Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs of 2021

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Published on December 10, 2021 · Updated on April 26, 2022

Edited by Rebecca Long
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Master's programs in negotiation and conflict management focus on theories of conflict, its underlying causes, and best practices for resolution. Many professionals in the field of conflict resolution work to uncover the causes of intergroup aggression and misunderstandings to help parties reach agreement peacefully.

An online master's in negotiation and conflict management can be expensive. Cost typically depends on a school's location and whether it's private or public. Students in online programs often pay less because they do not have to factor in housing and other expenses.

A master's degree usually requires the completion of 30-45 course credits, which takes full-time students two years to earn. Working professionals enrolled in graduate school might need more time to graduate, while students in accelerated courses can earn their degrees more quickly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators will grow 10% between 2020 and 2030. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $66,130 in May 2020. Some positions for professionals with a master's in negotiation and conflict pay higher wages. Judges and hearing officers earned a median yearly wage of $124,200 during the same period.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Program?

People who like helping individuals and groups resolve their differences might find meaningful work in negotiation and conflict management. Successful graduates demonstrate a thorough understanding of intergroup and interpersonal behavior, and they tend to possess strong communication skills.

Students enrolled in a master's of negotiation and conflict management program take 30-45 credits of courses for about two years. Some individuals finish in less time if they take self-paced online classes. Learners in cohort groups progress through their program together, allowing for less flexibility in the time it takes to graduate.

Some master's programs in negotiation and conflict management offer more general instruction, while others allow students to specialize in certain areas. Common concentrations include corporate social responsibility, humanitarian relief, international relations, and legal services. In addition to coursework, some programs require students to complete a final research paper or capstone project, which allows them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in practical settings.

Depending on the school, students can earn a master of arts (MA) or master of science (MS) in negotiation and conflict management. An MA emphasizes the application of theory to real-world situations. Students interested in data analysis and research might pursue an MS. Students can also attend a law school that offers a dual MS/JD in this field.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Program?

Advanced Mediation

Mediation involves assisting two or more parties in finding common ground and coming to a mutually agreeable settlement. Students read case studies, learn about diverse groups, and explore ways to identify and remove bias during conflict situations.

International Human Rights

This course explores how nations and communities define, codify, and enforce human rights. Students learn about multiculturalism, religious freedom, and various threats to human rights, such as terrorism.

Interpersonal Dynamics in Conflict

The nature of conflict and methods to resolve it make up the core of mediation and negotiation. This course explores the elements that drive conflict and the dynamics that influence parties' abilities to manage disagreements and reach settlements.

Post-conflict Reconstruction

Students learn about post-conflict situations, such as establishing peace agreements and rebuilding nations and cultures. The course typically covers the types of parties involved and the factors that affect their complex relationships.

Conflict Transformation

Students in this course learn how to define conflict and explain its causes at interpersonal, interorganizational, and international levels. Conflict transformation centers on how parties can define their roles, establish rules, and reexamine their relationships moving forward.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Program?

Graduate school applicants should carefully read an institution's admissions guidelines to know what documents or prerequisites they need. Most online and traditional master's in negotiation and conflict management programs take an interdisciplinary approach, allowing them to accept students from various academic backgrounds.

Some programs might prefer students with bachelor's degrees in political science, psychology, and sociology. Regardless of their undergraduate degree, applicants must fulfill the necessary prerequisites before enrolling in the graduate program.

Application

Students applying to a graduate program complete a primary application form, which usually takes less than an hour. Many baccalaureate programs use a centralized application system to accept students' documents all in one virtual place. However, students applying to master's programs generally must apply to each school individually. Applicants can expect to pay $50-$120 in application fees, which schools might waive for students who demonstrate financial need.

Test Scores

Some schools offering an online master's in negotiation and conflict management require applicants to submit their GRE scores. Minimum acceptable scores can vary. An outstanding GRE score might compensate for a GPA lower than 3.0, which schools usually prefer.

Letters of Recommendation

Recommendation letters describe a student's strengths and potential to succeed in graduate school. Applicants should obtain 1-3 letters from mentors, employers, or professors who can write about them honestly and favorably. Students should give letter writers adequate time to write and provide their documents before application deadlines.

Resume and Work Experience

Most programs offering an online master's in negotiation and conflict management do not require a specific type of work experience. If possible, applicants should still consider submitting a resume or curriculum vitae. This document should showcase any relevant work history or other accomplishments that can enhance your application.

Essays

Most graduate schools require application essays, which allow students to describe their accomplishments, interest in the program, and career goals. Applicants should read the application instructions carefully to determine whether they need to write a personal statement, letter of intent, or statement of purpose.

Official Transcripts

Applicants must submit official academic transcripts from all previous institutions. Students should check with each prospective school to see which of their transfer credits the institutions will accept. Master's programs do not typically take transfer credits from unaccredited institutions.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Degree?

