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.
Protection of Enrolled Learners
Independent College has the approval to offer students learner protection insurance. Learner Protection insurance is only in place when each student receives their Insurance Policy.’ Each learner should ensure that they receive a Learner Protection Insurance Policy in their name. Learner Protection insurance is provided by O’Driscoll O’Neil and underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Limited. The learner protection policy provides for a refund of fees as specified in the 2012 Act. In some circumstances, it may be possible for a learner to transfer to a similar programme in another provider. In such circumstances, the learner may opt to receive the cost of an alternative similar academic programme. Transfer to another programme is always only a second option. The learner protection insurance policy is governed by s. 65(4)(b) of the 2012 Act.’
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 programme 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 professional competence 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 postgraduate 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.
This is a one-year postgraduate Masters programme that is QQI accredited. Students will graduate with an internationally recognised Masters in Dispute Resolution.
Who is this course for?
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 of 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 equivalent score for students where English is not the applicants' mother tongue.
Enrolment Information Required
In order to register your interest in enrolling on the February 2020 intake the following information needs to be submitted to the College:
Copy of transcript of results from previous courses
Completion of Independent College Dublin application form
Copy of applicant’s passport
Copy of GNIB card if already resident in Ireland
Copy of updated CV
Copy of English certificate – IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent test is required
Understanding Conflict, Causes, Analysis & Dynamics
Principles of Mediation Theory
Principles of Mediation Practice
Principles of Negotiation Theory
Applied Negotiation Practice
Theory & Practice of Arbitration
Advanced Mediation Theory
Advanced Mediation Practice
The Role & Application of Mediation in the Community (Elective)
The Role & Application of Mediation in the Family (Elective)
Theory and Practice of Workplace Dispute Resolution (Elective)
Commercial Dispute Resolution (Elective)
Students must complete a dissertation between 15,000 to 20,000 words.
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 are 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 are informed by the QQI Generic Award Standards. The programme learning outcomes (PLO), the module learning outcomes (MLO), and the graduate attribute 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, the 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
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 are informed by Independent College Dublin’s overall teaching and learning strategy, the scheme of assessment and the module-specific teaching and learning strategy.
Independent College Dublin aims to develop graduates who are:
Academically excellent with an in-depth knowledge of his or her chosen discipline, underpinned with well- developed skills of critical thinking, analysis and reflection.
Creative, enterprising, socially aware, effective communicators.
Active Leaders with a global outlook.
Committed to Continuous Learning.
Learners who study the MA in Dispute Resolution should have enhanced career opportunities within Ireland, the EU, and the wider international sectors. Types of employment may include:
Public Sector Managerial level positions
Membership of Professional Bodies
Private sector management, change management, workplace dispute resolution
Candidates should have an upper second-class honours degree in Law, Business, Human Resources 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 of professional experience. Such professional experience will be assessed on the basis of the College’s Regulations. on Accredited Experiential. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you will be able to study at degree level English. You will be required to show that your use of English is equivalent to IELTS 6.5.
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. Candidates will be required to complete a one week “bridging course” 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.
Fees & Payment
The annual tuition fee for the upcoming February 2020 academic year is €6,500 for domestic-based students already located in Ireland or the European Union. The annual tuition fee is €8,500 for Non-EU based students.