The hybrid modality allows students to study online for four semesters, including three weeks of on-campus intensive study during the spring or summer, dependent on start date.
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 points/credits per term) and study on campus.
These program sequences illustrate sample pathways to program completion; with the approval of the program’s Program Director, you may have some flexibility as to when you take your electives courses.
Hybrid with Intensive Study (Spring Start)
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.
Course NumberNECR 5101
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.
Course NumberNECR 5124
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.
Course NumberNECR 6125
Summer (On-Campus Intensive)
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.
Course NumberNECR 5105
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.
Course NumberNECR 5107
PrerequisiteNECR PS5105 Introduction to Negotiation
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.
Course NumberNECR 5880
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.
Course NumberNECR 6150
PrerequisiteNECR PS6125 Foundations of Conflict Analysis
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.
Course NumberNECR 5202
PrerequisiteNECR PS5101 Understanding Conflict and Cooperation
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.
Course NumberNECR 5210
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.
Course NumberNECR 6250
PrerequisiteNECR PS6150 Applying Conflict Analysis
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.
Course NumberNECR 6350
PrerequisiteNECR PS6250 Resolution Strategies
PS5250_001 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 an 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.
Course NumberNECR 5250
FormatOnline & Hybrid
Total Points (Credits) Required: 40
Electives can be taken during earlier semesters and students can also choose to stay one additional semester to complete the elective requirements. Please discuss these options with your Advisor.
Because of visa regulations, international students cannot take online classes at any point (credit) while in the United States for their on-campus summer intensive. Students must turn in all online work from the spring semester before traveling to the United States, and must not start any Summer Session 2 online work until they have returned to their home country.
Not all elective courses are offered every term. Consult the Columbia University Directory of Classes for availability. Students are allowed to take one elective outside of the NECR program, with approval.
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.
Course NumberNECR 5050
FormatOnline & In Person
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.
Course NumberNECR 5090
Complexity of Conflict and Change Management (NECR K5095) is an elective course in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NECR) Program. The course explores how change can create conflict and also how conflict requires change. Conflict is generally about differences in how people think, know, prefer, believe, and understand. By entering into a conflict resolution process, people can shift their understanding and beliefs about the conflict, the other party or parties, and possible outcomes. The course reviews literature and case studies of how people are impacted at a fundamental level when change occurs. Understanding this elemental human experience can lead to greater self-awareness and the ability to manage change professionally and personally, in order to become effective change agents, negotiators, mediators, and peacemakers. We will also explore how leaders at all levels in organizations can play an important role in implementing change in an organizational context. Thoughtful and strategic approaches that consider the impact of a change management process can mitigate and even prevent conflict. We will review change management models and links to developments in neuroscience and how humans are biologically wired to resist change. Balancing theory and practice, this course will focus on the experience and expertise of the students. They will learn to apply practical conflict resolution approaches to change efforts at the individual and organizational levels as well as consider national and international applications.
While there will be no required live course sessions, we will be planning one synchronous meeting near the start of the term and one near the end of the term. You are highly encouraged to attend both. These meetings will be scheduled once class has started. If needed, we may have two sessions of each meeting to accommodate time zones and student schedules.
Course NumberNECR 5095
Conflicts that arise in family businesses are informed by long family histories and patterns of behavior, multiple identities, and are often characterized by communication breakdowns and emotional upheaval. Conflicts in these contexts are costly emotionally, financially and relationally to family members and also to non-family employees and ultimately to the longevity of the business organization itself. When conflict arises within these contexts it can be difficult to separate the personal relationships from the business relationships. Because these types of business disputes can be especially emotional, how can we most effectively engage with this type of conflict?
This course builds theoretical knowledge by introducing some context specific theories, models, and frameworks. We will build on existing NECR coursework introducing the Three Circle Model of Family Business (Tagiuri and Davis); Founders’s Value Categories Framework (Liebowitz); Dynamical Systems Theory (Coleman, et.al.) as it applies to a family businesses; Family Systems Theory (Bowen; Minuchin) and family dynamics as a subsystem; Sustaining Cycles of Trust Model (Sundaramurthy) and communications in family businesses (Astrachan and McMillan); discuss EQi-2.0 360 version (MHS) and its usefulness in the family business workplace; introduce and administer the Neethling Brain Instrument (Dr. Kobus Neethling & Paul Torrance) (NBI) as a tool for understanding more about individual thinking styles and how this knowledge informs group dynamics.
Case studies will be a primary focus throughout the course, providing examples that address a spectrum of classic family business conflicts. We will use tools to analyze and develop intervention strategies in small and large group activities. This elective course is designed for NECR degree candidates, or any SPS graduate student with an interest in the topic, space permitting. If you are a student outside the NECR program, please contact instructors for additional readings to inform course materials. NECR students will be required to have taken Introduction to Mediation NECR PS5107, Understanding Conflict and Cooperation NECR PS5101, Skills Practicum: Self as Instrument NECR PS5880, Intrapersonal Dynamics NECR PS5124.
