School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development

Academics / MS in Conflict Management: Program Overview

The Master of Science in Conflict Management


MSCM Program Description
Cohort Format
Experiential Learning

MSCM Program Description

Conflict Management education addresses the issues that divide our world by encouraging communication, fostering positive relationships and developing comprehensive, long-term solutions. It enhances the safety and vitality of groups or families, communities and workplaces.

Conflict management is also a set of tools and a way of thinking that can help not only prevent conflict, but effectively engage it once it arises. Conflict management education teaches the various ways people choose to react when confronted with conflict situations and the effect of those reactions on potential outcomes. Studying conflict is really about learning skills which can provide the ability to respond in ways that help prevent and manage conflict by reducing ineffective responses.

The primary objective of the MSCM is to produce students who:

  1. Understand the nature of conflict from the perspective of multiple disciplines
  2. Understand the continuum of responses to conflict
  3. Possess the necessary skills to facilitate the management of various types of conflict
  4. Demonstrate the ability to analyze and research conflict in an organizational environment
  5. Demonstrate the ability to design conflict intervention procedures and strategies appropriate to a particular situation or environment
  6. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate the efficacy of a given intervention or system of interventions
  7. Successfully participate in conflict management on a particular level in one or more specific environments.

The Master’s program prepares students to identify and pursue opportunities for a new career based on conflict management expertise. The MSCM also provides students with enhanced credentials to pursue career advancement in an existing work environment.

The Cohort Environment and Executive Modular Format

The MSCM operates a Cohort learning model for the study of conflict, admitting a limited number of students to each incoming group each fall.

Taking classes with the same group of students from program start to finish creates a unique and enriching learning environment.Cohort peers challenge one another and share insights from their respective diverse professional backgrounds to contribute to classroom learning.

In a typical MSCM Cohort, over 20 undergraduate academic backgrounds are represented, several students already hold an advanced degree, approximately 20% of the students are international (often having come to us directly from a conflict zone), and multiple languages and ethnicities are represented. Such diversity in the classroom provides opportunities for enriching dialogue and discussion.

The MSCM program is a full-time, 16-month graduate course of study, but caters to professionals' schedules. Classes are held every other weekend, Friday from 3-8 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm.

The Cohort takes one class at a time for a total of 9 credit hours each semester. For example, students complete the Conflict Theory course in 2.5 weekends, and then progress to the next course, Negotiation Theory.

Experiential Learning

Kennesaw State Master of Science in Conflict Management faculty members are quite diverse in their research and practice areas, including environmental, public policy, international, court-related, workplace, non-profit arenas and more. Our faculty facilitates lively discussion and interaction in the classroom, and link theory to practice by using "real-life" examples of their work, and involve students in projects of research and practice whenever possible.

In addition, the MSCM builds in over 100 hours of applied skills-training clinics into the curriculum. These clinics provide students the opportunity to further translate theory into practice. MSCM students are afforded the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in conflict work in either a domestic or international setting through the Field Experience course in the final semester.

Domestic options for this trip provide the opportunity to travel to a conference, training or cross-cultural experience. Past options for this trip have included attending the Association for Conflict Resolution Annual Conference, the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution Conference, visiting conflict management offices in Washington, D.C., and Ombuds training.

International options in the past have included visiting the UN School for Peace in Costa Rica, attending classes at the European Peace Institute in Stadtschlaining, Austria, a cross-cultural trip to Egypt, an ADR-focused trip to Barbados, a study of the Middle East conflict in Israel and Palestine, and studying "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Details regarding trip options for each Cohort are made available during the second semester of the program. The domestic options are generally 4-5 days in length, and the international trips are usually 7-10 days.