The MA is a unique and innovative interdisciplinary programme which provides students with the academic knowledge and practical skills to resolve disputes between parties in a non-adversarial manner. Upon successful completion of the MA students receive both a QQI Level 9 academic qualification. Dispute resolution is one of the fastest-growing fields and academic disciplines both in Ireland and internationally, offering professional opportunities in the corporate, legal, educational, political, HR, health, and community settings, as well as many others.
The MA in Dispute Resolution focuses on a wide range of non-adversarial dispute resolution processes including arbitration, mediation, conflict coaching and negotiation across a number of different sectors, including family, commercial, construction, and workplace. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, combining concepts from law, business management, international relations, policy studies, sociology, psychology and organisational development.
The mixture of experience-based learning through role plays and formal lectures by industry experts will give students a hands-on understanding of a full range of this exciting and fast-growing sector and it is designed for individuals new to the field, as well as for professionals who want to enhance current capabilities and skills in their chosen field. The MA in Dispute Resolution is as much practical as it is academic. The focus of the faculty teaching the course is to provide students will the skills of dispute resolution along with the theory to support those skills.
Aims & Objectives
The Masters of Arts in Dispute Resolution (MADR) is a one academic year full-time Level 9 programme providing essential theory, in depth knowledge, research skills and training to those who wish to develop essential skills for the resolution of civil and commercial disputes; for the resolution of family and community disputes; for those who wish to practice as professional mediators; and for those who wish to deepen their academic learning with specialist knowledge of the field. Dispute resolution as a field of learning continues to grow in the educational sector. There are a number of factors for this growth including the fact that a number of educational institutions are now recognising dispute resolution as an emerging area of academic importance; heightened public awareness and interest in the dispute resolution sector due to increased judicial support for processes such as mediation; and increased coverage by the Irish media for the potential of dispute resolution processes as cost and time efficient methods by which disputes may be settled. This growth continues having regard to the enactment of the Mediation Act No. 27/2017 which was commenced by S.I. 591 of 2017.
In the programme design for the MADR, the team were keen to balance the requirements of Level 9 education (in terms of learning outcomes, self-directed study and learner support) with the demands of industry for highly skilled graduates with the ability to apply those skills acquired in an educational setting.
The programme aims to produce graduates with both the practical skills necessary to carry out mediations and negotiations together with theoretical knowledge underpinning the field. Moreover, the programme aims to produce highly skilled independent researchers. It is important to emphasise that the MADR is not simply a training programme. Certainly, given the nature of the field there are practical/training elements to the programme, however, it is also a theoretical programme with a requirement that graduates gain specialist in-depth knowledge of the field and that they produce independent research of their own which reflects that standard. The relative significance of the theoretical elements of the program and the practical application of same is achieved by the proposed changes to the structure of the programme.
The overall aims of the MADR are as follows:
• To provide learners with knowledge and understanding of the fundamental theories, concepts and methodologies of dispute analysis.
• To provide and develop a professional competency in the techniques necessary to define and assess disputes.
• To provide and develop the skills necessary to employ a methodical and critical approach to challenges in the management and resolution of disputes.
• To equip learners with the ability to communicate strategies and solutions in conflict contexts.
• To provide learners with the knowledge and foundation to pursue further post graduate study.
• To facilitate the development by the learner of applied skills that are directly complementary and relevant to the workplace.
• To enable the learner to identify, develop, and apply analytical creative problem solving and research skills.
Programme Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of the programme, learners should be able to:
-Assess the societal, psychological, theoretical and legal principles that underpin the different forms of dispute resolution.
-Evaluate how different forms of dispute resolution operate.
-Manage different dispute resolution processes to effectively bring conflict situations to a conclusion in a consensual manner.
-Synthesise a range of conceptual approaches to dispute resolution theory and practice.
-Integrate a range of perspectives on current concerns and issues in the field of dispute resolution.
-Design and present solutions to inter-personal conflict situations.
-Compile research to an advanced level through a range of research projects and a major dissertation with ethical considerations.
-Demonstrate key communication and active listening skills and become critically self-aware.