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Unit of study_

PACS6911: Key Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies

Semester 1, 2020 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Peace and Conflict Studies and the history, philosophy and politics of peace. Students will gain an understanding of the nature and causes of violence, the potential of nonviolence and the means of achieving peace with justice in different conflict settings.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PACS6911
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Juliet Bennett,
Guest lecturer(s) Wendy Lambourne,
Lecturer(s) Juliet Bennett,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task hurdle task Seminar participation
Weekly online discussion boards and/or live Zoom discussions
10% - Every week
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Essay
Analysis of a key issue of peace with justice.
60% Formal exam period 3500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Personal learning journal
Linking observation, experience, theory and practice.
30% Week 07 2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Class participation: Participation in weekly class discussions—via discussion boards and/or live Zoom chats (depending on the week)—and evidence of reading will comprise 10% of the assessment for the unit. Required readings are marked for each session, which students are expected to complete prior to class discussions.
  • Journal of personal learning: Students are required to keep a weekly journal in which they reflect upon conflict, violence and peace experienced outside the classroom, linking theory with practice. For assessment purposes students are required to submit three entries relating to the themes explored in the first five weeks of classes.
  • Final essay: Select a key issue of peace with justice to analyse using theoretical perspectives from this unit.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

Absent Fail 0 - 49 When you haven’t completed all assessment tasks or met the attendance requirements.
Cancelled No mark When your enrolment has been cancelled.
Discontinue not to count as failure No mark When you discontinue a unit after the relevant census date but before the DC deadline.
Discontinue – fail No mark When you discontinue a unit after the DC deadline but before the DF deadline
Withdraw No mark When you discontinue a unit before the relevant census date. WD grades do not appear on your academic transcript

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Standard late penalties in accordance with Assessment Procedures 2011.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to peace and conflict studies Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Concepts of peace, conflict, violence and justice Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 03 Human nature and the roots of violence Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 04 History, philosophy and politics of war and peace Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 Political economy of conflict and peace Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 06 Transcend: resolving and transforming conflict Workshop (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 08 Religion: bridge or barrier? Workshop (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 09 Indigenous voices and environmental justice Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 10 Gender, culture and peace Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 11 Nonviolence, peace and human rights Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 12 People building peace: civil society and social movements Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO3
Week 13 Integrating perspectives on peace with justice Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Develop theoretical perspectives on notions of peace, conflict and violence, and what “peace with justice” and “resolution of conflict” mean in various situations.
  • LO2. Understand the nature and source of different types of conflict and violence: at the psychological and interpersonal levels, in groups and societies, and between countries and other global groupings.
  • LO3. Understand how to apply theory to practice in terms of identifying strategies for achieving peace with justice in various situations.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Learning activities have been updated with a number of interactive elements.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this unit.

Site visit guidelines

There are no site visit guidelines for this unit.

Work, health and safety

There are no specific work health and safety requirements for this unit.


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