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Dispute Resolution Degree Program Overviews

Oct 20, 2019

Individuals who have bachelor's degrees and are interested in becoming practicing mediators may benefit from earning a master's degree in negotiation and dispute resolution. Learn about the program, required courses, and job options.

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Essential Information

Most master's degree programs focusing on dispute resolution are designed for mid-career professionals who hold at least a bachelor's degree. Some schools require or request that students have some measure of professional experience. Students learn how to apply negotiation and dispute resolution tactics to the fields of business, government, law and education. A combination of lecture-based coursework and hands-on experience in negotiation situations may be required.


Master's Degree in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Students enrolled in a master's degree program in negotiation and dispute resolution learn how to develop a self-awareness of their own beliefs, acknowledge opinions of others, focus on negotiations and problem-solving tactics and develop an awareness of different cultures. They study the basics of interpersonal communication and dialogue-based techniques for resolving conflicts. Practical and observational experience may be required. Some common topics include:

  • Negotiation techniques and strategies
  • Mediation and group dialog facilitation
  • Documenting settlements and agreements
  • Cultural, religious and democratic considerations
  • Utilizing technology in negotiations
  • Impartial and unbiased approaches

Popular Career Options

Holding a graduate degree in dispute resolution may provide additional career opportunities for several types of professionals. Others may find the skills learned in the master's program apply directly to a current position. Some of these may include:

  • Mediators
  • Lobbyists
  • Lawyers
  • Diplomats
  • Contract facilitators
  • Ombudsmen

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Professional arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators earned a median annual income of $62,270 as of May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 8% from 2018 to 2028.

Continuing Education Information

Several universities, vocational schools and organizations offer continuing education certificate programs, classes and workshops to provide updated dispute resolution techniques to professionals. Negotiators and conflict resolution practitioners may also benefit by joining others in the field through groups, such as the Association for Conflict Resolution. Members typically receive insurance discounts, professional publications and networking opportunities for others in the field.

A master's degree in negotiation and dispute resolution gives students the communication and mediation skills needed to work as professional arbitrators, conciliators and more. Graduates may also pursue continuing education through certificate programs, workshops and classes.

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