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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law
Straus Institute Peacekeeper Awards with Danny Weinstein

Master of Dispute Resolution

At the Forefront of Dispute Resolution

Pepperdine's Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) prepares attorneys and non-law practitioners to make a difference through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration in various fields such as human resources, law enforcement, business counseling, education, international diplomacy, and more. 

Through hands-on lectures, discussions, real-world simulations, graduates are equipped to reach win-win outcomes in complex situations, guide constructive dialogue and resolution between conflicting parties, and achieve fair and impartial decisions in disputed matters. 

Over 95% of court cases involve alternative dispute resolution. The Pepperdine MDR prepares graduates to meet this growing demand as a problem-solver and bridge-builder in any field where communication and interpersonal understanding are necessary.

Program Features

  • Top-ranked and Top Choice. More students have chosen our MDR program than any other institution in the U.S.
  • Evening and weekend classes
  • Award-Winning Malibu Campus.
  • Industry-leading faculty.
  • Comprehensive curriculum.
  • Streamlined admissions process with no GRE or other standardized tests required.

Quick Facts

Format:  In-Person or Online
Start Term: Fall, Spring, Summer
Location:  Malibu, CA
Length: 1-3 Years
Units: 32

Program Benefits



Now More than Ever

The world needs peacemakers. The Pepperdine MDR is committed to preparing the next generation of negotiators, and problem-solvers while serving as a driving force for improving the culture of conflict globally.


On-Campus Experience

Our Malibu campus is a premier destination for students from a variety of professional backgrounds seeking to experience a hands-on approach to dispute resolution from the nation's leading faculty and scholars.


Prestigious Institute

The world famous Straus Institute has educated thousands of lawyers and non-law professionals on the foundational theories and cutting-edge practices in ADR, both in the United States and around the world. Study with the best.


A Straus professor writes on a whiteboard

A Practice-Oriented Approach

The Master of Dispute Resolution allows students the flexibility to customize their education, and gain real-world experience through various clinics and externships. Pepperdine offered more opportunities to handle real cases than any other program in the US.

library books

World's Largest Conflict Resolution Library

Pepperdine is home to the American Arbitration Association Library and Information Center Collection. Founded in 1954 the AAA Library is the largest collection of conflict materials with over 24,000 titles.

A group of Straus MDR students smiling together

Expert Faculty

A pacesetter in the dispute resolution field, the Straus Institute faculty is committed to preparing the next generation of negotiators, peacemakers, and problem solvers.

Master of Dispute Resolution graduates

International Community

Straus’ students and alumni span the globe—hailing from countries like Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, and Korea—and of course, across the United States and Southern California.



Key Statistics



Top-ranked for dispute resolution in the U.S. 16 times the last 21 years (USNWR)


More students have chosen our MDR program than any other institution in the U.S. 


Malibu campus consistently ranked among the most beautiful places to study 


Top-ranked University for faculty accessibility to students (Princeton Review)

1 Year

Complete the program and advance your career in as little as one year.  

3 Terms

Convenient start terms in fall (August), spring (January), and summer (May) 


Student: Faculty ratio for small classes and meaningful interaction 


of applicants are considered for scholarships. Full scholarships available for eligible veterans. 

Online Program Option

Earn your MDR degree from anywhere with Pepperine Caruso School of Law's Online MDR Program.

Why Pepperdine

Pepperdine has risen further and faster than any law school in America. No other law school can match our distinctive Pepperdine community marked by excellence, Christian values, and rigorous legal training. Diverse in our background and faiths, we are united in our commitment to embolden you to reach higher than you ever thought possible.



Beautiful Malibu, CA Campus


Flexible Course Schedules


Small Class Sizes
7:1 Student:Faculty


Global Alumni Network


Take the Next Step

Reach out to us to learn more about Pepperdine's MDR program.

Get In Touch

Fill out the Request Information form to learn about the opportunities that await you and get in contact with a recruiter.

