Courses in conflict management programs cover conflict resolution theories and practices related to individual or social situations in professional, personal and global settings. Training in conflict management is commonly offered at all levels, with programs available through undergraduate and graduate certificates, as well as bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Undergraduate programs emphasize the basics of conflict resolution practices in the workplace, with courses discussing topics such as negotiation, mediation and ethics. Bachelor's degree students may be able to choose an area in which to specialize, such as organizational or international studies. At the graduate level, students may focus on a particular industry, such as healthcare or education. These programs often emphasize research and case studies as a way to improve conflict resolution skills. Programs are typically 2 to 4 years or more in length depending on the program level. An internship is often required so students can apply their training in real-world settings where conflict resolution is needed.
Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management
An undergraduate certificate program in conflict management can involve two basic courses in a single semester or as many as nine courses in two semesters. A high school diploma is usually the only requirement for acceptance to an undergraduate certificate program. When there are fewer classes in a program, the training is typically condensed, with conflict management topics like negotiation, mediation and resolution covered in the same class. Multi-course programs usually devote a full class to each individual subject, and may involve more in-depth study. Conflict management training involves dispute resolution approaches for various personal or professional situations. Certificate programs may provide coursework in subjects relating to:
- Negotiation methods
- Mediating techniques
- Workplace conflict resolution
- Developments in conflict management
- Conflict management ethics and standards
Bachelor's Degree in Conflict Management
Conflict management majors may be listed under dispute resolution or conflict analysis studies. The coursework involved in conflict management programs relates to identifying conflict, communication techniques, social aspects relating to disputes, intervention methods and the study of social sciences. The core curriculum usually involves the foundations of conflict management. Students are then allowed to choose specialty electives relating to domestic, organizational and international conflict resolution studies. Subjects may include:
- Gender and conflicts
- Global dispute resolution
- Reconciliation techniques
- Strategic development
- Approaches to compromise
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Master's Degree in Conflict Management
A graduate degree program in conflict management takes the principles of undergraduate coursework to the next level by training students in advanced facilitation methodology and improving negotiation skills through evaluation of case studies and research. Graduate coursework is often focused on business topics to increase professional development within corporate or organizational environments. Students learn the most effective way to resolve issues in workplace settings to ensure unresolved conflicts don't reduce productivity within a company.
Entrance to a graduate program requires a bachelor's degree, letters of reference and an essay stating the student's desire to enter the program and the student's educational expectations of the program. Standardize test scores are required and a resume outlining a student's academic or professional achievements must be presented. Finally, a personal interview may be held before acceptance to a graduate program is granted.
A master's program in conflict management allows students to focus on industry specific professions, such as commercial, educational, healthcare or religious environments. Coursework involves training in:
- Arbitration methods and cross-cultural disputes
- Public policy mediation and intellectual property disputes
- Settlement practices
- Group dynamics and business coaching
- Customer service issues
- Conflicts in human resources
There are a number of positions that may require the use of basic conflict management skills. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in conflict management are prepared for careers as:
- Healthcare workers
- Police officer
- Flight attendant
- Childcare provider
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
A graduate degree in conflict management prepares students to enter executive or administrative roles in various professional sectors where the skills learned may be applied regularly. Career options may include human resources management, mediation and conflict resolution consulting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers should expect favorable job growth of 9% in the 2014-2024 decade, although some growth may be slightly limited because of human resources information computer systems that perform some tasks that previously would have been done by workers (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports earnings for human resources managers vary by industry, with a median wage for all such professionals of $104,440 as of May 2015.
Employment data from the BLS for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators indicates average job growth when compared to other occupations for 2014-2024, but employment expectations may be somewhat low because there isn't much turnover in the field. The average arbitration, mediation and conciliation professional earned a median salary of $58,020 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
Graduate certificates are available in conflict management and are usually worth 12-18 credit hours. The education provided furthers a student's knowledge in various domestic or global situations for dispute resolution. Subjects relating to the study of violence, family schemes, terrorism, hostage situations and world politics are available as electives or specialties in domestic and global conflict management.
Students who complete conflict management programs may become human resource managers or arbitrators, mediators and conciliators, careers that have an average projected job growth rate from 2014-2024.