USC Gould is one of the nation's top-ranked law schools with a 115+ year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are known for our diverse student body, interdisciplinary education and our tight-knit alumni network of over 10,000 professionals throughout the globe. With entering JD class sizes of less than 200 the learning experience is intimate and collegial. Our location in Los Angeles provides unlimited opportunities in one of world's top legal markets. It is home to major entertainment, business and law firms, as well as a gateway to international markets.
From your first day on campus you'll notice USC Gould is different. It's small enough to be a community in the real sense of the word even though USC is one the country's largest research universities, and located in the second largest city in the United States. People know your name here, faculty and administration are accessible, and your success is everyone's priority - all of which makes for an unparalleled student experience.
The USC Gould School of Law faculty is nationally recognized for its scholarship in many fields including administrative law, constitutional law, bankruptcy and corporate law, intellectual property, law and race, and taxation. Interdisciplinary scholarship in law and economics, law and history, law and philosophy, law and politics, and law and psychology has long been a signature of the school.
Alumni of the USC Gould School of Law constitute a network of over 10,000. Gould alumni are a diverse group of professionals that includes legal experts who are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in many fields of law, such as arbitration, business, entertainment, real estate, and government. Whether newly graduated or recently retired, all of USC Gould's alumni share a Trojan connection that is both lifelong and worldwide.
Curriculum: Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Degree
As an MDR student, you will benefit from clinical and experiential learning experiences that build and deepen your ADR proficiency. As a graduate, you will be able to implement your knowledge in many areas of law and business practice, and will feel confident mediating, arbitrating, negotiating out-of-court settlements, and generally managing the ADR process and ADR organizations.
We recognize that you must balance your law studies with work, family and other responsibilities. We offer flexible scheduling that allows you to take classes during the day or in the late afternoon and evening. We also offer some weekend classes.
Five courses are required for all students:
ADR Legal Principles
ADR Specialized Study
ADR Law and Policy: Arbitration and Mediation
Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution
In addition to these mandatory courses, you must select from among our ADR electives to complete the 27 units required for the degree. Course selection varies each semester depending on interest and availability.
Management of ADR Organizations Track (optional)
This interdisciplinary track is designed to prepare you for leadership roles in all organizations, including those that may specialize in ADR. You may enroll in courses offered by other graduate schools at USC, including the Marshall School of Business, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Price School of Public Policy.
If you are interested in the Management of ADR Organizations Track, you must complete the mandatory Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Professionals as well as a minimum of six units in the following courses:
Communications, Values, Attitudes and Behavior
Human Resources Management in Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors
The courses taken for the Management Track will be applied toward the 27 units required by the MDR degree. Only students who are enrolled in the Management Track will be able to enroll in the non-law course offerings.
*These courses are LLM/MDR-only sections; MDR students may not enroll in the JD sections of these courses. Availability of these courses is currently pending approval from the University Curriculum Office.
If you seek to apply transfer credit toward your degree, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to determine eligibility.
Students who are licensed to practice in their home jurisdictions will be eligible to sit for the CA bar exam. If you are an international student interested in studying MDR as part of a comprehensive study plan that will allow you to seek admission to the bar in the U.S., you may wish to consider the traditional LLM degree with a certificate in ADR. The MDR degree will not provide the educational prerequisites necessary to sit for a U.S. bar exam.
California Bar Exam Eligibility
Students who are licensed to practice in their home jurisdictions will be eligible to sit for the California bar exam without additional course requirements.
If you are not yet licensed to practice, you may enroll in 12 units of courses required by the California bar as part of the MDR degree regardless of your intent or eligibility to sit for the California bar. Enrollment in the MDR degree does not guarantee that you will be able to take the exam.
If you are an international student interested in studying ADR as part of a comprehensive study plan that will allow you to seek admission to the New York or District of Columbia (D.C.) bars, you may wish to consider the traditional LLM degree with a certificate in ADR.
If you do not hold a first degree in law, you will not be eligible to sit for the California bar by enrolling in these courses as part of the MDR degree.
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
USC Gould is a recognized course provider for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), a leading professional membership organization that represents the interests of ADR practitioners worldwide. If you successfully complete the International Arbitration (LAW-817) course, you will become eligible to apply for CIArb membership, giving you a professional credential with international recognition.
Through the MDR degree, you will develop:
an understanding of the underlying policies and legal ramifications for the range of ADR options that are available
an expansive skillset for conducting ADR processes, both as a practitioner and as a neutral
appropriate ethical guidelines as a neutral while conducting ADR processes
an understanding of the wide variety of ADR policies and issues that affect practitioners engaged in an ADR practice
an ability to apply concepts, tools and principles of business management necessary for leadership in ADR organizations (if you select the Management of ADR Organizations emphasis)
As a graduate of the MDR degree, you will be able to achieve greater levels of success within your current organization, or may use the degree to prepare for a career as a mediator or arbitrator. USC Gould offers both a Mediation Career Workshop and an Arbitration Career Workshop to our ADR degree students. These workshops include specific student group and individualized guidance on:
building business plans for ADR practice
developing materials to market your ADR practice
networking to build your ADR practice
operating your ADR practice as a business
In addition to developing a practice as a mediator or arbitrator, many types of careers benefit from exposure to ADR practices. Our courses are developed to build widely useful skills such as communication, problem-solving, management and team-building.