee law, peace and conflict studies, diplomacy and international relations, humanitarian relief, economics of development, and capacity-building. This sequence of specialized coursework is coordinated across the Maxwell School, College of Law, Whitman School, and Newhouse School. All students take a core course—Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction—and complete a Capstone Project/Internship related to PCR.

An additional aspect of SPL’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 SPL 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?

  1. Interested students should first consult with their Faculty Advisor who will determine whether the student can pursue the CAS in PCR, consistent with the requirements of his/her degree program.
  2. Students then must complete a Graduate School Internal Admissions Form signed by the students’ department representative. This application should be submitted to the SPL office during the fall semester of the student’s first year in his or her graduate program.
  3. Students also must fill out a Proposed Program of Study Form and submit it to the SPL office.
  4. The Professional Profile Form helps us connect you with our professional network. Please fill this form out and submit it to the SPL office.

If you require more information, contact the SPL office at or 315.443.2284.

How Do I Receive the Certificate?

  • Law and graduate students must file a diploma request form on MySlice (and update their addresses). Filing on MySlice activates the certification process and awarding of a degree.
  • You will be reminded by SPL in February/March of your final year to complete the Diploma Request Form and to submit your Final Program of Study Form.
  • Projects or courses otherwise not listed may qualify for credit subject to approval by the Program Director. To petition to have non-listed study qualify for the CAS, complete a Waiver Petition Form and submit it to the SPL office.
  • The Program Director will recommend granting the CAS in Security Studies to students who have met all of the requirements and who are in good standing.

What Are the Requirements?

  • Students must complete 12 credits—nine course credits (typically, two required courses and one elective) plus one capstone project or internship. See below for required course options, elective course options, and capstone/internship directions.
  • No course may count if taken pass/fail or audited.

Students will be able to . . .

1. Identify and describe 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.

2. Evaluate techniques and tools used by international intermediaries, as well as local stakeholders, to assist societies transitioning from violence to sustainable peace.

3. Improve writing skills and other modes of communication crucial to careers in this field.

4. Apply current research and theoretical approaches to real-world post conflicts issues through professional development experiences [capstone/internship].

Course Options

Fall 2021 Courses

1) Required Core Course

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 …

Why do civil wars occur? What explains patterns of violence and dSPLacement? 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.


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.


This seminar examines US engagements with foreign governments, organizations, and individuals. We will focus on the diversity of legal orders, actors, and spheres of action implicated in contemporary foreign relations. Central questions include:

  1. How does the US government negotiate coexisting obligations under conventional, customary, constitutional, statutory, and administrative legal orders?
  2. What roles do legislatures, executives, courts, agencies, non-state entities, non-governmental organizations, and multi-national corporations play in ordering foreign relations?
  3. How do the foregoing legal orders and actors function differently across contexts of war, occupation, migration, trade, aid, intervention, and reconstruction?

We also will consider normative debates surrounding the preceding descriptive questions. By both canvassing and critiquing the law, policy, and history of US foreign relations, students will acquire the basic knowledge and skills required for analysis and argument within the field.


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.


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 dSPLaced 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.


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) Internship/Capstone Project

  • Before beginning an internship, students must file an Internship Information Form.
  • Read this document for specific criteria, expectations, ideas, and instructions about internships and capstone projects. 
  • SPL will work together with all CAS in PCR students and their graduate programs to meet their internship/capstone requirements. However, it is the students’ primary responsibility to find a suitable internship and to work with SPL and graduate program staff as early as possible.
  • International Relations students (MAIR, MPA/IR, JD/IR) should use their Global Internship to fulfill this PCR certificate requirement. Students should seek out their internship through the IR Global Programs office, ensuring the placement is with a PCR-related organization. SPL will work with both the student and IR Global Programs in this regard.
  • MPA Students will use their MPA Capstone to fulfill this PCR certificate requirement. Depending on the number of MPA students pursuing the CAS in PCR, SPL will assist in developing the appropriate number of PCR-related capstone projects.
  • Law and other graduate students will enroll in a 3-credit independent study through their program and work with SPL staff to find an appropriate internship opportunity.

4) Elective Course—choose one from the following …

African Conflicts (PAI 715)

Atrocity Law (LAW 899)

Climate Change: Science, Perception & Policy (LAW 891/PAI 730)

Collaborative & Participatory Governance (PAI 730)

Comparative Civil-Military Relations (PSC 785)

Comparative Foreign Policy (PSC 783)

Comparative State-Society Relations (PSC 681)

Constitutional Law (LAW 602)

Crisis Communications (PRL 530)

Crisis Management (PSC/PAI 759)

Culture in World Affairs (ANT/PAI/MES 707)

Development Assistance Policy, Theory, Practice (PAI 715)

Economic Dimensions of Global Power (PAI 716)

Economics of Environmental Policy (ECN/PAI 777)

Energy, Environment, & Resource Policy (PAI 775)

Energy Law & Policy (LAW 865)

EU Policy: Human Rights & Security (LAW 837)

Global Entrepreneurial Management (MBC 647)

Global Transformation (ANT 679)

Governance & Global Civil Society (PAI 713/PSC 703)

International Actors & Issues (PAI 710)

International Human Rights Law (LAW 778)

International Law (LAW 728)

International Law & Organizations (PSC 752)

International Security (PAI 717)

International Security Theory (PSC 749)

Intro to Public Diplomacy & Communications (PRL 602)

Law & War (PSC 700)

Law of Armed Conflict (LAW 840)

Law of Genocide (LAW 804)

Managing Interpersonal Group & Systemic Conflict (PAI 730)

Military Law & Procedure (LAW 817)

National Security Law (LAW 700)

NGO Management in Developing & Transitioning Countries (PAI 763)

Peace & Conflict in the Balkans (PAI 730/ANT 673)

Political Economy of Development (PSC 700)

Public Administration & the Law (PAI 742)

Public Finance: An International Perspective (ECN 610/PAI 730)

Refugee & Asylum Law (LAW 831)

Rhetorical Frames of War (CRS 862)

Seminar in Resource Management (BUA 600)

Sociology of Formal Organizations (SOC 666)

Strategic Management (MBC 645)

Theories of International Relations (PSC 651, PhD Seminar)

UN Organizations: Managing for Change (PAI 764)

US National Security & Foreign Policy (PAI 718/PSC 706)

Violence & its Aftermath (ANT 600)

Women, War, & Peace (ANT 676)


NOTE: Elective courses change each semester.