Master of Legal Studies Curriculum

Designed by the Washington University School of Law’s distinguished faculty, the online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) curriculum equips non-lawyers with a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. legal system. Classes are taught using the Socratic method, so students are encouraged to engage in dialogue and think critically about the topics presented.

Program Requirements

The MLS program is a 24-credit program and can be completed in as little as one year. All MLS students will complete two required courses and then select from a variety of elective courses to customize their learning experience based on their professional and academic goals.

View a sample course schedule.

Required Courses

Students are required to complete Introduction to U.S. Law & Methods and one of three options for their second course: ContractsProperty or Torts.

Introduction to U.S. Law & Methods (3 credits)

This foundational course explores how law is created, enacted and changed in the United States. The objective is to learn to solve legal challenges and understand legal concepts with U.S. legal sources, methods and institutions.

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Legal Research & Writing (3 credits)

This course introduces the skills of legal research and writing. Students will explore different tools and research methods used in legal writing, and the ways attorneys use legal writing as a form of advocacy.

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Contracts (3 credits)

This course is designed to introduce students to U.S. contracts. In addition to learning principles behind U.S. theories of contractual obligation, the course is intended to provide instruction in “how to succeed” in a U.S. law school class.

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Property (3 credits)

This course examines real and personal property and some of the problems of landlord and tenant law.

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Torts (1 credit) 1

This course will be an explanation of the law of torts. Students will critically examine the theories of intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, vicarious liability and other doctrines, studying the rules and principles that govern these areas of law.

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Elective Courses (21 credits)

Elective courses allow students to focus their studies on areas that directly relate to their industry and career goals. Electives are available in areas such as employment law, intellectual property, corporate compliance and health law.

Explore the elective course catalog.

Students have the option of pursuing a concentration in a specialized area based on their interests and career goals. Concentrations are available in the following areas: Business Law, Conflict Resolution, Regulatory Compliance, Employment Law, and Litigation. Click here to learn more about the MLS concentration options.

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1 Please note that Torts is only 1 credit. If you select Torts as your common law course, you will still be required to fulfill 24 credits to graduate.