Master of Legal Studies - Frequently Asked Questions

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Does the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program make sense for me?

The MLS program does not make sense for everybody but should be useful for several different types of students. 

  • The MLS would be helpful to people who regularly work with lawyers or regularly encounter legal issues in their work. The first group includes persons in business, non-profit and government positions whose involvement with issues like contracts, financing, real estate transactions, or employment/labor negotiations frequently requires working with lawyers. The second group includes people who regularly encounter legal issues in their work; for example, employees who have to deal with complex state or federal regulations.
  • The MLS will also be of interest to people who have always wanted to learn more about the law, but can’t or won’t be able to attend law school for three years and practice law.
  • Finally, the MLS will be of interest to university faculty, secondary-school teachers, or researchers for whom knowledge of the law will be helpful in their teaching or research.

Is the MLS a general Program or may I concentrate my studies in an area of law that interests me?

The MLS Program tailors each student’s education to his or her needs and interests. There are more than 20 Areas of Concentration from which an MLS student may choose, or, if you can’t find any area that is of interest to you, you may design your own concentration. In addition, as an MLS student – regardless of your area of concentration – you will be provided with an Academic Advisor who will assist you in selecting the courses best suited for your needs.

How many credits do I need to earn my MLS degree?

You will need to earn 30 credits to complete the MLS degree.

What is the tuition for the MLS Program?

MLS students pay graduate tuition, not law school tuition. For 2012-2013, graduate tuition was $510.75 per credit hour. This is significantly less than law school tuition, which was $838.46 per credit hour.

Are MLS students eligible for financial aid?

Yes. An MLS student is eligible for student loans in any semester in which they are taking at least 6 credits of coursework.

Is the MLS a full-time or a part time degree program?

It is anticipated most MLS students will want to take the program on a part-time basis. If you are interested in being a full-time MLS student, please contact the MLS Program Director.

Can I take either Day or Evening courses in the MLS program?

Introduction to American Law and Legal Research & Writing for MLS Students will be offered only in the evening. Except for those two required courses, MLS students may take any law school course, whether it is offered during the day or in the evening.

Will I be taking regular law school courses during my MLS program?

Generally yes. With the exception of two courses – Introduction to American Law and Legal Research & Writing for MLS Students – the courses you will take while in the MLS Program are the regular law school courses attended by students in the JD Program.

Will I be graded the same as JD students as part of the MLS program?

No. MLS students will be graded on a separate scale, similar to other Master’s students at CSU, rather than on the mandatory curve required for JD students.

Will I be able to take courses outside of the law school?

Yes. With the approval of your advisor you will be able to take up to – credits in CSU graduate courses outside the law school and those credits will count towards your MLS degree.

Will I get any guidance on which courses I should take?

Yes. An academic advisor will be assigned to you upon your completion of the mandatory courses, per your concentration. Your advisor will work with you to create an individualized curriculum tailored to your needs and interests.

Does the MLS program help me get into a JD program?

No. The MLS is not intended to prepare students for the JD degree. However, a student who successfully completes courses in the MLS program will have a better understanding of law than someone who has not. In addition, should MLS graduates eventually enroll in a JD program, the MLS experience may prove beneficial.

When can I begin the MLS program?

Currently, students are admitted into the MLS program only at the beginning of the Fall semester.

How do I apply for the MLS program?

To Apply, Applicants must submit:

  • A completed application
  • An official transcript showing that the applicant has earned a Bachelor's degree, and also official transcripts of all other college, graduate, and professional studies, whether a degree was obtained or not;
  • A current resume detailing work and professional experience;
  • At least two letters of recommendation;
  • A personal essay describing how you expect to use the knowledge acquired in pursuing the MLS degree.
  • A personal interview may also be required.

Note: The LSAT is not required for admission to the program.

When is the application deadline for the MLS program?

For the class that begins Fall 2013, the application deadline is July 15, 2013. To insure that your application will be completed in a timely manner, it is advisable to apply as soon before the deadline as possible.

When do MLS classes begin?

MLS classes will begin one week before the start of Orientation for first year JD students. All MLS students will start the Program by taking Introduction to American Law (2 credits), which will provide a foundation in legal concepts and legal reasoning that will allow you to gain the greatest benefit from your remaining courses.

Will my MLS courses count towards a JD degree if I subsequently attend law school?

No. American Bar Association regulations do not permit any academic credits earned prior to beginning a JD program to be credited toward the JD degree.

Does the MLS prepare me to become a lawyer?

No. If you want to become a lawyer, the MLS Program is not for you. You should apply to our JD Program instead. The MLS provides new skills and knowledge to enhance your existing ones rather than to prepare you for a new career. It will not permit you to take the bar examination and so it is not intended for people who want to practice law. If that is your interest, you should apply to our JD Program.

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