Are you passionate about resolving complex issues with compassion, ingenuity, and sustainability? Can you envision yourself leading teams of equally inspired people to enact change at micro and macro levels?
Then a degree in conflict resolution may be for you!
What kind of Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management degree should you get?
Each of the 10 programs on our list will provide a foundation in conflict resolution fundamentals. No matter which school you graduate from, you’ll be ready to tackle complex problems and negotiate tricky scenarios. However, each of these programs vary from one another in specialization, title, and scope.
For example, while Georgetown offers an interdisciplinary degree that borrows from several of its departments, the California State University Dominguez Hills provides post-graduate certification and specialization.
Be sure to find the best fit for you and your career goals. Here at College Choice we’ve been sure to note the nuances of each program, including those that offer joint degrees and immersive internship opportunities.
And speaking of opportunities, though most of the degrees below are traditional, on-campus programs, perhaps you should consider online education. Distance learning is a flexible, affordable way to earn your degree. So, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management degree?
With one of these master’s degrees in conflict resolution you will be prepared for work in diverse career settings (more on that below). That means the average salary of those with such a degree can vary. But rest assured, the field is notably lucrative and stable.
For example, arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators earn around $60,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, with added specialization and certification, which these degrees surely provide, you can make upwards of $78,000, according to PayScale.
Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10 percent industry growth in the next few years alone. Meaning, upon graduation you will be in high demand!
What can you do with a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management degree?
With one of these degrees in hand you can find yourself working in an array of industries, from healthcare to government, education to administration. Which is to say, a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management unlocks innumerable vocational doors.
And because several of the 10 programs below encourage you to combine the degree with one in another field, your options only expand. You will have the skills and knowledge to go into law, medicine, political science, social work, analysis, and more.
Indeed, graduates from these 10 programs have gone on to become:
- Government Mediators
- Third-Party Neutrals
- Legal Consultants
- Union Representatives
What are the requirements for a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management degree?
To earn a Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management you are looking at one year of full time study at least. Though most of these programs are more involved, requiring two years and an internship, to graduate.
In the first term or the first full year you will explore conflict resolution principles. This includes classes on mediation, negotiation, resolution strategies, and more. From there you will have the opportunity to explore specialized areas of conflict and negotiation through electives such as Intercultural Conflict, Environmental Conflict, and more.
Finally, most programs require an internship so you can apply your education to real-world situations. We’ve been sure to note which programs have practicum or internship requirements.
What are the best Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management degrees?
While some of these programs are offered through large research universities and others through smaller public schools, all 10 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best graduate conflict management programs.
To find the best we first examined each school across the nation offering the degree. From there we narrowed our list by determining key factors such as national reputation and retention. Then we took into account the salaries of graduates and tuition rates to get an idea of the return on investment.
Our comprehensive research thus led us to the nation’s best programs for training new leaders in negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution.
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $22,973
This New York Ivy League university barely needs an introduction. It is one of the world’s most prestigious universities with academic and research-based strengths in everything from public health to business. Nearly 20,000 graduate students are studying at Columbia.
Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies offers an MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution degree. A balanced mix of theory and applied training, this degree encourages students to develop effective methods for resolving disputes. You’ll consider differing worldviews, understand complex issues and conflict factors, and you’ll learn how to create constructive outcomes. Classes include:
- Intrapersonal Dynamics and Conflicts
- Conflict Resolution and Dynamical Systems
- Self as Instrument: Skills Practicum
- Resolution Strategies
This program can be completed fully on campus or through a hybrid of online and in-person study. And with a spread of elective opportunities, Columbia offers a program that is highly customizable. Indeed, you can take classes on niche areas of negotiation such as urban conflict, ombuds practice, and health care negotiation.
College Choice Score: 95.21
Average Net Price: $26,625
Located in the nation’s capital, Georgetown University is a private school with a renowned research focus. It boasts highly regarded and well-ranked schools of business, medicine, law, foreign service, and more. Georgetown is home to approximately 10,000 graduate students.
