Taught course

Alternative Dispute Resolution

University of Portsmouth · Portsmouth Business School

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry


Course content

Why take this course?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) enables disagreeing parties to resolve disputes through a wide spectrum of avenues such as arbitration, mediation and conciliation, without having to resort to litigation. ADR is a fast-growing area which will offer you a challenging and satisfying career through an array of emerging professional roles. It will appeal to graduates, lawyers, business managers and professionals who are interested in exploring this fascinating and diverse subject.

This part-time Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) ADR comprises two taught modules and has been designed for those who are unable to commit to the full LLM ADR programme. It gives you an introduction to the theory and practice of a variety of dispute resulotion mechanisms as well as a grounding in the relevant law. At a later date, you have the option to take two further taught units and a dissertation or professional practitioner project to top up to the full LLM qualification.

Find out more about the School of Law, our facilities and generous scholarships by attending one of our regular open evenings where you can meet teaching staff and current LLM students.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Examine recent ADR examples across a broad range of sectors
  • Explore the techniques of resolving conflict in small and large scale disputes
  • Take part in simulated arbitration and mediation proceedings using our state-of-the-art replica court room
  • Develop effective and practical skills for negotiation and dispute resolution

What opportunities might it lead to?

Undertaking this new programme will enable you to understand the theory and practice of negotiation and conciliation from mediation of small scale personnel disputes to large scale international commercial arbitrations. It is a step on the route to becoming an accredited mediator or chartered arbitrator which offers a wealth of opportunities for career progression in this rapidly developing area of professional practice.

We are a recognised course provider for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and law graduates will have the option of qualifying as a Member of the CIArb if appropriate options are selected. This will allow you to use the letters MCIArb after your name and offers an accelerated route to qualification as a chartered arbitrator.

Module Details

You will study two mandatory units from list the list below:

  • Legal Approach to Business (core if you do not already hold a Law degree or equivalent qualification/experience)
  • Commercial and Consumer Law (for students with a qualifying Law degree)
  • Theory and Practice of ADR

Programme Assessment

The course offers a balanced structure of lectures and seminars together with practical exercises such as simulations and case studies. Teaching is in small groups providing an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere.

Your learning will be assessed through a combination of:

  • Case studies
  • Preparation and negotiation exercises
  • Independent research and reflection
  • Examinations

Student Destinations

There are currently thousands of roles being advertised by employers in the private and public sectors looking for the skills and knowledge required to successfully handle dispute resolution. Career prospects could be unlimited for those with a passion and ambition to aim for top roles in large and diverse organisations or to become a consultant in this arena.

Courts increasingly require parties in dispute to under go ADR before resorting to litigation and the EU ADR Directive 2013 is likely to increase demand for professionals holding a specialist qualification. Mediation and conciliation are regularly used across sectors such as HR, construction and corporate transactional disputes, where parties are keen to avoid the costs and publicity of litigation.

Here are some routes our graduates might pursue:

  • Accredited mediator
  • Chartered arbitrator
  • Expert adviser
  • Dispute resolution consultancies
  • Industry specific roles in construction, HR and related sectors

Information for international students

A second-class honours degree or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Fees and funding

UK students
part time: £2,130 p/a* *Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
International students
TBCpart time: £4,430 p/a* *Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

Qualification and course duration


part time
12 months

Course contact details

Admissions Team
023 9284 2991