Graduate Certificate in Conflict Management

UA Little Rock’s Graduate Certificate in Conflict Management (CMGT – formerly named the Conflict Mediation Certificate/CMED) is interdisciplinary with courses across applied communication, business, public administration, education, and psychology. Courses are taught by UA Little Rock faculty and by national experts in the field. Courses within this program are offered in a variety of formats, including fully online and in person, allowing both fully online or main campus students to complete the certificate. Students can complete the program across three semesters (one academic year) or can go at their own pace.

Conflict management and civil dialogue is important in any profession that involves working with people. Educators, social workers, human resource professionals, health care professionals, and leaders in public, private, nonprofit, and religious organizations are among those whose responsibilities include managing conflict. This program prepares students to analyze, apply, and engage in constructive conflict management practices, including negotiation, conflict consulting, crisis communication, mediation, listening and civil dialogue, and more. Professional conflict managers assist individuals, groups, and organizations in reaching agreements, responding to change or crisis, team building, generating ideas or solutions, and/or seeking collaborative outcomes. This program offers critical tools for anyone going into an organizational environment, working with teams, or those entering leadership positions as supervisors, managers, or directors.

The field of conflict management is expanding nationwide in business, government, medical, and education. Whether you are interested in a career in conflict management or you feel that conflict management skills would enhance your effectiveness in your current career, this graduate certificate may be for you. Apply to our program and upload all of your application materials. Note that the program populates in the catalog as “CMGT-GC”.

Program Learning Objectives

At the end of this graduate program, students will gain a thorough grounding in the theory of conflict; understand the causes and effects of different types of conflict on people and communities; and develop skills in the practice, design and evaluation of a variety of conflict management applications that can be used in a broad range of contexts and group sizes.

By the end of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a variety of effective conflict management skills
  • Self-assess their own conflict management skill growth
  • Create best practice recommendations for a variety of conflict management situations

Admission Materials

  • A 300-500 word Statement of Purpose – a professional statement that addresses how you see this program as a good match for your goals.
  • Contact information (address, email, phone number) for two academic or professional references (no letters should be sent).
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities*.
  • Graduate School Application Payment ($40 one-time payment)*.
  • Please contact Dr. Bailey Blackburn ( if you have questions and/or if you desire to arrange a Zoom or in person meeting to discuss the program and your goals or the overall application process.
  • Apply to our program and upload all of your application materials. Note that the program populates in the catalog as “CMGT-GC”.
    • *If you are applying to this certificate program after already being accepted into another UA Little Rock Graduate Program, please email Dr. Bailey Blackburn ( so you do not have to resubmit transcripts or pay the application fee again.

Regular Admission

Applicants will be considered for regular admission if they have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or better on a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better on their last 60 hours of coursework.

Conditional Admission

Applicants will be considered for conditional admission if they have achieved a GPA between 2.7 and 2.99 on a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA between 2.7 and 2.99 on their last 60 hours of coursework. Conditionally admitted students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in their first 9 hours of coursework in order to remain in the program.

Special Conditional Admission

Applicants with a GPA between 2.4 and 2.69 who demonstrate extraordinary potential for professional achievement may petition the Conflict Management graduate coordinator for special consideration if s/he has a minimum of three years of verified professional work in nonprofits and is recommended after a personal interview. Applicants whose petitions are approved by the Conflict Management graduate coordinator will be subject to the same requirements and restrictions as those listed above for conditionally admitted students.


The graduate certificate requires 18 credit hours for completion.

Required Conflict Management Courses (3 courses/9 hours)

  • Conflict Analysis & Intervention, ACOM 7323 – This course introduces students to psychological and communication theories of conflict as well as conflict management approaches.  The focus is on using in-class activities to better understand the factors and dynamics of conflict resolution and develop effective conflict-management skills. Students also learn conflict consulting and lead a consulting project at the end of this course. This course is offered online in the Fall of each year.
  • Negotiation, ACOM 7324 – This course provides an examination of the nature of conflict and presentation of theories and techniques of negotiation as a method of resolving or managing conflict. Students will analyze cases of negotiation at many levels and engage in negotiation simulations including topics such as buying and selling, contracts, group decision making, plea bargaining, and organizational creation. Emphasis is placed on solving problems through negotiation and consideration of the role of third parties. This course is highly interactive, utilizing lecture, discussion, and extensive role-playing scenarios. This course is offered online in the Summer of each year.
  • Mediation, ACOM/PADM 7329 – This course focuses on mediation theory and practice. We will explore mediation as a process of resolving different types of conflicts.  The course will explain and initiate development of the skills necessary to effectively participate in mediation.  Primary attention will be given to collaborative, problem-solving mediation techniques. Simulated mediation (role-plays) will deal with a range of dispute subject matter and address mediation within the role of law and justice, the role of lawyers in mediation, and overcoming barriers to agreement. This course is offered in person in the Fall of each year.

