Courses

Students Who Enrolled Prior to Fall 2017

Students who enrolled in the program prior to fall 2017 should refer to the pre-fall 2017 course listing.

There are four ways to complete the program:

  1. Part-time, studying on campus for six or seven terms.

  2. Full-time, studying on campus for four terms.

  3. Accelerated full-time, studying on campus for three terms.

  4. Full-time, studying online for three terms including three weeks of in-person intensive study.

International students should note that they are responsible for ensuring they have read and understand the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. It is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. In addition, if studying on a student visa, an international student must enroll full-time (12 credits per term) and study on campus.

These program sequences illustrate sample pathways to program completion; with the approval of the program’s Academic Director, you may have some flexibility as to when you take your electives courses.

Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions.

Required Courses
Elective Courses

Not all elective courses are offered every term. Consult the Columbia University Directory of Classes for availability.


Required Courses

NECR PS5101. Understanding Conflict and Cooperation. 3 pts.

Description

The field of conflict resolution has been developed academically as a discipline from diverse fields of knowledge. This course provides an introduction to the major schools of thought that contribute to the developments in social psychology, law, political science, social work, and business. The field of conflict resolution is also dynamically transforming, and the course introduces recent developments, particularly in the area of complexity and dynamical systems.

NECR PS5105. Introduction to Negotiation. 3 pts.

Description

Negotiation is one of the most important strategies in conflict resolution and is used routinely by all humans to resolve conflict and potential conflict successfully. This course examines both theoretical and practical implications of diverse assumptions and strategies. Students develop a deeper self-awareness of their role in the creation, perpetuation, escalation and resolution of conflicts, as well as in relationship with the other party.

NECR PS5107. Introduction to Mediation. 3 pts.

Description

Mediation is a strategy frequently used by parties in conflict to constructively address incompatibilities. The role of the third party differs depending on the type of mediation being employed. New models of mediation have been developed recently and the field continues to develop and grow. Traditional methods of third party intervention, as well as, more recent alternative dispute resolution approaches will be explored. Students practice applying constructive conflict resolution skills toward becoming an effective impartial third party mediator.

NECR PS5124. Intrapersonal Dynamics and Conflict. 3 pts.

Description

When we understand our cognitive, personality, temperament, motivational, learning, and communication styles, we can blend and capitalize on our strengths and manage our weaknesses. This course reviews the body of work that studies essential influences and the dimension of the intrapersonal dynamics that contribute to who we are and how we work. The course emphasizes a systems approach to understanding self and will be highly interactive, incorporating the participants' personal experiences and self-assessments (MBTI, The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Index, Communication Skills Assessment, Learning Styles Inventory).

The course will be a blend of concepts and skills, theory and practical application. You will have opportunities to practice developing your skills throughout the course, and develop and implement an individualized plan for guiding strengths and managing weaknesses.

NECR PS5202. Advanced Conflict Resolution. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS5101 Understanding Conflict and Cooperation

Description

This course invites students to more deeply explore themes related to specific conflict resolution issues using a variety of theoretical approaches that builds on their introductory theory course. It encourages an exploration of new developments in the field and introduces current research topics, as well as, issues in current events.

NECR PS5210. Conflict Resolution and Dynamical Systems. 3 pts.

Description

The emergence of a dynamical systems perspective and understanding of conflict and its resolution is one of the most encouraging developments in the field of conflict resolution. The course focuses on foundational dynamical systems theory (DST) that informs the relationships amongst the “attractors” that both develop and resolve conflicts, and their relevance for successful conflict resolution analysis and interventions. Students learn to use a modeling and information technology component for a hands-on engagement with dynamical systems as they use it on current and historical conflict scenarios.

NECR PS5880. Self as Instrument: Skills Practicum. 3 pts.

Description

In this course, students focus on practicing skills that will enable them to become more effective communicators. The skills in this course are meant to be a review of what they have covered in previous courses and then strengthened by building on this foundation with new materials and skills. The majority of the time is spent in hands-on situations in which students practice ways in which they can use some of these methods to resolve conflicts; their own critical incidents and those of others. Through guided reflection and supervision students receive small group and individual feedback on a regular basis.

NECR PS6125. Foundations of Conflict Analysis. 3 pts.

Description

Conflict analysis is central to understanding the context and content of any conflict. It is also critical for the person doing the conflict analysis to have a good understanding of who he or she is as an applied researcher, including the frames with which s/he views the conflict analysis. Our worldviews, assumptions, values and beliefs shape how we frame and create meaning from conflicts that we choose to examine, and how we understand the dynamics of those conflicts. This in turn influences any interventions we might recommend to address the conflict, which has immediate and far-reaching consequences. Therefore, to conduct a fair analysis of any conflict, and add value for the stakeholders involved, self-awareness is crucial. In addition to learning the conflict analysis tools that apply to conflict situations in multiple contexts, the researcher must understand the frames s/he brings to the conflict analysis.

