Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation Master of Art’s Degree

Use your level head to get ahead.

It’s been said the professional world is about connections. We believe it’s not who you connect with, but how you connect. If you’re serious about cultivating your natural talent for relieving social tension and peacemaking, we can help you translate those skills into the professional arena.

With our conflict resolution degree or graduate certificate, you can help businesses, organizations and schools create peaceful, productive environments. Become a leader by helping unite individuals on common ground — and help them move toward common goals.

Our Master’s in
Conflict Resolution at a glance:

  • FlexibleComplete coursework anytime, from anywhere
  • Faith‐BasedChristian values are at the heart of our program
  • RigorousOur curriculum tests your brain and your character
  • No GRE/GMAT Your story is more than test scores

Already have an MBA?
Add a personal dimension to your business operations with a conflict resolution degree.

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Graduate Programs in
Conflict Resolution

You can acquire the essential training and education to help make you a compassionate critical thinker and effective problem solver. Both our Master’s in Conflict Resolution and graduate certificate are ideal for development as a leader. Improve as a communicator, and provide spiritual and ethical guidance for others. You can use your newfound knowledge to pursue opportunities in education, counseling, business, law enforcement, mediation, social services and ministry.

ACU offers two online dispute resolution options:

  • Online Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation – This 36‐credit program prepares you to analyze, address, mediate and manage conflict with a special emphasis on reconciliation.
  • Online Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution – If you’re not seeking a master’s degree, but want to earn a specialized education in conflict management, choose our 15‐credit certificate option.
Two female students in comfortable chairs enjoy a laugh during a break from their study session.

Graduate Programs in
Conflict Resolution

No matter which program you choose, you can put your knowledge into practice with our five‐day residency in Abilene, Texas. The on‐campus residency is offered in January and June, and gives you the opportunity to interact with peers and faculty. Experience all the resources the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution has to offer.

Residency highlights:

  • Engage in active role‐playing, integrative bargaining and mediation with your peers
  • Deepen your understanding of important topics such as dealing with workplace conflict, parties under stress and working with lawyers
  • Discuss various career opportunities within conflict resolution roles
Three well-dressed male students enjoy a rousing conversation and reach a moment of shared humor.

When others seek guidance,
you’ll be there.

Our online master’s degree in conflict resolution is unlike any other, because there’s no exact formula for solving interpersonal conflict. We can teach you to open your mind, ears and heart to harness the power of mediation to improve others’ lives. This program can prepare you to:

  • Analyze

    Analyze case studies and critique basic assumptions of conflict theories

  • Role-play

    Role-play behavior in conflict scenarios

  • Create

    Create a framework for understanding organizational conflict prevention and resolution systems

  • Discover

    Discover methods for working in cross‐cultural environments

  • Study

    Study mediation techniques for conflict within workplaces, schools and churches

  • Gain

    Gain a deeper understanding of the causes of friction, anger and violence

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What our faculty and students are saying

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In anything that you do, there is conflict. … I’ve had the opportunity to take the skills I’ve learned in this program and apply them to my business.
— Griffin Gonzalez (’11), M.A. in Conflict Resolution

All the skills Dr. Bailey talks about actually work. They’ve helped me in my personal life. They helped me tremendously in my professional life. I’m able to navigate life a little differently with a more positive outlook.
— Annie Dutton (’09), M.A. in Conflict Resolution

94%

of graduates surveyed would recommend this program to their friends and colleagues*

82%

of graduates surveyed agreed the program contributed to an increase in their salary.*

76%

of graduates surveyed agreed the degree helped them be more competitive in the job marketplace*

*2014 student outcomes survey

Why Choose ACU?

Christian Values

Earning your conflict resolution degree from a Christian graduate program means the values that are important to you will be shared by your faculty and peers.

Network of Support

From enrollment through graduation, you’ll receive the guidance you need to ensure you utilize all of the resources available to you and help you complete your degree on time.

Innovation

ACU was named an Apple Distinguished School in recognition of its culture of innovation, leadership in the area of mobility and overall educational excellence. Our commitment to mobile technology means you’ll have a strong connection to faculty, fellow students and the coursework.

The Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution

The Duncum Center provides outreach services to individuals, businesses, schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and churches. These services include training in conflict management, prevention, resolution and reconciliation, as well as direct conflict intervention and mediation. As an online student, the Duncum Center will be your home base during your professional development residency.

