Ted Wilson, a former Salt Lake City mayor and a past director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, was the founding director of the Utah Peace & Conflict Studies Center in 2006. The program began offering a minor in 2008. Under the direction of past Director George Cheney, more than 200 students had graduated with a PCS minor by 2011.
Director Cheney began plans for an undergraduate major in PCS in 2010. Professor Mark Bergstrom continued that process until 2011, when Leonard Hawes assumed leadership. The University Board of Regents gave full approval for the new major, which students could declare beginning in Fall 2012.