This course is the first of four required (7 Week) hybrid courses of the capstone sequence and is situated at the beginning of the program. Students are expected to spend on average, 20 hours per week including class time, group work, readings and other assignments. This course is the foundation for developing the mindset of an applied researcher and conflict intervener.

NECR PS6150. Applying Conflict Analysis. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS6125 Foundations of Conflict Analysis

Description

Building on the other prerequisite course, NECR PS6125, and as described in the syllabus for that course, conflict analysis is crucial for understanding the context and content of any conflict. It is critical for you as a researcher and we will continue to build on developing self-awareness. In the previous course you selected the case study you wanted to work on, you completed a conflict mapping of the case, you applied other conflict analysis tools to the case, you framed research questions, and you reviewed qualitative research methodologies and applied one to your selected case. In this course you will continue to build on what you accomplished with your selected case.

This course is the second of four required (7 Week) hybrid courses in the capstone sequence of the NECR program. In this course you will focus on the data for your case study. First you will identify the types of data you want to collect to answer your research question. Then you will analyze the data using conflict analysis tools you learned in the previous course. You will then apply theory to practice and reference theories you learned in NECR PS6125 and other courses to interpret and make meaning from the data you analyzed. You will surface several needs to address in interventions you would recommend were you to intervene in this case. Students are expected to spend on average, 20 hours per week including class time, group work, readings and other assignments.

The course will conclude with you writing chapters one and two of the capstone sequence. Chapter one reflects the materials you prepared in PS6125 while chapter two is based on the work you did in PS6150. By the sixth class you will need to decide whether you are remaining with the same case you began with in PS6125, or if you would like to switch to an approved topic of your choice. If you do switch topics, you will need to apply the assignments from PS6125 and PS6150 to your newly selected topic in order to prepare chapters one and two before beginning PS6250.

NECR PS6250. Resolution Strategies. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS6150 Applying Conflict Analysis

Description

As a logical continuation to the capstone sequence, students will learn and be equipped with process considerations and mechanisms to plan and prepare for interventions. These interventions are aimed at resolving grievances or underlying needs as identified through PS6215 and PS6150. The strategic goal of intervention is change. Change can occur either at the actor level (e.g. individuals or groups), the structural level (e.g. organizational structure or the composition of the state apparatus) or at the contextual level (e.g. societal changes, cultural changes, nation building). Therefore, students need to have a deeper understanding of the context that they are planning the intervention for and need to be equipped with the necessary foundational tools of intervention strategies in order to tackle the problems at the systemic level. At the same time, students need to be empathetic toward individual needs and societal dynamics, aiming to be culturally sensitive when assessing the impact of their interventions and also maximizing the degree of resiliency within the societies they target for their interventions. Based on validated and reliable change management strategies, students will learn to apply the basic principles of interventions to the cases already identified in PS6125 and PS6150. As they move along the trajectory of the course, students will become more proficient at thinking contextually while being grounded in their cases and intervention strategies. Through small and large group engagements, complemented by individual assignments, students will make use of the established cases to frame their own approach to the case studies, therefore allowing an individual take and perspective on the intervention strategies. Subsequently, students will also ensure that risks to each intervention are properly identified and managed, and that risk mitigation strategies are in place. The course will introduce an intervention template, allowing for rigor in application and discipline of thought and push students to critical think and empathize with their conflict scenario through constant peer review sessions and problem-based discussions.

The next course in the sequence, PS6350 will engage students in identifying a new set of strategies aimed at sustaining and measuring the change.

NECR PS6350. Networking and Sustainability. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS6250 Resolution Strategies

Description

Human networks are a vital element of group conflict. Networks can be local, national, transnational, and global, and seek to drive or mitigate conflict. From localized peacebuilding networks to transnational illicit organizations, the final portion of the capstone project explores the centrality of human networks in conflict, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The course will examine the sociology of networks by introducing core concepts from social network analysis (SNA), mapping of actors and their positionality vis-à-vis sustainability and planning for impact, and strategies for sustaining the change you seek to achieve from the resolution strategies of PS6250. Building on previous actor analysis in PS6125, students will analyze and deconstruct the network structures in their projects. Using this network analysis, students will evaluate the unique challenges to achieving long-term sustainability and impact in their project design. Students will examine competing arguments on program design including linear approaches such as Results Based Management (RBM), and engaging complexity through Participatory Action Research. As such the class will explore related contemporary M and E designs for students to incorporate into their own capstone context. Students will learn to interpret and apply relevant methods to the cases already identified in PS6125, PS6150, and PS6250. As the course advances, students will demonstrate this contextual knowledge applied to their capstone cases.

