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Mediation Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

When there is a legal dispute between two or more parties, mediation is an alternative to the traditional litigation process. A mediator is a neutral party brought in to assist the disputants involved in a legal argument and help them reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation schools offer a range of options, from workshops to certificate programs to Master of Laws degrees.

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How to Select a Mediation School

Choosing a mediation school will depend greatly on the desired level of education. Some schools offer weekend workshops and undergraduate or graduate certificate programs in dispute resolution or mediation. Certificate programs typically take approximately one semester to one year to complete. Students may also have the option of earning a mediation certificate concurrent with a separate degree. Most undergraduate certificate programs are open to any interested students, but admission to graduate-level programs may be restricted to students with bachelor's degrees or those with a master's or doctorate.

Schools can also offer various mediation degree programs, including bachelor's degrees in conflict analysis and resolution, master's degrees in conflict resolution and legal problem solving, and master's or doctoral degrees in dispute resolution. At schools without full mediation or dispute resolution degrees, dispute resolution courses may be part of certain law degree programs.

Prospective students should consider the preferred area of concentration when choosing a mediation school. There are many different specialties in the field of mediation, and students may choose to focus study on one or a few subjects. Possible concentrations include divorce, family, malpractice, property, business and civil mediation. Concentrations will have different requirements based on the subject matter, and some more legally-oriented programs may be limited to law students.

Mediation programs and degrees may be offered by a university's school of law, communication or continuing studies. Depending on the degree and concentration, core courses for mediation degrees will include subjects such as conflict resolution philosophy, the psychology of conflict, communication, culture and conflict, roots of social conflict, human diversity and global conflict analysis.

Largest Schools by Student Enrollment

College/University Student Population Institution Type
University of California-Berkeley 35,396 4-year, Public
Wayne State University 31,024 4-year, Public
George Mason University 30,613 4-year, Public
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 28,567 4-year, Public
Nova Southeastern University 28,378 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Portland State University 26,382 4-year, Public
University of Akron Main Campus 24,119 4-year, Public
Kent State University Kent Campus 22,944 4-year, Public
University of Oregon 21,452 4-year, Public
Kennesaw State University 21,449 4-year, Public
Missouri State University 19,489 4-year, Public
Georgetown University 15,318 4-year, Private not-for-profit
CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice 14,844 4-year, Public
California State University-Dominguez Hills 12,851 4-year, Public
University of Arkansas at Little Rock 11,965 4-year, Public
University of Notre Dame 11,731 4-year, Private not-for-profit
American University 11,684 4-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Denver 11,328 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Regis University 11,040 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Southern Methodist University 10,965 4-year, Private not-for-profit
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