Earn Your Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Online from Pepperdine Caruso Law

Solve the Most Pressing Business Conflicts of Today

The online Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) program is offered by Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s Straus Institute—ranked #1 for dispute resolution in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 law school rankings.1 The program empowers professionals across a variety of industries to judiciously resolve conflicts between parties and artfully negotiate complex transactions. By learning to overcome obstacles to achieve better organizational outcomes, students position themselves for career advancement and new leadership roles.

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Why Earn a Master of Dispute Resolution Online?

Pepperdine’s online master’s in dispute resolution helps students better understand the root causes of conflict and how to facilitate collaboration. The most effective leaders know how to negotiate for the best results and manage conflicts before they interfere with organizational goals.

A Master of Dispute Resolution can especially benefit managers who need to navigate complex workplace challenges and gain the competitive edge to reach the next level of leadership.

Professionals who pursue a master’s in dispute resolution may work in various industries, including:

  • Education
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Social work
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Real estate
  • Nonprofit
  • Trade
  • Entertainment
  • Healthcare
  • Law enforcement
  • Intellectual property
  • Transportation

Application and Admission Process

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s online Master of Dispute Resolution program offers multiple start dates throughout the year. Students who apply by the priority deadline for their intended cohort will be granted an application fee waiver and receive an earlier decision, allowing them to register for classes sooner. Priority deadline applicants should contact an admissions counselor at 844-707-9208 or admissions@onlinelaw.pepperdine.edu to receive the waiver before submitting an application.

The final deadline for the September 2024 cohort is June 28, 2024.

Application Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. Pepperdine Caruso School of Law does not require GMAT, GRE, or LSAT scores.

Candidates must submit the following materials to be considered for admission:

  • Online application with a fee of $50
  • Transcripts
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Video interview

Learn more about application requirements.

Tuition and Financial Aid

A master’s program requires an investment of time and finances, but many resources exist to help students offset the cost of tuition, such as employer financial assistance, scholarships, and loan programs. Tuition is charged per unit hour for a total of 26 units.

Learn more about tuition and financial aid.

Move Your Career and Your Organization Forward

Gaining expertise in conflict resolution and negotiation can help you take the next step in your career. Request information today to learn more about Pepperdine’s online Master of Dispute Resolution.

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Access Your Application

Now is the time. Advance your career with Pepperdine. Take the next step today.

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Admissions Process

MDR Curriculum


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Dispute Resolution Curriculum

An Online Master’s Focused on Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s MDR curriculum provides students with a deeper insight into the legal, psychological, and cultural factors that affect workplace conflict and complex negotiations. Students can complete the 26-unit program in as few as 12 months if attending on a full-time basis. Part-time schedules are also available for professionals balancing multiple priorities. Part-time students can typically complete the program in 24 months.

Required Courses

The 14 units of required courses equip students with the fundamental knowledge in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration so they can better understand the dynamics of conflict. Course topics include:

Elective Courses

Students customize their studies by taking 10 units of elective courses. In elective courses, students focus on advanced negotiation and mediation practices and apply conflict resolution tactics to different industries, including:

In-Person Residencies

Students will apply what they have learned in class during two weekend residencies held on Pepperdine’s Malibu campus. In these immersive learning experiences, worth 1 unit each, students will engage in hands-on learning and simulations while also networking with peers, faculty, and dispute resolution experts.

Dual Degree

After earning their MDR degree, students will have the opportunity to earn a Master of Legal Studies online in less time and fewer units than our typical offering. The MLS degree will only require an additional 20 units, and will prepare students to think critically about legal topics and better execute law-related responsibilities in their field.

Learn more about earning a dual MDR/MLS degree.

Distinguished Faculty. Lifelong Mentors.

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law faculty are accomplished legal scholars and dispute resolution experts committed to providing students with the resources they need to succeed in our online Master of Dispute Resolution program. Our faculty empower students with the practical training and ethical judgment needed to meet the complex challenges they may encounter while settling disputes and solving conflicts.

Visit the Pepperdine Caruso Law Meet Our Faculty page.

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Admissions Process

MDR Curriculum


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Learning Outcomes for the Master’s in Dispute Resolution Online

Learning outcomes for the online Master of Dispute Resolution fall within the categories of cognitive skills, professional skills, and moral and professional identity. Upon completion of the program, graduates will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of conflict and dispute resolution theory and procedure, and when appropriate, applicable governing law.
  • Proficiency in critical reasoning and strategic dispute resolution analysis.
  • Proficiency in dispute resolution research as well as written and oral communication.
  • Professional dispute resolution skills, including lawyering skills.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the moral, ethical, and professional responsibilities of dispute resolution professionals (including lawyers).

Career Paths in Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s online Master of Dispute Resolution program teaches practical negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills needed in a wide range of industries. Students can increase their marketability and make a difference for their clients, employees, and community members by applying their skills in various aspects of dispute resolution.

Roles That May Require Conflict Resolution Skills

  • Business managers
  • Human resource directors
  • International diplomats
  • Military officials

Positions That May Need Negotiation Skills

  • Labor union administrators
  • Healthcare providers
  • Criminal investigators
  • Lobbyists

Occupations That May Involve Conflict Mediation

  • Counselors
  • Ombudsmen
  • Ministers
  • Social workers

Careers in Arbitration and Legal Mediation

  • Engineers and other subject matter experts who can serve as expert witnesses or help employers navigate arbitration
  • Lawyers who want to complement their JD with additional training in arbitration or better represent clients in mediation

Learn about the differences between careers in mediation and arbitration.

Mediator as a Job Title vs. Mediation as a Skill Set

More and more individuals are deciding to settle their legal disputes outside the courtroom through mediation. This type of dispute resolution involves mediators who facilitate negotiations between disputing parties.

The disputing parties, occasionally by recommendation of a judge, typically select a mediator who is a lawyer or retired judge and often a member of the state bar. As a result, it is unlikely that students will complete the program and become a mediator for litigated cases. Instead, the program will help students learn mediation as a problem-solving skill set rather than as a job title.

Mediation skills are common among top leaders and allow them to manage conflicts and solve issues in the workplace. The program provides mediation skills needed for those who:

  • Are motivated to improve change management processes and overall communication within their organization.
  • Want to become a more effective manager of employees.
  • Want to further develop problem-solving abilities.
  • Want to advance their career.

Learn more about careers and opportunities in arbitration in a blog post from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, Thomas Stipanowich.

Get Started Today

Learn more about Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s online Master of Dispute Resolution and how the program can help you gain a competitive edge in your field.

Access Your Application

Now is the time. Advance your career with Pepperdine. Take the next step today.

1 Best Dispute Resolution Programs (2023) U.S. News and World Report. Ranked in 2022. arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference