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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Admissions Requirements


All of our academic programs are offered at the graduate level through Pepperdine University School of Law, as a result we require that all applicants to the Certificate and Masters program possess a bachelors' degree from an accredited institution. If you do not meet this requirement, please visit our Dispute Resolution Training Programs site for information on our training programs.

LL.M. candidates are required to have a Juris Doctor degree from an ABA accredited institution and to have graduated in the top 50% of their class.  For international candidates we require the first degree of law necessary to practice or teach law in their country of origin.


Applicants for all of our programs complete the same application for admission to our academic programs. There will be a space on your application to indicate your intended program.

Testing Requirement

Applicants applying for our Certificate program are not required to complete a graduate testing requirement.

Applicants interested in the Masters program must demonstrate their ability to participate in a graduate level program by completing the necessary graduate testing requirements. We will accept both GRE and LSAT scores. If you are interested in law school, or are applying for a joint JD program we recommend that you complete the LSAT exam. If you have no interest in law school we recommend taking the GRE Exam. If you are applying for the joint MDR/MBA we will also accept your GMAT scores.

If you have already received a degree from an accredited graduate program, you are not required to complete the GRE or LSAT.

Letters of Recommendation

Personal Evaluation forms are required for applicants applying for any of our academic programs. Applicants can have their recommenders complete the Personal Evaluation Form included in the application, or have their recommenders write a narrative letter of recommendation. This form/letter is an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn about your potential or current work in the dispute resolution field.

If you are currently a working professional or attorney, and are interested in making the transition into mediation or arbitration, this is a good opportunity for you to approach your professional colleagues and talk with them about your interest in making a transition. Through this opportunity you will be able to receive feedback on how you are perceived in your profession while completing this application requirement.

Recommendations can be from co-workers, mentors, professors and others that can talk about your experience or potential experience in the field. Recommendations should not be from family members.


Transcripts are required for all applicants for the Certificate, Masters, and LL.M. program. We must receive Official Transcripts to consider your application, and must be received directly from the university or in a university sealed envelope from the applicant. Transcripts must be included from all institutions from which you have received a degree. If you are currently a student in another graduate program or undergraduate program, we will need your current transcript to date. Transcripts from international institutions need to be submitted through a credential evaluation service, please see International Student Applications for additional detail.

International Student Applications

In addition to the requirements listed above, international students are required to submit their application with the below listed requirements:

  • Evaluation of Foreign Transcripts
  • Applicants who have received their undergraduate or graduate education from an international location are required to submit their transcripts through an evaluation agency.
    • LL.M.
      International Candidates for the LL.M. program are required to submit their materials through LSAC's LL.M. Credential Service. Applicants can submit their transcripts and additional application materials including TOEFL scores and Letter of Recommendations through their credentialing service. For more information please visit
    • Certificate and Masters
      International Candidates for our Certificate and Masters programs are also required to submit their transcripts through an established evaluation agency of their choice. Some recommended evaluation agencies are World Education Service (WES).

International Student Data Form

In order to be eligible for Federal Loans you must be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen. If you do not fall into one of these categories and wish to apply for private loans, you must have a co-signer who is a creditworthy U.S. citizen.

Since there are limited opportunities for financial aid, international applicants are required to submit an International Student Data Form to verify the necessary funds to complete one year of study at Pepperdine.

F-1 Student Visa Status

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) will assist international students in securing and maintaining their lawful nonimmigrant student status in the U.S. Upon admission to the School of Law and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, international students will receive the Form I-20 from the OISS. The Form I-20 is the document needed in order to make application for the F-1 (student) visa from abroad and be lawfully admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status. For those who are already in the U.S., the Form I-20 is needed to apply for a change of nonimmigrant visa status to F-1, or obtain permission to change schools in the U.S.

In order to receive your Form I-20, you must submit evidence of financial support, indicating how you will meet your expenses for the academic year as well as for subsequent years of study. Please refer to the catalog and/or website for the estimated costs for your specific academic year. If an application for financial aid has been made, the OISS will prepare the Form I-20 as soon as verification of grants and/or loans has been received from the Office of Financial Assistance.

While in F-1 status, you are required to maintain full-time enrollment status. On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Off-campus employment is limited to required internships which are an integral part of your academic program. Accordingly, you should not look to employment as a means of support.