Master of Legal Studies

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree Program is designed for individuals who are not interested in practicing law but who are interested in developing a better understanding of the law as it affects their non-legal careers or areas of interest. The program is jointly administered by the College of Law and the Graduate College.

Applicants who have completed or will complete a Bachelors degree from a fully accredited institution by the beginning of the term for which they are seeking admission may apply to the 33 credit hour Master of Legal Studies Degree Program jointly administered by the College of Law and Graduate Studies. Students can either take classes on a full-time basis, which will enable them to complete the program in one calendar year, or on a part-time basis.  Students who take classes on a part-time basis must take at least one class each semester and must complete the program within three calendar years. Students who are admitted to the program can begin their course work only during a fall semester.

An MLS Degree Program student who is also currently enrolled in another graduate degree program at the University of Nebraska will receive MLS credit for three hours of coursework in the student's department of primary study as long as those credit hours are taken and completed during the time that the student is enrolled as an MLS student.  Thus, a student concurrently enrolled in another graduate program at the University of Nebraska must only complete 30 credit hours at the College of Law to receive the MLS degree.  The three hours must be in course work, not as a research or teaching assistant, and must be approved for MLS credit by Dean of the College of Law or his or her designee.

Note: The College of Law has specific requirements for MLS joint degree programs with the Department of Psychology at UNL and the Program in Gerontology at UNO. The requirements governing those joint degree programs remain in effect and should be consulted for students interested in those specific joint degree programs.

All MLS Students are assigned a faculty advisor who works with the student to develop a course of study that best suits the student's individual interests and needs. Subject to certain limitations, students are free to select their electives from the wide range of courses offered at the College of Law.  

Required Courses:

Foundational Legal Skills: Research, Writing and Professionalism (2 credit hours, fall semester only)

One of the following courses: Contracts, Property or Torts.*

*If you take Torts as your required course, you will take 4 credit hours of Torts and 2 credit hours of Foundational Legal Skills for a total of 6 credit hours of required courses and 27 credit hours of electives, or 24 credit hours if the student is enrolled in another graduate program concurrently. If you take Contracts or Property as your required course, you will take 6 credit hours of Contracts or Property and 2 credit hours of Foundational Legal Skills for a total of 8 credit hours of required courses and 25 credit hours of electives, or 22 credit hours if the student is enrolled in another graduate program concurrently. Most, but not all, of the law courses may be taken as electives and all degree requirements must be completed within three years. The MLS Degree will be conferred upon the successful completion of the 33 total credit hours and an oral final examination.

Application

Applicants must apply to both the College of Law and the Graduate College. Both applications are available through the Graduate College electronic application process. Complete the Graduate College application first and select Legal Studies (MLS) in the degree objective section. You will then be prompted to complete the MLS application through the GAMES system. Follow the instructions to complete the application and upload your transcripts to MyRed. Students may begin taking classes only during the fall semester. The application deadline for the fall semester is April 15.