The purpose of this article is to describe the advantages of earning your master’s degree in conflict resolution. We will tell you about the sorts of classes that are required to graduate with this degree, the work possibilities with this master’s degree and where the best master’s in conflict resolution programs are.
What Is a Master’s in Conflict Resolution?
A master’s in conflict resolution, also referred to as peace studies in some quarters, is an online graduate degree program that helps students to gain knowledge in areas of geography, political science, economics, international relations, religion, sociology and anthropology, as they relate to violence, conflict resolution and human behavior.
This field is quite broad, so conflict resolution and peace studies professionals may specialize in many areas, depending upon the university program you choose. Some of the possible specialization areas are:
- Genocide and mass violence
- Family law and domestic violence
- Local and international development
- Medication and dispute settlement
- Victim support and reparation
When you earn your master’s in conflict resolution, you may be able to go to work as an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator. These types of professionals facilitate negotiation and dialogue between parties who are in a dispute. The idea is to resolve conflicts outside of going to court.
As an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator, you will typically do the following:
- Facilitate lines of communication between the disputing parties to get a mutual agreement
- Clarify any issues, needs, concerns and interests of the various parties in a dispute
- Conduct an initial meeting with the disputants to determine what the arbitration process will be
- Settle basic procedural matters, which include the costs, and determine details that include the number of witnesses and any time requirements
- Interview all of the parties involved in the dispute
- Apply any relevant laws, policies or regulations
Most professionals in the field of conflict resolution, mediation or arbitration work in the following areas:
- Legal services
- State government
- Local government
- Religious, professional, or civic organizations
- Finance and insurance
Why Earn a Master’s in Conflict Resolution?
The employment in this field is set to grow by 9% by 2024, so you should be able to find a decent amount of work in various industries. This is a relatively small occupation, and this number means that approximately 800 jobs will be created in the next eight years. Still, arbitration and mediation are gaining in popularity overall because conflict resolution is seen as less expensive than going to court.
Also, many contracts include clauses today that require that disputes be decided via arbitration or mediation.
Many mediators and arbitrators work for state and local governments, and job growth could be limited by the budget for that state or locality. Therefore, you may need to move to various parts of the country that have the budget to support the careers of arbitrators and mediators.
Also note that many people with a master’s degree in conflict resolution often find employment with regular businesses and are able to move into upper management with their conflict resolution skills.
Another reason to consider a degree in conflict resolution is that the median wage is $58,000 per year, as of May 2015. The top 10%, often professionals with a law degree, earn more than $118,000 per year.
There are no certification or licensure requirements for this field, but most states do require mediators to complete as many as 40 hours of training courses to work as a mediator.
Online Master’s in Conflict Resolution Degree Options
A major advantage of getting a master’s degree today is that you have the option of earning your degree entirely online without even visiting a college campus. Earning a degree via distance education also means that you can choose to attend a college in any part of the country, no matter where you live. People who earn this degree online often continue to work at least part time as well.
As you are considering a master’s degree online in this field, you should look for a program that offers an excellent background in conflict resolution in various areas, such as business and law. Also, you should want to attend a university where you will have to complete workshops and live practices exercises, including a practicum in your local area possibly, so that you build your skills.
And of course, your program should have proper accreditation so that you know it is a high quality university.
Conflicts are part of life both in business and in personal affairs, but this is not always a bad thing. There are very important things to be learned during conflicts, and working through disputes often can bring creative solutions to problems, as well as new ideas and innovation.
That is why being able to negotiate conflicts effectively today is so valuable in the business world. Managers are often looking for professionals who are skilled in resolving conflicts and to foster a more peaceful and collaborative culture in the workplace.
This is where earning your online Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Creighton University can be so effective. This program of two years will prepare you for a successful career in conflict resolution and will allow you to apply much of what you learn to obtain a leadership role in many industries.
This program is taught by highly skilled and respected professors of negotiation and conflict resolution. You will learn the skills and tools that you need to deal with conflict in various types of workplaces, and will be able to improve employee communication.
This conflict resolution program is housed within the Creighton University School of Law, which is one of the best law schools in the US.
This online negotiation and conflict resolution program is designed to train new facilitators, negotiators and mediators via intensive classes, workshops and conferences with some of the best practitioners and scholars in the field.
This master’s program will arm you with skills that are geared towards providing solutions to problems. You will learn skills in these areas:
- Problem solving in the legal world
- Problem solving analysis
- Organizational development
- Sociology and psychology
- How to actively listen
- How to learn cooperatively
- Conflict resolution policy and principles
Creighton University is unusual in that it has three concentrations that you can choose, depending upon your exact career interests:
- Health Care Collaboration and Dispute Resolution
- International Negotiations and Conflict Resolution
- Organizational Collaboration and Conflict Management
This program also will provide you with the ability to practice and perfect what you are learning. You will be required to participate in role playing simulations, conflict resolution workshops and group exercises. These will be done during two, five day residencies on the campus in Omaha, NE. Students also have the option to apply what they are learning in a practicum in an organization of their choice in their home area.
Your core classes:
- Introduction to Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
- Leadership and Conflict Engagement
- Online Dispute Resolution
- Dynamics of Conflict Resolution
- Systems and Consulting for Conflict Specialists
- Culture, Gender and Power Differences in Conflict
- Facilitation and Group Processes
- Mediation Residency
Creighton University has been fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
It is important for the university that you may attend for your master’s program has been accredited by one of these regional organizations recognized by the US Department of Education:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education,
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
By ensuring that your university for your graduate degree online has been accredited, you can be fully confident that your degree will be seen as valuable and genuine by future employers. Also, you will know that you have developed the skills that you will need to be a skilled professional in conflict resolution.
Earning a master’s degree in conflict resolution is a solid choice because there are many exciting areas in which you can work. While you will have the option to work specifically as a mediator or facilitator, you also will be well qualified for many upper management positions because of your advanced conflict resolution skills.
Being able to resolve conflicts among staff and to get the most out of everyone who works under you is very important today, so consider getting this master’s degree to move yourself up the career ladder.