Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

July 27, 2021

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A typical day as a negotiator or mediator involves diffusing employee/employer issues, helping governments find common ground with foreign entities, working with two parties to settle a legal dispute, or helping neighbors figure out who needs to pay for a fallen tree. Employers are seeking graduates in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, between 2014 and 2024, the field will see an employment growth rate of 9%. A master's in conflict resolution online prepares students to pursue many lines of work.

What are the best negotiation and conflict management master's programs? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Creighton University Omaha, NE
2 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
3 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
4 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
5 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
6 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
7 Dominican University River Forest, IL
8 Norwich University Northfield, VT
9 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
10 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Choosing a Program


Master's degree in conflict resolution online programs are interdisciplinary in their approach to education, so the vast majority do not have requirements for previous experience.


Research numerous master's in conflict resolution online degrees and figure out what you need to succeed in the program. Some programs offer specializations, while others are more generalist in their approach. It's important to know whether you prefer synchronous or asynchronous studies. A synchronous program will require you to login at specific times to complete work; asynchronous programs allow you to complete assignments based around your own schedule. Get to know the nuts and bolts of these programs, compare their requirements with your needs, and try to find one that balances both.


Many grad students work while completing their degree, but it takes focus and dedication to balance both. Degree seekers spend an average of 10 hours per week, per class, to complete assignments. So if they take three classes, they'll need to devote 30 hours per week to their studies.


Completing a master's in conflict resolution online offers students the opportunity to earn a degree from any school in the country. Online programs are also more flexible and make it easier for students to maintain employment. Learners earn the same degrees and certificates that on-campus students receive.

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

Creighton University View School Profile Omaha, NE

A popular Midwest school, Creighton University enrolls nearly 9,000 students online and at its campus in Omaha, Nebraska. This Jesuit university oversees more than 140 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs across nine academic schools.

Creighton offers an online master's in negotiation and conflict resolution that focuses on organizational behavior and practical negotiation skills. The curriculum comprises 33 credits in topics like leadership and conflict management, negotiation, and online dispute resolution. The program culminates in an 80-hour practicum, which students complete over 16 weeks.

Most part-time students complete this online program in two years, while full-time learners can graduate in 16 months. The program offers start dates in August, January, and May. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

George Mason University View School Profile Fairfax, VA

As Virginia's largest public research college, George Mason University enrolls more than 37,000 students from around the world. Distance learners can enroll in dozens of graduate, undergraduate, and certificates programs through Mason Online.

About 90% of the coursework for Mason's master's in conflict analysis and resolution can be completed online, with the exception of a one-week campus residency requirement. The 33-credit program explores topics like facilitation skills, engaging conflict, and foundations of conflict analysis and resolution. Elective coursework allows students to pursue one of five concentrations, including dynamics of violence and inclusive conflict management. Participants can also design their own concentration.

Students complete most coursework asynchronously. Mason offers start dates in the fall and spring. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

University of North Carolina Wilmington View School Profile Wilmington, NC

One of 17 schools in the state university system, UNCW enrolls more than 17,000 students on campus and online. UNCW offers almost 100 graduate and undergraduate programs, including nearly 50 online degrees and certificates.

The university's master's in conflict management and resolution (CMR) uses a hybrid delivery format, blending primarily online coursework with one 2-4-week intensive per semester held on campus. Students may choose a track in national and international security or domestic social and organizational conflict transformation. The program culminates in a capstone.

UNCW also offers a post-baccalaureate CMR certificate and a master's in liberal studies with a CMR certificate. Students may apply to begin classes in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit transcripts, an essay, and letters of recommendation for admission consideration.

Touro University Worldwide View School Profile Los Alamitos, CA

Touro University Worldwide comprises a global network of physical and online campuses — all Jewish-sponsored. Students may choose from more than 20 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs in areas like business, psychology, health and human services, and general studies.

TUW's online master's in dispute resolution emphasizes core and practical conflict resolution skills, such as mediation, arbitration, facilitation, and negotiation. Students must complete 12 courses, including a three-credit capstone requirement. Applicants require an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA.

TUW charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online graduate students in its dispute resolution program, regardless of a student's state of residence. Distance learners can access a virtual orientation, as well as advising, disability, and career services.

Nova Southeastern University View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL

As Florida's largest private research college, Nova Southeastern University enrolls more than 20,000 students at eight campuses across Florida, a location in Puerto Rico, and an online division. A pioneer of distance education since 1972, NSU now offers more than 65 online graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs.

