Courses & Degree Requirements

Courses are designed to help students understand the causes and characteristics of conflict. Graduates of the program are equipped with the skills to effectively intervene in a variety of conflict situations, both locally and globally.

Master's Program Curriculum
  • Full time study is 3 courses per semester (9 credits)
  • Part-time study available - 2 courses per semester (6 credits)
  • 36 credits required to complete program
  • Attendance at 10 Colloquia required to complete program (4 are offered each semester)

Required courses

All students are required to complete the following 5 courses:

1. Negotiation (ConRes 621) 3 credits Negotiation is the bedrock skill in this field. The course addresses the development of negotiation techniques and fosters student knowledge of the substantial body of negotiation theory.

2. Introductory Theory (ConRes 623) 3 credits This course examines the theories and assumptions underpinning the practice of negotiation and mediation. It identifies the major schools of thought that influence models in practice and shape research agendas. It examines theories critically, with three aims-uncovering implicit assumptions of practice, testing those assumptions against empirical evidence or other theories, and gleaning insights to assist practitioners.

3. Research Methods in Conflict Resolution (ConRes 635)  3 Credits This course meets with three primary objectives. First, it provides students with a basic “literacy” in research methods, enabling them to be critical consumers of literature reporting research findings. Students will learn the fundamentals of sound research design, inference from data to conclusions, and the assumptions underlying various methods. Second, it introduces students to the role and use of research methods in conflict intervention work. And third, it provides students preparing to undertake the Master's Project an introduction to the types of research methodology that they are most likely to use in their MPs.

4. Internship - we offer a unique opportunity for field experience through an internship.  All students must choose one of the following options to complete this requirement: 

  • Mediation Court Internship (ConRes 690) –6-credits. Under faculty, supervision mediates cases in small claims courts in the Greater Boston area. 
  • Inter-Group Dialogue and Facilitation (ConRes 627) 6 credits. Examine the role of dialogue as a conflict intervention practice and participate in Soliya's Facilitation Training & Practicum (FTP). Contact karen.ross@umb.edu for more info.
  • Internship  (ConRes 692) 3 credits.  Includes a regular seminar during selected semester and participating in a field placement. Visit the resource tab of our program website for internship ideas.

5. Capstone Requirement  All students must choose one of the following options to complete this requirement:

  • Integrative Seminar (ConRes 694)3 credits. Write substantial papers on selected topics.  Offered each Spring, taken in student’s final year.  The seminar meets over the course of the semester.  Each student chooses a question for their paper, with each question related to a central topic provided by the professor (e.g., the conflict in Northern Ireland).
  • Master’s Project: 6 credits. Offered each year, spanning Fall and Spring semesters, taken in the student’s final year.  Each student designs their own project, with support from faculty and peers.  A wide range of project types are possible: research papers, practical projects (e.g., program development, curriculum design, conflict interventions), internships and more.  The Master’s Project (MP) culminates in a major written paper, framing the work within the relevant literature.  Students meet throughout the year in the Workshop seminar with a faculty member and all MP and Thesis students in their cohort, and also have an individual faculty advisor.  Students register for Final Project and Workshop (ConRes 693) for 6 credits
  • Master's Thesis: 6 credits. Offered each year, spanning Fall and Spring semesters, taken in the student’s final year.  This option involves a major research project that is defended before a committee and must comply with Standards for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations promulgated by the Office of Graduate Studies. It is similar in scope and effort to the Master’s Project, but meets the more formal research requirements of a thesis.  Students meet throughout the year in the Workshop seminar with a faculty member and all MP and Thesis students in their cohort, and also have an individual faculty advisor.  Students register for Final Project and Workshop (ConRes 693 ) for 3 credits in the Fall, and Master's Thesis in Conflict Resolution (ConRes 699) for 3 credits in the Spring.

ConRes Elective Course Options 

Elective courses offered in any given semester will vary. Following are some examples.  

Cross-Cultural Conflict (ConRes 624) 3 credits This course emphasizes the special characteristics of conflict based in religious, ethnic, national, or racial identity-conflicts that the field calls “intractable.” The primary focus of the course is on intervention techniques that have been used and that have been proposed for use in these settings.

Conflict Resolution Systems for Organizations (ConRes 625) 3 credits This course examines the analysis and design of different systems for managing conflict in a variety of settings including within a family, within an organization, or between nations, and criteria for measuring their effectiveness.

Advanced Intervention (ConRes 626) 3 Credits This course applies the principles of mediation and other forms of intervention to a particular context. The subject changes each semester; recent topics include:

  • Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation
  • Dialogue and Facilitation 
  • Multi-Party Public Disputes 
  • Education and Conflict 
  • Intervention in Environmental Disputes
  • Family/Organizational/International Disputes

Conflict in Workgroups (ConRes 636) 3 credits This course provides a deeper understanding of the dynamics of work groups, with an emphasis on processes of conflict within them, and teaches skills to deal constructively with intra- and inter- group conflict. 

Advanced Negotiation and Mediation (ConRes 603) 3 credits This course builds on the introductory courses and examines the resolution of conflict in different contexts. The subject changes each semester; recent topics include:

  • Immigration and Conflict
  • Trauma, Violence and Conflict Resolution
  • Field Experience
  • Conflict Engagement in Health care
  • Conflict Resolution and Democracy Development in Africa
  • Israeli-Palestine Conflict
  • Dealing with the Past

Any course offered in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance will automatically qualify for elective credit. Graduate courses taken in other UMass Boston graduate departments or at other universities may be accepted for transfer credit with prior approval of the Graduate Programs in Conflict Resolution.  A maximum of 3 courses can be taken outside the program.

