Join a unique and innovative interdisciplinary programme which focuses on a wide range of non-adversarial dispute resolution processes. The programme provides the understanding, academic knowledge and practical skills to resolve disputes between parties in a non-adversarial manner.

Course Type: Postgraduate Accredited by: QQI
Delivery: In-class & Blended Learning Fees: Irish & EU Students €6,800 International Students €8,800 
Duration: 1 Year Location: Independent College Foley Street, Dublin 1
NFQ: Level 9 Next Intake: Enrolling Now - September 2023 Intake
  • Overview
  • Details
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Aims & Objectives

What is this Course?

The MA in Dispute Resolution focuses on a wide range of non-adversarial dispute resolution processes including arbitration, mediation, and negotiation across a number of different sectors, including family, commercial, community, 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 gives students hands-on understanding of this important fast-growing sector. Our teaching team consists of mediators, lawyers, authors and arbitrators.

This MA in Dispute Resolution is suitable for graduates of law, business or related disciplines or those who have relevant work experience and who wish to develop their knowledge of this increasingly important field. It is designed for individuals who wish to enhance current capabilities and skills in Management, HR, Negotiation skills, Community Relations and Public Affairs.


Graduates will have enhanced career opportunities within Ireland, the EU, and the wider international context. Types of employment may include:

• Public Sector Managerial level positions

• Counselling and social work

• Nursing and family / childcare protection

• Mediation, Arbitration & Negotiation

• Private sector Management, HR, Change Management, Workplace Dispute Resolution

• Membership of Professional Bodies

• Third-level Education

Course Fees

The annual tuition fee for the upcoming academic year is €6,800 for domestic based students already located in Ireland or the European Union.

The annual tuition fee is €8,800 for Non-EU based students.


This is a one year Masters programme and is QQI accredited. Students will graduate with an internationally recognised Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution.



Semester 1 Understanding Conflict, Causes, Analysis & Dynamics
Principles of Mediation Theory
Principles of Mediation Practice
Principles of Negotiation Theory
Applied Negotiation Practice
Theory & Practice of Arbitration
Semester 2 Advanced Mediation Theory
Advanced Mediation Practice
Restorative Practice
Research Methods
Family & Community Pathway The Role & Application of Mediation in the Community
The Role & Application of Mediation in the Family
Commercial Pathway Theory and Practice of Workplace Dispute Resolution
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Semester 3 Students must complete a dissertation between 15,000 to 20,000 words

What do you need?

The entry requirements are outlined as follows:

  • Law Graduates: Candidates should have an upper second-class honours degree in law at Level 8 (or equivalent). Students with a lower second-class honours degree will be considered. Qualifications from candidates based outside of Ireland will be assessed using the NARIC International Comparison System. This ensures there are equal opportunities for overseas students.
  • Non-Law Graduates: Candidates should have an upper second-class honours degree at Level 8 (or equivalent). Students with a lower second-class honours degree will be considered. Qualifications from candidates based outside of Ireland will be assessed using the NARIC International Comparison System. This ensures there are equal opportunities for overseas students.
  • Candidates should have a minimum of two years professional experience. Such professional experience will be assessed on the basis of the College’s Regulations on Accredited Experiential Learning which may be defined as learning achieved through experience gained by an individual outside formalised learning arrangements where the learning outcomes are open to assessment by the College.
  • Candidates will be required to complete a “bridging event” prior to the commencement of the programme. The focus of the course will be to provide non-law graduates with grounding in some of the basic concepts of the Irish legal system. Attendance on this course will be compulsory.
  • Candidates who do not hold an honours degree (or equivalent) may be accepted under the College’s Academic Regulations on the basis of Accredited Experiential Learning which may be defined as learning achieved through experience gained by an individual outside formalised learning arrangements where the learning outcomes are open to assessment by the College.
  • English language level equivalent to 6.5 IELTS or Common European Framework C1 equivalent score for students where English is not the applicants mother tongue

We offer a free online English test which can be taken during the admissions process.

How to Apply?

Apply by clicking our Apply for September or Apply for February button

During the application process you will be asked to submit:

  • Copy of transcript of results from previous courses
  • Copy of applicant’s passport
  • Copy of GNIB card if already resident in Ireland
  • Copy of updated CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Copy of English certificate – IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent test is required

For further information email or phone +353 1 877 3903

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 emphasize 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.

Teaching & Assessments

The programme teaching and learning strategy is designed to allow the learner to progress through the theoretical and practical concepts in an orderly and logical fashion. The assessment strategy is planned to ensure practical application of the core principles of the module and facilitates feedback, which underpins the overall learning experience.

The primary purpose of Independent College Dublin’s strategy is that teaching and assessment support learning. In addition, assessment supports standards based on appropriate learning outcomes. The programme teaching and assessment strategy is informed by the QQI Generic Award Standards. The programme learning outcomes (PLO), the module learning outcomes (MLO), and the graduate attributes also inform this process.

Throughout the programme, learners will experience a varied range of teaching and learning strategies, which are selectively chosen, based on level, module content and suitability to assessment. Most modules will primarily be delivered through a mix of lectures and practical workshops, with tutorials in place to support where necessary. Typically, material will be presented during lectures and workshops, the material presented during lectures and workshops having been made available in advance of the contact time, with supporting documentation/resources also available via Moodle to learners.

It is envisaged that the learners will assimilate much of the material through problem solving and practical exercises. Emphasis will be placed on allowing the learners to examine the exercise problem descriptions and try possible solutions in the workshops. Tutorials will be used to allow the learners to get help, reinforce more difficult subject matter and provide learners with the opportunity for assistance to a specific problem.

Teaching will focus on the learner applying problem solving skills to existing programme material. Skills will be developed through a variety of mechanisms, for example:

• Integrated tutorials with industry engagement.

• Problem based learning exercises with trade practitioners.

• Co-delivering and guest lecturing on focused syllabus content.

• Application workshop sessions, diagnostic and troubleshooting skills.

• Case study analysis, review, critiquing – reflective learning and writing skills.

• Blended learning and Flipped Classroom delivery

• Directed e-learning

Formative assessment will from an integral part of the learning journey or the learner with feedback being provided on the solutions to problems posed in class and through assignment being critiqued and challenged in the educational environment. This will allow for risk assessment and a continuous improvement process to become part of their solution design.

Additionally, the teaching and learning strategy of Independent College is informed by the scheme of assessment and the module specific teaching and learning programme outlined.