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Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Degree

Sit in on an ADR class to experience USC Gould's Center for Dispute Resolution for yourself. Our Assistant Director of Admissions will also speak to you and answer questions you may have before the class visit. Click on a date to register: January 16, January 30, February 13, February 27.

U.S. News & World Report: Best Grad Schools
USC Gould ranked #17
Best Law Schools

Our Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) is designed for exceptional students and professionals interested in building strength in ADR processes or gaining skills and a prestigious credential for pursuing career opportunities as a mediator.

The MDR is a 24 unit degree program, offered on a part-time or full-time basis. Students may begin their studies in the fall or spring semesters. No law degree is required for the MDR and you do not need to take the LSAT to apply.

In addition to building valuable negotiation, mediation and arbitration skills as an advocate for a client or as a neutral, you will develop and hone business management skills to optimally position yourself for leadership roles in ADR organizations.

Receive more information about our MDR degree and be notified of upcoming events:




Why Choose USC Gould?

Top reasons to pursue the MDR at USC Gould:

  • Earn a master's degree from a top 20 law school that's also recognized by LLM Guide as offering one of the top 10 ADR programs in the world.
  • Complete your degree in as little as one year.
  • ADR is one of the fastest-growing fields — less than 2 percent of lawsuits make it to trial; today an overwhelming majority of litigation disputes are resolved through ADR.
  • Convenient and flexible scheduling — Classes are held during the day, in the evening and on weekends to accommodate working professionals. The law school is located on the USC University Park Campus in Los Angeles.
  • Scholarships & Housing Stipends offered — All applicants will be considered automatically for our scholarship awards and housing stipends. Exceptional candidates will receive a prestigious Dispute Resolution Scholars Award. Our scholarship awards and stipends range in amounts.
  • Receive career and professional support — includes workshops and individually tailored advice on developing your career plan for mediation or arbitration, as well as mentorship opportunities with dispute resolution professionals and tools for exam preparation.
  • Join the Trojan Family — a renowned network of over 375,000 alumni who are deeply committed to furthering the success of USC graduates. Our more than 12,000 law graduates include partners in the world's largest law firms, leaders of civil rights movements, and CEOs and presidents of multibillion-dollar companies.
  • Gain hands-on practical skill development — learn from faculty who are top-tier neutrals and bring decades of experience in dispute resolution. You'll also have access to clinical and experiential learning opportunities that help you become a seasoned professional. You will mediate real cases through our Practical Mediation Skills Clinic.
  • Create new career opportunities — organizations increasingly use dispute resolution processes to handle business and human resources issues. ADR expertise increases your marketability for a range of work settings, including business, government, human resources, counseling, education and social work.

The MDR is ideal for:

  • ADR practitioners who seek to deepen their expertise and/or manage ADR processes
  • Business leaders who seek to expand their expertise in ADR and/or design systems to handle conflicts involving managers, customers, suppliers and employees
  • International practitioners interested in designing ADR processes in their home countries
  • Those who seek to manage dispute resolution processes, both public and private
  • Recent graduates seeking to further career goals
James Sullivan, MDR 2018

My MDR degree is exactly what I need to establish credibility for my new commercial-real-estate-focused ADR services business. Through my coursework, I am gaining the knowledge and developing the skills that are essential to becoming a successful third-party neutral.

James Sullivan, MDR 2018

USC Gould offers an alternative master's degree in dispute resolution. Learn more about the Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LLM in ADR).

View our ADR Programs Flowchart to see which offering might be the best fit for you.



Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2019

Talk with us in person — we will have a representative at the upcoming recruiting events: