Student Profile: Who Earns an Online Master's Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution?

Students who pursue their master's in mediation and conflict resolution online often include working professionals in the field looking to expand their work and salary prospects. Other prospective applicants include bachelor's-level conflict resolution students who want to advance their careers through a specialized master's-level education or established professionals looking to change careers and transition into the negotiation and conflict resolution field. Working professionals in unrelated fields can also find value in sharpening their conflict resolution skills.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution?

Pursuing Specialization

Some students earn a master's degree to specialize in the negotiation and conflict resolution field. Graduates of bachelor's in conflict resolution programs receive a broad understanding of the field, while master's programs take a more in-depth, nuanced look at the principles and practices of conflict resolution.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Earning an online master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution helps working professionals already employed in this field receive promotions with greater responsibility and better pay. Master's degree holders generally earn more than individuals who hold only a bachelor's degree. Additionally, a wider variety of management and supervisory positions are available for those with a master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution.

Online Learning Technology

Pursuing a master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution online helps students understand the latest communication technology. Nearly all industries desire professionals with a firm grasp of online learning technology, and most organizations prefer to hire employees who are technologically proficient. Graduates of online master's programs can emphasize their digital and online expertise to stand out from other job applicants. They can also use their negotiation and conflict resolution skills in an online setting to resolve disputes virtually.

Prerequisites for Online Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Programs

Prerequisites for online negotiation and conflict resolution programs vary by school. However, prerequisites commonly required include work experience, test scores, coursework, letters of recommendation, essays, and interviews.

  • Work Experience: Some online conflict resolution master's programs require applicants to hold 1-3 years of relevant professional work experience, though most programs accept students straight from their bachelor's degree. Even in programs that do not require work experience, applicants with real-world experience often have an advantage in the admissions process.
  • Exams and Test Scores: Some online negotiation and conflict resolution master's programs require students to take the GRE. Most programs do not specify minimum test scores, but some require applicants to score in the upper 50th percentile.
  • Coursework: Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, and some schools require a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA. Many programs also require applicants to complete prerequisite coursework, depending on their undergraduate academic background.
  • Recommendations: Most master's programs in conflict resolution and negotiation require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. These letters can be from professors or others who can speak to the prospective student's academic strengths.
  • Essays: Requirements for essays vary by program. Some ask prospective learners to submit a statement of purpose explaining their academic and professional goals, while others require students to answer essay questions.
  • Interviews: Most online master's in negotiation and conflict resolution programs do not require applicants to compete telephone or in-person interviews.
  • International Students: Prospective applicants from countries where English is not the primary language typically must prove their English language ability by submitting test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Most conflict resolution master's programs do not include any other special requirements for international students.

How Much Can I Make with a Master's Degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution?

The general salary range for professionals in the negotiation and conflict resolution industry starts at $36,590, and may reach over $125,000 for the top 10% of earners. Although employers reward professional experience gained over time, students who earn a graduate degree gain a broader set of relevant skills that employers often desire in prospective job applicants. Master's degree holders can also numerous pursue nontraditional career opportunities that take advantage of negotiation and conflict resolution skills.

Traditional Careers for Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Graduates

Careers Stats Description

Arbitrator, Mediator, and Conciliator

Median Salary: $62,270

Job Growth: 10%

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help resolve disputes outside of the court system, and help disputing parties negotiate with each other. They benefit from critical thinking, listening, writing, decision making, reading, and interpersonal skills. Most individuals in these roles hold professional expertise in an area like construction, insurance, or finance. Professionals who previously worked as lawyers or judges often perform this work.

Human Resources Manager

Median Salary: $113,300

Job Growth: 9%

Human resources managers oversee the administrative aspects of organizations of all sizes. They serve as an intermediary between an organization's management and its employees, as well as oversee recruitment, advise managers on human resources issues, and direct disciplinary procedures. They need decision making, organizational, leadership, interpersonal, and speaking skills.

Program Manager

Median Salary $50,056

Job Growth: 18%

Program managers oversee projects within organizations, and often oversee budgets, activities, and staff to ensure delivery of the final product. They need the ability to clearly communicate to a variety of people. They also oversee employee training and provide support to other members of their organization.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nontraditional Careers for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Graduates

Graduates of master's in negotiation and conflict resolution online programs can also pursue careers that require many of the same skills as more traditional careers, including those below.

Careers Stats Description

Organizational Development Consultant

Median Salary: $82,694

Job Growth: 10%

Skills Overlapped: Leadership, interpersonal skills

Duties vary depending on the organization. Companies may hire organizational development consultants to plan an important move, help solve problems within a department, or assess a work group. Organizational development consultants need superior problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Patient Advocate

Median Salary: $42,098

Job Growth: 18%

Skills Overlapped: Interpersonal skills

Patient advocates help medical patients navigate their care during treatment at a medical facility. They help patients understand their options and treatment plans and how to navigate the insurance system. They serve as a liaison between the patient and the medical professional treating the patient.

Executive Assistant

Median Salary: $53,651

Job Growth: -5%

Skills Overlapped: Communication, interpersonal skills

Executive assistants offer clerical and administrative support to upper-level management within a company. They perform duties like scheduling travel, running errands, and supervising clerical assistants. They need excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Many companies choose executive assistants who hold expert-level knowledge of the company, often from extensive experience in a different role at the organization.

Source: PayScale/BLS

Paying for an Online Master's in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

The cost of earning a master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution online varies depending tuition rates and study timelines. For example, choosing a program that offers accelerated paths to graduation can help save money. Another way to reduce the cost of the degree is to find a program that charges in-state tuition to online learners, regardless of their state of residency. Distance learners studying negotiation and conflict resolution also frequently qualify for financial aid opportunities like scholarships, grants, and student loans.

Scholarships for Online Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Master's Students

Many college students apply for scholarships to help pay for their education. Negotiation and conflict resolution majors of all levels may be eligible for a variety of different scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Deadlines for most scholarships take place months before the start of school, so it's smart to start researching financial aid opportunities as soon as possible.

What to Expect from a Master's Level Online Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program

Full-time learners can graduate from most online master's in negotiation and conflict resolution programs in two years. Part-time learners usually take 3-4 years to graduate. The virtual classroom experience for conflict resolution master's students varies by program, but many combine synchronous and asynchronous learning. Typical program milestones include internships, thesis preparation and defense, capstone coursework, certification preparation, and submission of intent to graduate forms.

Major Milestones

  1. Complete Core Coursework

    Most master's in negotiation and conflict resolution online programs require students to complete core courses that provide a foundational knowledge they can use in the field. Learners often need to finish core coursework before enrolling in electives or internships.

  2. Internships

    Many master's programs require students to complete an internship to receive hands-on experience in the negotiation and conflict resolution industry. Learners typically begin an internship after completing required core courses.

  3. Intent to Graduate/Completion Confirmation

    Students must submit an intent to graduate form with approval from their department chair. The form typically includes a list of all program requirements that learners check off as completed.

  4. Thesis Preparation and Defense

    In their second year, students choose a thesis topic and conduct research for it. They prepare for the oral defense and presentation with their thesis committee in their last semester in the program.

  5. Capstone Coursework

    Students enroll in a capstone course that serves as the program's culminating experience. Most capstone courses require learners to complete a research project -- either individually or in a group -- that draws on their knowledge gained throughout the program.

  6. Certification Preparation

    Learners can look into certification options and make plans to pursue one. Some certifications may require passing an exam.


Coursework for online, master's-level programs in negotiation and conflict resolution typically includes required core courses, electives, and a capstone.

Resolution Strategies

Learners plan for and conduct conflict resolution interventions. They use an intervention template and think critically about conflict scenarios. Students develop their own individual approaches to conflict resolution that are grounded in validated change management strategies.

Understanding Conflict and Cooperation

This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of conflict resolution, which draws from business, social psychology, law, business, and social work. Students explore recent developments in the field related to dynamical systems and complexity.

Foundations of Conflict Analysis

Learners receive an introduction to the major theories and practice of conflict analysis. They learn how their own assumptions, beliefs, and worldviews can affect the dynamics of conflict.

Introduction to Healthcare Negotiations

Students learn to apply negotiation and conflict resolution strategies to situations in the healthcare environment. They explore the complexity and nuance of multiparty negotiations. Designed for students interested in pursuing healthcare careers, the course also helps learners use conflict resolution skills in other complicated environments.

Analyzing and Resolving Urban Conflict

This interdisciplinary course explores innovative theories for resolving violence and conflicts in urban settings. Students draw from anthropology, geography, sociology, and applied mathematics to examine case studies in urban violence.

