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Dispute Resolution Degree Program

Earn Your Master of Dispute Resolution

Students with Tom Stipanowich

Pepperdine's Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) is available for students looking to work in a variety of law and non-law areas.

The study of conflict is not limited to the legal profession. Students have applied their MDR to areas including:

  • Human Resources
  • Business
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • International Diplomacy, and more

At the Forefront of Legal Education

Over 95% of cases filed in the courts are handled under dispute resolution processes like negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Law students, attorneys, and non-law practitioners chose to equip themselves to handle this next generation of conflict. Pepperdine's hands-on approach with lectures, discussions and simulated exercises better prepare students to manage conflict in a variety of environments.

Why Get an MDR from Pepperdine?

A Practice-Oriented Approach

MDR at Straus Institute at Pepperdine Law

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, these include:

  • Mediation Clinic
  • Investor Advocacy Clinic
  • Employment Mediation Clinic
  • Juvenile Justice Practicum
  • Special Education Clinic
  • Externship Experiences Nationwide and Around the World

Flexible Scheduling

Flexible Class Schedules at Straus Institute

With courses available in one-week, two-weekend and the traditional full-semester format, professionals in the field can pursue the program on a part-time or full-time basis at a pace that matches their busy schedule.

Award Winning Dispute Resolution Education

US News Ranking for Best Dispute Resolution Program

In addition to U.S. News & World Report, Pepperdine has been recognized by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, California Dispute Resolution Council, American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the International Academy of Mediators.

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Most Extensive Dispute Resolution Curriculum

Straus Institute Curriculum

MDR students have access to over 42 different dispute resolution courses, including several dispute resolution clinics and externships. Students can take courses in a variety of topics varying from specialized areas to psychology oriented courses. 

World's Largest Conflict Resolution Library

AAA Library at Straus Institute Pepperdine School of Law

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.

Program Coursework

Required Courses

Required Courses - 12 units (10 units required for law students)

  • One Arbitration Course:
    • Arbitration Law+, Arbitration Practice and Advocacy, International Commercial Arbitration Theory and Doctrine, or International Commercial Arbitration Procedure and Practice 
  • Cross-Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution
  • Introduction to US Law (for non-lawyers and non-law students)
  • Mediation Theory and Practice
  • Negotiation Theory and Practice
  • Psychology of Conflict Communication

* If this course was not taken to fulfill the arbitration requirement, it can be taken as an elective.

This course is only available to law students, law school graduates or LLM candidates.

Elective Courses

Elective Courses - 16 units required (18 units required for law students)

  • Advanced Mediation Seminar
  • Advanced Trial Practice +
  • Appellate Advocacy +
  • Arbitration Law * +
  • Arbitration Practice and Advocacy *
  • Current Issues in International Dispute Resolution: London/Geneva
  • Current Issues in International Dispute Resolution: Hong Kong/Beijing
  • Dispute Resolution in Education
  • Dispute Resolution and Religion
  • Dispute Resolution Law Journal (up to 4 units) (JD students only)
  • Divorce and Family Mediation
  • Environmental and Public Policy Dispute Resolution
  • Fair Employment and Housing Mediation Clinic
  • Faith-Based Diplomacy and International Peacemaking
  • Honors Appellate Advocacy (JD students only)
  • Honors Negotiation Advocacy (JD students only)
  • Honors Mediation Advocacy (JD students only)
  • International Commercial Arbitration Procedure and Practice *
  • International Commercial Arbitration Theory and Doctrine *
  • International Commercial Arbitration **
  • International Investment Disputes
  • International Litigation +
  • Interviewing, Counseling and Planning
  • Investor Advocacy Clinic (JD students only)
  • Lawyering Process +
  • Mediation Clinic
  • Moot Court- International (JD students only)
  • Moot Court- Interschool Competition (JD students only)
  • Restorative Justice
  • Selected Issues in Dispute Resolution:
    • Apology, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
    • Conflict Consulting and Coaching
    • Decision Making Under Conflict
    • Dispute Resolution and Technology
    • Employment Disputes
    • Entertainment Industry Disputes
    • Entertainment and Sports
    • Ethical Practices in Dispute Resolution
    • Facilitating Dynamic Groups
    • Healthcare Dispute Resolution
    • Intellectual Property
    • International Identity Based Conflict and Dispute Resolution
    • Labor Disputes
    • Leadership and Conflict
    • Managing Litigation and Conflict for Corporations and Organizations
    • Mass Torts
    • Ombuds
    • Online Dispute Resolution
    • Strategic Alliances
    • Systems Design
  • Special Education Advocacy Clinic +
  • Trial Practice +
  • Trial Preparation and Settlement +
  • or a Substantive Law Class with Institute Approval (non-law students only)

* If this course was not taken to fulfill the arbitration requirement, it can be taken as an elective.

+ This course is only available to law students, law school graduates or LLM candidates.

** Students cannot enroll in this class if they have already taken ICA Theory and Doctrine or ICA Procedure and Practice without faculty approval

Externships or Thesis

Externships (4 units required)