Course NumberNECR 5150
Analyzing and Resolving Urban Conflict (NECR PS5180) explores the contribution that the field of conflict resolution and strategic peacebuilding can offer to support efforts in lowering violence and crime, and to identify and resolve the underlying issues and patterns causing the proliferation of crime and the outbreak of violence.
The world we are living in is facing dramatic demographic changes. According to the United Nations, by 2030, 80 percent of the world population will live in urban areas. Domestically and internationally, cities are already becoming the theater of new social and violent conflicts. Soon, we will increasingly observe less peasant insurgency and more urban insurgency, fewer guerrillas and more gangs. In fact, urban areas are becoming the hubs of the transnational flow of commodities and people, of both licit and illicit markets.
The course has an interdisciplinary approach and will draw especially from the fields of anthropology, sociology, and security. Throughout the course, these disciplines will be in dialogue with systems thinking and dynamical systems theory (DST). Students will apply these concepts and frameworks to the complex social problems of urban violence and conflict.
Furthermore, the instructor will provide insights, principles and notions he has gained over the past 25 years while working as both a practitioner and a scholar in challenging urban environments such as Palermo, Italy, and Medellin, Colombia.
As an elective offered by the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NECR) program, this course builds on students’ conflict analysis skills (PS6125, PS6150), their ability to understand and apply relevant theories and frameworks to complex issues (PS5101, PS6250), and their assessments as to what influences the behaviors and cultural understandings of conflict parties (PS5105, PS5107, PS5124, PS5205).
Course NumberNECR 5180
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.
Course NumberNECR 5218
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.
Course NumberNECR 5205
PrerequisiteNECR PS5105 Introduction to Negotiation
Conflict, Social Networks, and Communications Technology (NECR PS5212) will analyze the relationship between conflict and communications technologies and will explore the challenges that individuals and networks face in using online technology for collaboration and conflict mediation purposes. The course will demonstrate how recent software and social media 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 on international peacebuilding, business, and human rights cases.
The course will also instruct students in the use of social software (such as blogs, wikis, curation, and visual mapping) and improve their “digital literacy” on a range of technologies. It will also provide practical (and often provocative) examples and challenge students to reflect on how these tools will be useful in their professional development and work environment.
As an elective offered by the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NECR) program, Conflict, Social Networks, and Communications Technology builds on students’ conflict analysis skills (PS6125, PS6150), their ability to understand and apply relevant theories and frameworks to complex issues (PS5101), and their assessments as to what influences the behaviors and cultural understandings of conflict parties (PS5105, PS5107, PS5124, PS5205). The aforementioned courses will contribute to the understanding of this course’s content and should, in general, be taken before this (or any other) electives.
Course NumberNECR PS5212
Conflict resolvers strive for social transformation, which happens in non-linear and sometimes unpredictable ways. This course is a fieldwork practicum that explores conflict resolution and peacebuilding through a social transformation lens, at the community level, in Colombia. In this globalized world, where social conflicts are often transnational and transcultural, conflict experts need to apply cultural sensitivity to their intervention skills because social conflicts are multi-cultural, and have their own unique political and historical implications. Social conflicts are often seemingly intractable, systemic in nature, and affect people’s lives in many ways, resulting in economic inequalities, racial discrimination, and gender imbalance. These multiple layers of issues create the complexity needing non-linear interventions. Therefore, when social conflicts are addressed, the smaller and more specific conflicts feeding into the overall social conflict need to be addressed at the same time.
In this course, students will take an intersectional approach to addressing conflicts, from analyzing and understanding them, to interventions that have been tested thus far, and designing new interventions or building on those that have been previously implemented. One goal is to develop ways of treating conflicts that ultimately transform them at their roots and not just their symptoms. Students will explore case studies that depict how communities (in Colombia) have come together to address and transform social conflicts. Moreover, given that this course draws heavily from the tools and methods used in the field by the Instructors through their practice-oriented research, students will collaborate to co-develop workshop modules drawing from their latest book, “Redefining Theory and Practice to Guide Social Transformation” (2020), which will later be implemented in the field.
Course NumberNECR 5240
Around the world, competing demands for natural resources as well as societies’ reliance on ecosystem services create practical management challenges that have led to multiple crises like climate change, biodiversity loss, and loss of identity and sovereignty for indigenous groups. Protected areas such as national parks, national reserves, and public lands are designed to safeguard important natural resources while ensuring social and environmental sustainability. However, protected areas and their associated natural resources are increasingly the sources of conflict among private sector interests, private landowners, conservation and non-profit organizations, and state, county, and indigenous administrations. This elective course provides an in-depth exploration of the drivers of conflict in contemporary natural resource management and practical approaches to overcoming impasse. The course will be taught in an intensive clinic format, and the case studies and virtual fieldwork will be aligned with ongoing research by the Instructor into global assessments of the social and environmental outcomes of protected area management. That research is investigating the drivers of conflict and cooperation in protected areas around the world through quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students will be expected to identify a protected area from the case list provided by the instructor in order to conduct an in-depth analysis. Students will undertake virtual data collection using interviews with representatives of stakeholder groups. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research initiatives including drafting peer reviewed publications.
Course NumberNECR 5260
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.
Course NumberNECR 5207
The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.
We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
Stay in the know with updates sent straight to your inbox.