Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution


Online with some face-to-face teaching

One year full-time; up to five years part-time
  • Regular online weekly classes
  • Some face-to-face teaching
21 February or 18 July 2022
By 8 February and 4 July 2022

Do you face disputes in your workplace? Would learning skills and strategies on how to work through conflict help you grow personally and professionally?

Conflict and disputes are one of the leading causes of stress in the modern world. Managing conflict can be challenging. It requires an approach that perhaps doesn’t come naturally to most people and is very much a learned skill.

Whether you’re looking to become a conflict resolution practitioner, are a current practitioner who wants to upskill, are someone who faces conflict in your daily workplace, or are a leader who is keen to hone your skills in this area, this brand-new qualification will equip you with the tools and methods to:

  • reduce stress related to resolving disputes
  • improve your relationship management skills
  • hone your negotiation and mediation skills, and
  • learn how to deal with client or customer issues. 

Endorsed by several industry and professional bodies including the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution (GCDR), Fairway Resolution Ltd and the Māori Alliance for Dispute Resolution Organisation (MĀADRO), this programme has a strong and unique focus on hands-on practice, skill development and biculturalism. It also reflects the practice of conflict resolution as it is taught and viewed internationally – so, you’ll graduate with skills that are highly transferable around the world.

Most of the programme will be delivered through online weekly classes with the skill-building components (i.e. negotiation, mediation and group facilitation) being delivered face-to-face. 

Career opportunities include a Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant or Peacebuilding Consultant.

Who's this programme for? 

This programme is for anyone who wants to understand how to better manage conflict and disputes. Perhaps you are…

  • a graduate with a relevant bachelor’s degree (e.g. law, social sciences or the humanities) who would like to expand your knowledge and gain the skills necessary to become a practitioner of conflict resolution
  • a current conflict resolution practitioner (e.g. mediator, arbitrator or negotiator) who would like to upskill and expand the scope of your practice
  • someone who works in a role or area that requires a lot of conflict resolution (e.g. HR, managers and leaders)
  • a frontline staff member who faces conflict in your workplace on a daily basis, or
  • someone aiming for personal growth who would love to obtain broader life skills.   
What skills will I gain?

Strongly informed by Māori practice, our programme integrates international models of conflict resolution with Matauranga Māori, ensuring you’ll become an informed and safe practitioner of conflict resolution in the Aotearoa-NZ context. 

In addition to mediation and negotiation training, you’ll also learn about the psychology of conflicts, conflict intervention theory and models, group facilitation, consensus building and public participation, crisis management, and international conflict intervention and development work.

During this programme, you’ll master the four key skills that conflict resolution practitioners need to have: 

1. Conflict analysis and assessment

This requires a good working knowledge of conflict theory, schools of thought and traditions, advanced critical analysis tools and self-awareness. 

2. Intervention process design

This is a process-oriented set of skills which requires strategic thinking, attention to details, risk management and creativity.   

3. Facilitation skills

These include a wide range of communication skills, thought flexibility and agility, responsiveness and leadership skills. 

4. Critical thinking

This crucial area includes introspection and self-awareness, resilience to conflict environments and the ability to guide your own learning and improvement. 

By the end of this programme, you’ll be able to:

  • select from a range of theories, models and frameworks to analyse conflicts in different contexts and design ethical and appropriate intervention processes
  • carry out and critically evaluate a conflict intervention plan of engagement
  • assess disputes in light of relevant legislation, legal procedures, and case precedents, including special implications and interpretations of legislation to treaty-relations, whakapapa and tikanga
  • analyse ethical dilemmas and apply ethical considerations in conflict-intervention processes. 
What courses will I study?

The programme starts with five compulsory skill-building courses. You’ll then choose four elective courses to widen your knowledge.

You can then opt for one of three career specialisation pathways if this suits your study journey – Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant and Peacebuilding Consultant. 

If you don’t want to do a specialisation pathway, you don’t need to. You’ll just choose the electives that suit you best.

Part one: Compulsory courses 

You’ll need to complete all of the following courses. This will help you to gain a baseline of basic knowledge and skills essential for conflict resolution practitioners in the Aotearoa-New Zealand context.

Course name Description
Psychology of Conflicts in an Aotearoa-New Zealand Context Gain a hybrid knowledge base on psychology of identity, groups and inter-group relations, informed by both Māori and international perspectives.
Introduction to Conflict Resolution Learn fundamental terms, concepts, theory, models, schools of thought and traditions in conflict resolution studies. It also covers the main legislation and legal proceedings, which provide the legal landscape in which Aotearoa-New Zealand-based practitioners operate.
Conflict Resolution – Fundamental Skills Take your first step into practice and gain the basic tools to build conflict resilience, develop your communication skills and gain working knowledge in mediation and negotiation.
Sustainability and Biculturalism Discuss the interlink of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and biculturalism in the Aotearoa-New Zealand context with sustainability principles and sustainable practice.
Aotearoa-New Zealand Indigenous Conflict Resolution Practice Learn the foundations of tikanga Māori to ensure you are a conscientious and safe practitioner, working with Māori parties, as well as in your mainstream practice.   
Part two: General Electives 

These elective courses will enable you to widen your knowledge into new areas of practice and deepen your knowledge in areas that you have already learned about. Electives will be offered based on sufficient numbers.

