Academic clusters are a flexible, optional way for students to build connections between and among disciplines and experiential learning. The Conflict Transformation (CT) Cluster is not a formal major or minor, but a program in which students can foster the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to enable more constructive engagement in conflicts.

How the CT Cluster Works

The CT approach seeks to engage with conflict at all levels (micro, meso, macro) and across many different issue areas. The CT Cluster offers students a chance to expand their understanding of conflict and foster skills and dispositions for conflict transformation. 

Students can join in some or all cluster opportunities. The full path through the CT Cluster includes the five components below. To receive a certificate of completion, students will complete the five components and write a final short reflective essay (submitted on the CT Cluster Canvas site).  

  1. One introductory course in conflict analysis 
  2. One course on a specific conflict (selected in consultation with the CT director)
  3. One course in conflict transformation skills 
  4. One CT-funded experiential learning program
  5. An additional course in conflict analysis or conflict skills after the experience 

Within the categories above, there is substantial flexibility, meant to enable students to explore many different approaches to conflict analysis and engagement. Students majoring in programs of study that emphasize conflict analysis are encouraged to take two CT skills courses rather than two CT analysis courses. Students interested in the cluster should meet with the CT Collaborative director to discuss the specific conflict(s) they want to learn more about and skill-building opportunities. 

Students can register for the cluster at any time by enrolling in the CT Cluster Canvas site (use button below). Please visit us at Bowker Barn, attend one of our events, or email with questions. 



What You Will Learn

Conflict Transformation at Middlebury spans the global Middlebury institution, from the College to the Institute to Bread Loaf and our Schools Abroad. Across these far-flung programs, the CT approach is centered around the pursuit of three core learning goals: 

  • A new understanding of conflict (from a negative to more neutral/positive view of conflict)
  • Skills to understand self and others (perspective taking and interdisciplinary learning)
  • Commitment to act (putting skills and knowledge to use)

There are many possible paths through which we can advance these learning outcomes. Building on existing strengths at Middlebury, we have identified a core set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that inform the CT approach at Middlebury and the CT Academic Cluster.

  • Knowledge: contextual knowledge, critical self-awareness
  • Skills: dialogue, intercultural communication, mediation, restorative practices
  • Dispositions: creativity, curiosity, risk-taking, a relational focus (Lederach 2005)

Courses and Opportunities 

  • To see the full list of courses approved for the CT Cluster, click here.
  • To see the courses offered in 2024-25, download this PDF (available August 2025).

Many of the experiential opportunities that count for the cluster are also listed at the websites of the Center for Community Engagement and the Center for Careers and Internships.

Certificate of Completion: List of Students

See a list of students who have completed the CT Cluster at Middlebury (available August 2025).

Frequently Asked Questions


Absolutely. We already have a system that allows courses to count for majors/minors and for college -wide distribution requirements. Similarly, the CT cluster complements but does not compete with existing programs of study, as each of our courses contains multiple lessons for students. For example, students in a political science course may learn theories of international conflict important in the discipline while encountering questions about post-conflict peacebuilding.  


Generally, no. The cluster creates no obligation on faculty to let cluster students into their courses. We expect faculty to treat requests for space in a class in the same way as they currently negotiate a variety of rationales from students. The one exception is the “Conflict Transformation Skills” course – students interested in completing the cluster will receive special consideration for spaces in the course.


The CT approach at Middlebury has been greatly enhanced by a partnership with the Privilege and Poverty (P&P) cluster. The CT Collaborative offers financial support for the P&P field experiences, and we have been working in partnership with P&P staff and faculty to develop learning and skill-building opportunities. The P&P cluster focuses on a particular conflict issue - economic inequality – and students interested in this issue should complete the P&P cluster. 


There is no professional certification that comes with this certificate. We will provide valuable opportunities for undergraduates to develop new knowledge, practice new skills, and foster dispositions that can support constructive engagement in conflict. The certificate of completion will state that the students have completed a 5-part sequence in the study and practice of conflict transformation at Middlebury College. This provides a public record of completion (clusters are not listed on student transcripts).