Elective Courses

NECR PS5050. Introduction to Health Care Negotiations. 3 pts.

Description

The topic of health care continues to capture the attention of the nation in ongoing debates fueled by rising costs, over utilization and the implementation of much needed reforms (Affordable Care Act). As the health care industry continues to rapidly evolve, it provides a context ripe for learning and applying concepts, theories and research related to negotiation and conflict resolution. This course is applicable not only to students pursuing careers in health care, but is also designed for students who are interested in applying negotiation skills they have learned in an environment that can be emotionally charged and conceptually complex.

Throughout this course students will be given the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned from previous classes as well as to solidify key concepts and theories of negotiation and conflict resolution. This course is designed to challenge each student to harness their critical thinking skills, uncover nuance and recognize the complexities associated with multiparty negotiations. Our goal is to help students develop and implement negotiation strategies that will bridge the gap between the classroom and real-life scenarios.

NECR PS5090. Fundamentals of Organizational Ombuds Practice. 3 pts.

Description

The ombuds profession has seen a tremendous growth in interest as interest in alternative dispute resolution and integrated dispute resolution systems within organizations has increased. However, when asked, the average person in the United States still neither knows what an ombudsperson is nor the functions that an ombudsperson fulfills within an organization. This class will introduce students to the major theoretical and practical issues inherent in the ombuds profession. With particular focus on the Standards of Practice as articulated by the International Ombudsman Association, students will learn about the unique services that organizational ombudspeople provide to organizations and to individuals within those organizations.

NECR PS5095. Advanced Ombuds Practice. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS5090 Fundamentals of Organizational Ombuds Practice

Description

Building on the concepts introduced in Fundamentals of Ombudsman Practice, this course will explore the principles, leading practices and key considerations associated with designing, establishing and embedding an ombudsman function within an organization. Attention will be given to strategies for generating buy-in for the creation of an ombudsman program and managing the organizational change associated with implementation. Legal issues associated with establishing and operating an ombudsman program will also be addressed. We will explore approaches for understanding and appropriately communicating ombudsman program effectiveness, impact and contributions through measurement, reporting, and stakeholder relations, both to sustain existent programs and make new programs possible. This is practice oriented class focused on knowledge and awareness development for enactment in real world settings. The highly participative successful student will complete the class with significant capacity to build ombuds programs.

NECR PS5180. Analyzing & Resolving Urban Conflict. 3 pts.

Description

This is an innovative course, which will apply insights from a variety of disciplines and theories of intractable conflicts, to urban violence and urban conflicts. This course will explore the contribution that the field of conflict resolution and strategic peace building can offer to support efforts in lowering violence and crime; to identify and to resolve the underlying issues and patterns causing the proliferation of crime and the outbreak of violence.

The course will have an interdisciplinary approach and will in particular draw from the fields of anthropology, sociology and geography. Throughout the course, these disciplines will be dialogue with the applied mathematic concepts of dynamical system and the theories of intractable conflicts. Students will not only become familiar with the study of important social scientists, they will have an opportunity to apply the concepts learned in mapping and in analyzing case studies in urban violence. Furthermore, the Instructor will provide insights he has gained over the past 20 years in working as both a practitioner and as a scholar in challenging urban contexts such as Palermo, in Italy, in the fight against the Sicilian Mafia; in Medellin Colombia, and currently in Newark, New Jersey.

NECR PS5205. Advanced Negotiation. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS5105 Introduction to Negotiation

Description

The course focuses on negotiation in particularly challenging settings. It builds on the concepts and skills from the introductory course as students have the opportunity to further fine-tune their awareness and skills. The dilemmas and paradoxes generated by the unavailability of some actors to engage in negotiation are explored, as well as the dilemmas generated by particularly complex environments. There is a fuller more strategic engagement with negotiation, especially applicable with parties who are not initially willing to collaborate. There is a focus on the use of Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) and the practice of conflict coaching.

NECR PS5207. Advanced Mediation. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS5107 Introduction to Mediation

Description

The course focuses on skill building and strengthening the capacity of students to actually perform mediation services in diverse settings. It further develops the concepts and skills necessary for effective mediators to use. Actual cases are utilized as students practice addressing the many complexities inherent in mediation, including their own biases. There are exercises and discussions aimed at deepening cultural sensitivity and developing the ability to shift the perspectives of the involved parties through reframing. Students receive feedback on their ability to develop mediation cases and on their practice in the role of mediator.

NECR PS5208. Advanced Mediation Apprenticeship. 3 pts.

Prerequisite

NECR PS5207 Advanced Mediation

Description

The challenge of collaborative, integrated problem solving has implications for conflict resolution in a variety of environments; from the personal, individual conflict to those that occur in the larger community, in the workplace and in the international realm. The opportunity for the skilled mediator to support parties in conflict in order to build mutually acceptable agreements that are sustainable requires skills on the highest level.

