“Peace” has always been at the centre of human desires ranging from personal quests to the goals of larger communities. Modern people culminated these quests into institutional forms to free the humanity from war, torture, hunger, illnesses and all other forms of physical and psychological sufferings. This institutional progress had become obvious in a juncture of history when human experienced catastrophes of apocalyptic scale twice in the forms of two world wars. A cold war replaced that history of bloodsheds with a fragile promise of peace, which grounded its feet on a delicate system of deterrence supported by a doctrine of ultimate horror, mutually assured destruction (MAD). While the strategic communities of East and West, especially the realists, were addressing the question of how to manage anarchy with deterrence, some scholars started asking an unconventional yet brave question; what peace is and how to achieve it. In the middle of 20th century, this academic inquiry has built a new discipline, mostly known as “Peace Studies”.

The discipline of peace studies has flourished since 1960s with the emergence of newer journals and institutions on peace and conflict both in Europe and North America. Scholars across Atlantic debated on the key concepts and concentrated ideas to shape this new discipline of academia. Universities all around the world started offering undergraduate and graduate programs on peace and conflict. Using this momentum of institutional advancement, the discipline grew stronger with its unique research agenda. Later in the last decade of twentieth century, critical school of IR and feminist school came up with some normative approach breaking the shackle of positivism in social sciences. These schools of thought strengthened peace studies by converging with some of its key assumptions and research agenda. On the other hand, rise of peace movement with both intergovernmental and nongovernmental platforms added a pragmatic value to this discipline.

The University of Dhaka joined the global journey of this discipline by establishing the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) on 8 June 1999 under the Faculty of Social Sciences. The purpose of the Department is to advance the interdisciplinary study and research into the conditions of peace and the causes of war and other forms of violence. The long-term aim is to make a contribution to the advancement of a peaceful world. Throughout last two decades, this department has made significant progress in promoting peace education by graduating a large number of students who are now contributing to different spectrums of the society.

The Department currently offers a four-year Bachelor of Social Sciences (BSS) and one-year Master of Social Sciences (MSS) degrees. It also offers Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. These programmes have been updated regularly as per the requirements and needs of the society as well as global academia. The BSS (Hons) and MSS courses are specifically designed to benefit strategists, law enforcement officers, journalists, NGO workers involved in human rights and humanitarian works, military officers, officers of paramilitary forces, government officials involved in policy formulation, foreign service personnel, officers of the intelligence services, teachers involved in teaching military science and arts, instructors of security studies, students of international relations, students of war and strategic studies and so on.