Accredited

ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Learn more.

What can you do with a Master’s
in Conflict Resolution?

The professional utility for this degree is varied and wide. The interpersonal skills you can gain in the program are invaluable to a number of professions, and can give you an edge when pursuing leadership opportunities in business, education and law enforcement. Here are just a few of the careers open to you:

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Job description: As a postsecondary administrator, your role will vary depending on the area of the college you manage, such as admissions and student affairs.

Median annual wage: In May 2014, the median annual wage in colleges, universities and professional schools was $91,160 *All career outlook statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator

Job description: As an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator, you’ll help resolve conflicts outside of the court system by facilitating negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties.

Median annual wage: In May 2014 the annual wages in the top industries in which arbitrators, mediators and conciliators worked are as follows:

Finance and insurance
$67,860
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals
$59,720
Religious, grant‐making, civic, professional and similar organizations
$56,010
Legal Services
$55,720
*Chart: median annual wage according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014.

Curriculum

Our Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution is a 36‐credit program composed of nine courses, a professional development residency at the ACU campus and a practicum. We have six start dates per year; two for each semester (fall, spring, summer). The coursework covers all aspects of dispute resolution and combines theory with real‐life simulations for a truly comprehensive approach. You can learn how conflict varies depending on location, culture and personality and what it takes to reconcile differences in each scenario. View Courses

Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation:

Foundation (6 hours):

Major Requirements (24 hours):

  • CONR 601

    Conflict Theory and Communication

  • CONR 610

    Managing Conflict in the Workplace or

  • CONR 615

    Managing Conflict in Schools or

  • CONR 617

    Managing Conflict in Churches

  • CONR 630

    Advanced Mediation: Marital Disputes

  • CONR 612

    Conflict Management Systems Design

  • CONR 635

    Identity, Culture and Conflict

  • CONR 637

    Dispute Resolution and the Legal System

  • CONR 638

    Ethics and Conflict Resolution

  • MGMT 636

    Organizational Behavior

Residency Session* (No credit hours)


  • Practicum (6 hours):
  • CONR 643

    Practicum (6) or

  • CONR 643

    Practicum (3) and

  • CONR 645

    Practical Skills and Theory in Conflict Resolution (3) not online

  • CONR 643

    Practicum and CONR 645 Practical Skills and Theory may be started after the student has successfully completed CONR 605, Residency Session and nine additional hours.

    *The residency session is a non‐credit requirement. Students must attend one five‐day residency session in January or June in Abilene, Texas. In addition to residency fee, students are responsible for travel, lodging and meals. Prerequisite: Completion of CONR 605 Negotiation and Mediation.

Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution

Our certificate is your chance to earn a specialized education in conflict management in a condensed, flexible format. This 15‐credit program is composed of four courses and a required residency session.

Foundation (6 hours):

Required (3 hours):

  • CONR 601 Conflict Theory and Communication

Electives – Select two (6 hours):

  • CONR 610 Managing Conflict in the Workplace
  • CONR 612 Conflict Management Systems Design
  • CONR 615 Managing Conflict in Schools
  • CONR 617 Managing Conflict in Churches (not online)
  • CONR 630 Advanced Mediation: Marital Disputes
  • CONR 635 Identity, Culture and Conflict
  • CONR 637 Dispute Resolution and the Legal System

Residency Session*

*The conflict resolution residency session is a non‐credit requirement where students must attend one five‐day residency session in either January or June. Prerequisite: Completion of CONR 605 Negotiation and Mediation. Requires travel to Abilene. In addition to a residency fee, students are responsible for travel, lodging and meals.

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Faculty Spotlight

Strong academic programs are built by a strong faculty. At ACU, our faculty members aren’t just educators, they’re researchers, published authors, consultants and active professionals.

Joe L. Cope, J.D., is an associate professor and program director of the graduate programs in conflict resolution at ACU.

Joe L. Cope, J.D.

Joey Cope is an associate professor and program director of the graduate programs in conflict resolution. He received his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 1986 and his certificate in dispute resolution from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2002. He joined Abilene Christian University in 1989, and in 2000 he became the first director of the Center for Conflict Resolution. Cope played a central role in designing the conflict resolution programs and developed a number of courses. He directs the semi‐annual Residency Session in Abilene and serves as a practicum advisor. Cope is also past chair of the State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and is co‐author of the Texas Practice Guide: Alternative Dispute Resolution.

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