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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Educational Opportunities for MBA Students

View the Inside Straus 2013 Newsletter

Students participating in Pepperdine's Fully Employed MBA or Full-time MBA program can elect to choose Straus' dispute resolution program as part of their MBA emphasis concentration. This opportunity to combine an MBA degree with a top-rated dispute resolution education is unique to Pepperdine.

Why leave conflict resolution up to the lawyers?

Did you know... that over 4,000 organizations including Amgen, Apple, Boeing, Coca Cola, Halliburton, Microsoft, Merck and Xerox have signed the Center for Public Research Corporate Dispute Resolution Pledge? The pledge asks subscribers to seriously consider alternatives to litigation in their business relationships with other companies also subscribing to the pledge.

An emphasis in conflict resolution can increase your conflict competency. You will have the skills to create a culture in your company that manages conflict in a way that maximizes efficiency, effectiveness and builds strong relationships. With a formal conflict resolution education you will be prepared to lead your organization through difficult moments. You will have the ability to gain consensus among groups and build teams that work effectively. The next wave of business professionals recognize the need for these skills in an increasingly diverse and global business environment.

Fully Employed MBA

Concentration Selection
Students in Pepperdine's Fully Employed MBA program can choose an elective concentration to customize their curriculum. Select from seven areas of specialty including: Dispute Resolution, General Management, Leadership and Managing Organization Change, Entrepreneurship, Global Business, Marketing or Finance (See the Graziadio School's Fully Employed MBA Concentrations page for more information)

Full-time MBA

Concentration Selection
Students in Pepperdine's Full-time MBA program can also choose an elective concentration to tailor their curriculum. Select from five areas of specialty including: Dispute Resolution, Leadership and Managing Organization Change, Entrepreneurship, Marketing or Finance. For more information on the MBA's concentrations, please visit the Graziadio School's Full-time MBA Concentrations page.

Our approach

The Straus Institute teaches the skills of conflict resolution. Each course is uniquely designed to provide practical opportunities to exercise the strategies and tactics you are learning in class. All classes are highly interactive and provide great opportunities to form lasting relationships with both professors and a diverse population of fellow students. Classes are attended by law, business and other graduate students, executives, human resource professionals, doctors, psychologists, lawyers and even judges.

Our unique scheduling: The Straus Institute offers a variety of course formats for the working professional including one-week intensives, full semester evening courses and two-weekend courses.

Courses available on the Malibu campus usually meet once a week in the late afternoons and evenings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the Fall and Spring Semester, as well as two weekend formats on Thursday and Friday evening from 6:00 - 9:30 pm and all day Saturday. Summer courses are structured in a one-week intensive or two weekend format; the one week intensive courses will meet for 41/2 full days. For a complete schedule of dispute resolution courses, visit Course Schedules.

Our reputation

The Straus Institute is the most consistently ranked #1 dispute resolution program in the nation! Straus has been recognized for excellence in dispute resolution education by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Academy of American Civil Trial Mediators, the International Academy of Mediators, the California Dispute Resolution Council, and the US News and World Report magazines.

Application Procedure

Such students must submit a completed Current Pepperdine Student Straus Application to the Straus Institute. Pepperdine MBA students must complete their first year of MBA studies and be in good standing to be accepted for the dispute resolution emphasis/concentration. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and must be approved by both schools prior to registration. Applications can be faxed to 310-506-4437, emailed to or mailed to the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263.

Registration Procedures

After acceptance into the program, students will be able to register for Straus' dispute resolution courses. Registration can not be done on WaveNet, and must be completed through the cross-registration process. Students should submit the cross registration form to their program administrator for approval. The program administrator will then forward the cross registration form to the Straus Institute for approval and registration. Students can list multiple classes on the cross registration forms, which must be submitted each semester.

Tuition Differences

Law school courses double-counting towards your MBA will be charged at the MBA tuition rate, except the Winter Intensive courses that fall inbetween the Fall and Sping semesters. The final course needed to complete the Certificate program will be charged at the law school tuition rate.

Grading Differences

Courses completed through the law school will be graded using the law school's letter system. These courses will be noted on your MBA transcript, but will not calculate in your cumulative GPA because of the different grading culture that exists between the two schools. Below you will find a copy of the grading section from p. 17 in Straus Institute's Student Handbook for additional details.


The Straus Institute is contained within the Pepperdine Law School and its grading policies follow those of the Law School. Students who have not attended law school may at first be somewhat confused the competitive grading system.  Instructors are required to establish a median grade of B+ for each class. They then place an approximately equal number of grades above and below the established median.

If a student's cumulative average is below 2.67, they will be dismissed unless the faculty grants a petition allowing the student to continue on probation.

All Institute students are graded on the same curve as Juris Doctor students. There has been an ongoing debate regarding whether J.D. students or Institute students have an advantage in a practical, life experience sense. The faculty has not observed enough of a discernable trend to justify separating the grading curves. Unlike the Juris Doctor program, there is no class ranking system for the Institute programs. As an Institute student, you are a student at the Law School. You will be sharing experiences with and also competing with J.D. students throughout your course of study. Make the most of it! Have confidence in your abilities and work hard.

For questions on the MBA/Dispute Resolution program, or to talk over course selections, please contact Sarah Gonzales at or 310-506-4655.

Course Descriptions

Course Schedules

Cross-Registration Form

Certificate Application