Program Director: Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán, JD, PhD
Program Office: Graduate School, Eppley Building, Room B-11
Contact Information: or 402-280-3584

The NCR Program Vision

The NCR Program forms conflict-competent agents of social change for a just and equitable world.

The NCR Program Mission

The NCR Program is grounded in the belief that dealing constructively with conflict is essential for professional, personal, and community growth. Our mission is to prepare agents of social change to engage and resolve conflict effectively, efficiently, and humanely.  In advancing this mission we are guided by and build on the Jesuit Catholic commitment to social justice, responsible leadership, and professional distinction.

The NCR Masters Learning Goals

Integrating applied and scholarly approaches, the learning goals for the Masters are to provide students with the ability to:

  1. Communicate effectively;
  2. Define and apply the theoretical frameworks in conflict engagement and different processes (e.g. negotiation, facilitation, mediation, civic engagement);
  3. Demonstrate core competencies and practical skills for effectively understanding and engaging in conflict situations in a productive and constructive manner;
  4. Demonstrate an enhanced capacity for engaging diverse stakeholders in creative problem solving and engage in critical thinking;
  5. Practice reflective professional development in alignment with Ignatian values;
  6. Collaborate effectively with other individuals and design conflict engagement processes across diverse groups of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

Admission Requirements

The requirements listed below apply to the Graduate Certificates and the Master of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

  • Completed application (requires non-refundable $50 fee)
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons other than family members who can speak to your performance in an academic or professional setting
  • Statement of purpose. Write 500-750 words focusing on your long-term goals and why you believe this program is a perfect fit for you.
  • Short response to the NCR Admissions Writing Exercise (1000 words maximum). 
  • Resume
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and transcripts for all bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s coursework. Transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing school with the institution’s official stamp.

International Students Only:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). International applicants from countries in which English is not the primary language must demonstrate proficiency in English language by submitting a minimum TOEFL score of 90 iBT (213 CBT/550 PBT).
  • Certification of Available Finances. All international applicants must submit a Certification of Available Finances form in order for an I-20 to be issued.

Degree Programs

The M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution master’s degree requires the completion of 32 credit hours in coursework including theoretical foundations of conflict resolution, practical skills/processes, and electives that provide contextual application. Students must also complete a capstone course of independent, experiential work involving a practicum or a major piece of research. The master’s program can be completed in 18 to 24 months.  The program is offered online with two required face-to-face 5-day residencies and the possibility of taking some courses on campus.

We also offer opportunities to focus your area of study with Dual degrees in:

The programmatic learning goals for the MS program are embedded within the certificate curriculum. However, the assessment of these programmatic goals focuses on an introduction to the conceptual frameworks, as opposed to the in-depth mastery expected following completion of the MS-NCR program. The certificate curriculum establishes a foundation for further development of the skills and concepts relevant to the student's capacity to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Define and apply the theoretical frameworks in conflict engagement and different processes (e.g. negotiation, facilitation, mediation, civic engagement)
  • Demonstrate core competencies and practical skills for effectively understanding and engaging in conflict situations in a productive and constructive manner
  • Demonstrate an enhanced capacity for engaging diverse stakeholders in creative problem solving and engage in critical thinking
  • Practice reflective professional development in alignment with Ignatian value
  • Collaborate effectively with other individuals and design conflict engagement processes across diverse groups of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation



NCR 603. Negotiation. 3 credits.

This course introduces students to negotiation as a method of conflict engagement. Students identify the theories, concepts, and skills necessary to negotiate in interpersonal, intergroup, and intragroup settings. The course provides students the opportunity to practice their negotiation skills in a variety of activities and exercises intended to strengthen their confidence as negotiators. The course emphasizes self-reflection by drawing special attention to students’ personal conflict styles and determining the strengths and shortcomings of those styles in negotiations.

NCR 612. Staying with Conflict: Working with Ongoing Disputes. 2 credits.

