The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated September 27, 2022

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A degree in negotiation and conflict management teaches students problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills.

Do you have a passion for helping people overcome legal and personal disputes, but no interest in becoming a lawyer? A career in negotiation and conflict management might be the right choice for you.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an employment growth rate of 8% from 2019 to 2029 for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, these professionals continue to help people resolve conflicts remotely.

By earning a master's in conflict resolution online, you can pursue a career in the fast-growing field of negotiation and conflict management. Read on for our ranking of the best online master's in negotiation and conflict management programs and to learn more about the career.

Featured Conflict Management Programs

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

#1 The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Carolina Wilmington enrolls master's students in its online negotiation and conflict management program. The MA in conflict management and resolution program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on negotiation and conflict management. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a background in conflict management may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

University of North Carolina Wilmington at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: MA in conflict management and resolution

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,719

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,548

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in negotiation and conflict management degree at George Mason University, located in Fairfax, uses a flexible distance learning format. The MS in conflict analysis and resolution program builds specialized skills for leadership roles in the conflict management field and related industries. After earning a master's degree, candidates also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to conflict management. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a conflict management background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

George Mason University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 87%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: MS in conflict analysis and resolution

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,144

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $33,456

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,060
Out-of-state
$32,520
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
37,863
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

California State University, Dominguez Hills

  • Carson, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in negotiation and negotiation and conflict management degree at California State University, Dominguez Hills, located in Carson, prioritizes flexibility. The master's in negotiation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and roles with higher earning potential. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on negotiation and conflict management. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The master's program recommends a background in conflict management for those applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

California State University, Dominguez Hills at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 77%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of arts in negotiation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
17,977
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online negotiation and conflict management degree can enroll in the master's program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The MA in peace and conflict studies program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to conflict management. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in conflict management or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: MA in peace and conflict studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,219

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,937

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,422
Out-of-state
$19,581
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
20,196
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 The Best Online Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs

Abilene Christian University

  • Abilene, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in negotiation and conflict management program, offered by Abilene Christian University, ranks as a top program in the field. The MA in conflict management and resolution program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to negotiation and conflict management. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in conflict management.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Abilene Christian University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 61%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: MA in conflict management and resolution

Graduate Tuition In State: $22,356

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,356

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,250
Out-of-state
$36,250
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
5,292
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Is an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management?

An online master's in negotiation and conflict management prepares graduates for mediator, conciliator, or negotiator careers. Professionals in entry-level positions in the field can use this online degree to boost their credentials, staying competitive in the job market, while established professionals in counseling or law can use it to enhance conflict resolution skills.

A typical online master's in negotiation and conflict management takes about two years to complete. Over the course of the program, students develop skills in communication, cultural literacy, and conflict resolution. They also learn how to navigate the legal system and understand key features of typical legal disputes.

Choosing an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

When evaluating an online master's in negotiation and conflict management program, consider the factors that most influence your experience: cost, location, program length, and availability of specializations. For example, some programs may offer electives that skew toward arbitration or mediation, while others offer more generalist courses or take a business focus.

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

When choosing an online master's program in negotiation and conflict management, stick with programs from schools with regional accreditation. This designation indicates that the institution meets high standards for education quality and student career outcomes. Attending a regionally accredited school also ensures you can transfer credits if you decide to change schools or attend a doctoral program later.

Currently, there is no programmatic accrediting body specifically dedicated to negotiation and conflict management programs.

What Can I Expect When Pursuing a Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Management Online?

Course offerings and concentrations tend to vary from one negotiation and conflict management program to the next. However, most programs cover topics like the place of alternative dispute resolution in the legal system, conflict resolution in corporate settings, and fundamentals of family conflicts. Below are a few example courses.

Common Courses in Negotiation and Conflict Management Online Programs

Negotiation and Conflict Management Dual Degrees

Many students earn a master's in negotiation and conflict management as part of a dual degree. This allows graduates to complement the degree with a master's in a neighboring field.

For example, a future family and marriage therapist with an interest in mediation might pursue a dual master's in family and marriage therapy and negotiation and conflict management. Meanwhile, a student with an interest in law might pursue a dual master's in negotiation and conflict management and law.

