Program Description

The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Contemporary Dispute Resolution is to prepare individuals with the analytical and practical skills using process such as mediation, negotiation, coaching or facilitation to deal effectively with disputes in work settings including schools, businesses, and local and state government. Students will be prepared to analyze and understand disputes in the context of larger social, structures (for example: economic and racial inequality, unequal access to the justice and education systems). Students will be trained to identify and implement appropriate dispute resolution strategies. Students will learn to analyze the factors underlying disputes, recognize power differential among disputing parties, and choose appropriate strategies to address those factors. Graduates will be able to use dispute resolution methodologies including mediation, negotiation, coaching and facilitation to assist people to manage disputes.

What it costs:


Application Deadline: Fall Only

  • Priority: April 1
  • Standard: May 15
Request Info

Program Summary

100% Percent Online

Program: Contemporary Dispute Resolution - Graduate Certificate (CA-CERG-CDRE)

Degree: Graduate Certificate

College/School: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Credits: 15 total

Who should apply?

Developed in partnership with National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM)

Our students come to the Carter School to learn from the leaders in peace and conflict resolution. We teach our students to identify the underlying causes of conflict and equip them with the cutting-edge theory and practical skills to put their knowledge into action, whether that be at the local, national, or global level. We also impart a thorough understanding of the values that underly these practices. We understand that “how” is as important as “why.”

Our world-recognized faculty are committed to innovative teaching and cutting-edge research, moving the educational experience beyond the classroom. Students gain skills and experience through service and experiential learning opportunities that prepare them for meaningful careers. You can find our graduates in academia, government agencies, international peacebuilding, and the private sector.

Why choose George Mason?

  • Mason’s Conflict Analysis and Resolution program is the largest in the world.
  • This program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, with up to six years from the time of first enrollment to complete the degree.
  • The program is fully online.
  • Online classes accommodate those who work full time or live remotely.
  • Curriculum allows our students to pursue their interests.
  • Our faculty members are among the leading experts in the field of conflict analysis and resolution

In the course listing below, asterisks denote new courses.

Required Coursework

  • CONF 500 Frameworks for Ethical Dispute Resolution Practice 3
  • CONF 640 Practicum in Contemporary Dispute Resolution 3

Select three courses from the following: 9

  • CONF 631 Mediation in Diverse Settings
  • CONF 632 Coaching through Conflict
  • CONF 651 Collaborative Community Action Participatory Governance
  • CONF 657 Facilitation Skills
  • CONF 741 Negotiating in Complex Systems


  • No Enrollment Deposit Required
  • Contemporary Dispute Resolution Certificate Program (online)**
  • In State: $572.00; Out 0f State: $817.00; Mandatory Student Fee: $155.00

** Mandatory Student Fee only applies to In State Students


Conflict resolution alum apply their degrees very broadly as they tackle the many different complex problems we face today.

Since conflict is present in every field and all job sectors, our students have the flexibility to be employed across a wide spectrum or careers. Knowing how to handle disagreement well is a skill.  Conflict Resolution students develop problem-solving skills along with interpersonal communication, writing, research, effective team collaboration, and multi-cultural fluency – skills in demand among today’s employers! Besides the development of critical skills, the one thing students in this major have in common is the desire to create positive change in the world – our students tailor their plans of study and alum apply their degrees very broadly as they tackle the many different complex problems we face today.

Examples of Employers and Roles

  • NGOs, Non-Profits, Peace Centers/Agencies
  • Diplomacy, Security, Federal Agencies, Think Tanks
  • Conflict Resolution and Corporations
  • Hospitality, Arts, Entertainment, Travel, & Culture
  • Peace, Youth, and Education
  • Banking, Financial, Insurance, Real Estate
  • PeaceTech
  • Working Local
  • Counseling, Health, & Well-Being
  • Courts, Corrections, & Law Enforcement

Skills Most Valued by Employers

  • Communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Critical thinking/problem solving
  • Digital technology
  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/work ethic
  • Global and multicultural fluency

Program contact:

The Carter School Graduate Program Admissions Team, email:

Program website:

Department/College contact/website:



All applicants should review Carter School steps to Apply Now. Please follow the Carter School guidelines for International Applicants.


Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts of all post-secondary education
  • Resume
  • 1 letters of recommendation
  • Goals statement based on prompt: “Tell us something about how your past experience has prepared you to engage with conflict and how this program will equip you for your future.”
  • GRE or other standardized test scores are NOT required

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the Carter School’s Office of Graduate Admissions at or (703) 993- 3655.