Conflict specialists often think of conflict as a linear process requiring effective resolution. But the most important conflicts in people’s lives do not end – they endure in one form or another, sometimes for many years. This presents both a major challenge and a major opportunity for conflict interveners. This course considers what causes conflicts to endure, the role of short-term interventions in long-term conflicts, and the ways in which conflict interveners can help find ways to turn a destructive conflict into a more constructive ongoing interaction. This face-to-face course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 614. Seminar in Contemporary Topics: Complex Communities of Exclusion and Inclusion. 2 credits.

This course examines issues in conflict engagement that arise from and relate to the large-scale demographic trends that are the focus of the 2040 Initiative. The course content changes to address contemporary topics. This face-to-face course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 615. Negotiation. 3 credits.

In this course students become acquainted with and learn how to manage the challenges involved with shifting from the common distributive bargaining to integrative style of negotiation, which aspires to "win-win" resolutions. The course focuses on both the theoretical and practical levels: it introduces state-of-the-art theories of negotiation alongside experiential learning which allows students to experience and reflect on the various emphases in practice, while reflecting on their own strengths and weaknesses as negotiators. This campus-based course may be required depending on the student’s track and is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 616. Thesis Project. 3 credits.

This course is designed for students pursuing the thesis option. The thesis can be structured as an extended literature review of an approved subject, independent research, or a combination thereof. The thesis must be approved by the department, under the direction of a faculty member, and defended as partial fulfillment of requirements for the Master's Degree. This course is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

NCR 618. 2040 Initiative Seminar: Engaging Constructively with Demographic Change. 3 credits.

The 2040 Initiative Seminar examines the challenging issues that arise as changing demographics intersect with law and politics. Current demographic shifts include changes in the racial and ethnic makeup of the United States as well as the aging of the Baby Boom generation, continuing urbanization, growing economic inequality, evolving family patterns, and residential self-sorting of citizens. The course examines demographic trends, explores legal, political, and ethical issues related to these trends, and examines policy options and social changes to bring about more just and effective systems. The course identifies and builds skills for individuals to work toward equity in their own professional and personal lives. This face-to-face course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 620. Introduction to Negotiation and Conflict Engagement. 3 credits.

This course introduces students to the field of conflict engagement. It presents theoretical explanations of the causes of conflict and leads students to an identification and understanding of their response to and style of conflict engagement. There is a focus on explaining and distinguishing between a broad range of conflict engagement processes including negotiation, mediation, and facilitation, so that students will be able to apply the appropriate process to various types of conflict which they may encounter in their lives and practice.

NCR 621. Negotiation and Conflict Engagement Residency. 3 credits.

This face-to-face 5-day residency provides students with the opportunity to develop effective conflict engagement skills through the exploration of communication strategies. Students focus on their role as a party to a conflict and as a negotiator. Students apply theory to practice using simulations, role plays, case studies and interactive small group discussions. P: NCR 620.

NCR 622. Leadership and Conflict Engagement. 3 credits.

This course emphasizes the evolving roles and expectations of the 21st century conflict engagement specialist and introduces conflict engagement approaches that can be used productively by participants who are not conflict specialists. This course considers leadership through a conflict engagement lens and illuminates what the conflict field has to offer beyond conflict resolution processes and specialist neutrality. Additionally, the course explores an important tool of conflict engagement specialists: stories. Stories are the fabric of our work and we dive into these in the contexts of networks, communities, and one-on-one relationships.

NCR 623. Online Dispute Resolution. 2 credits.

This course introduces students to the potential for utilizing technology to assist and to enhance conflict prevention, engagement, and resolution efforts based on developments in the field of Online Dispute Resolution over the past twenty years. Students learn and practice the skills necessary for leading conflict resolution process effectively beyond traditional geographical limitations. The course enhances students' capacity for effective online communication and engagement (e.g., telehealth, virtual group work, and intra-organizational communication).

NCR 624. Dynamics of Conflict Resolution and Engagement. 3 credits.

This course examines the fundamental nature of conflict: how conflict arises; the patterns it follows; the different levels at which it gets expressed; and the different ways in which people, communities, organizations, and societies understand and approach conflict. The course considers a range of theoretical approaches to conflict and conflict resolution and looks at particular dynamics that define the way in which conflict plays out. The course considers particularly how conflict is defined by the interplay of power, communication, and culture.

