In 2006, SMU became the first university in the southwest region of the United States to offer an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in dispute resolution and conflict management.
The SMU Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management provides students with in-depth study of conflict theory as well as ample options for further specialization in areas such as organizational conflict, social services conflict, international conflict and dispute resolution in education. Students learn the arts of negotiation, problem solving, mediation, arbitration, systems design, and many other applications of dispute resolution. The program actively incorporates role-plays from varied aspects of human relationships to engage the student in class participation. These exercises provide students with the skill and training necessary to become adept at the art of conflict resolution.
The Dispute Resolution program curriculum emphasizes the development of skills vital to the resolution of business, domestic, education, management, public policy, church, legal, and healthcare disputes. The quality and uniqueness of the coursework stems, in significant measure, from its multidisciplinary approach to the study of conflict management. Rooted in the social and behavioral sciences, the faculty and curriculum integrates such diverse fields as psychology, team building, law, sociology, management theory, organizational development, public policy, and economics. Organizations are increasingly aware of the importance of conflict management processes and facilitating collaboration to enhance productivity, financial success, and personal satisfaction in their employees. All of these factors indicate that dispute resolution is one of the most marketable skills in today’s world of business and commerce.