MLS Program | School of Law | SIU

Southern Illinois University

MLS Program | School of Law | SIU

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MLS Program | School of Law | SIU

MLS Program

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is a 30-credit-hour, post-baccalaureate degree designed for those who wish to obtain an advanced knowledge of the law and the U.S. legal system but do not wish to become lawyers. The MLS degree is not a substitute for a law degree. Rather, it is designed to train non-lawyers to be able to identify, understand, and respond to commonly encountered legal issues.

In addition to building their analytical, reasoning, and writing skills, graduates of the MLS program will be able to:

  • perform basic legal research;
  • write clear, analytical, and publishable papers;
  • understand the process of judicial and legislative decision making; and
  • evaluate and apply current legal authority.

Already have a law (JD) degree? Consider the LLM program.

Build your own MLS degree

The MLS degree is flexible -- allowing you to concentrate in the area of law you are most interested in or that will enhance your career opportunities. MLS students choose from a curriculum including education, criminal, labor, business, intellectual property, international and state and local government law.

Most students can complete the MLS degree in two years if they attend full-time. Part-time students have up to four years to complete the program, allowing them to select courses that fit their schedule.

Who would benefit from an MLS degree?

Employees in the fields of law enforcement, human resources, government, business, risk management, education, and any other profession that is involved with legal or regulatory processes and/or the legal system would benefit from the M.L.S. program.

MLS in Health Law and Policy

This specialized MLS degree is designed for those who are seeking careers in the health care industry that require legal skills and knowledge. To qualify for this MLS degree, 12 hours must be in health care related courses.

Requirements for the MLS degree

The MLS program requires the completion of 30 semester hours of credit in law courses including a thesis approved by the Director of Graduate Legal Studies.

There are two required three-credit-hour courses -- LAW 498 Introduction to American Law and Legal System and LAW 499A Legal Writing and Research for Non-Lawyers I. Students will take the remainder of their course work (24 hours) by taking law school classes. Students opting for the Health Law and Policy concentration are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours in health law related courses.

Up to six hours of credit for course work taken in the University’s Graduate School or School of Medicine may be granted with the permission of the Director of Graduate Legal Studies and the appropriate official from the Graduate School or the School of Medicine. For these credit hours to count toward the fulfillment of 30-semester-hour requirement for graduation, a grade of “B” or better must be earned.

The three-credit-hour thesis requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of Law 590 (Senior Writing Seminar). Such completion demonstrates the candidate’s ability to research and write at an acceptable graduate level.