Attend an Info Session

Join us to get an in-depth look into Caruso Law, our distinct program offerings and our admissions process, while engaging in Q&A.

Start Your Application

Accepted on a rolling basis, applications need to be submitted prior to the intended start date and up to one year in advance.


Let Us Show You Around

Newly renovated in 2018, the law school is perched atop the iconic Pepperdine University Malibu, California campus. Let us take you on a tour through the entire law school, from the classrooms to the on-campus housing, and show you all of the people and resources available to equip you with all you need to succeed in your legal education.

What Our Community Is Saying


Ansley Waller

"You are trained by the best, and the right employers will recognize your unique perspective and value as a Pepperdine alumnus."

Ansley Waller | MDR '19

Cailey Stuebner

"Participation in the Straus Institute MDR Program was an opportunity to acquire knowledge, engage in meaningful discourse with instructors and classmates, expand and challenge my perspectives, and embrace personal and professional growth."

Cailey Stuebner | MDR '16


Pepperdine Malibu Campus

See Dispute Resolution Differently from Malibu 

Housed on the award-winning Malibu campus, the expansive University sits on 830 acres and overlooks the Pacific Ocean, with nearly every spot on campus featuring stunning and breathtaking views of the beaches.



CSOL class with guest

Expand Your Career Paths

The MDR program teaches practical negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills needed in a wide range of industries. Students can increase their marketability and make a difference for their clients, employees, and community members by applying their skills in various aspects of dispute resolution.



law faculty line up for a photo during commencement

Distinguished Faculty

Faculty are accomplished legal scholars and dispute resolution experts committed to providing students with the resources they need to succeed in our online Master of Dispute Resolution program. Our faculty empower students with the practical training and ethical judgment needed to meet the complex challenges they may encounter while settling disputes and solving conflicts.



students walking inside the law school campus

Student Experience for a Lifetime of Success 

Explore exciting opportunities and engage the community through institutes, student organizations, extracurriculars, and research opportunities. Direct access to faculty and proximity to greater Los Angeles add to the robust experience.



two students talking outside in the Malibu Campus

International Student Experience 

Build community and lifelong relationships with peers and colleagues through a cohort model and optional residential experience. The Pepperdine community extends beyond the MDR program to the larger CSOL, Strauss Institute, and Pepperdine family.

A dedicated enrollment services officer will make your admissions process easy and comfortable with experience in supporting international students. Dedicated support for international students is provided through the Office of International Student Services (OISS). We offer opportunities to participate in university social, sporting, cultural, and spiritual events. Our program is designed to facilitate peer support and lifelong relationships with colleagues.



CSOL Faculty and Staff

Top-Ranked and Top Choice 

#1 More students have chosen our MDR program than any other institution in the U.S. (National Center for Education Statistics)

#1 for Dispute Resolution in the country 16 times the last 21 years (USNWR)

#1 Malibu Campus Consistently Ranked Among the Most Beautiful Places to Study

#1 Ranked Faculty for Accessibility to Students (The Princeton Review)

#8 Ranked for Practical Training (preLaw Magazine)

#45 Best Law Schools (USNWR)

#29 Best Law Schools (The Princeton Review)



Pepperdine's cross

A Premier Faith-Based School 

Pepperdine has always had a singular mission: to strengthen students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership in a learning environment where academic excellence is rooted in Christian faith and values.  
As one of the few MDR programs based at a Christian university, we incorporate a unique approach to human, moral, and ethical dimensions of dispute resolution.

We empower students from all faith backgrounds to transform into the best possible expression of themselves for meaningful work and purposeful lives.



Accreditations and Affiliations 

WASC Accreditation

American BAR Association

BAR California


National Universities

Veterans Top School

Contact Us

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
Pepperdine Caruso Law
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263



Take the Next Step

Learn more about Pepperdine's Master of Dispute Resolution