About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 115-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our rigorous and interdisciplinary curriculum, our invaluable experiential learning opportunities, and the breadth and depth of our specialized areas of concentration and certificate offerings.
- Student Life
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
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Alumni and Giving
The global Trojan network of more than 10,000 law alumni and donors include recognized leaders in numerous fields who are deeply committed to supporting student and law school success.
Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Degree
- MASTER OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION (MDR) DEGREE
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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.
Three courses are required for all students:
- ADR Law and Policy: Arbitration and Mediation
- ADR Ethics
- Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution
In addition to these mandatory courses, you must select from among our ADR electives to complete the 24 units required for the degree. Course selection varies each semester depending on interest and availability.
Select a course below to view a more detailed description.
ADR Clause Drafting
ADR Law and Policy: Arbitration and Mediation
Arbitration in the United States
Business Organizations *
Constitutional Law *
Criminal Procedure *
Cross-Cultural Dispute Resolution
Employment Dispute Mediation
Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Online Dispute Resolution
Family Law Mediation Clinic
Gifts, Wills and Trusts *
International Investment Law and Arbitration
Legal Profession *
Negotiation Theory and Application
Practical Mediation Skills Clinic
Secured Transactions *
Topics in American Law *
Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Professionals
Open only to non-business graduate students, this course provides an overview of the concepts, tools and principles of business management to develop a general management point of view.
Communications, Values, Attitudes and Behavior
This course focuses on theory and research on value and attitude formation and change, as well as the consequences for communication and behavior.
Human Resources Management in Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors
This course explores merit principles, position classification, recruitment and selection, compensation, organizational development and labor relations, as well as challenges and strategies for managing a diverse workforce.
Social Entrepreneurship focuses on how to lead and manage with entrepreneurial methodology for charities, nongovernmental organizations, social-oriented enterprises and nonprofits.
*These courses are LLM/MDR-only sections; MDR students may not enroll in the JD sections of these courses.
You may petition to enroll in other USC Gould courses not listed above, to be applied toward the MDR degree.
If you seek to apply transfer credit toward your degree, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to determine eligibility.
Students may pursue our Business Law certificate concurrent with their studies. You will need to complete 12 units of certificate law coursework as outlined in this certificate. This does not include classes offered outside of the law school. There is no additional cost for the certificate.
California Bar Exam Eligibility
Most students who pursue the MDR degree do not have a LLB degree or the equivalent, are not licensed to practice law and do not intend to practice law. However, international students who are licensed to practice in their home jurisdictions may be eligible to sit for the California bar exam without additional course requirements.
If you are an international student with a LLB degree or the equivalent and 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 with a LLB degree or the equivalent and are interested in studying ADR as part of a comprehensive study plan that will allow you to seek admission to the New York bar, you may wish to consider the LLM in ADR degree. If you plan to seek admission to the District of Columbia (D.C.) bar, 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 career workshops to our ADR degree students. These workshops include specific student group and individualized guidance on:
- preparing for a career in and building a network as a mediator or arbitrator
- 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.