NSU's MS in conflict analysis and resolution comprises 36 credits in topics like conflict resolution theory, research design, and program evaluation. In addition to online coursework, students must complete a field practicum. They also choose to take a final exam or complete a thesis.

Students may enroll on a full-time or part-time basis, typically taking 6-9 credits per term. Full-time students may graduate in 15 months, whereas part-time students generally take two years. Students must attend five-day residential experiences on campus every February and October.

Bay Path University View School Profile Longmeadow, MA

Spanning four physical locations across Massachusetts and an online campus, Bay Path University ranks among the nation's leading women's colleges. Bay Path enrolls more than 3,400 students in traditional and online programs.

Bay Path's MS in leadership and negotiation comprises 36 credits and includes coursework such as advanced leadership and negotiation concepts, relational skills, and case studies of leadership and negotiation. The program culminates in an application project and capstone course.

Students may choose full-time or part-time study, completing the degree in 1-2 years. Bay Path offers online courses over eight-week modules with six modules per academic year. All graduate students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of where they live.

Dominican University View School Profile River Forest, IL

Dominican University ranks among the nation's top Catholic colleges, enrolling more than 3,000 students each year. Dominican offers more than 75 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs online and on site in River Forest, Illinois.

Dominican's master's in mediation and conflict resolution is completed primarily online. Students complete 36 credits over 24 months, learning about subjects like traditional and alternative dispute methods, negotiation, and psychology of conflict. Students may also choose to complete a practicum.

In addition to online coursework, students need to visit campus for two five-day intensive courses. Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and at least three years of full-time work experience.

Norwich University View School Profile Northfield, VT

As the first private military college in the U.S., Norwich University was also first in the nation to develop a Peace Corps preparatory program. Today, Norwich offers nearly 30 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs through its online division.

Norwich's online master's in diplomacy offers four concentrations: international terrorism, international commerce, international conflict management, and cyberdiplomacy (policy or technical). The 36-credit program requires primarily online coursework and culminates in a one-week residency capstone experience on campus.

Students interested in earning an online master's in diplomacy can choose from four start dates each year. Most students earn their online degree in 18 months. Norwich charges the same per-credit tuition rate for all graduate students.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro View School Profile Greensboro, NC

The largest state college in the Piedmont Triangle, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro enrolls more than 20,000 students. Students may choose from more than 200 undergraduate majors and graduate programs, including nearly 50 that are available online.

UNCG's online master's in peace and conflict studies comprises 33 credits that cover key career skills for aspiring mediators, educators, negotiators, and diplomats. Students may opt to choose a concentration in conflict management or international peace development. The program culminates in an integrated colloquium requirement.

Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer. Most students complete the program in two years. UNCG is currently transitioning from offering online synchronous courses in the evening to fully asynchronous coursework online.

Abilene Christian University View School Profile Abilene, TX

Among the nation's leading Christian colleges, Abilene Christian University enrolls nearly 5,300 students through its main campus in Abilene, a satellite location in Addison, and an online division. Students may choose from more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.

ACU's online MA in conflict management and resolution comprises 36 credits and includes courses like negotiation, mediation, and managing conflict in the workplace. Students may choose one of four tracks: organizational, healthcare organizations, practitioner, or general. The program also offers an optional residency experience that prepares students for the Texas mediation training certificate.

Most students earn their online master's degree in 24 months. ACU offers multiple start dates throughout the academic year. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission consideration.

What Else can I Expect from an Online Master's in Negotiation & Conflict Management Program?

Completing an online master's in negotiation and conflict prepares students for exciting job opportunities. The flexibility of this style of learning also makes it possible for working professionals, or those with personal responsibilities, to further their education. Students should expect to complete a capstone project that requires them to apply their skills to the real world.


The courses below provide an example of the topics commonly covered in a master's degree in conflict resolution online. Classes offered by individual institutions may vary.


Completing a master's in conflict resolution online typically takes between 16 and 24 months, but numerous factors can affect this timeline. Many colleges and universities offer the program in a cohort style, meaning degree seekers will be assigned to a group of peers and move through coursework together rather than being able to choose their own pace. Some programs may only be offered on a part-time basis, while others allow for full-time studies.

Because a master's degree in conflict resolution online is an interdisciplinary program, students aren't commonly required to hold a bachelor's degree in the same subject. Students from liberal arts, humanities, and business backgrounds have likely already completed all the prerequisites required for this degree path.


Licensure typically isn't required to work in this field, but some states require mediators to receive advanced mediation training to become part of the roster of mediators used within courtrooms. Those interested in this type of role should check with their state's Department of Justice to learn more.

