Interdisciplinary Minor in Nonviolence Studies

Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.
--Mohandas K. Gandhi

Program Description

The interdisciplinary minor in Nonviolence Studies provides our students an opportunity to learn about the philosophical, cultural, and literary traditions of nonviolence and the histories of nonviolent change. The minor imparts a systematic understanding of nonviolence as a core human virtue, a positive force that is grounded in courage, compassion and conciliation, and is key to creating a peaceful and sustainable future for the humanity.

This understanding is especially critical given the many faceted problems of violence and war. Students taking this minor will feel inspired to become innovators working toward promoting human dignity, advancing social justice and nurturing ecological harmony. At the same time, they will also gain the ability to develop and apply nonviolent methods for resolving conflicts.

Designed to serve as a complimentary emphasis to any major, this interdisciplinary minor will provide students additional career options such as business sector jobs in human resources, industrial and labor relations, and conflict management; and public sector positions in community service or social work agencies, correctional institutions, and government departments. Other potential career paths exist in the non-profit sector including international agencies, and in non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Moreover, the minor will particularly well serve the professional needs of the future school teachers.

Students completing the minor will be able to

  • Integrate the principles, philosophies and methods of nonviolence and nonviolent social change.
  • Critically evaluate the notions of change, courage, and power.
  • Assess the power of nonviolent methods in addressing social problems of oppression, injustice and violation of rights, and for bringing about positive change.
  • Formulate and articulate nonviolent approaches to conflicts and/or offer a practical nonviolent solution to specific problems in the context of a community-based organization utilizing nonviolent social process.
  • Apply their learning experience from the minor to explore avenues for nonviolent resolution to individual and social conflicts.


The curriculum for the minor includes two required courses--core and capstone-(8 units) and five support courses (20 units), that is, a total of seven courses (28 units) as follows. Please note many of the courses below also fulfill GE requirements and will double count for the minor. See course listing at the end of this page below.

Required Core Courses

The following two core courses focus onan in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the principles, philosophies, and methods of nonviolence. These courses are designed to provide students a novel perspective on the history of nonviolent change, facilitate their explorations of nonviolent philosophy and action, provide them the ability to apply these methods to contemporary social settings, and equip them with skills in problem solving through nonviolent methods and peaceful processes.

Foundation core course

HST 433 Nonviolence in the Modern World (4)

Capstone course

CLS 490 Seminar in Nonviolence Studies (4)

Support Courses

Students with guidance from designated faculty advisor will take five additional courses (20 units) as specified from the following three categories.

Category A (At least two)

EC 417 Socioeconomics of War and Peace (4)
ENG 235 War and Peace in Literature (4)
PHL 306 Philosophy and Religion of India (4)
PLS 451 International Conflict, War and Peace (4)

Category B (At least one)

EWS 380 Women in Global Perspective (4)
EWS 401 African American Contemporary Issues (4)
EWS 402 Chicano/Latino Contemporary Issues (4)
HST 370 California History (4)
HST 306 Modern India (4)
HST 407 A History of American Workers (4)
SSC 410 The Study of Peace: NMUN Preparation (4)

Category C (At least one)

KIN 370 Stress Management for Healthy Living (4)
DAN 202 World Dance and Cultures (4)
SW 322 Family Violence (4)

Courses in the Minor also fulfill GErequirement as indicated below, and may double count:

DAN 202 (C1)
ENG 235 (C3)
EWS 380, EWS 401, EWS 402(D4)
HST 370, HST 407(C4)
HST 433 (C4/D4)
KIN 370 (E)

Coordinator for the Minor

Tara Sethia, Professor of History and Director of Ahimsa Center. (909) 869-3868

Contact Information

The minor is administered by the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences and is coordinated by the Ahimsa Center. For more information, please contact the Ahimsa Center at (909) 869-3868/3808 or Office of the Dean at (900) 869-3500.