Graduate Certificate

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3 people working togetherProgram Description

Course Options

Required Courses

Internship Experience

Elective Options

Steps to Complete the Certificate and Forms

​​​​​​​Program description

The 18-credit hour Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, offered by the Graduate College at Missouri State, provides a graduate-level experience for those who are interested in dispute resolution and conflict processes. The program provides for the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for understanding conflict and resolving disputes.

The certificate is interdisciplinary in nature, allowing students to select the courses that are the most useful and applicable to their chosen or planned profession. The program has two required components: a theory/research component and an applied component. Nine hours of electives allow students to further customize their educational experience as they pursue the study of conflict and its resolution in the context of their specific discipline.

This graduate certificate will benefit anyone who encounters conflict on an interpersonal, family, organizational, inter-group, or community level. Participants in the program learn to analyze, address, and manage conflict professionally and effectively. The skills learned are extremely valuable in a variety of professions and include the ability to understand and effectively intervene in conflict situations. Students learn and practice superior communication skills and develop their abilities to work with and lead others.

Program participants have included individuals from a wide range of fields, including the following:

  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Child and Family Development
  • Ministry
  • Social Work
  • Natural Sciences
  • Business
  • Management
  • Media
  • Politics
  • Public Service
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Communication
  • Public Administration
  • Counseling
  • Natural Sciences

Because the graduate certificate in conflict is a transcripted degree program, once you have completed the program the degree will appear on your transcript and you can list it on your resume or vitae just as you would a bachelor's or master's degree.

This certificate program may be taken alone or in conjunction with another graduate-level degree. With permission, students can “double count” coursework in this graduate certificate program toward a master’s degree.

Courses in the Graduate Certificate - 18 hours total

The following are the required and elective courses options for the Graduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. Note that hours may double-count towards a master's degree (with advisor permission) and that there are additional elective options based on a student's area of study.

Core courses (9 hours)

Required courses vary depending on if you have previously earned Missouri State's Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. The requirements for those with and without the Undergraduate Certificate are described below.

Requirements without the Undergraduate Certificate

Gain a foundation in conflict theory and build your skills by completing 9 hours of required coursework*, which may be double‐counted with a master’s degree (with advisor permission).

  • COM 611 (3 hours): Conflict and Communication
  • COM 621 (3 hours): Communication, Mediation and Negotiation
  • COM 623 (3 hours): Contemporary Topics in Conflict
Requirements with the Undergraduate Certificate

For students who have completed the Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, the core courses for the Graduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution are as follows:

  • COM 623 (6 hours): Contemporary Topics in Conflict
  • BUS 650 (3 hours): Negotiation, Mediation, and Arbitration in Business

Internship experience (3 hours)

  • COM 794 (3 hours): Conflict Internship

Build your skills by taking part in a 3-credit-hour internship experience that directly relates to conflict and its application in professional settings. You have the option to secure your own internship, or you may choose an internship option offered through the Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR). The CDR provides a variety of internship opportunities every semester in settings that include higher education, schools, courts, businesses, non-profits, and the public sector.

You may complete the internship experience at any point in your program and may do so in the fall or spring. Students completing the internship course take part in an internship orientation session (scheduled in the first week of the semester) at which time the Program Director Dr. Charlene Berquist outlines the available internship options being offered by the CDR that semester. Dr. Berquist also describes the requirements for the internship course at this orientation session.

To request permission to enroll in the required internship experience for the conflict certificate, please contact Dr. Charlene Berquist.

Electives (6 hours)

Focus your study of conflict on your professional interest area by selecting 6 hours of electives. There are elective course options in nearly every department, and you may double-counted hours with a master's degree (with advisor approval). Contact the program director Dr. Charlene Berquist for more information on elective options.

Steps to complete the graduate certificate in conflict

To earn the graduate certificate in conflict and dispute resolution, you must complete following steps.

  1. Apply for admission through a central application. You must have 3.00 GPA. You do not need to take the GRE. Students who do not meet normal admission standards may be considered for provisional admission. You should also complete a Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution Information Interest Form and return it to The Center for Dispute Resolution by email or fax (417-836-8831).

  2. Set up an appointment with Dr. Charlene Berquist, the program director, so you can discuss your career goals and your program of study. You can reach Dr. Berquist at or 417-836-8831.

  3. Complete the Plan of Study Form for the Conflict and Dispute Resolution Certificate during your first semester in the program. This form lists the courses you will take to complete the certificate program. The form must be approved by Dr. Berquist, who will enter your course selections into DegreeWorks. If you need to change your plan of study, you must complete notify Dr. Berquist so that she can approve the requested changes and make the appropriate adjustments in DegreeWorks.

  4. Complete the required coursework for the certificate, maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

  5. During the first week of the semester in which you intend to graduate you must complete the online Apply for Graduation form for the certificate program, located under the Student tab, My Graduate College channel, in My Missouri State.