Degree Timelines

Master's degree in negotiation and conflict resolution online programs offer different study timelines for prospective students, including part-time, full-time, and accelerated.

Enrollment Status Time to Complete Description


3-4 years

Part-time distance learners usually take 3-4 years to complete an online master's in negotiation and conflict resolution. Most part-time programs require 3-6 credits per semester. Ideal students for this timeline include working professionals who intend to work full-time while pursuing their degree.


2 years

Full-time master's in negotiation and conflict resolution programs typically take two years to complete. This timeline usually requires 6-9 credits per semester. Ideal full-time students include learners coming straight from undergrad and working professionals who have time to also pursue full-time coursework.


1 year

Accelerated conflict resolution and negotiation master's programs typically take one year to finish. This timeline usually requires 9-12 credits per semester. Students who want to complete the master's as quickly as possible and can dedicate significant time to studying in a short period are the ideal learners for this timeline.

Licenses and Certifications

Negotiation and conflict resolution master's students can earn certifications from independent organizations, which can then open the door to more and better job opportunities by strengthening an employee's competencies. All certifications for the negotiation and conflict resolution industry are optional, though negotiation and conflict resolution professionals who take the time to earn a certification stand out from others in the field. See below for a sampling of negotiation and conflict resolution voluntary certifications.

  • Workplace Conflict Resolution Certified Trainer: To become a certified trainer in workplace conflict resolution, applicants must complete a three-day training program. The certification prepares individuals to manage workplace conflict and improve working relationships. Careers in any industry can benefit from this certification. The training and certification cost $1,495 and do not require a test. Students who earn this designation can work as trainers in workplace conflict resolution.
  • International Mediation Institute (IMI) Accredited Mediator: IMI Accredited Mediators successfully complete a training that meets global standards. IMI certified mediator training programs deliver the training. Costs vary by training program, and students who earn this designation can work as mediators.
  • Certified Mediator: The National Association of Association of Certified Mediators offers a mediator certification. Applicants must take a 40-hour online mediation course, pass a certification exam, and pay $888. Students who earn this certification can work as mediators.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations in the negotiation and conflict resolution field can offer students and recent graduates valuable opportunities and resources. This includes access to networking events, continuing education programs, career services and job boards, and annual conferences. Members also often receive free subscriptions to industry magazines, journals, and email lists, which help them keep up with new developments in the field. Many professional groups offer significant discounts to students and recent graduates to make membership more affordable.

  • Association for Conflict Resolution A professional organization devoted to advancing the conflict resolution field, the ACR includes mediators, educators, arbitrators, and other conflict resolution professionals across the world.
  • National Conflict Resolution Center The NCRC offers trainings, expertise, and other resources that help solve conflicts. The organization serves the public and private sectors, in the U.S. and globally.
  • International Association for Conflict Management The IACM brings together conflict management professionals from around the world. The organization encourages collaboration among scholars, coordinates an annual conference, publishes a professional journal, and offers a job board to members.
  • The LinkedIn Conflict Resolution Professionals Group The social networking website for professionals hosts a conflict resolution professionals group. Members discuss current issues in the field, network with each other, and share job postings. Individuals must belong to LinkedIn in order to participate.
  • American Arbitration Association The AAA provides education services related to alternative dispute resolution to conflict resolution professionals. The group also offers training events and other resources, including an on-demand library.
  • The Center for Conflict Resolution An independent, nonprofit organization, the CCR helps communities, individuals, and other institutions resolve conflict. It offers pro bono mediation services and trainings in Chicago. Its website includes numerous conflict resolution resources.
  • The Center for Community Cohesion A community initiative of the NCRC, the CCC achieves community cohesion by promoting community engagement, capacity building, and community justice. It hosts community workshops and offers information about restorative practices.
  • Training Services from the NCRC The NCRC's Training Institute offers conflict resolution and diversity training sessions that teach dispute resolution skills. The institute tailors workshops for professionals, mediators, the community, and campus groups.
  • Pollack Peacebuilding Systems A conflict resolution consulting company, PPS boasts experts in many major American cities. The organization specializes in relationship mediation services and transformative conflict management. The website includes a blog, training information, and services for communities, individuals, and companies.
  • Conflict Resolution Jobs from ACR The ACR's conflict resolution job board posts open positions in the conflict resolution field. It also offers a free resume review service and other career services for members.