Course name Description
Conflict Resolution Practice in a Pacific Perspective Focus on Pacific perspectives of conflict and on practices that are common in and consistent with Pacific cultures.
Group and Dialogue Facilitation Skills Focus on group work theory and techniques and learn about/evaluate group facilitation models.
Large-scale and Complex Conflict Resolution Learn about complex, multi-party consensus building processes, as well as models and methodologies of public participation and deliberative democracy.
Community Conflict Management and Resolution Explore issues related to community development, conflict management and resolution, including community mediation. Learn how to facilitate large groups.
Work-based Project Work-based projects are designed to develop different aspects of your areas of practice and to support you to find evidence-based solutions to real practice-based problems. Your project could be based in your workplace, the community or another location that you have access to. 
Part three: Specialisation Pathways Electives 

Specialisation pathways are not compulsory but will be recommended to you according to your area of interest. You can choose from three possible career pathways: Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant and Peacebuilding Consultant.

1. Mediation Specialist Pathway 

This pathway will be ideal if you’re looking for advanced training and learning in mediation-related areas as it will position you as an expert in this field of practice.

Course name  Description
Advanced Dispute Resolution Training in Specialised Contexts  Gain advanced knowledge of mediation in specific contexts. Choose three contexts from the following:
- Family dispute resolutions (FDR)
- Employment and work-relations dispute resolutions
- Dispute resolution in the construction industry including tenancy
- Restorative justice and practice
- Online dispute resolution (ODR)
- Determinative processes – arbitration and adjudication
- Conciliation processes
- Statutory schemes
- Environmental conflict resolution 

2. Corporate Consultant Pathway 

This pathway focuses on the organisational level, equipping you with the skills to engage as either internal consultants or internal specialists in organisational culture change, crisis management and training.

Course name Description
Crisis Management in an Organisational Context  External practitioners are often contracted as consultants to assist organisations going through a crisis, whether internal or external. This course reviews some main theories and models of intervention in organisations, including leadership building change and crisis management. 
Teaching Conflict Resolution  Consultants to organisations are often required to conduct training to staff and management, in order to bring about change in culture and structures. This course will be run as “train the trainers” learning, focusing on conflict coaching and instructional design and delivery.   

3. Peacebuilding Consultant 

This pathway will train you to engage with high-level, conflict-related issues on national and international levels. You’ll focus on conflict practitioner practices including development work, conflict intervention, peacekeeping, programme evaluation and working in the space of immigration absorption and refugee resettlement. 

Course name Description
International Development, Intervention and Evaluation    Learn about practitioners’ work in the international arena for government, non-government and UN agencies. Cover main areas of practice in peace building, including conflict intervention, peacekeeping, development work and programme evaluation.   
Immigration and Refugee Resettlement     Large scale issues and strategies around immigration and refugee resettlement will be reviewed and evaluated to draw on best practice and lessons learned from international experience in this space.  
What will my workload be? 

You can study this programme full-time or part-time. 

  • If you’re studying full-time, you should typically aim for around 30 hours of study per week including self-paced work.
  • If you’re studying part-time, you should typically aim for around 10-15 hours of study per week. 

You’ll need to engage with online resources and activities, and complete assessments.  

What are the entry requirements? 

Academic requirements 

  • Undergraduate degree or degree-equivalent practical, professional or scholarly experience. 

English Language 

If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes

Got previous knowledge in this area?

There are opportunities for credit transfer and recognition of prior learning for this programme/ whole courses. Talk to us if you feel that you have prior knowledge in this space. Email or phone 0800 762 786 and ask to speak with Danny.

Application process 

You’ll be asked to upload the following documents when you apply: 

  • Personal written statement: In your own words, describe your reasons for learning conflict resolution. You may wish to consider your values, life and professional experience. 
  • Structured resumé or CV
  • Evidence of your academic records and skills. 

Interviews may be held where further information is required. 

Where the number of successful applicants exceeds the number of available places, a waiting list will be maintained, and applicants will be offered a position in waiting list order if one becomes vacant. 

Equipment requirements 

You’ll need to have a computer with online learning features (i.e. camera, speakers and microphone) and a sufficiently fast internet connection.    

What could I study next? 

You could further your learning with the: 

  • Master of Professional Practice (offered by Otago Polytechnic)
  • Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (offered by the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at the University of Otago)
Student loans and allowances 

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process applications. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.