NCR 625. Systems Thinking in Conflict. 2 credits.

This course focuses on diagnosing conflict and designing conflict management systems in social settings such as families and organizations. It explores important characteristics of complex adaptive systems, including emergence and self-organization, and demonstrates how our ability to engage in conflict can be enhanced by our appreciation of these characteristics. Using this theoretical backdrop, the course examines how stakeholders can address conflict in the short term while creating informal and formal mechanisms to determine how best to prevent or address conflicts over time. The course also focuses on the role of the conflict specialist as a system designer, tasked with promoting the benefits of a conflict management system to diverse stakeholders and leading the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating the system in an organizational setting.

NCR 626. Culture, Gender and Power Differences in Conflict. 2 credits.

This course takes an interdisciplinary look at issues related to the role of culture, gender and other factors in conflict analysis and resolution. The course provides an overview of relevant theories and research from social psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines. Topics such as the meaning of culture and conflict from a cultural perspective, cross-cultural communication, stereotypes, and differences in attitudes toward racism, sexism and ethnicity are discussed. Additionally, the relationship between culture, gender, and oppression is discussed.

NCR 627. Facilitation and Group Processes. 2 credits.

In this course, students are introduced to group process theories and the skills needed to facilitate groups of all sizes in a variety of settings. Characteristics of collaborative decision-making processes, participatory dialogues, effective group formation and development, functions of a group facilitator, and the value of diversity are identified, defined, and explored. Throughout this course there is an emphasis on applying collaborative conflict management theory, strategies, and processes. This is done by encouraging students to share their experiences of group process and development with one another and by creating an experiential online “living laboratory” learning environment.

NCR 628. Mediation Residency. 4 credits.

This course combines online learning with a 5-day face-to-face residency and focuses on the theory and practice of mediation. Mediation models, their underlying theoretical premises, principles, and approaches are deconstructed and explored. The role of the mediator is examined for a variety of settings including workplace, family, commercial and community conflicts. Students will apply theory to practice during the residency component of the course through case studies, demonstrations, simulations, and interactive small group sessions.

NCR 629. Organizational Collaborative Practice and Conflict Resolution. 3 credits.

In today’s competitive environment, organizations increasingly must cope with complexities, uncertainties, and conflict. The ability to build teams for collaborative work and to manage and learn from conflict effectively is critical in today’s organization. In this course students learn techniques and approaches for organizational teambuilding, conflict management, and process facilitation and consulting.

NCR 630. Health Care Collaboration and Conflict Resolution. 3 credits.

With a focus on practical application of process tools and systems design strategies, students learn effective conflict engagement techniques that can be integrated into clinical settings to improve clinical outcomes, reduce medical errors, reduce risk of lawsuit, increase patients’ trust in the healthcare system, and effectively manage legal and ethical issues that may arise.

NCR 631. International Negotiation and Conflict Engagement. 3 credits.

This course introduces students to a broad scope of international conflict and factors that underlie and contribute to dissension and dispute. It focuses on approaches to social justice, peacemaking, and resolutions involving negotiation, mediation and other interventions. The last part of the course explores post-agreement functions, important factors in reconstruction, reconciliation, and implementation of agreements and evaluation.

NCR 632. Effective Conflict Engagement for Educational Leaders. 3 credits.

This course explores personal response to conflict as well as a variety of conflict interventions for elementary and secondary schools such as negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and formal hearing. The course addresses strategies for having difficult conversations with individuals or groups. Other topics include the restorative justice approach to discipline, special education mediation and IEP facilitation, and child custody conflicts between parents. P: DC.

NCR 633. Oral Narratives and Conflict: An Applied Interdisciplinary Approach. 2 credits.

This course applies foundational conflict engagement skills to an investigative setting. To achieve this, students identify a topic that they develop over the course of the semester. Students work one-on-one with the professor to produce an oral history/narrative interview. Students interview a person who has directly experienced a conflict or has knowledge of a historical conflictive event using oral history interviewing techniques. In this way, students practice many of the skills in the conflict resolution field that are applicable in many professional contexts such as framing open questions to elicit stories, active listening, and self-awareness. Students are also encouraged to share their thoughts with their peer researchers within the class discussion forums.

