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California Mediation Certification Programs with Course Overviews

Research mediation programs in California, which currently has 10 schools offering certificate, master's and law programs. Read an overview of programs, tuition info and program options for these schools to decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Mediation studies in California are offered at the undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate levels. Most schools in California offer training through programs in negotiation, peacemaking, dispute resolution or conflict resolution. Some programs focus on conflict resolution in a specific setting, such as the workplace or in schools. Additionally, some law programs offer conflict resolution as a specialization. Many postsecondary schools offering training in this field are part of the University of California and California State University systems; a few private universities also offer mediation studies.

Career Requirements

There is no formal certification or licensing necessary to practice mediation in California or any state. Below are brief overviews of schools in California with mediation programs, as well as a comparison chart showing tuition info.


California State University - Dominquez Hills

This university is situated in the South Bay Los Angeles area in the city of Carson. Through the College of Arts and Humanities, students can complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. The school also offers a Post-Master's Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. For the bachelor's program, students complete 48 credits of major courses, such as negotiation methods and theory, peacebuilding psychology and conflict resolution fundamentals. This program culminates with a capstone course, in which students participate in a community service internship.

The master's option consists of 36 credit hours and covers topics such as arbitration, dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation tactics. Students have the option to complete an internship in conflict resolution. The post-master's program is open to those who have a master's degree in a related field. Students complete 18 credits of coursework, including an internship experience.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
    Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
    Post-Master's Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • Tuition & Fees: $6,095 in-state; $17,753 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013 year); $7,361 per year; $16,907 per year (graduate, 2012-2013 year)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

California State University - Northridge

Students attending this Northridge university can complete a certificate program in mediation and conflict resolution. The program consists of 100 hours of training, which surpasses the 40 hours typically required to practice mediation in California courts. Students study customer-merchant, landlord-tenant, neighbor-neighbor and workplace disputes, as well as other common small-claims court issues.

The program involves a practicum where students have the opportunity to observe actual mediations, work with companies that hire mediators and assist in the mediation process of litigated cases. By completing this certificate program, students meet the requirements of the Dispute Resolution Program Act of California and are able to participate in most California court panels. In addition, students are awarded 10 continuing education units upon completion.

  • Program Offered: Certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Tuition & Fees: $2,450 for program (spring 2013, tuition only)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

Fresno Pacific University

Graduate students at this Fresno school can complete a certificate program in mediation. The program trains students to act as third party representatives helping parties settle disputes. Coursework includes alternative dispute resolution, church conflict management, family mediation and restorative justice. Students also have the opportunity to participate in mediation fieldwork in conjunction with the court system.

Students can also train for a career in mediation and conflict resolution by completing a Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. The program consists of 40 credit hours and includes concentrations in church conflict and peacemaking, school conflict resolution and peacemaking, world conflict resolution and peacemaking, mediation, restorative justice and a personalized concentration. These concentrations are also offered as separate graduate certificate programs.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate in Mediation,
    Certificate in Church Conflict and Peacemaking,
    Certificate in School Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking,
    Certificate in Workplace Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking,
    Certificate in Mediation,
    Certificate in Restorative Justice,
    Personalized Certificate,
    Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies
  • Tuition & Fees: $470 per credit (2013-2014, graduate tuition only)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

Pepperdine University

Located in Malibu, this university has the number one ranked dispute resolution program in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2014 law school rankings. The university's School of Law offers several programs through the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. These include an undergraduate certificate in conflict management, a post-baccalaureate certificate in dispute resolution, a master's program in dispute resolution, an LLM program in dispute resolution and an LLM program in dispute resolution for European lawyers.

The undergraduate certificate program is offered in collaboration with the university's Seaver College and requires completion of 14-16 credits hours. Students enrolled in the post-baccalaureate dispute resolution program complete 14 credit hours of coursework, in areas such as mediation theory and practice, interviewing and counseling, arbitration law and appellate advocacy. These courses are also offered in the general master's program in dispute resolution and both the LLM programs. Students enrolled in these advanced programs also complete a mediation or advocacy clinic and a 4-credit externship or thesis project.

  • Programs Offered: Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management,
    Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Dispute Resolution,
    Master of Dispute Resolution,
    Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution,
    Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution for European Lawyers
  • Tuition & Fees: $1,650 per credit (2012-2013, tuition for the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; fringe rural

Sonoma State University

Based in Rohnert Park, this university is located in the state's wine country region, about an hour from San Francisco. The School of Extended and International Education offers an 18-credit undergraduate certificate program in conflict resolution. Core classes include cross-cultural communication skills, group facilitation, mediation and negotiation. Students also take elective courses to learn about mediation techniques involving family, healthcare and small claims court disputes.

