The Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster grew from the shared concern of scholars and physicians at McMaster about the dangers of the Cold War. This collaboration initially led to the introduction of an undergraduate course in Peace Studies, and ultimately to the Combined Honours B.A. program and Minor in Peace Studies which are offered by the Faculty of Humanities. It also gave rise to public education initiatives, which have grown into two important annual lecture series, the Bertrand Russell Peace Lectures and the Mahatma Gandhi Lectures on Nonviolence, and other lectures and conferences on areas such as peace education and peace through health. The Centre for Peace Studies was formally established in 1989.
The Centre for Peace Studies continues to be distinguished by its strong connection to the Health Sciences and has developed expertise in researching and applying ways to build peace through health initiatives. In addition to collaboration with the Population Health Research Institute (formerly the Centre for International Health), peace scholars at McMaster work with the Bertrand Russell Archives, the Institute for Globalization and the Human Condition, and the Gender Studies and Feminist Research MA Program.