George Mason University 1997-98 Catalog Catalog Index
Course Descriptions

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Conflict Analysis and Resolution


Blechman, Cheldelin, Clements, Druckman, Jeong, LeBaron, Mitchell, Rubenstein, Sandole, Tuso, Warfield

Other Faculty

Avruch, Black, Blakeway, Broome, Gopin, McFerson, Paden, Scimecca, Stone, Taylor, Wilkins

Graduate Programs in Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Conflict Analysis and Resolution, M.S.

The Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, offered by the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, is a two-year professional program that prepares students for practice through the integration of theory and such conflict resolution processes as negotiation, mediation, third-party consultation, and analytical problem solving. Students study the theory, methods, and ethical perspectives of the field and apply this knowledge in laboratory-simulation and workshop courses, and in field internships. The internships are contracted with agencies in the Washington area and elsewhere, including abroad. Graduates of the program work in a variety of settings where conflict resolution is useful--businesses, unions, government agencies, religious groups, court systems, educational institutions, community centers, and conflict resolution consulting firms.

In addition, students can take a two-semester, six-credit course or practicum (CONF 690 or 890) in the Applied Practice and Theory (APT) program, during which they become part of a continuing team under the guidance of clinical faculty members applying analytical methods and intervention processes to a variety of local and regional conflict situations. Doctoral students are required to take this course, but it is optional for master's students.

Admission Requirements
In addition to meeting all admission requirements for graduate study, an applicant to the M.S. program must have a GPA of no less than 3.0 in all undergraduate work and must submit the following:

  1. All undergraduate and graduate transcripts

  2. GRE verbal, quantitative, and analytic scores from within the last five years*

  3. Three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a faculty member in the applicant's undergraduate or graduate major field

  4. A four- to five-page essay stating the applicant's goals and reasons for seeking admission to the program

* The GRE must have been taken in the last five years; if the GRE is more than five years old at the time of application, it must be retaken; MAT scores may be substituted. Students holding M.B.A.'s may substitute the GMAT; J.D.'s the LSAT (which also must have been taken within the last five years).

Background courses in the social sciences, as well as prior work experience, are desirable. A personal interview may be required by the admissions committee. Prior graduate-level academic work is evaluated on an individual basis for possible transfer credit and fulfillment of program requirements; normally, however, the university does not permit any reduction in the total credits required for the degree. Although students may enroll on a full- or part-time basis, entry into the program is in the fall semester only.

Degree Requirements
Each student is required to successfully complete 48 credits, 33 of which are required: CONF 501, 601, 610, 613, 621, 623, 633, 636, 642, and 694. The remaining electives may be chosen from among other master's level courses in conflict, or in related disciplines with adviser approval.

In their final year, master's students, under the supervision of a thesis committee, may undertake a thesis consisting of original research related to the field.

Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Ph.D.

The doctoral program, the first of its kind in the United States, provides advanced study for students in the fields of conflict and conflict resolution. Students are prepared to qualify as researchers, theoreticians, and teachers in higher education, and as policy administrators, analysts, and consultants in both the public and private sectors.

The program stresses a close linkage between knowledge of theory and of process in the resolution of conflict. For this, training in the methods of research and analysis is necessary and is emphasized, much of it taking place in the two-semester APT program (see M.S. program). In addition, students are expected to obtain a background in a substantive area of conflict, usually related to the topic of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements
In addition to the four requirements listed above for applicants to the M.S. program, requirements for the Ph.D. program include a written sample of work that shows the applicant's potential for completing dissertation research in a doctoral program. Although students may enroll on a full- or part-time basis, entry into the program is in the fall semester only.

Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution is not granted automatically upon completion of course requirements. It is granted only to candidates who have shown a thorough knowledge of conflict theory and processes of conflict resolution, and the ability to conduct sound independent research through completion of a doctoral-level dissertation.

The Ph.D. requires 89 postbaccalaureate credits. Students with an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution will receive 48 credit hours toward this total, and are required to take seven core courses--CONF 802, 803, 810, 811, 812, 900, and 901--and six credits in the APT program (CONF 890). An additional 9 credits of electives and 12 credits of doctoral dissertation proposal and doctoral dissertation research complete the total. Electives will be chosen in consultation with the student's academic adviser and must be approved by the graduate coordinator or director of the institute.

Those entering the doctoral program with a master's degree in a related field will be required to complete, in addition to the above courses, 17 credits from the M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution program as follows: CONF 501, 601, 613, 636, and either 623 or 633. If such courses are waived because they overlap previously taken course work, then an equivalent number of units must be substituted.

All students entering the doctoral program must demonstrate competence in social statistics. This competence will generally require an intermediate course in statistics before or after entering the program. (Such a course will not be counted toward the total credits for the degree.) This course must be completed before enrollment in CONF 811.

Ph.D. candidates are required to prepare for and pass comprehensive examinations in the areas of theory, methods, process, and a substantive area of specialization before being advanced to candidacy. The comprehensive examinations are given once a year.

Doctoral candidates are also required to demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language. It is recommended that this requirement be fulfilled before starting dissertation work, but in any case, it must be completed before the Ph.D. degree is awarded.

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