Career Outlook

Graduates can seek employment in many different industries with a master's in negotiation and conflict management. They can work as negotiators, mediators, and analysts in family law, finance, healthcare, public policy, government, business, and environmental protection. Private enterprises, healthcare organizations, nonprofit entities, and government agencies need fact finders, union representatives, lawyers, analysts, and other experts.

The BLS projects that jobs for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators will grow 10% between 2020 and 2030, compared to the average growth rate of 8% across all occupations during the same period. Some of these jobs will likely open up due to people exiting the workforce or changing careers.

An online master's in negotiation and conflict management can also potentially lead to a competitive salary. Pay can depend on work experience, sector, and position. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $66,130 in May 2020. Political scientists earned a median yearly salary of $125,350 during the same period.

Career Paths

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

Arbitrators, conciliators, and mediators work with disputing parties to help them reach mutually agreeable solutions. They represent the best interests of all individuals involved instead of advocating for either party. Their duties include interviewing litigants, facilitating discussions over contracts and agreements, and drawing up settlement documents.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $66,130


Hearing Officer

Hearing officers work in courts but do not serve as judges. They preside over hearings, listen to arguments, evaluate court documents, and research legal cases and issues. These individuals apply their knowledge of the law and legal precedents to make decisions and write opinions.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $124,200


Political Scientist

Political scientists utilize their research and technical writing skills to study how political systems develop, function, thrive, and decline. They also analyze political events, trends, and theories that drive laws and governmental policies. These professionals use various methods to collect and analyze data, reporting their findings in presentations and academic journals.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $125,350


Lawyer

Lawyers represent organizations, government entities, and individuals to advocate for their interests and advise on legal issues. They study and interpret current laws, conduct research, and represent their clients in court. Lawyers also research legal cases and interpret rulings and regulations.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $126,930


Operations Research Analyst

These professionals collect, analyze, and interpret data to help employers or clients make evidence-based decisions on complex issues and solve problems. Research analysts need strong technical writing and communication skills to organize their information and present their findings. They work in public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $86,200


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Continuing Education

Although most occupations in this field typically do not require a certification or license, some professionals need to follow specific regulations for post-degree training. For example, some states mandate that court mediators obtain advanced training in mediation to do their work. Other professionals might pursue a law degree and pass a state bar exam to practice as attorneys.

Professionals with a master's in negotiation and conflict resolution can search for doctoral programs to continue their education. A Ph.D. in this field can expand employment opportunities further, with graduates working as college professors, researchers, and consultants.

How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Program?

Cost

A master's in negotiation and conflict resolution can be expensive. Costs can vary based on location, whether a school is private or public, and based on whether you take classes online or in person. An online degree can be less expensive if students attend an in-state school and live off campus, but they might need to pay additional technology fees.

Program Format

An online master's degree can offer the flexibility that some working professionals need. Students who work full-time might benefit from asynchronous classes, which allow them to log on and do their coursework at their own pace. Individuals who want to reduce the time they need to complete their degree can opt for accelerated online programs.

Location

Online degree programs allow people to study at schools across the country regardless of where they live. However, some institutions require students to attend some classes or meetings in person. Students researching online programs should also inquire if they need to be on campus to take advantage of academic services and advising.

Accreditation

Proper accreditation ensures that a school adheres to high educational standards. Students who enroll in accredited institutions can receive financial aid and transfer their credits to another accredited college or university. Students should pursue an online master's in negotiation and conflict resolution from a school with regional accreditation.

Student Support

Students should not overlook academic services and programs that can enhance their educational experience. As they approach graduation, learners can take advantage of career centers that offer job placement and internship opportunities. Individuals opting for an online degree should look for programs that provide online student services, such as tutoring, access to mentoring, and academic advising.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

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Best Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

  1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $21678

    Penn State World Campus offers an online MBA program with a concentration in negotiation and influence. Courses in the nine-credit concentration include negotiation theory and skills, complex negotiations, and power and influence. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously, although students may participate in optional synchronous discussion groups.

    Students usually spend about 10 hours per week on coursework and complete an on-campus or virtual residency. All applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores unless they have five years of relevant professional experience or an advanced degree.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $1,236/credit
    • Program Length: Varies
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 48 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online or hybrid
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  2. University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $17771

    UNCW's online master's in conflict management and resolution offers concentrations in domestic, social, and organizational conflict transformation; emergency and disaster management; and national and international security. All three tracks provide students with the skills needed to mediate high-stakes, high-conflict meetings.

    Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA or significant professional experience. They must also submit a 500-word essay on their goals and three letters of recommendation.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $185/credit in-state; $772/credit out-of-state
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous
    • Format: Online or hybrid
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  3. George Mason University
    Location

    Fairfax, VA

    Tuition

    $19064

    Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Mason offers a master of science in conflict analysis and resolution with five concentration options: social justice advocacy and activism; dynamics of violence; inclusive conflict engagement; conflict-sensitive development and resilience; and media, narrative, and public discourse. Students can also create their own concentration with the approval of the program director.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program does not require GRE scores.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $670/credit in-state; $750/credit out-of-state
    • Program Length: Varies
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 33 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Hybrid (at least 90% online)
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  4. Abilene Christian University
    Location

    Abilene, TX

    Students in ACU's online master's in conflict management and resolution choose from four tracks: general, healthcare organizations, organizational, and practitioner. In all tracks, core courses include negotiation, mediation, managing conflict in the workplace, and foundations of family conflict dynamics.

    Prospective students must submit a resume and must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants who do not meet this threshold may be able to earn probationary admission.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $732/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  5. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $10396

    UNCG's master of arts program in peace and conflict studies features a 120-hour practicum in the field. All students also complete a capstone colloquium that involves a professional development project. Relevant courses in the curriculum include gender and peacebuilding, peace development and community building, restorative justice, and crisis management.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and submit three letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $336/credit in-state; $626/credit out-of-state
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 33 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  6. California State University-Dominguez Hills
    Location

    Carson, CA

    Tuition

    $4533

    CSUDH offers an online master's in negotiation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding that students can complete without ever visiting campus in Carson. Each course in the 36-credit curriculum lasts for 12 weeks. Notable courses include theories of conflict, research design and interpretation, communication and conflict, and arbitration. Learners can complete an internship in the field and choose a thesis or portfolio format for their capstone.

    Applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. They must also submit a 500-word biographical essay and three letters of recommendation. The program does not require GRE scores.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $321/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
  7. Dallas Baptist University
    Location

    Dallas, TX

    DBU offers an online MBA program with a concentration in conflict resolution management. The 12-credit concentration includes required courses in conflict resolution management, advanced family mediation, advanced business mediation, and employee negotiations and collective bargaining.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also have either 12 credits of graduate coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA, five years of professional experience, or a GMAT score of at least 425.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $1,104/credit
    • Program Length: Varies
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 36 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  8. Brenau University
    Location

    Gainesville, GA

    Based in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau offers an online MBA in mediation and conflict resolution that requires 45 credits. Students complete major coursework in organizational conflict and conflict management systems, negotiation theory and practice, mediation theory and practice, and international and cross-cultural conflict resolution.

    Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must submit all prior transcripts and a resume.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $755/credit
    • Program Length: Varies
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 45 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Private
    • Program Accreditation: N/A
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

Is a master's in negotiation and conflict management worth it?

The versatility of a master's in this field makes it an attractive degree for many professionals who want to expand their job prospects and earning potential. An online master's in negotiation and conflict management can enable students to continue their education while maintaining their current jobs. Individuals who struggle to find gainful employment might see graduate school as an alternative. However, prospective graduate students in any discipline should carefully consider their career goals before investing the time and money necessary to earn a graduate degree.

What can I do with a master's in negotiation and conflict management?

Graduates can seek employment in various fields as mediators, analysts, negotiators, and more. They may work for private corporations, courtrooms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, law offices, and healthcare companies. A master's in negotiation and conflict management can serve many professionals who help people find common ground and reach mutually beneficial settlements. This degree prepares individuals to mediate disagreements between individuals and organizations, recommend improvements to public policy, and facilitate contract creation.

Are negotiation and conflict management majors in demand?

The demand for arbitrators, analysts, and other people with proficiencies in conflict resolution continues to grow, especially at the global level. Healthcare, finance, legal services, and other sectors need professionals with the skills a master's in negotiation and conflict management can provide. The BLS projects that jobs for arbitrators, mediators, conciliators will grow 10% between 2020 and 2030, compared to average projected growth rate of 8% across all occupations during the same period. This demand partly reflects the loss of current workers due to retirement and career changes. Mediation and other conflict resolution methods typically cost less and take less time than traditional court proceedings, which may also account for the increased demand for these professionals.

How much money can I make with a master's in negotiation and conflict management?

Jobs for individuals with an online master's in negotiation and conflict management can be lucrative. Pay varies widely depending on the position, a candidate's experience, and location. According to the BLS, court conciliators made a median wage of $66,130 per year in May 2020. Political scientists earned a median annual salary of $125,350 during the same time. Professionals with additional advanced degrees, such as a law degree, can potentially earn more. The BLS reported that lawyers earned a median annual salary of $126,930 in May 2020.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in negotiation and conflict management?

According to the BLS, lawyers and hearing officers made median annual salaries of $126,930 and $124,200 in May 2020, respectively. Lawyers can earn even more working in higher levels of government or established law firms instead of operating private practices. The BLS reports that political scientists earned a median annual salary of $125,350 in May 2020, with individuals working in government, scientific, or technical occupations earning higher pay. Some political scientists who want to work in academic settings might need to pursue a doctorate.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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