What better place to study conflict resolution than Washington, DC? Georgetown’s MA in Conflict Resolution explores everything from intergroup conflict to community and global negotiations. You will study the stages of conflict resolution, moving from the origin of dispute to mediation and negotiation to post-conflict peace building. Courses include:
- Conflict Resolution Skills
- Intergroup Relations
- Applied Negotiations
- Research Design and Conflict Resolution
Georgetown’s degree is an interdisciplinary program that brings together faculty from the departments of government, psychology, philosophy, and culture and technology. Of course, students also partner closely with Georgetown’s Law Center, Business School, the School of Foreign Service, and the McCourt School of Public Policy.
University of San Diego
College Choice Score: 80.76
Average Net Price: $38,596
The University of San Diego is a small, Roman Catholic school. It serves around 7,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students, offering more than 50 academic and professional degree programs. USD is located in the heart of the city, overlooking Mission Bay.
USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies offers an MS in Conflict Management and Resolution degree. This accelerated degree program can be completed in as few as nine months. Yet USD still offers a comprehensive look into the knowledge and skills needed to transform conflict dynamics. In addition the core you can take a breadth of electives, including:
- Trans-border Conflict: History and Future
- War, Gender, and Peacebuilding
- Ethnic Conflict
- International Environmental Governance
Unique to the USD program is the emphasis on and requirements to workshop. Students take three one-credit workshops that help them develop important skills at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Sample workshops include Storytelling and Changemaking, Intercultural Competency, and Mindfulness and Restorative Practices.
University of Denver
College Choice Score: 79.54
Average Net Price: $32,940
The University of Denver is the oldest private school in the Rocky Mountain Region. In addition to its undergraduate schools, DU is comprised of nearly a dozen graduate colleges and professional schools, including the renowned Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Around 11,000 students attend DU.
You can earn an MA in Conflict Resolution from DU that is simultaneously interdisciplinary and hands-on. While studying alternative theories to conflict resolution you will also look at related ethical issues and how to handle the complexities of diverse conflict scenarios. With an emphasis on both scholarship and vocation, DU’s curriculum covers:
- Conciliation and Reconciliation
- Organizational Dynamics
- Mediation Theory and Issues
- Communication and Collaboration
The University of Denver fully trains its students through its internship and practicum programs. Students have secured internships all over the country and world, working in elite settings such as the Peace Institute in New York, Mediators Beyond Borders, and much more. The practicums focus on four discrete areas of conflict resolution: interpersonal, environmental, public policy, and international.
Kennesaw State University
College Choice Score: 78.87
Average Net Price: $17,441
Located in Kennesaw, GA, Kennesaw State University is a public research university. It is part of the University System of Georgia and is strong in many academic areas, including tech, engineering, business, criminal justice, and much more. More than 35,000 students attend KSU.
KSU’s MS in Conflict Management degree is nearly two decades old. You’ll benefit from this long-established program in innumerable ways, especially as you pursue research, theory, and practical skill-building. Additionally, this program ranges from the micro to the macro, meaning you’ll learn how to navigate conflict from the interpersonal to the international level. Classes include:
- Organizational and Workplace Conflict
- Critical Knowledge and Skills of Conflict Management
- Study of a Specific Conflict Management Environment
- Interpersonal, Intergroup, and Community Conflict
KSU gives you many ways to become an expert and leader in conflict resolution. You can earn it in conjunction with an MBA, which trains you for competitive leadership and management roles. Or you can earn an embedded certification in one of two areas: Justice and Organizations or International Conflict Management.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
College Choice Score: 78.06
Average Net Price: $3,297
The Dominguez Hills member within the wider California State University System is located in Carson, CA, south of LA. Around 15,000 students attend CSUDH and are enrolled in one of the university’s 70 academic programs. CSUDH is one of the nation’s most ethnically and economically diverse campuses.
