Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution (Level 7)

This qualification has a strong and unique focus on hands-on practice, skill development and biculturalism. You’ll learn tools and methods to resolve disputes, negotiate and mediate successfully, conflict intervention theory and crisis management. This programme is strongly informed by Māori practice and conflict resolution in the Aotearoa-NZ context.

About the programme

Do you face disputes in your workplace? Would learning skills and strategies on how to work through conflict help you grow personally and professionally?

Conflict and disputes are one of the leading causes of stress in the modern world. Managing conflict can be challenging. It requires an approach that perhaps doesn’t come naturally to most people and is very much a learned skill.

Whether you’re looking to become a conflict resolution practitioner, are a current practitioner who wants to upskill, are someone who faces conflict in your daily workplace, or are a leader who is keen to hone your skills in this area, this brand-new qualification will equip you with the tools and methods to:

  • reduce stress related to resolving disputes
  • improve your relationship management skills
  • hone your negotiation and mediation skills, and
  • learn how to deal with client or customer issues. 

Endorsed by several industries and professional bodies including the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution (GCDR), Fairway Resolution Ltd, and the Māori Alliance for Dispute Resolution Organisation (MĀADRO), this programme has a strong and unique focus on hands-on practice, skill development, and biculturalism. It also reflects the practice of conflict resolution as it is taught and viewed internationally – so, you’ll graduate with skills that are highly transferable around the world.

Most of the programme will be delivered through online weekly classes with the skill-building components (i.e. negotiation, mediation, and group facilitation) being delivered face-to-face at our Dunedin Campus. 

Career opportunities include a Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant, or Peacebuilding Consultant.

Studying part-time 

We know that full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme with an option where you can study up to five years part-time.


This programme is for anyone who wants to understand how to better manage conflict and disputes. Perhaps you are…

  • a graduate with a relevant bachelor’s degree (e.g. law, social sciences or the humanities) who would like to expand your knowledge and gain the skills necessary to become a practitioner of conflict resolution
  • a current conflict resolution practitioner (e.g. mediator, arbitrator or negotiator) who would like to upskill and expand the scope of your practice
  • someone who works in a role or area that requires a lot of conflict resolution (e.g. HR, managers and leaders)
  • a frontline staff member who faces conflict in your workplace on a daily basis, or
  • someone aiming for personal growth who would love to obtain broader life skills.  

Strongly informed by Māori practice, our programme integrates international models of conflict resolution with Matauranga Māori, ensuring you’ll become an informed and safe practitioner of conflict resolution in the Aotearoa-NZ context. 

In addition to mediation and negotiation training, you’ll also learn about the psychology of conflicts, conflict intervention theory and models, group facilitation, consensus-building, and public participation, crisis management, and international conflict intervention and development work.

During this programme, you’ll master the four key skills that conflict resolution practitioners need to have: 

1. Conflict analysis and assessment

This requires a good working knowledge of conflict theory, schools of thought and traditions, advanced critical analysis tools, and self-awareness. 

2. Intervention process design

This is a process-oriented set of skills that requires strategic thinking, attention to detail, risk management, and creativity.   

3. Facilitation skills

These include a wide range of communication skills, thought flexibility and agility, responsiveness, and leadership skills. 

4. Critical thinking

This crucial area includes introspection and self-awareness, resilience to conflict environments, and the ability to guide your own learning and improvement. 

By the end of this programme, you’ll be able to:

  • select from a range of theories, models, and frameworks to analyse conflicts in different contexts and design ethical and appropriate intervention processes
  • carry out and critically evaluate a conflict intervention plan of engagement
  • assess disputes in light of relevant legislation, legal procedures, and case precedents, including special implications and interpretations of legislation to treaty relations, whakapapa, and tikanga
  • analyse ethical dilemmas and apply ethical considerations in conflict-intervention processes. 


The programme starts with five compulsory skill-building courses. You’ll then choose four elective courses to widen your knowledge.

You can then opt for one of three career specialisation pathways if this suits your study journey – Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant, and Peacebuilding Consultant. 

If you don’t want to do a specialisation pathway, you don’t need to. You’ll just choose the electives that suit you best.

Part one: Compulsory courses 

You’ll need to complete all of the following courses. This will help you to gain a baseline of basic knowledge and skills essential for conflict resolution practitioners in the Aotearoa-New Zealand context.