This course is designed to refine and sharpen those skills acquired in Advanced Mediation. Students will build on what has been learned both conceptually and practically.

It will be a blend of practice and theory and students will be expected to situate this learning and development within their own current status as third party interveners or mediators. Students will also have received the requisite training hours necessary to qualify for Advanced Mediation – The Apprenticeship that meet the standards established by the Unified Court System Office of ADR and Court Improvement Programs. At the conclusion of the course, students will be observed by Jenny Besch and staff from the Westchester and Rockland Mediation Centers of CLUSTER for certification.

NECR PS5212. Conflict, Social Networks, and Communication Technologies. 3 pts.

Description

This course will explore the interconnections between conflict and communications technologies and analyze how this relationship is increasingly mediated by social networks. It will confront the challenges that individuals and organizations face in using online technology for collaboration and conflict mediation purposes. The course will show how recent software innovations can facilitate knowledge acquisition, network building, and the analysis and presentation of conflict related data. Finally, it will analyze contemporary cases where developments in communications technologies have played a critical role in exacerbating and/or resolving conflicts.

The course focuses both on international peacebuilding cases, as well as those concerning business and human rights. The former cases include Israel-Palestine, refugees, genocide prevention, and election violence monitoring. The latter cases include online harassment, sex trafficking, new business models such as Uber, and extractive resource conflicts.

It will also instruct students in the use of social software (such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, and network visualization and video annotation tools). The emphasis of the course is to provide practical examples and to challenge students to reflect on how these new understandings and tools will be useful in their professional lives.

NECR PS5218. Environmental Conflict Resolution Strategies: Theory and Design. 3 pts.

Description

This course provides an in-depth exploration of the field of environmental conflict resolution. Through lectures, case studies, and simulated negotiations, students will develop the skills and frameworks needed to understand and address environmental conflicts. Through a final project, students will gain exposure to intervention design and will develop tools for monitoring and evaluation of conflict management programs.

The natural environment provides a wide range of goods and services on which humans depend for survival, identity, livelihoods, and physical and emotional health. Because we are tied so directly and completely to the environment, both environmental conflicts and conflicts involving environmental drivers can be extremely complex and difficult to resolve. Moreover, the implementation of negotiated settlements can have unintended environmental and social impacts. Thus the metrics of success for conflict resolution must sometimes be expanded to include elements of environmental sustainability or reduction of natural hazards. Students participating in this course will gain: 1) grounding in social-ecological and environmental conflict resolution theory; 2) analytical frameworks for environmental conflict assessment; 3)exposure to a range of traditional ADR and innovative resource management techniques for pursuing environmental conflict resolution; and 4) knowledge and skills to evaluate the effectiveness of conflict intervention strategies.

NECR PS5250. Fieldwork. 1 pt.

Description

The required Fieldwork course is designed to provide students with practical or research experience in conflict resolution. Through this course, students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom, either theory, research or practical skills, to their experiential situation. The course is designed to provide students exposure either in an organization, international affairs or humanitarian cause, community mediation or research setting depending on the path and choice that the student makes. Some examples of possible fieldwork opportunities could be internships, working with local or international NGOs, community mediation centers, assisting faculty research, supporting a professional conference, among others. Students may also leverage this course as an opportunity to advance their capstone project.

Learn more about the Fieldwork course in this webinar recording.

NECR PS5260. International Fieldwork on Regional Environmental Sustainability (Israel/Jordan). 3 pts.

Description

This course will provide a fieldwork opportunity for students to learn about: the ways in which natural resource and environmental issues span geographical boundaries; how political conflicts may create, sustain and escalate these problems; and the role the environment can play in future negotiations toward constructive, peaceful and sustainable outcomes. The program will focus on the areas within Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in addition to the “Seam Zone” between these bounded areas.

Students will visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories and will experience firsthand the social and political challenges facing the policymakers and environmental scientists who seek to address these issues. Currently, there is limited cooperation in the Middle East on environmental issues and joint management of shared natural resources. The trans-boundary nature of the environmental problems in the region suggests that a joint, integrated approach to resource management is critically needed and may serve as the common ground for achieving sustainable peace.

NECR PS5280. Leadership and Framing. 3 pts.

Description

Leaders operate in uncertain and sometimes chaotic environments. While leaders may not control events, they do influence how events are seen and are understood. This course treats leaders as managers of meaning. Framing as a skill can have profound consequences for behavior that influences how we and others respond to the world and in organizations. Through discussion and application this course aims to increase your understanding of how to shape your own realities and co-construct meaning through everyday conversations with others. It will lend you the tools needed for the formulation of concepts and theoretical frameworks for leadership and framing.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.