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.
Legal Analysis, Writing and Research (LAWR) - 3 credit hours in the fall semester.
One of the common law courses in Contracts, Torts or Property. Contracts is a 5-credit course. Torts is 4-credit course. Property is a 5-credit course.
The common law course and LAWR must be taken during the student's first year in the program. If the demands of another academic program in which the student is enrolled make it impossible for the student to take any of the common law courses during the student's first year in the program, the student may request permission from the Dean or his or her designee to delay satisfaction of the common law course requirement until the student's second year. The request must be in writing and must be submitted as soon as reasonably possible but no later than one week before the first day of regularly scheduled classes. If the request is granted, the student may be permitted to take a limited number of courses prior to the student's second year in the program
- A student who takes LAWR and Contracts or Property will be required to take an additional 25 credit hours of Law College courses, or 22 credit hours if the student is enrolled in another graduate program concurrently.
- A student who takes LAWR and Torts will be required to take an additional 26 credit hours of Law College courses, or 23 credit hours if the student is enrolled in another graduate program concurrently.
- A student cannot take the professional skills courses listed in Faculty Rule 31.2.5 (Advanced Legal Research, Advocacy in Mediation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business Planning, Capstone Course in Labor and Employment, Client Interviewing & Counseling, Clinical Practice, Construction Practice, Estate Planning Problems, Family Law Practice, Family Mediation, Mediation, Negotiations, Patent Practice and Innovation Management, Pretrial Litigation, Trial Advocacy) without the permission of the Dean or his or her designee and the instructor teaching the course.
- A student cannot take more than two seminar courses.
- A student cannot take Research in a Selected Field more than twice.
- A student cannot take more than 10 hours of first year law courses (excluding (LAWR) without prior approval of the Dean or his or her designee. Those courses are Civil Procedure (4 credits), Contracts (5 credits), Criminal Law (3 credits), International Perspectives in the U.S. Legal System: Practicing Law in a Global Legal Environment (3 credits), Property (5 credits), and Torts (4 credits).
- A student cannot take more than 12 hours of interdisciplinary Law/Psychology courses. Those courses are Law & Behavioral Science, Mental Health Law, Topics in Law & Psychology, and Psycholegal Research. Topics in Law & Psychology may be taken twice (maximum of six hours) if the substantive content is different each time.
Applicants must apply to both the College of Law and the Graduate College. Both applications are available through the Graduate College electronic application process. Students may begin taking classes only during the fall semester. The application deadline for the fall semester is April 15.