Course name Description
Psychology of Conflicts in an Aotearoa-New Zealand Context Gain a hybrid knowledge base on the psychology of identity, groups, and inter-group relations, informed by both Māori and international perspectives.
Introduction to Conflict Resolution Learn fundamental terms, concepts, theory, models, schools of thought and traditions in conflict resolution studies. It also covers the main legislation and legal proceedings, which provide the legal landscape in which Aotearoa-New Zealand-based practitioners operate.
Conflict Resolution – Fundamental Skills Take your first step into practice and gain the basic tools to build conflict resilience, develop your communication skills and gain working knowledge in mediation and negotiation.
Sustainability and Biculturalism Discuss the interlink of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and biculturalism in the Aotearoa-New Zealand context with sustainability principles and sustainable practice.
Aotearoa-New Zealand Indigenous Conflict Resolution Practice Learn the foundations of tikanga Māori to ensure you are a conscientious and safe practitioner, working with Māori parties, as well as in your mainstream practice.
Part two: General Electives 

These elective courses will enable you to widen your knowledge into new areas of practice and deepen your knowledge in areas that you have already learned about. Electives will be offered based on sufficient numbers.

Course name Description
Conflict Resolution Practice in a Pacific Perspective Focus on Pacific perspectives of conflict and on practices that are common in and consistent with Pacific cultures.
Group and Dialogue Facilitation Skills Focus on group work theory and techniques and learn about/evaluate group facilitation models.
Large-scale and Complex Conflict Resolution Learn about complex, multi-party consensus-building processes, as well as models and methodologies of public participation and deliberative democracy.
Community Conflict Management and Resolution Explore issues related to community development, conflict management, and resolution, including community mediation. Learn how to facilitate large groups.
Work-based Project Work-based projects are designed to develop different aspects of your areas of practice and to support you to find evidence-based solutions to real practice-based problems. Your project could be based in your workplace, the community, or another location that you have access to. 
Part three: Specialisation Pathways Electives 

Specialisation pathways are not compulsory but will be recommended to you according to your area of interest. You can choose from three possible career pathways: Mediation Specialist, Corporate Consultant, and Peacebuilding Consultant.

1. Mediation Specialist Pathway 

This pathway will be ideal if you’re looking for advanced training and learning in mediation-related areas as it will position you as an expert in this field of practice.

Course name Description
Advanced Dispute Resolution Training in Specialised Contexts  Gain advanced knowledge of mediation in specific contexts. Choose three contexts from the following:
- Family dispute resolutions (FDR)
- Employment and work-relations dispute resolutions
- Dispute resolution in the construction industry including tenancy
- Restorative justice and practice
- Online dispute resolution (ODR)
- Determinative processes – arbitration and adjudication
- Conciliation processes
- Statutory schemes
- Environmental conflict resolution 

2. Corporate Consultant Pathway 

This pathway focuses on the organisational level, equipping you with the skills to engage as either internal consultants or internal specialists in organisational culture change, crisis management, and training.

Course name Description
Crisis Management in an Organisational Context  External practitioners are often contracted as consultants to assist organisations going through a crisis, whether internal or external. This course reviews some main theories and models of intervention in organisations, including leadership building change and crisis management. 
Teaching Conflict Resolution  Consultants to organisations are often required to conduct training for staff and management, in order to bring about change in culture and structures. This course will be run as “train the trainers” learning, focusing on conflict coaching and instructional design and delivery.   

3. Peacebuilding Consultant 

This pathway will train you to engage with high-level, conflict-related issues on national and international levels. You’ll focus on conflict practitioner practices including development work, conflict intervention, peacekeeping, programme evaluation, and working in the space of immigration absorption and refugee resettlement. 

Course name Description
International Development, Intervention, and Evaluation Learn about practitioners’ work in the international arena for government, non-government, and UN agencies. Cover main areas of practice in peace building, including conflict intervention, peacekeeping, development work, and programme evaluation.   
Immigration and Refugee Resettlement     Large-scale issues and strategies around immigration and refugee resettlement will be reviewed and evaluated to draw on best practices and lessons learned from international experience in this space. 

Further study options

You could further your learning with the: 

  • Master of Professional Practice (offered by Otago Polytechnic)
  • Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (offered by the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at the University of Otago)

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.