A range of certificates are available to help recent graduates build skills and add qualifications to their resume. They include:

Accreditation for Online Master's in Negotiation & Conflict Management Degrees

Accreditation ensures that colleges and universities are qualified to provide educational services. Institutional accreditation typically takes one of two forms: national or regional. National accreditation is commonly earned by vocational and career-oriented schools. Regionally accredited schools go through a multi-step (and often multi-year) process of demonstrating qualifications and proficiency before being awarded accreditation. And schools must demonstrate continued proficiency in order to maintain their accreditation.

Field-specific accreditation exists for some academic disciplines and degree paths, but there currently isn't an accrediting body for master's in conflict resolution online programs.

If interested in learning more about the accrediting process, distance learners can visit the websites of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Both of these agencies are tasked with ensuring that the standards of accreditation are maintained and that accrediting bodies continue to hold schools to the highest standards. Both the ED and CHEA websites maintain up-to-date lists of schools that currently hold accreditation.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Negotiation & Conflict Management Graduates


Data shows that conflict is a significant issue in the workplace that has grown in recent years. According to the CPP, 85% of employees experience conflict at some level, while 29% face almost constant conflict within the workplace. This surge in situations requiring mediators opens the door to increased opportunities for in-house and freelance positions.


The table below features data from PayScale. It demonstrates expected salaries for common roles within the field of negotiation and conflict management. Individual salaries can be affected by workplace dynamics, level of education, and years of experience.

Median Salary by Experience

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Contract Negotiation Manager $94,481 $71,000 $98,000 $113,000
Policy Analyst $55,500 $52,000 $61,000 $79,000
Research Analyst $52,609 $50,000 $60,000 $70,000
Omsbudsman $53,636 $43,000 $60,000 $77,000
Senior Management Consultant $101,887 $93,000 $102,000 $140,000

Source: Payscale


Negotiation and conflict management graduates have many career options due to the interdisciplinary nature of their field. They are prepared to provide in-house counsel and serve clients in a consultant role. Successful negotiation and conflict management professionals can find common ground among disputants, aren't bothered by confrontations, and are able to work with many different types of personalities.

Arbitrator, Mediator, or Conciliator

Professionals in this career facilitate discussion and negotiation between parties disputing a contract, agreement, or other matter. They conduct arbitration, interview claimants and other parties involved, and prepare settlement agreements.

Median Annual Salary: $59,770

Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Hearing Officer

Working in or around the court system, hearing officers research legal issues, evaluate hearing documents, hear arguments, and make decisions by applying law or precedents in order to reach a judgement. They also write opinions and decisions.

Median Annual Salary: $109,940

Projected Growth Rate: 1%


Paralegals support lawyers by preparing cases for trial. Tasks include file organization, legal research, document drafting, and organizing files into electronic databases. They also handle minor legal filings such as exhibits, briefs, and appeals.

Median Annual Salary: $49,500

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

These specialists identify workplace hazards, test potentially toxic materials, investigate accidents or claims, and provide reports on their findings.

Median Annual Salary: $70,920

Projected Growth Rate: 4%


Representing individuals, government agencies, for-profit entities, and nonprofit entities alike, lawyers provide advice to their clients on legal matters. They conduct research, interpret existing laws, seek precedents for cases, and go before the court to defend their clients.

Median Annual Salary: $118,160

Projected Growth Rate: 6%


Member associations within the field of negotiation and conflict management help professionals in this industry access research, continue their educations in negotiation and mediation tactics, and offer an important outlet for them to connect with peers. Some associations even provide job boards and referral programs to help members find their next client.

ACR holds an annual conference and has local sections and chapters. The organization also provides a referral list, continuing education, and access to a range of publications to all members. The association offers member discounts for materials regarding mediation and arbitration. AAA connects individuals or companies seeking arbitration services to its vetted roster of member mediators. The group also provides continuing education and a variety of resources. NAFCM helps members advance their work through practitioner and program resources, podcasts, continuing education, an active blog, and a range of events on the community calendar.

Financing Your Online Master's in Negotiation & Conflict Management Program

With the cost of graduate school averaging between $20,000 and $30,000 for public and private educations, respectively, many students are anxious to find significant funding options before committing to a program. The first step for any prospective distance learner is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA provides info on scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities available through the federal government. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is for individuals who plan to work for a nonprofit or within the government after graduation; the FAFSA will help you find out whether or not you are eligible. Other funding sources include private foundations, negotiation and/or mediation associations, and departmental/institutional scholarships.


Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

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