Blessed are the peacemakers. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Make these mantras your career with a degree in negotiation & conflict management.
We all know the world could use a little more peace and understanding. From interpersonal squabbles to international feuds, conflict in our society is inevitable. But what if there was a way to sort out our differences before things escalated? What if you could create a meaningful career out of peace building?
Guess what? You can. You’ll have to start with a degree in negotiation & conflict management.
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What kind of negotiation & conflict management degree should you get?
The field of conflict resolution is actually a relatively new one, at least when it comes to a formalized degree. Our list below only highlights the top five programs in the country. You’ll find that their styles and curricula vary to some degree.
Some schools give you the option of attending online. Others are more hands-on in their approach. Some programs incorporate community-based practicums. Others give you the option of specializing in a certain demographic of conflict resolution. When it comes down to it, you’ll just need to select the school that is right for you.
If you’re still on the fence about this degree in particular or want to take a more flexible approach to your degree, check out some of the top online degrees through College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a degree in negotiation & conflict management?
Turns out, peace pays off! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is around $60,670 per year! This is assuming you have earned your bachelor’s degree. The figure goes up exponentially if you continue on to advanced education in the field.
People in these professions are increasingly in demand. Resolving interpersonal conflict outside of the court system is often faster and less expensive. As such, employment rates for mediators are projected to rise by a solid 10 percent over the next eight years.
What can you do with a degree in negotiation & conflict management?
Students who graduate with a degree in negotiation & conflict management go on to do groundbreaking work in the field of mediation. Wherever you take this degree, your work will be dedicated to bringing order to conflict and chaos. What is more meaningful than that?
Your degree will take you places . . . literally. Some graduates travel abroad to study conflict in war-torn countries. Others work for the US government as human rights advocates. Others keep the peace at home. Graduates work for law agencies as mediators or arbitrators. Some work as victim advocates in the criminal justice system.
What are the best negotiation & conflict management degrees?
The College Choice data team created a unique methodology to come up with this list. The first step was to gather all of the conflict management programs in the nation and garner the key facts around them – affordability, retention rates, post-graduation salaries.
Beyond the data team, our figures come from the excellent resources at U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com. Average net tuition comes from The National Center for Education Statistics, which includes school fees and average financial aid. Give peace a chance! Get started for the sake of humanity!
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
Located in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah stands out as not only the first on our list, but also a centerpiece for higher education in the state of Utah. It consistently ranks among the top 50 universities in the US for research expenditures. The University of Utah has produced four Nobel Prize winners and is one of the most ideologically diverse university in the nation.
A unique and in-depth program, the BA/BS in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Utah is one of the institution’s finest. This is a 122-credit hour program that seeks to bring together topics on religion, ethics, inequality, and more. Students seek concentrations in Conflict Resolution, Social Justice, or Global Perspectives. Classes include:
- Intergroup Relations: Our Prejudices and Stereotypes
- Justice and International Affairs
- Globalization & World Politics
- Creating Inclusive Communities through Dialogue
Two additional elements to this degree include an internship requirement and an integrative seminar. Additionally, students will have access to the Peace Library at the University of Utah. Students have the option to join the Peace and Conflict Club or get involved with the Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights.
The largest Catholic university in the country, DePaul University is located in Chicago, Illinois. It stays true to its religious roots by keeping its student population diverse and valuing students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This private university is home to over 16,000 undergraduates.
DePaul University stands out in its innovative options for students interested in conflict studies. Students can choose to complete the BA in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. Or, if you know you want to pursue law, you can jump into the 3+3 BA/JD program. This puts you on the fast-track to the College of Law. Some sample courses include:
- Conflict: Intervention, Negotiation, and Advocacy
- International Conflict and Peacebuilding
- Social Justice and Social Change
- The Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Action
In addition to coursework, students have the opportunity to engage in an internship with a local organization that deals directly with conflict resolution or peace. Students also have taken advantage of DePaul’s extensive study abroad options. This gives you a unique perspective into international conflict resolution.
Salisbury University is a public institution that is part of the larger University of Maryland system. It was founded in 1925 and has grown its academic reach to 42 undergraduate degrees and 14 graduate degrees. The school features numerous community outreach and public engagement institutes, as well as a strong international program.
Salisbury University offers a Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution major that allows students to specialize in three unique areas: International, Intergroup/Organizational, and Interpersonal. The department works closely with the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution. Students take classes like:
- Resolving Environmental Conflict
- Negotiation and Conflict Management in Business
- Problem Solving, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution
- Group Processes and Complex Conflicts
The school also features a number of extracurriculars that enhance this degree. The Conflict Resolution Club is a student-led organization that hosts a Peer Mediation program, a Multicultural Festival, and more. You’ll also find a Global Peacemaker Lecture Series oncampus.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Notably the most affordable program on our list, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro turns heads in other ways too. It is the largest and most diverse university in the Triad. The campus maintains a 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio among is close to 20,000 students.
Unveiled in 2013, UNC Greensboro features a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies. This degree incorporates a multidisciplinary curriculum. Unique to this program, students can attend either online or oncampus. The online program uses 14-week terms with asynchronous learning. Here’s a look at a few classes:
- Managing Conflicts in Professional Contexts
- Culture and Conflict
- Peace & Violence in the Modern World
- Conflict Transformation
The capstone requirement for both the undergraduate and graduate Peace and Conflict Studies degrees involves a field experience or practicum. This means 60 hours of hands-on work that integrates theory and intervention. Students have applied this practicum in education, advocacy, government, and more.
Portland State University
A public university in the Pacific Northwest, Portland State University was founded in 1946. It has been recognized at the national level for its undergraduate-wide requirement of a community-based capstone project. PSU has also been ranked globally for its sustainability efforts and commitment to green energy.
Offered through the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, you’ll find a robust BS/BA in Conflict Resolution program at Portland State. This curriculum brings together elements of research, theory, and application to the subject of mediation and negotiation. You’ll take a blend of core courses and electives. Some include:
- Ecology of War & Peace
- Reconciliation Process
- Conflict Management Skills
- Introduction to Peace Studies
Students have ample opportunity to engage in conflict resolution in their own city. Students United for Nonviolence brings together PSU students with the larger Portland community. The PSU Conflict Resolution Resource Center holds a space for clinical experience in conflict mediation.