Earn Your Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Online from Pepperdine Caruso Law
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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—top-ranked for dispute resolution in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 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.
Why Earn a Master of Dispute Resolution?
Earning a 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:
On-Campus MDR Program
The master of dispute resolution degree is also offered by the Straus Institute at Pepperdine Caruso Law’s Malibu campus.
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 to receive the waiver before submitting an application.
Fall 2021 Cohort
Early Decision Deadline
Friday, May 14, 2021
Friday, June 4, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021
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:
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 32 units.
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 32-unit program in as few as 16 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 28 months.
The 16 units of foundation and core courses equip students with the fundamental knowledge in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration so they can better understand the dynamics of conflict. Course topics include an introduction to US law, legal research and writing, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, cross-cultural conflict, conflict communication, and employment disputes.
Students customize their studies by taking up to 14 units of elective courses. In elective courses, students apply conflict resolution tactics to different industries—such as entertainment, corporate business, and public policy—and focus on advanced negotiation and mediation practices.
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.
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 18 units, and will prepare students to think critically about legal topics and better execute law-related responsibilities in their field.
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.
Learning outcomes for Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s 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
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
Human resource directors
Positions That May Need Negotiation Skills
Labor union administrators
Occupations That May Involve Conflict Mediation
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
Mediator as a Job Title vs. Mediation as a Skill Set
In the past, settlement efforts for litigated cases have been limited to a judge’s decision. Now, more and more individuals are deciding to settle their legal disputes outside the courtroom through a type of alternative dispute resolution called mediation. This type of dispute resolution involves mediators who facilitate negotiations between disputing parties and reach a solution.
The disputing parties, occasionally by recommendation of a judge, typically select a mediator who is a lawyer or retired judge, often members of the state bar, with expertise in the issue at hand. As a result, it is unlikely that students will complete the program and pursue a career as 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 is an invaluable skill that is common among top leaders and allows them to effectively manage conflicts and solve issues that arise in the workplace. The program provides the mediation skills that are important 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.