George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

History of the School

30+ Years of Excellence

In three decades, we have developed from a center into an institute into a school, the first of our kind, and one of only two in the nation.

Exterior view of George Mason University Arlington Campus

Graduate-level courses are typically offered at George Mason's Arlington Campus in the evening. Students can earn an advanced degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution while continuing to work.

In 1979, when George Mason University was a new and very small institution, a group of faculty from the social and behavioral sciences began to imagine what a postgraduate degree in Conflict Resolution would look like. No such degree existed anywhere in the world, although there were a handful of faculty researchers and a few research centers that studied aspects of peace and conflict.

That year, George Mason University proposed the world's first MS in Conflict Resolution to the State Council of Higher Education. With the council's approval, Mason enrolled the first class of students seeking Master of Science degrees in Conflict Resolution.

  • In 1981, Mason enrolled the world's first students in studies for an MS in Conflict Resolution.
  • In 1988, we awarded the world's first PhD in Conflict Resolution.
  • In 1989, we became the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR).
  • In 2004, we developed a BA, a BS, and a Minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
  • In 2006, we launched four graduate certificate programs, making ICAR the first Conflict Resolution department in the world to have all four degree-granting curricula.
  • In 2007, we launched a dual degree with the Master of Social Work
  • In 2010, we partnered with the University of Malta to offer a dual MS of Conflict Analysis Resolution and an MA in Mediterranean Security.

In recognition of our growth and potential, we officially became the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in 2012.

We knew from the start that an academic program in Conflict Analysis needed to be interdisciplinary, and our faculty has always reflected that philosophy.

Our focus from the beginning was the study of conflict as a social problem; we knew no single discipline was sufficient to encompass our goals.

Our faculty and alumni have carried out research and pursued practices that helped define the field. We've written articles and books used in curricula around the world. Our PhD graduates have founded and/or staffed new programs in Conflict and Peace Studies.

In the D.C. metro area, our graduate alumni have found careers that included posts at Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, the University of Baltimore, the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the University of Virginia, and the University of Salisbury.

Our alums also founded the first Conflict Analysis and Resolution programs in Turkey, Colombia, and Ghana.

Centers and Publications