  • Program Offered: Certificate of Completion in Conflict Resolution
  • Tuition & Fees: $7162 in-state; 18,820 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

Stanford University

This Bay Area school in Stanford is one of the country's leading research universities. The university's law school offers the Gould negotiation and mediation program, with classes primarily held at the Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution. Program coursework is part of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) 2nd and 3rd year curriculum. Students complete various seminar courses dealing with conflict and negotiation resolution, decision-making, problem solving and professional judgment. These seminars offer small class sizes, which enable students to closely interact with each other and faculty members. Students also have the opportunity to participate in other Stanford Law School courses, such as the civil justice clinic and the deals advocacy education clinic.

  • Program Offered: Juris Doctor (Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program)
  • Tuition & Fees: $50,580 (2012-2013, yearly tuition only)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb

University of California - Berkeley

Founded in 1868, this Berkeley university is the flagship institution in the UC system. Through the UC Berkeley Extension division, students can complete coursework in mediation and conflict resolution that leads to an award of completion. Coursework is offered three times per year, during the spring, summer and fall semesters. Students complete 40 hours of training that includes classroom lectures and mock dispute litigations. Completion of this training program meets the requirements for most agency and court mediation programs.

  • Program Offered: Award of Completion in Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Tuition & Fees: $1,095 for program (spring 2013)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsized city

University of California - Davis

Through the UC Davis Extension division, students can complete a professional concentration in conflict resolution certificate program. To earn the certificate, students complete five core classes and 1-2 electives for a total of at least nine credits. Training is offered in areas such as group dynamics, mediation, negotiation strategies and problem solving. Students are encouraged to enroll in an introductory class that deals with mediation, facilitation and community engagement prior to taking the mediation course. The program combines traditional classroom interaction and online learning to accommodate students.

  • Program Offered: Professional Concentration in Conflict Resolution Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees: $3,600 estimated program cost (spring 2013, tuition only)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small suburb

University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)

Located in Los Angeles, UCLA's School of Law offers mediation training to students and the general public. The spring 2013 training is a part of the school's Fourth Annual Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Colloquium. The program is free of charge, and attendees are not required to register or enroll. Presentations are currently held on Thursdays from 5:00pm-6:40pm. Professionals who are members of the California Bar Association can earn 1.5 continuing learning education (CLE) points for attending.

  • Program Offered: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Colloquium
  • Tuition & Fees: Free**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)

This Santa Barbara school offers professional evening and weekend programs for adults through the UCSB Extension continuing education division. One such program is the Professional Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution. Core and elective courses cover areas like family mediation, dispute resolution, legal process and the nature of conflict. Students may qualify for the Los Angeles Superior Court mediation program by simultaneously completing the dispute resolution legal process and mediation practice course. Training also addresses topics like civil procedures, court systems and the litigation process.

  • Program Offered: Professional Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution
  • Tuition & Fees: $2,750 estimated program cost (2013-2014)**
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsized suburb

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Mediation Programs Offered Tuition and Fees
California State University - Dominguez Hills 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
Post-Master's Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
$6,095 in-state; $17,753 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013 year); $7,361 per year; $16,907 per year (graduate, 2012-2013 year)*
California State University-Northridge 4-year, public; large city Certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution $2,450 for program (spring 2013, tuition only)**
Fresno Pacific University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Certificate in Mediation,
Certificate in Church Conflict and Peacemaking,
Certificate in School Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking,
Certificate in Workplace Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking,
Certificate in Mediation,
Certificate in Restorative Justice,
Personalized Certificate,
Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies
$470 per credit (2013-2014, graduate tuition only)**
Pepperdine University 4-year, private not-for-profit; fringe rural Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Dispute Resolution,
Master of Dispute Resolution,
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution,
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution for European Lawyers
$1,650 per credit (2012-2013, tuition for the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution)**
Sonoma State University 4-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Completion in Conflict Resolution $7162 in-state; 18,820 out-of-state (undergraduate, 2012-2013)**
Stanford University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Juris Doctor (Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program) $50,580 (2012-2013, yearly tuition only)**
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public; midsized city Award of Completion in Mediation and Conflict Resolution $1,095 for program (spring 2013)**
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small suburb Professional Concentration in Conflict Resolution Certificate $3,600 estimated program cost (spring 2013, tuition only)**
University of California - Los Angeles 4-year, public; large city Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Colloquium Free**
University of California - Santa Barbara 4-year, public; midsized suburb Professional Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution $2,750 estimated program cost (2013-2014)**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Multiple schools' websites.

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