Consider taking a class as a non-degree student.

Certificate Program Curriculum

The certificate program can be completed in 1 year of full time study or part-time.

  • Full time study is considered 2 courses per semester (6 credits)
  • 12 credits required to complete program. 18 credit advanced certificate available.
  • Attendance at 5 Colloquia required to complete program (4 are offered each semester)
  • Students may participate in the court mediation internship in the district court system (6 credits).
  • You can start in the certificate program and go on to the master's program - all credits will transfer. 

All students must complete two core courses (negotiation and conflict resolution theory). Then choose electives to design their own track focusing on areas such as:

  • Conflict Resolution and Management
  • Organizational Conflict
  • International Conflict
  • Mediation which requires a 6 credit court mediation internship and satisfies the training and mentoring components of mediator qualifications according to guidelines and M.G.L. Chapter 233 section 23 (Confidentiality Statute). Additional Information on Mediation Certificates

Core Courses:

  • Negotiation (ConRes 621) 3 credits Negotiation is the bedrock skill in this field. The course addresses the development of negotiation techniques and fosters student knowledge of the substantial body of negotiation theory.
  • Introductory Theory (ConRes 623) 3 credits This course examines the theories and assumptions underpinning the practice of negotiation and mediation. It identifies the major schools of thought that influence models in practice and shape research agendas. It examines theories critically, with three aims-uncovering implicit assumptions of practice, testing those assumptions against empirical evidence or other theories, and gleaning insights to assist practitioners.

Examples of Electives: (most are 3 credits except the court mediation internship is 6 credits)

  • Court Mediation Internship (6 credits) Additional Information on Mediation Certificate
  • Cross-Cultural Conflict 
  • Conflict Resolution Systems for Organizations 
  • Advanced Intervention (ConRes 626) 3 Credits This course applies the principles of mediation and other forms of intervention to
  • Dialogue and Facilitation 
  • Multi-Party Public Disputes 
  • Education and Conflict 
  • Intervention in Environmental Disputes
  • Family/Organizational/International Disputes
  • Conflict in Workgroups 
  • Immigration and Conflict
  • Trauma, Violence and Conflict Resolution
  • Field Experience
  • Conflict Engagement in Health care
  • Conflict Resolution and Democracy Development in Africa
  • Israeli-Palestine Conflict
  • Dealing with the Past

Graduate courses taken in other UMass Boston graduate departments or at other universities may be accepted for transfer credit with prior approval of the Graduate Programs in Conflict Resolution.  A maximum of 3 courses can be taken outside the program.

Advanced Certificate:  Students can expand their experience by choosing an 18-credit advanced certificate track.  Typically this includes the two core courses (3 credits each), the court mediation internship (6 credits) and 2 electives (3 credits each) for total of 18 credits. 

Examples of tracks:

  • Mediation and Organizational Conflict
  • Mediation and International Conflict

Advanced certificate options can be completed in one academic year by taking 3 classes each semester (9 credits). Part time study is an option.

Additional Information on Mediation Certificates

The mediation certificate options involve more than 40 hours of classroom training and more than 30 hours of district court mediation, mentoring, and evaluation, meeting all the requirements of the Guidelines for Implementation of Qualification Standards for Neutrals, adopted January 24, 2004, pursuant to Rule 8 of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution. 

Students who successfully complete one of the mediation certificate options will receive a Certificate of Completion showing completion of the training and mentoring components of mediator qualifications according to those guidelines and M.G.L. Chapter 233 section 23 (Confidentiality Statute).

Mediation Certification

Matriculated students in the certificate or master's program who successfully complete the court mediation internship (6 credits) will received a Certificate of Completion showing completion of the training and mentoring components of mediator qualifications according to Massachusetts guidelines for training of mediators and M.G.L. Chapter 233 section 23 (Confidentiality Statute)

The court mediation internship is completed in one semester (6 credits) and is both a regular class meeting plus spending one half-day per week in court mediating small claims cases( with an on-site supervisor/coach), for 4 full months. There is also a required 2-day pre-court training workshop.  Internship includes 40 hours of classroom training and more than 30 hours of district court mediation, mentoring, and evaluation, meeting all the requirements of the Guidelines for Implementation of Qualification Standards for Neutrals, adopted January 24, 2004, pursuant to Rule 8 of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Uniform Rules on Dispute Resolution. 

Prerequisite: ConRes 621 Negotiation or previous negotiation experience.  You may be eligible to take this class as a non-degree student.

Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Degree

For highly-qualified UMass Boston undergraduates in the College of Liberal Arts and Honors College, this unique program allows you to finish your master’s degree in approximately half the time and at half the cost of a traditional two-year master’s program.

You will replace undergraduate electives with graduate coursework before matriculating as a graduate student to complete your master’s degree. 

Learn more about the accelerated degree program in conflict resolution.

Take a Class

Take a Class

Get to know our conflict resolution programs by taking a single course. This will let you assess if the content and structure of the program meets your goals and fits with your other commitments. These are 3-credit graduate-level courses and the credits can transfer to one of our programs  (restrictions apply). You must have a bachelor's degree to enroll. 

Learn more about taking a class in conflict resolution as a non-degree student.