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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Arbitration

Majors Overview October 6, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in arbitration and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Arbitration

Organizations and individuals rely on arbitrators for the resolution of disputes out of court. Those seeking a career as an arbitration lawyer or arbitrator could benefit from enrolling in a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution or Master of Arts (M.A.) in Dispute Resolution program. Those who complete the MA program can pursue a career as an arbitrator. Enrollees in the LL.M. program who already possess a law degree are allowed to specialize in arbitration. Each program has coursework that highlights subject areas such as conflict psychology, negotiation, commercial arbitration, and litigation.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in Dispute Resolution

The study of workplace, family, and health care dispute resolution is included in the Master of Arts (M.A.) program. Various types of organizational and individual conflicts are in the program, along with mediation and bargaining techniques. Programs use role-play to teach students. Enrollees are taught the interpersonal skills they would need to work with people involved in conflicts. Coursework in psychology is intended to impart education about the origin of conflicts among social groups and the contribution of power, gender and social identity to non-violent and violent conflicts.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study from an accredited school. Students must submit three letters of recommendation. They must also submit acceptable scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Graduate Records Examination (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Law School Admission Test (LSAT).


Program coursework covers core courses in negotiation, adjudication, and mediation, in addition to electives. Core coursework covers ethical issues, conflict and dispute resolution practices and theories, and third-party dynamics. Completion of an internship may also be a requirement for students. Core coursework may also cover topic areas such as:

•Settlement agreements
•Conflict Psychology
•Mediation training

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, there were 8,400 people employed as mediators and conciliators in the nation (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, these professionals are expected to witness a ten percent job growth; in May 2014, they brought in an average annual wage of $70,740 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education can earn a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution. While arbitrators don’t need any national licensure, certification programs are offered in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Florida. The American Arbitration Association also offers continuing education courses.

Master of Laws (LL.M.) Programs in Dispute Resolution

Law degree holders wishing to specialize in arbitration could benefit from this degree program. Coursework covers topic areas such as public policies, international dispute resolution, education, negotiation theories and employment, health care industry disputes, and entertainment. They also learn about ways of interviewing and counseling people involved in disputes and preparing for trial in the event of any failure of the arbitration process. The primary focus of coursework is on the lawyering process, and graduates learn about the professional and ethical responsibilities of practicing lawyers. An externship or graduate thesis and independent study mark the culmination of the program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited school, in addition to the submission of graduate school transcripts and professional references.


Program coursework covers extensive mediation and arbitration studies in both international and national affairs. Students are allowed to choose electives in select topic areas pertinent to the field, including intellectual property, employment or labor disputes, om-buds or mass torts. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Appellate Advocacy
•Conflict and communication
•Mediation Clinic
•Commercial arbitration
•Environmental dispute resolution

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, there were 759,800 people employed as lawyers in the nation (BLS). Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, these professionals are expected to witness a ten percent job growth; in 2014, they brought in an average annual wage of $133,470 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

JD holders can sit for their state bar examination – passing the exam would enable them to become licensed attorneys. Every state has its individual requirements, but commonly a majority of states require licensees to complete continuing education credits to maintain licensure and competency.

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