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Alternative Dispute Resolution Degrees and Certificate

USC Gould School of Law

With almost 98 percent of legal cases now settled out of court, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has quickly become one of the fastest-growing areas of law and business. A longstanding leader in ADR education, USC Gould offers two degrees and a certificate to accelerate your career as a mediator or arbitrator:

No law degree or LSAT is required for the MDR. For your convenience, both degrees and certificate are offered either full time or part time, designed for the working professional, and are taught by USC Gould's renowned faculty. Classes are held at the law school on the main USC campus near downtown Los Angeles.

In arbitration, the parties provide testimony and give evidence in a less-formal version of a trial, with the arbitrator reaching a decision. In mediation, the parties negotiate a resolution with the assistance of a neutral third party.

Whichever path you choose, you will be well-prepared for a leadership role in this dynamic field.

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

Why Choose USC Gould?

Top reasons to study ADR at USC Gould:
  • Earn a master's degree or certificate from a top 20 law school.
  • Complete your degree or certificate 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 — the majority of classes are held in the evening or on weekends to accommodate working professionals. The law school is located right on the main USC campus in Los Angeles.
  • Scholarships offered — merit scholarships are offered to outstanding students who represent the exceptional quality and diversity within the program, with the most outstanding candidates being considered for our Dispute Resolution Scholars Award, which provides full tuition.
  • 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 375,000 alumni who are deeply committed to furthering the success of USC graduates. Our more than 10,000 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.
  • Become a Member of CIArb, one of the world's most recognized credentials in arbitration — as one of only three Recognized Course Provider schools in the U.S. for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), a leading professional membership organization representing the interests of ADR practitioners worldwide, USC Gould students are eligible to join CIArb at the Member level upon completion of specified coursework within the ADR curriculum.
  • 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. Lawyers trained in dispute resolution also learn to become better advocates for clients regardless of the area of practice.

We are still accepting applications for Fall 2024. Apply now to waive your $75 application fee!

You can also receive a $34 LSAC report fee waiver by completing our form.