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Amplify your impact in social work with Dominican’s online MSW/Master of Arts in Mediation and Conflict Resolution dual-degree. Get the best of these interrelated disciplines and stand apart in the job market.

Managing conflict is, in many ways, at the heart of social work practice, particularly in areas like child welfare, education and health care. Dominican University has one of the only dual-degree programs that meet the growing need for professionals with integrated training in both of these allied disciplines. Here, you can earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Arts in Mediation and Conflict Resolution together, allowing you to complete your studies faster and at lower cost than if you were to pursue the degrees separately. 

The program can be completed entirely online, with the exception of two five-day intensive courses in mediation and conflict resolution.

  • Best of both worlds: the convenience of a primarily online program with the personal connection of intensive introductory courses on campus
  • Learn from nationally recognized professionals in both fields
  • Gain hands-on experience through a social work field placement and an optional conflict resolution practicum assisting a professional mediator or serving in a nonprofit organization
  • Our MSW program has earned prestigious CSWE accreditation

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What You’ll Learn

There is a natural synergy in combining your degree in social work with a master’s in mediation and conflict resolution. Our MSW/Mediation and Conflict Resolution program requires a reduced number of credit hours for each degree, allowing you to earn both in a shorter period of time while still immersing yourself in the theory and skills of both areas of study.

You’ll master social work fundamentals—human behavior, community analysis, social welfare, and the nature and dynamics of family systems. In the mediation and conflict resolution curriculum, you will learn hands-on mediation skills right from Day One. You will explore the psychological origins of conflict, the ethical dimensions of the discipline, alternative dispute methods, and more.

Dominican’s MSW/MA in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at a Glance
  • Time to complete: About three years (full time); four years (part time)
  • Faculty in both disciplines offer a breadth of life and career experience
  • Program can be completed entirely online, with the exception of two five-day courses on campus
  • Social Work courses can be taken online or on campus (in River Forest and Grayslake)

Note: Admission to graduate and certificate programs in mediation and conflict resolution is open only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

What to Expect as You Earn Your Master of Social Work/MA in Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Dominican’s MSW/MA in Mediation and Conflict Resolution is almost entirely online, allowing you to complete your studies remotely while working full-time. We believe that a personal connection—to fellow students and professors—is also important. That’s one of the reasons we’ve built into the program two intensive five-day courses on mediation and negotiation that take place on campus in the beginning and toward the middle of your studies. In these hands-on sessions, which are led by experienced professional mediators, you’ll develop the practical skills of mediation and negotiation through extensive supervised role-playing and personalized coaching in small groups.

This sets the stage for a close-knit graduate experience that helps build critical career connections with your peers. All other courses can be taken online. It’s the best of both worlds.

A Focus on Ethics

Crucially, Dominican’s mediation and conflict resolution program includes an entire course on ethics. Professional peacemakers are motivated by good intentions, of course, but without proper preparation could wind up inadvertently doing harm. We believe it is important for students to explore the ethical dimensions of conflict resolution from the beginning to guard against such outcomes. This course examines the ethical duties owed to parties in a dispute, with a focus on neutrality, confidentiality and informed consent.

Program Structure

Most full-time students will focus their first-year studies on social work, complete their mediation and conflict resolution curriculum during the second year, and then return to advanced social work courses in the final year of the program.  

Financing Your MSW/MA in Mediation and Conflict Resolution Degree

As a graduate student at Dominican, you’ll find the resources to help offset your tuition and costs. Options range from scholarships and student loans to campus employment and graduate assistantships. We will help craft an individualized plan for you to meet these costs. Explore our social work scholarships or contact the Office of Financial Aid to learn more.

We can be reached at (708) 524-6809 or

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I do with an MSW and a master’s in mediation and conflict resolution?

Social workers have always had to navigate conflict. It’s in the nature of the work and central to areas such as family counseling, child welfare, elderly care, and education, for instance. An ability to manage conflict and negotiate is one of the most important skills for a social worker, including in advocating for the rights and needs of those you serve. As a result, the social work profession is increasingly turning to the formal conflict resolution process, expanding the need for practitioners with graduate-level training in mediation and conflict resolution.

There are many other areas of overlap. Professionals in both disciplines, for instance, work with many of the same people and institutions. They also share the mission of empowering their clients. Social workers, too, can enrich the field of conflict resolution. Having an MSW enhances the skills of professional mediators working in business, counseling, law, health care, labor relations, government and education. Bottom line: Having a dual degree will increase your effectiveness in either field and enable you to take your career in even more directions.

What are some specific roles for mediators?
  • Family/divorce mediation
  • International diplomacy, peacekeeping or humanitarian work
  • Human resources
  • Higher education/adjunct teaching
  • Community organizing
  • Counseling in the public and private sectors
… and for those with a Master of Social Work?
  • Aging care specialists
  • Licensed social workers
  • Medical social workers
  • Mental health social workers
  • Military social workers
  • School social workers
  • Therapists
  • Child welfare social workers
How do I apply?

You will need the following materials:

  • A completed online application
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Two recommendations (one from an academic reference and one from a professional reference)
  • Personal statement
  • GRE or GMAT scores are not required

Before you apply, make sure you review our full application and admission requirements for both programs.

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online

Make a Difference with an MSW/MA in Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Request information today