Elective Conflict Management Courses – (Choose 3/9 hours – Students must take at least one Process course and one Context course. The third course can be from either category.)

  • Process Electives
    • Listening & Civil Dialogue (ACOM 5330) – This course is designed to introduce students to perspectives on dialogue and deliberation with an emphasis on creating and maintaining ethical communication practices which value the worth of another person while being willing to interrupt narratives which can lead to interactive conflicts. Students will learn (a) interpersonal skills to depolarize their own thinking, (b) interpersonal skills to help difficult interactions go more smoothly, and (c) intergroup skills to use when working in groups to bridge differences. This course is offered both online and in person in the Fall of each year.
    • Communication Training & Pedagogy (ACOM 7352) – Students in this course will learn to develop and deliver  a training project. Students will learn to prepare, facilitate, and assess the effectiveness of a workshop on a specific communication or conflict topic, using best practices in experiential learning. This course is offered online in the Summer of each year.
    • Team Development (MGMT 7312) – This course os designed to provide students with an understanding of the factors which influence team effectiveness. Current research and theory regarding group and team performance will be examined, and the application of organizational theory to managerial practice will be explored. This course is offered both online and in person in the Fall of each year.
    • Managing Public Disputes (PADM 7341) – This course teaches knowledge and skills necessary for effective management of multi-party public policy disputes and for collaborative problem solving in the public sector by examining public issues and policy conflicts; exploring effective methods for analyzing and framing public issues; and identifying step-by-step procedures for engaging in dialogue and deliberation, managing public policy disputes, and solving problems collaboratively.  Numerous case studies and real-world examples are discussed and analyzed. In addition to written assignments, the course requires active participation in class discussion, role-plays, and in-class small group exercises. This course is offered in person in the Fall of each year.
    • Designing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Systems for Organizations (PSYC 7330) – Conflict exists in all areas of life, and certainly within organizations, both public, private and nonprofit.  ADR system design helps to match the appropriate dispute resolution process with the type of dispute and culture of the organization.  Successful organizations deal with conflict in ways that improve rather than destroy relationships, and that endeavor to leave everyone satisfied with the processes used to arrive at solutions, whether or not they agree with those solutions.  Students will research assigned ADR techniques and prepare short but informative presentations and work in small groups to analyze a case study. This course is offered online in the Spring of select years.
  • Context Electives 
    • Family Communication (ACOM 5323) – This course examines long-term relationships within a family context from a speech communication perspective, primarily examining behaviors that occur in a functional families. Topics include family rules and roles, conflict styles and familial conflict management approaches, power, and decision-making. Focus is on using major family communication theories and concepts to help students analyze the communication system of a family and identify communication patterns, problems, and dilemmas in the families. This course is offered online in the Spring of each year.
    • Interpersonal Communication (ACOM 7300) – This course details concepts of human interaction as basis for developing interpersonal communication skills. This course provides an overview of the framework for personal growth in one-to-one interactions, small group dynamics, leadership roles, and other interpersonal relationships. This course is offered online in the Spring of each year.
    • Organizational Culture & Communication Analysis (ACOM 7322) – This course explores the concept of organizational culture and its relationship to effective and ineffective organizational communication. Students develop an understanding of a model for analyzing organizational culture and communication and apply this model to a case analysis. This course is offered online in the Spring of each year.
    • Effective Crisis Communication (ACOM 7350) – Over the past 30 years, crises, change and disasters have been studied in a number of disciplines.  Sociologists, psychologists, economists, organizational theorists, and communication scholars to name a few have examined these events from different vantage points.  Communication researchers are interested in the impact of communication on the onset and recovery of these events.  Our ultimate goal in this course is to help the student develop as a professional to better conceptually understand crises in order to produce effective crisis communication. This course is offered online in the Spring of each year.
    • Conflict Management in Schools (TCED 7341) – Conflict occurs every day in our school settings.  Excessive conflict impacts the amount of time available for instruction, test scores, adult and student morale, feelings of safety, student attendance, and the general culture of the school. This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of the nature of conflict and how it can be better managed in our schools.  Students will examine conflicts that arise between students, teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals, parents, administrators, school board members, and any else who comes into the school setting.  Strategies, processes, and skills for managing conflict will be present and practiced throughout the course. This course is offered online in the Summer of select years.
  • Aditional Elective Options – At times there are other courses that can be petitioned as fulfilling the elective hours for this certificate program. Please contact the program coordinator Dr. Bailey Blackburn ( for additional information on other elective options.

Graduation Requirements

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved 18-hour program of study

For Additional Information, contact Dr. Bailey Blackburn, Program Coordinator at or 501-916-6027

Apply to our program and upload all of your application materials. Note that the program populates in the catalog as “CMGT-GC”.