Cal State Dominguez Hills offers not only one of the best programs in the nation, but one of the most affordable too. With a tuition under $4,000, this MA in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding is easily achievable. Which is not to say the curriculum isn’t rigorous. It most definitely is, covering a range of topics:
- Theories of Conflict
- Communication and Conflict
- Negotiation Tactics
At Cal State Dominguez Hills you can become an even more highly trained expert by enrolling in the Post Master’s Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution after you graduate. This program is for those who want gain enhanced specialization in areas such as school violence, conflict and the media, cross-cultural values, and more. The post-master’s certificate also includes an immersive internship experience.
College Choice Score: 76.63
Average Net Price: $17,678
Salisbury University is located in Salisbury, MD, and is a member of the larger University System of Maryland. A small school, SU has less than 1,000 graduate students, in addition to the 6,000 undergraduates. And SU is comprised of five academic schools that provide degrees in the liberal arts, business, tech, education, and health sciences.
Salisbury University’s Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution offers an MA in CADR. Working closely with the University’s Center for Conflict Resolution, students receive applied teaching and training in conflict models, theory, and research. Some of the classes you’ll take as a CADR student include, but are hardly limited to:
- Group Processes and Complex Conflicts
- Studies in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution
- Structural and Systemic Conflict and Dispute System
- Problem Solving, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution
It’s hard to beat Salisbury’s “Teaching Hospital” model, which takes place through the Center for Conflict Resolution. Students receive distinct mentoring, extracurricular opportunities, and hands-on training. Indeed, the Center has sent students around the world to study and enact conflict analysis and intervention research.
University of Baltimore
College Choice Score: 75.56
Average Net Price: $15,889
Located in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, the University of Baltimore specializes in business, law, and public affairs. Around 5,500 students attend UB, split pretty evenly among the undergraduate and graduate programs. UB’s graduate programs include everything from public administration to fine arts.
The University of Baltimore offers a 42 credit-hour MS in Negotiations and Conflict Management degree. This is an interdisciplinary program that trains you for diverse career options. Whether you want to work in health care, social work, public administration, or international relations, UB will help you get there. Classes include:
- The Conflict Management Profession
- Understanding and Assessing Conflict
- Approaches to Managing Conflict
- Negotiations: Theory and Practice
For those interested in the legal issues related to conflict, UB allows you to earn a joint JD/MS degree. You’ll take courses through the law school, developing the skills and knowledge that are necessary for positions in government, nonprofit, or within private organizations. This program takes between three and four years to complete.
University of Oregon
College Choice Score: 74.42
Average Net Price: $15,355
Nestled in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the University of Oregon is located in Eugene, OR. UO is a sprawling research university that has garnered the highest classification from the Carnegie Foundation. Around 23,000 students attend UO.
The University of Oregon’s School of Law offers a Master’s in Conflict and Dispute Resolution program. Whether you want to train to negotiate conflict at the interpersonal or international level, UO will help you actualize your career goals. You’ll gain hands-on experience through internships and a final project. And you’ll take exciting coursework that covers:
- Cross Cultural Dynamics in Conflict Resolution I and II
- Mediation Skills
- Negotiation, Bargaining, and Persuasion
- Perspectives on Conflict Resolution
Unique to the University of Oregon is the option to pair the CRES degree with a number of other graduate programs. Though other universities also encourage this, UO offers the most combination options. In fact, students have combined CRES with degrees in law, international studies, environmental studies (one of UO’s best programs), community and regional planning, nonprofit management, and much more.
Portland State University
College Choice Score: 72.24
Average Net Price: $14,481
Portland State University is a public school located in downtown Portland, OR. It is organized into seven colleges, through which PSU provides more than 200 degree programs. More than 28,000 students attend PSU.
When you earn a degree in conflict resolution from PSU you will graduate an expert in analyzing conflict, uncovering the complex dynamics of conflict, and strategies for negotiating. You will be trained in defusing and de-escalating among individuals, groups, and even countries. PSU’s core courses include:
- Psychology of Conflict Resolution
- Advanced Mediation
- Intercultural Conflict Resolution
- Philosophy of Conflict Resolution
As a PSU student you will not only have a great academic experience, but you’ll have access to some of PSU best resources. This includes the Students United for Nonviolence group, the Conflict Resolution Resource Center, and locale mediation and legal services.