Several schools offer online graduate certificate and master's degree programs in mediation or conflict resolution. Although many courses may be available online, both the certificate and master's degree programs usually require some on-campus time or an internship in order to get hands-on practice in conflict resolution techniques. During the online portions of the programs, students can access video lectures and course materials as their schedules allow, within certain deadlines. Most programs let students enroll as either full- or part-time students.
Graduate certificate programs take one to two years and usually consist of about five courses in conflict resolution theory, organizational conflict and communication dynamics. Students get practice in effective and creative methods of resolving interpersonal conflicts. Credits earned can usually be transferred to a graduate degree program.
In a master's degree program, students learn about intervention, mediation and peacemaking techniques. They may be able to choose concentrations from topics including crisis management, ethnic conflict and organizational conflict. These programs generally require between 18 months to three years to complete. A bachelor's or master's degree is required in order to apply for the program, as well as letters of recommendation and a qualification essay.
Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate
Online certificate programs train students in mediation, conflict transformation, and violence intervention. A bachelor's or master's degree is required for entry, and some schools apply certain course credits to a graduate degree program. Other typical prerequisites include letters of recommendation and an essay stating reasons for pursuing this certificate. Some schools have an internship or residential requirement usually at the culmination of the program.
Program Information and Requirements
These certificate programs take approximately 10-24 months to complete, depending on a student's schedule and current level of education. Students are normally offered part-time or full-time enrollment in 3-9 credit-hour increments per term. The total number of credits required ranges from 24-30 in specialized and elective courses. Some schools require an approved proctor for examinations.
To attend the program, students need a high-speed Internet connection and a computer meeting school-specific technical requirements. A webcam may also be needed for participation in online chats, real-time conferences and presentations.
List of Common Courses
Online coursework in a conflict resolution certificate program introduces mediation, conflict resolution and arbitration skills. Legal and media-related topics are also typically studied.
This course focuses on the methods, practices and theories of both informal and formal mediation. The curriculum includes studies in case development, prioritization and conflict orientation.
Foundations in Peaceful Conflict Resolution
Students examine the philosophies and creative processes used in peaceful dispute resolution. The class explores intervention and reconciliation techniques, as well as how to restore relationships in conflict while avoiding violence or hostility.
Theories and Practices in Organizational Conflict
This class focuses on complex organizations and the related effects of conflict. Some topics examined include system theories, group dynamics, organizational consultation and dispute systems design.
Conflict Resolution Master's Degree
Online programs are commonly offered as a Master of Science or Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution, and some schools include negotiation, conflict analysis or peace building within the degree. Participants learn skills needed in resolving organizational, school, international and cultural conflicts. Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree and upper-division prerequisite coursework may be required. An essay and letters of recommendation may also be required for consideration.
Program Information and Requirements
The online format for these master's degree programs allows flexibility in attendance; however, some schools require summer participation. Programs typically take from 19-30 months to complete and are offered in full-time and part-time formats. Continuous enrollment and completion within five years is typically a requirement. Some programs also include a practicum at an approved site or an on-campus residency.
Online learning platforms require a reliable Internet connection and up-to-date operating system. On-demand video lectures allow students access at any time online or offline. Some other distance-learning tools used include student home pages with personal course records, chat rooms and assignment submission via the Internet. A webcam is required for some programs.
List of Common Courses
Online master's degree-level coursework in conflict resolution focuses on methods of intervention, prevention and peacemaking. Specialized areas of labor relations, sports disputes, or organizational conflicts are common at some schools.
Violence Intervention, Prevention and Resolution
This class explores the causes of violence and the strategies to promote peaceful resolutions. Students investigate programs designed to address effects on families, schools, groups, organizations and overall society.
Cultural Conflict Resolution
Students learn intercultural negotiation techniques, communication methods, belief systems and social perspectives related to conflict resolution. The class also focuses on implications of applying different theories, methods, and practices in cultural disputes.
Peacebuilding and Conflict Philosophies
The focus of this course is on restoring peace to relationships damaged by violence. Students are trained in the theories related to the social psychology and relations, history, anthropology, political science and economics of trauma, crime, war and violence.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of labor relations specialists was expected to fall by 8% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reported the median annual wage for human resources, training and labor relations specialists, in May 2015, was $54,310 (www.bls.gov).
The national yearly average salary for labor relations managers ranged from $82,225 to $141,784 in 2016, according to Salary.com. The BLS reported in May 2014 that many jobs in labor relations required graduate degree studies in industrial or labor relations.
Continuing Education Information
For those students desiring continued education, Ph.D. programs are available in conflict resolution. In addition, a law degree may help conflict resolution specialists or managers advance to higher positions.
Students can complete an online conflict resolution bachelor's or master's degree program or graduate certificate program that studies topics such as mediation and cultural conflict resolution. Students should expect to complete some hands-on experience on-campus in order to use the techniques taught in the classroom.