Commonly paired specialties for negotiation and conflict management dual degrees include:

Negotiation and Conflict Management Careers

A negotiation and conflict management degree typically prepares graduates for work in mediation, arbitration, and conciliation; counseling; and law.

Below are a few common careers for graduates, but keep in mind that some of these careers require additional education or certification in other fields. Additionally, these are just examples: A master's in negotiation and conflict management can help you gain employment in a variety of other fields as well.

Marriage and Family Therapists

Median Salary (2019): $49,610 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 22%

Marriage and family therapists help families and couples navigate difficult problems in their relationships. This specialized area of mental health services may interest negotiation and conflict management majors because it focuses strongly on mediating conflict in human relationships. These therapists need strong skills in empathizing and communicating with others to help their clients overcome differences.

To gain licensure as a family and marriage therapist, you usually need a master's in family and marriage therapy and several thousand hours of supervised practice. From there, you must apply to your state mental health board.

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

Median Salary (2019): $63,930 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 8%

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help resolve legal disputes outside the court system. These professionals facilitate communication between disputing parties using negotiation strategies. In order to help their clients reach mutually beneficial agreements, they must be able to communicate effectively, read people's emotional states and needs, and de-escalate conflict.

To work in this field, you typically need a bachelor's in a relevant field, such as negotiation and conflict management. Some states require additional certification as an arbitrator or conciliator, so check local requirements.

Social and Community Service Managers

Median Salary (2019): $67,150 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 17%

Social and community service managers work in public service industries, managing social welfare programs that aim to serve the public good. On a typical day, they may attend meetings, discuss budget concerns for different social programs, or coordinate public events. Because these managers must balance different aspects of the public's needs, they need strong verbal communication and social skills.

Social and community service management does not usually require state licensure or any special degree beyond a bachelor's-level management degree. However, some employers may require candidates with an MBA, especially with a specialization in social and community service management.

Judges and Hearing Officers

Median Salary (2019): $120,090 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 2%

Judges and hearing officers oversee the legal process, presiding over and ruling on hearings in courts of law. These professionals need a deep love for the law, proclivity for research, and good people skills. Judges and hearing officers must effectively interact with disputing parties and their lawyers every day.

The education requirements for judges and hearing officers vary. Most positions require a law degree and good standing in the local bar association to qualify. However, an advanced degree in negotiation and conflict management can usually qualify you for a lower-ranking hearing officer or magistrate position.

Lawyers

Median Salary (2019): $122,960 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 4%

Lawyers represent the interests of disputing parties within the court system, arguing for restitution or justice for their clients during case hearings. Because they need to communicate effectively with their clients and argue their cases convincingly in a court of law, lawyers need strong verbal and written communication and argumentation skills.

For licensure, lawyers must pass the bar exam. Negotiation and conflict management graduates do not qualify for taking the bar exam; instead, aspiring lawyers must earn a juris doctorate degree from an accredited school before they can take the exam.

Frequently Asked Questions About Conflict Management Degrees

What Is a Community Mediator?

Community mediators offer alternative dispute resolution services accessible to members of a larger community. They often work for nonprofits or offer their services as volunteers.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Conflict Resolution?

A master's in conflict resolution prepares you for work as a mediator, conciliator, or negotiator. It can also help you get a job in counseling or law, though you may need additional qualifications for those careers.

Where Can I Work If I Study Peace and Conflict Resolution?

Professionals in conflict resolution typically work in the legal system, education, or in government institutions. They can also work in corporate settings, helping mediate business disputes or manage employee relationships.

Are Mediators in Demand?

Due to their scarcity, mediators are in high demand in many industries.

Can You Be a Mediator Without a Law Degree?

Mediators typically do not need a law degree in order to obtain entry-level work, though the career usually requires at least a bachelor's degree.

Do You Need a Law Degree to Be an Arbitrator?

The majority of arbitrator positions do not require a law degree. Typically, arbitrators only need a bachelor's in negotiation and conflict management or arbitration.

Header Image Credit: | Getty Images

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