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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Admissions

Our Master of Dispute Resolution program attracts law and non-law professionals across the nation looking for specialized training in conflict management. These include law and business students, and professionals in human resources, business, consulting, medicine, counseling, international diplomacy and other areas.

Straus Institute applications are accepted on a rolling basis and need to be submitted at least four months prior to the intended start date with courses starting in mid-August, January and late May. It is recommended that international students submit applications at least six months prior to their expected start date. Applications can be submitted up to one year in advance. We strongly recommend electronic submission of application versus paper - please see the instructionshere to apply for the MDR program through LSAC by creating an LLM account (although you will not be applying for the LLM program). The instructions will walk you through how to setup an LLM account with LSAC and apply for the MDR electronically. 

Applications By Program Start Term
Early March Mid August Fall
Mid August Early January Spring
Late January Late May Summer

Applicant Types 

Masters Degree Candidates

The Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) is available as a stand alone program for those looking for additional training in dispute resolution without a law background, or in complement to a JD at Pepperdine or another ABA school in the U.S.

Joint Degree Students

The study of dispute resolution is essential for a variety of professions. Law and non-law students at Pepperdine can learn the skills to manage conflict as part of, or in addition to, their graduate degree. Earning the Masters in Dispute Resolution can provide students with unique a skillset whether to better understand the process when representing a client in mediation, using the skills to manage conflict within corporations and organizations, or understanding conflict dynamics in a therapy session.

The Masters in Dispute Resolution can be pursued with the following Pepperdine degrees:

  • Juris Doctor
  • Masters in Public Policy
  • Masters in Business Administration

More about our Joint Degree programs

Non-Pepperdine JD Students

Students at ABA law schools across the nation can pursue a Masters in Dispute Resolution with their legal education. Students will typically split the coursework in two summer to complete the MDR in the same three years of law school, as well as transfer up to 10 units of dispute resolution coursework into the MDR program.



International Student Applications

In addition to the requirements listed above, international students are required to submit their application with these additional requirements.

Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law has partnered with UCLA's American Language Center and UC Irvine's Extension Center to allow their international students to qualify for the graduate programs at Straus without the need for a TOEFL or IELTS score! Once the UC student finishes the highest level of English instruction in any of the above-referenced schools, the language proficiency requirement for applying to Straus is waived. Applicants opting to participate in the English Center Partner Programs may also apply for conditional admission that will allow applicants to take English courses prior to starting their LLM until they can demonstrate English Proficiency by completing the designated level at an approved partner. In other words, applicants will not be able to start their LLM coursework until they meet Pepperdine's language requirements. Applicants will be able to gain full admission after submitting a completion Certificate and participating in a Skype interview. Additional details can be found on the English Center Partner Programs website.