The Catholic University of America
Master of Legal Studies Program

The Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) program from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law offers flexibility, versatility, and broad-ranging instructional excellence.

The 26-credit program equips students with both a general understanding of the American legal system and specific knowledge of their chosen field of interest.  During the first semester, all students enrolled in the M.L.S. program take Introduction to American Law and Legal Methods.  This introductory course designed exclusively for M.L.S. students provides an overview of the American legal system and teaches the process of legal analysis.  All M.L.S. students will conclude their studies by working with a faculty member on a final project.  The remaining credits allow candidates to further their knowledge in their chosen field of interest.  

The M.L.S. degree program enhances the ability of professionals to work with lawyers and legal issues, to gain a deeper knowledge of a particular legal field, and to understand laws and regulations.  Students can choose to concentrate in the fields of Compliance and Corporate Responsibility, Employment and Human Resources, or Intellectual Property.  Alternatively, students may choose a General U.S. Law option, which provides a broad overview of the law and legal practice.

M.L.S. degree recipients can identify themselves as candidates with specialized knowledge and an enhanced understanding of the role of the law across industries and in particular disciplines. 

M.L.S. Topics:  Who Can Benefit? •  How it Works •  FAQs •  How to Apply


Who Can Benefit?

Think of the possibilities. What do you do for a living?  Are you a scientist or an engineer?  Do you work with lawyers or in the legal industry?  Are you a docketing clerk, paralegal, legal assistant, or administrator?  Do you work in human resources or with a compliance officer?  Do you want to work at a start-up and need to understand how to work with lawyers or navigate regulatory schemes?  Do you want to work for a lobbying firm or on Capitol Hill?  The M.L.S. degree can benefit you by providing a general understanding of the American legal system and specific knowledge in your field of interest. 


How it Works

Catholic University’s M.L.S. degree is designed for part-time students and generally offers classes at times that accommodate the schedules of those who work full time. During the first semester, candidates for the M.L.S. degree will take a class that introduces students to the American legal system and legal methods with other M.L.S. candidates.  In addition, each M.L.S. candidate will complete a final project under the supervision of a faculty member.  If students follow the suggested curriculum, all degree requirements for the M.L.S. can be completed within three or four semesters.  However, candidates have up to four years to complete the degree requirements if candidates choose to take fewer classes each semester. 



Why does Catholic University’s law school offer the Master of Legal Studies Program?

As the legal profession evolves, the need for non-JD professionals with a working knowledge of the law is increasing. Our M.L.S. program will serve the educational needs of this expanding group of professionals.

What are the educational objectives of the M.L.S. program?

To better serve the community by educating a new group of professionals who work in areas related to the law by providing them with general knowledge of United States law and specific knowledge of the law in their particular field of interest.

Does earning a Master of Legal Studies degree allow me to practice law?

No. The M.L.S. program is designed to enhance understanding of the law and legal principles in the context of a professional career.  It is not intended to train students for careers as attorneys, nor to prepare them for any state’s bar exam. Credits earned may not be applied toward a J.D. degree, even if the student should elect to pursue one at a later time.

What does it take?

To receive an M.L.S. degree, all candidates must complete a minimum of 26 academic credits, including Introduction to American Law and Legal Methods and a final project.

Will this degree have associated tracks or concentrations?

Yes.  Students may choose to concentrate in the fields of Compliance and Corporate Responsibility, Employment and Human Resources, or Intellectual Property.  Alternatively, students may choose a General U.S. Law option, which provides a broad overview of the law and legal practice.

Will I share classes with students pursuing a full J.D. degree?

Yes. Your first semester will include Introduction to American Law and Legal Methods, a course tailored to M.L.S. students and open only to M.L.S. students.  You will conclude your studies with a final project.  The remainder of your courses will be taken with students pursuing J.D. degrees.

Do I need to take the LSAT to take part in the Masters of Legasl Studies Program?

No, but an applicant may choose to submit a standardized test score. Tests such as the LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, GRE, SAT, or ACT are elligible for submission.

What is the difference between the Master of Law (LL.M.) Program and the Masters of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) Program?

The M.L.S. program is designed for working professionals who have an interest in law, work with legal issues, or who are seeking ways to expand their career opportunities. For example, an engineer may choose the Intellectual Property track of the M.L.S. program to acquire an understanding of the legal process in developing and establishing patents. A human resources professional may choose the Employment and Human Resources track of the M.L.S. program to gain a deeper understanding of the rules and laws that apply to labor law.

The LL.M. program is designed for American and foreign attorneys who wish to fine-tune their degrees with a specialization in one of three concentrations: Communications Law, International Law, or Securities Law. Students who have completed their law degrees in a country other than the United State have the option to customize their studies to prepare to take the U.S. Bar exam in New York or the District of Columbia. To learn more about the LL.M. at CUA Law, click here.

What is the tuition for the M.L.S. Program?

The tuition is $23,790 ($915 per 26 credits) with additional fees of $740 for a total of $24,530.  This applies to students who begin their studies in Fall 2014 and conclude during the 2015-2016 school year.  The tuition may be higher for subsequent applicants. 

Is there an online component or option?

Not at this time.


How to Apply 

Admission to the program is based on a portfolio of information, including a completed application form (see below), undergraduate and graduate transcripts from any accredited schools attended, a personal statement that speaks to the applicant’s interest in the program, a resume, a letter of recommendation, and any standardized test scores (such as the LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, GRE, SAT, or ACT) that the applicant wishes to submit. International students will also be required to submit proof of language proficiency through a TOEFL or IELTS score.  Applicants are expected to meet the minimum admissions requirements for other graduate programs at The Catholic University of America. Graduates of foreign universities are eligible for the M.L.S. program and encouraged to apply.  Applications for Fall 2015 are currently being accepted.

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For further information, contact the CUA Law admissions office: