Postgraduate Taught

PgCert Dispute Resolution

Please note: There will be no intake for this course in September 2020.

This online course is aimed at recent graduates, career changers and professionals already employed in dispute resolution (such as negotiators, mediators, conflict managers, complaint handlers, and ombuds) wishing to develop or enhance their careers in the growing field of dispute resolution. 

The three masters level online modules that make up this course are designed to allow learners maximum flexibility with their studies. 

Why QMU?

  • The course is delivered by experienced dispute resolution professionals who are actively researching and working in the field. This ensures that students are up to date with the latest developments in the subject and can gain real practical know-how and advice from academic staff.
  • Our dispute resolution professionals, who are highly regarded by employers for their expertise, have provided continued professional training (CPD) for over 2,800 individuals om the Alternative Dispute Resolution sector across the globe. 

Course overview

Disputes and conflicts are inevitable in life, but how we resolve them is a matter of choice. For many years, across the world, courts were the dominant forum for settling disputes. Recent years have seen a dramatic shift, with alternative dispute resolution (ADR) now becoming more mainstream. With the role of legal institutions in problem-solving increasingly reduced, a new breed of dispute professionals has emerged: mediators, conciliators, arbitrators, adjudicators, complaint handlers and ombuds. These professionals are now the first port of call for many everyday disputes.

As people become more vocal in pursuing their rights, and as public policy seeks to mainstream alternative dispute resolution within justice systems, there has never been a better time to study the discipline.

The PgCert Dispute Resolution covers the spectrum of dispute resolution. Our particular emphasis is on more consensual approaches such as negotiation, mediation, and complaints and ombuds techniques.

The PgCert has been designed to provide a global perspective on dispute resolution. It will appeal to students based in the UK and overseas who are seeking to develop an understanding of dispute resolution in an international context.

Students are taught by lecturers who are subject experts. They are active researchers and dispute resolvers, and their teaching draws on the latest developments in research, policy and practice.

Exit awards

PgCert (60 credits): Upon successful completion of three 20 credit modules, a Postgraduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution will be awarded. 


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete three credit-bearing online modules in dispute resolution. This is a PgCert but we also offer single modules in this area. Please see the CPD section of our website for more information. 

Teaching, learning and assessment

The student learning experience is designed to be interactive, rich and rewarding. Online modules use the latest technology to engage students in a variety of tasks, including online discussions. The course is based around the idea of creating an online learning community with fellow students, where experiences and insights are shared and developed together. Your fellow students will come from a wide range of both geographical and organisational backgrounds, enhancing the overall experience.

Teaching hours and attendance

Modules are organised by topic and each topic usually lasts two weeks. On average, each week you will be required to conduct two pieces of reading and contribute to an activity. An optional campus-based element is available for those wishing to qualify as mediators. This will take place over a week at QMU.

All of the modules use interactive discussion boards which students actively engage with. Students are also encouraged to make use of technology to meet virtually with their fellow students and lecturers.

Class sizes

There are normally around 12-15 students per module. 

Links with industry/ professional bodies

The Fundamentals of Dispute Resolution module is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Students who pass the module with a minimum of 55% can join the Institute at Associate level subject to membership fee.

The Mediation Theory (and Practice) optional practical element is accredited by Scottish Mediation, and represents the initial training requirement for mediators. Students can undertake further training separately for inclusion on the Scottish Mediation Register.


The modules running will vary from year to year. It is likely to include three modules from the following list: 

  • Fundamentals of Dispute Resolution (20 credits)
  • Negotiation (20 credits)
  • Mediation Theory (and Practice) (20 credits)
  • Complaints and Ombuds Techniques (20 credits)

The modules running will depend on the minimum numbers. The modules listed are correct at the time of posting (September 2019) but are subject to change. In the event that modules are changed, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students.

Those taking the Mediation Practice element of the Mediation Theory & Practice module will be required to attend the campus for a four-day period (normally held in June). Mediation Theory can be studied as an online module only for those unable to attend. 

Single modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. For further information please contact Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre.


There are no placements on this course as students are usually already in employment.


This course allows students to access or develop careers in many areas of dispute resolution such as negotiation, mediation, complaint handling, ombuds work and conflict management.

Dispute resolution is a growth industry: the UK’s central government alone spends an estimated £1.5 billion a year on resolving disputes. At the same time, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution are increasingly being encouraged in what is part of a global trend towards reforming traditional justice systems.

With an increasing number of careers in dispute resolution, this course will help you stand out and become a leader in the field.

Entry requirements

Students will normally have a degree or equivalent in any subject and relevant professional experience. Prospective students without a degree but substantial relevant professional experience are also welcome to apply following discussion with the programme leader.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Accreditation of prior learning: You may be granted exemption from studying a module or modules up to a maximum of 60 credit points, provided you can demonstrate successful achievement of all the learning outcomes.

Application deadline


More information and contacts

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Start Your Application

Course Overview

Online. A short campus-based element is available for those who wish to qualify as mediators.
Minimum and maximum completion times: 1 – 4 years
Start Date
September 2020
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies

Current student, Service Manager NHS
“If only I had known then what I know now! After more than a decade working within the health sector dealing with complaints, I really which I had undertaken this learning sooner.”

Engage with the Team

Complaints Manager, New Zealand, Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman
“I tell everyone about this course, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's challenging, but achievable, even with full-time work and a family.”