Conflict resolution degrees

Conflict resolution skills can be valuable asset in numerous occupations, from counseling and family therapy to international business and corporate law. Students in conflict resolution degree programs learn to encourage productive discussions between opposing sides of a contentious situation, using advanced communication skills to identify and acknowledge as many of each side's needs and interests as possible.

Despite its common use in the counseling profession, degrees in conflict resolution differ from counseling psychology degrees in a few significant ways. For example, conflict resolution students may focus on learning to resolve and set aside individual grievances, and counseling psychologists may attempt to address contentious patterns of behavior over time.

What conflict resolution degrees are there?

Degrees in conflict resolution can be earned in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The specific approach and coursework schedule of a conflict resolution program depends on the degree level studied as well as the focus of your chosen college or university.

Bachelor's degrees

Undergraduate degrees in the field typically provide students with an introductory understanding of mediation and resolution in various contexts. Subjects studied in bachelor's programs may include interpersonal dispute awareness, conflict evaluation strategies and the role of media in conflict situations between nations, companies and other large-scale entities.

Careers with conflict resolution degrees

Conflict resolution degrees have far-reaching applications in the working world, including positions in businesses, government agencies, counseling firms and educational institutions. Check out this list of possible careers and see just how versatile your degree can be:

*Arbitrators, mediators and conciliators are extralegal professionals who use their skills to help resolve disputes outside of the court system. Mean annual wage in 2013: $76,840. Job growth 2012-22: 10%.

*Human resources and labor relations specialists work with employees, communicating organizational needs and addressing grievances. Mean annual in wage 2013: $59,075. Job growth 2012-22: 7%.

*Social workers are human service professionals who help people in various walks of life cope with difficulties and conflicts in their everyday lives. Mean annual wage in 2013: $48,370. Job growth 2012-22: 19%.

*Marriage and family therapists bring a family-centered approach to counseling, addressing each client's relationships with others as well as the clients themselves. Mean annual wage in 2013: $51,690. Job growth 2012-22: 31%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bachelor's degrees are the primary undergraduate option for students seeking conflict resolution degrees, but associate degrees that cover similar territory may be found online and on campus at certain schools. Students hoping to study conflict resolution at the associate level should look for relevant coursework within specific departments, such as:

  • Communications
  • Business administration
  • Management
  • Human services
  • Peace studies

Some online conflict resolution certificates may also be available to prospective students with no prior university-level academic experience.

Master's degrees

The extent and variety of conflict resolution degrees is greatest at the master's level, where the numerous professional avenues of the discipline are each given their share of attention. Here's a brief list of subjects that may be studied in graduate-level conflict resolution programs:

  • Advanced conflict management
  • Theories of personality, identity and culture
  • Organizational behavior
  • International relations
  • Diversity in the workplace
  • Dispute resolution and the legal system
  • Managing conflict in schools
  • Negotiation and intervention

While some master's programs may not require a specific undergraduate degree for admission, candidates are often expected to have had at least some formal training in the field where they hope to apply their skills. For example, several credit hours of business administration training may be needed for applicants to a program that focuses on disputes within and between organizations, and a bachelor's degree in psychology may be required of those looking to address interpersonal issues in a counseling or family therapy environment.

Certificates

If you want to add formal negotiation or mediation training to your set of professional skills but aren't sure if a full-fledged degree is the right choice, many colleges and universities offer campus-based and online conflict resolution certificates that may require as few as six months of study to complete. Some certificate programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, while others may allow time spent in a related profession or other relevant life experience to stand in place of formal education.

Depending on the program, coursework may be offered either in person or online. Conflict resolution certificate specializations available in 2015 include negotiation, mediation, organizational conflict, international conflict and disputes in health and elder care settings.

Online degrees

Students without the resources necessary to commit to a full-time, campus-based program can find online conflict resolution degrees at each of the above levels. Some programs may come with a fieldwork or internship component, particularly at the graduate level, so aspiring online students of conflict resolution should check with a registrar or advisor at their chosen institution to ensure that they'll be able to complete any hands-on coursework that their degree may require.

Featured conflict resolution schools

Researching individual programs can help you better understand the semester-by-semester progression that leads to a degree in the discipline. Here's a brief list of colleges and universities that offer either campus-based or online conflict resolution degrees and certificates:

  • Abilene Christian University offers a comprehensive conflict resolution graduate degree online. Students gain competencies in such knowledge areas as conflict theory, dispute resolution systems, mediation principles, negotiation, ethics and organizational communication.
  • Columbia University in New York provides a conflict resolution master's degree program to both part-time and full-time students. The university encourages professional applicants looking to enhance their "soft skills" to make advancements or transitions in the workplace.
  • George Mason University gives students a wide-ranging conflict resolution option at the bachelor's level, allowing undergraduates to specialize at the interpersonal, global, individualized or community and organizational level of conflict. GMU also offers a Ph.D. program for post-graduate students.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston has a variety of non-degree certificates available, from 12-credit specializations in mediation, negotiation, organizational conflict or international conflict to 18-credit dual-focus certificates in any two of the above.

Other notable schools offering degrees in conflict resolution include Colorado State University, Champlain College, New York University and Kansas State University, but these few and the list above are far from the only opportunities. If this degree interests you, start by checking out one of these programs, or compare conflict resolution schools in your area to see what programs fit your needs and goals.

Sources:
1. Conflict Resolution Degree, Abilene Christian University, http://conflictres.acu.edu/
2. Course Requirements, Master of Arts and Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, Abilene Christian University, http://conflictres.acu.edu/conflict-resolution-program-overview/program-curriculum-master-of-arts-in-conflict-resolution-and-reconciliation/
3. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, School of Continuing Education, Columbia University, http://ce.columbia.edu/negotiation-and-conflict-resolution
4. The School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason University, http://scar.gmu.edu/
5. Conflict Resolution Certificate Courses and Requirements, University of Massachusetts Boston, http://www.umb.edu/academics/mgs/crhsgg/grad/con_res_grad_cert/requirements
6. May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
7. "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Program

  • All
  • Community Health Counseling
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Marriage & Family Therapy
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

Degree/Diploma Offered

  • All
  • Associate
  • Bachelor
  • Master
  • Doctoral
  • Diploma
  • Certificate
  • Coursework

Location Type

  • Campus and Online
  • Campus
  • Online

Zip/Postal Code

Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • With 100,000+ students, it's the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation.
  • Since 1971, its mission has been to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • The student-faculty ratio is 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 76.5%.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Formed in 2001, it has 28 locations across the United States.
  • Offers customized blend format of online and campus classes.
  • Extensive activity in the local campus communities.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Offers credit for previous work experience, depending on the amount of experience.
  • Library has more than 17,000 titles and reflects the most current research.
  • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
  • Main campus is located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university open to students of any faith.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Average class size is 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Has been educating students since 1905.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs. 
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses