The School of Nursing offers an interdisciplinary professional graduate degree program leading to a Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding (MSP). The MSP is designed to prepare students for careers in peacebuilding—e.g. international development, community change, conflict resolution, resource stewardship. The MSP curriculum is designed to develop student expertise in systems thinking, social-ecological interactions, and the application of such concepts to peacebuilding and development fields. MSP students complete 40 credits of interactive coursework with practice-based learning opportunities. In the last semester, MSP students fulfill Graduate School master’s degree requirements by completing a capstone (paper, presentation, & portfolio). MSP offers a two-year or three-year program of study. 

Students completing the MSP will:

  • Classify the various components of complex social-ecological systems and identify appropriate intervention strategies.
  • Recognize patterns of human-environment interaction, including drivers of change resulting in conflict, development, and peacebuilding.
  • Acquire critical knowledge across multiple disciplines relevant to development and peacebuilding and relate and translate knowledge among the disciplines.
  • Facilitate effective group problem-solving processes, which includes communicating confidently and effectively to diverse audiences.
  • Assess systemic outcomes of peacebuilding programs and policies and recommend adaptive modifications for improvement.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


The Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding admits students to begin in fall semester only. Applicants must satisfy Graduate School requirements for admission as well as provide the following materials:

  1. All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program with a minimum GPA of 2.75 (4.0 scale).
  2. International applicants must provide Proof of English Proficiency. The language of instruction at UWM is English. MSP does not offer a dual- or contingent-admission option.
  3. Must submit two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or professional work, preferably one academic and one professional recommendation.
  4. A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s critical thinking, research, and writing skills as well as the applicant’s ability to think across disciplines. The writing sample can be a previously written academic, professional, or personal piece OR a newly written essay (prompts provided by MSP).
  5. A current resume that clearly articulates the applicant’s professional, international, and intercultural experiences as well as language exposure and proficiencies.

Please check the MSP Website for up-to-date information on eligibility, application requirements, and deadlines.

Credits and Courses

40 credits are required for the MSP degree, distributed as follows:

MSP 760The Politics and Policy of Sustainability3
MSP 761Complex Human-Environmental Interactions3
MSP 770Preparing for Sustainable Peacebuilding and Social Change3
MSP 771Holistic Peacebuilding Practice3
MSP 785Fundamentals of Project Management for Sustainable Peacebuilding2
MSP 786Reflective Practice in Sustainable Peacebuilding3
Core Seminars and Workshops
MSP 780Transdisciplinary Research Methods and Information Literacy3
MSP 781Innovation, Evaluation, and Adaptive Management3
MSP 790Negotiation and Group Problem Solving Skills3
MSP 791Leadership and Program Management for Sustainable Peacebuilding3
Select 9 credits in consultation with advisor(s); each course should fit into one of the following content areas: 9
Public and Environmental Health
Ecosystem Services and Resource Stewardship
Political Economy
Human Security and Development
Language and Culture
Religion and Belief Systems
Governance and Policy
Independent Study
Students may register for the following with approval from the supervising faculty member and the student’s faculty advisor:
Independent Study
Select one of the following for a fieldwork experiences: 12
Study Abroad
Internship in Sustainable Peacebuilding
Total Credits40

Students will complete a fieldwork experience, locally in Milwaukee, elsewhere in the U.S., or abroad. The program is designed so that students will complete fieldwork during one summer semester. Students will engage in work that focuses on a pertinent issue in the broader context of peacebuilding, e.g. food security, water conflict, public health, etc. Students will select from current MSP projects, or develop their own projects.

Additional Requirements


As specified in the regulations of the Graduate School, a major professor will be assigned to every person enrolled in the program to advise and supervise their work. Students may request a specific faculty advisor who aligns with their research and professional interests, if desired; however, fulfillment of such requests are not guaranteed.

Master’s Paper

All students must prepare and orally defend a final master’s paper following the second summer internship (due in July of graduation year). The master’s paper—an “Integrative Synthesis”—will reflect upon a student’s breadth of experiences during the MSP program, and clearly demonstrate a student’s ability to formulate an argument, analyze data, systematically present results, and show familiarity with relevant scholarship. The paper will be a critical discussion of core MSP concepts as they relate to peacebuilding, based upon a student’s coursework and, primarily, professional experiences. Each student, throughout the course of study, will keep a portfolio containing items such as coursework, internship evaluations, and additional elements to help guide the paper. To ensure students are progressing such that they will be successful in their final papers and presentations, the faculty advisor and MSP program coordinator will assess with each student their portfolio periodically during the course of study to address deficiencies and advise the student regarding appropriate adjustments.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer in one graduate-level course of up to 3 credits to count as an elective in the curriculum. Students must have received a grade of B or better in the transfer course. To be approved as transfer credits, the student must complete the required process as determined by the UWM Graduate School and receive MSP Program Director approval.

Time Limit

All degree requirements must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.