NCR 634. Mediation Process. 3 credits.

This online course introduces students to the theories, models, skills and techniques used in mediation - a major conflict engagement process. Students will be introduced to and given opportunities to practice various techniques used by mediators during the mediation process. Students will also consider the impact of various issues, including trust, forgiveness, culture, gender and power on the mediation process, the role of the mediator, parties and attorneys in mediation, the connection between mediator ethics and Jesuit values, and challenges which arise during mediation. The course includes two half-day MANDATORY on-campus workshops which, together with the 7 weeks of online instruction, fulfills the mediator training requirements of the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) in Nebraska. Students who successfully complete this course will receive a Certificate from the ODR.

NCR 652. The Application of Coaching within Conflict Resolution. 2 credits.

Coaching focuses on empowering people to discover their own answers, to articulate clear visions, and to pursue their goals with clarity and focus. Building on our people’s inherent strengths a coach can empower them toward positive change. This course provides a preliminary understanding of key coaching principles and their role in conflict resolution. The course also explores specific principles of coaching within various models Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, and Wellness. The course follows the standards of the International Coach Federation. This face-to-face accelerated course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 670. Foundations and Functions of College Student Affairs. 3 credits.

This course offers an introductory examination of the history and philosophy of college student affairs. The contextual dimensions, knowledge and skills, and assessment/evaluation appropriate to the college student affairs settings will be introduced.

NCR 671. Internship in College Student Affairs I. 3 credits.

Supervised on-site experience in counseling, program development, and implementation for clients and the student body at large. Experience in the full range of counselor and student affairs duties, responsibilities and activities in their internal college setting.

NCR 672. Internship in College Student Affairs II. 3 credits.

Supervised on-site experience in counseling, program development, and implementation for clients and the student body at large. Experience in the full range of counselor and student affairs duties, responsibilities and activities in their internal college setting.

NCR 690. Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Families. 2 credits.

This course addresses the dynamics of family conflict and interventions in family conflict. Students discuss conflict around divorce, parent-adolescent issues, care of the elderly, child welfare, adoption, and family violence. The course considers a variety of responses to these conflicts including mediation, family group conferencing, divorce coaches, and arbitration. This face-to-face accelerated course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 694. Human Rights, Poverty, Medicine, and Health: An International Perspective. 2 credits.

This course introduces students to concepts addressing human rights and its theory and practice with a focus on the relationship between health and human rights. Students explore human rights issues at the domestic and international level. Topics such as, health impacts resulting from violations of human rights; bioethics and human rights; the role of health professionals in torture, mind control, human radiation; poverty, medicine and health; and cultural perspectives of human rights are discussed. This face-to-face accelerated course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 700. Engaging in Bioethical Conflict. 2 credits.

This course introduces students to strategies for engaging in emerging bioethical issues that lead to conflict among families, health care providers and organizational leaders. The course includes an overview of the bioethics consultation process, the role of bioethics mediators, and culturally appropriate approaches for addressing end-of-life disputes. This face-to-face accelerated course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 720. Seminar: Special Topics in Conflict Resolution. 1-3 credits.

This course explores selected problems and topics in the conflict resolution field. Course content changes each semester as current and controversial issues emerge in the field. This face-to-face course is offered on a rotating basis.

NCR 733. Practicum. 3-4 credits.

In consultation with the practicum faculty, students develop a practical field experience to further engage and apply their skills in a professional or organizational setting of their choice. Working with a site supervisor in the student's community, students demonstrate their ability to apply theory to practice and analyze situations using knowledge gained from previous coursework.

NCR 733E. Practicum Extension. 1 credit.

NCR 795. Directed Independent Study. 1-3 credits.

Students may arrange with an instructor to engage in a series of readings related to a specific topic and/or conduct research in an area approved by the department and under the direction of a faculty member. P: DC.