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Master of Dispute Resolution for Working Professionals

Top Dispute Resolution Program Now in West L.A.

Pepperdine West Los Angeles campusThe Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law is excited to announce the expansion of their Master of Dispute Resolution Program to the Pepperdine West LA Graduate Campus this fall. The expansion makes the prominent program more accessible to business executives and mid-career professionals who recognize their future organizational success depends on conflict resolution competency.

Conflict is Everywhere: Learn the Skills to Manage

Conflict is pervasive. The ability to manage conflict in businesses and organizations, however, is not. Conflict resolution skill-sets are needed in our rapidly changing, technologically complex, work-world.

Enhance your resumé with a time-tested, top-ranked graduate program designed for mid-career and executive level professionals who wish to remain employed while they complete their graduate studies.

Pepperdine's Master of Dispute Resolution in West LA (MDR-WLA) is an inter-disciplinary 32 unit program designed to address the skills needed to resolve conflict in business, management, leadership and diplomacy.

Why leave conflict resolution up to the lawyers?

Professor Stipanowich

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

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

The MDR equips you to lead your organization through difficult moments efficiently while strengthening relationships, partnerships and alliances. The next wave of business professionals recognize the need for conflict resolution skill-sets in an increasingly diverse, technological and global business environment.

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.

Designed for Mid-Career Professionals

The home campus for the Master of Dispute Resolution for working professionals is housed at Pepperdine's West LA campus (MDR-WLA). Conveniently located off the 405 freeway, the West LA Graduate Campus is commuter-convenient for students coming from South County, the downtown corridor, LAX and Valley communities.

The MDR is a based on a "flexible cohort" model. The expectation is that students take their required courses on the West LA Campus, allowing the flexibility to additionally take advantage of the 42 course offerings on the Malibu campus.

Students participating in the MDR in West LA can elect to take courses at Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School as well as the Graduate School of Education and Psychology. The opportunity to customize your MDR coursework to meet your career goals, earning the MDR as a stand-alone or as a joint degree, is an advantage available on the West LA Graduate Campus.

Why Get an MDR from Pepperdine?

A Practice-Oriented Approach

MDR at Straus Institute at Pepperdine Law

At the Straus Institute we take theory and put it into practice. Mid-career professionals equip themselves to handle the next generation of conflict with Pepperdine's cutting edge approach to experiential learning. The MDR-WLA allows students the flexibility to customize their education and gain real world experience through clinics and externships, as well as in-class simulations and role-plays.

Flexible Scheduling and Location

Flexible Class Schedules at Straus Institute

Courses are available in the evenings, as weekend intensives, and in traditional full-semester formats allowing flexibility for the pressures of a working professional. Classes are scheduled at our West LA campus, with additional offerings at the Malibu campus. Whether you want to commute mid-week to class in LA or travel to the Pacific Ocean for the weekend, we have you covered. Each students' needs are considered in academic counseling to address both their schedule and future career goals.

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

  • One Arbitration Course
  • Psychology of Conflict Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution
  • Introduction to US Law (for non-lawyers and non-law students)
  • Mediation Clinic/Externship
  • Mediation Theory and Practice
  • Negotiation Theory and Practice
  • Psychology of Conflict
  • Legal Research and Writing I (for non-lawyers and non-law students)*


* Advisor's Discretion to waive and substitute another class if appropriate.

Elective Courses

Elective Courses

  • 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) +
  • Divorce and Family Mediation
  • Environmental and Public Policy Dispute Resolution
  • 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 and the National Courts *
  • 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 +
  • 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 Systems Design
    • 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
    • Mediation Advocacy
    • Ombuds
    • Online Dispute Resolution
    • Products Liability and ADR
    • Strategic Alliances
  • 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



The 32-unit MDR-WLA is a based on a "flexible cohort" model. The expectation is that students take their required courses on the West LA Campus, allowing flexibility to additionally take advantage of the 42 course offerings on the Malibu campus. The Program can be completed in as little as 18 months.