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DePaul’s Masters of Legal Studies (MLS) program is specifically designed for professionals who do not seek to practice law but who encounter legal issues in their work and would benefit from a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of legal reasoning and doctrine. With such specialized legal knowledge, MLS graduates stand out as professionals who can effectively and comfortably communicate with legal counsel and can assess the needs of their organizations as the laws and regulations change in their professions.
A great variety of professionals would benefit from the MLS credential to enhance their current positions or to advance within their organizations. Examples include:
- Doctors, nurses, public health workers and other health care administrators
- Patent and trademark assistants, engineers and other technology-related professionals
- Compliance professionals
- Contract analysts
- Business executives, supervisors, managers and entrepreneurs
- Risk and quality assurance managers
- Financial and estate planners and other investment advisors
- Tax specialists, accountants and CPAs
- Policy makers, lobbyists and government regulators
- Nonprofit professionals
- Development officers
- Librarians and educators
- Real estate professionals
- Human resource and employee benefits professionals
- Mediators and labor and employment negotiators
- Police officers, social workers and psychologists
Through the program, MLS students gain general and specialized legal knowledge related to their areas of interest. Students learn the process of legal analysis by examining cases, laws and regulations. They develop the abilities to conduct effective and relevant legal research as well as to communicate clearly and analytically. Students also acquire the ability to think critically about legal issues and correctly apply current legal authority.
|Program Requirements||Semester Hours|
|Total hours required||30|
Students will be able to:
- Identify structures of the U.S. legal system and government institutions.
- Demonstrate understanding of how a common law system operates in a constitutional democracy.
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of the legal rules and policies in the student's area of specialization.
- Identify and apply relevant legal authority.
- Communicate clearly in speech and writing.
The MLS is a 30-credit hour degree program that can be completed in one and a half years of full-time study or in up to six years of part-time study. MLS students choose courses directly from the College of Law’s extensive curriculum. MLS students with significant, relevant work experience may apply for a waiver of up to six credit hours, for a total degree requirement of 24 credit hours. Students must be able to demonstrate substantial professional experience of at least 12 months' duration in a relevant field of interest to qualify.
Credits earned as part of the MLS degree program are not transferable to the JD degree. Students who graduate with an MLS degree are not eligible to sit for the bar exam or to become licensed attorneys.
Enrollment Classifications and Time to Degree Completion
For MLS students a nine semester hour course load is considered full-time (6 semester hours for summer study). A six semester hour course load is considered half-time (3 hours for summer study). MLS students may opt to take only three semester hours per term.
Students who are unable to complete the MLS degree within six years are required to confer with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Law.
Grades and Good Standing
To be considered in good standing at the College of Law, MLS students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 over three semesters. Grades received in the Summer session are not included in a student’s GPA for the prior academic year. MLS students are not included in the grade curve that applies to JD students.
At the time of application MLS students select a specialized course of legal study, and upon completion of the program they earn a concentration in the selected area, which is designated on their final transcript. All MLS students complete two required foundational courses in American law.
Required Foundational Courses
|LAW 322||INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN LAW AND LEGAL SYSTEMS||3|
|LAW 556||INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL WRITING AND RESEARCH||3|
MLS students complete the required and elective courses in their chosen concentration.
- Art and Cultural Heritage Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Business Law and Taxation Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Family Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Health and Intellectual Property Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Health Care Compliance, Law (MLS)
- Health Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Intellectual Property (IP) Law Concentration with Information Technology Law Specialty, Law (MLS)
- Intellectual Property (IP) Law Concentration with Patent Law Specialty, Law (MLS)
- Intellectual Property (IP) Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- International and Comparative Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Public Interest Law Concentration, Law (MLS)
- Criminal Law Concentration, Law (MLS)