Explore your interest in law from a variety of perspectives, and prepare yourself for a range of law-related careers.
The Master of Arts in Legal Studies (formerly Legal and Ethical Studies) program provides coursework in law, the legal system, legal research and methods, and the ethical and historical underpinnings of law. It can be used as a stepping stone to law school or to advance in the many law-related careers that do not require a law degree.
Graduates of the program have found jobs working for the courts (as clerks and commissioners), government contractors (in compliance), law firms (as legal assistants and paralegals), nonprofit organizations (as intake managers and legal coordinators), companies (in risk management and human resources), and in a wide variety of other jobs in government and business. Graduates also sometimes use the program to improve their preparation and credentials for law school.
You can design your experience around the aspects of the law that most interest you. The program’s range of courses—from substantive areas of law, to legal and constitutional history, to skills like legal research and writing, to the philosophy and ethics of law—allows you to tailor your studies to your goals.
If you’re interested in studying law from a broad, humanistic perspective:
This program’s Path I focuses on courses concerned with the social, historical and philosophical dimensions of law. You will learn:
- how law functions in our society, including its role in public policy and business
- how ethical ideas influence the law and play a part in the regulation of many professions
- how the history of law has shaped the particular legal system that we have
If you’re interested in eventually applying to law school or in pursuing a law-related career:
This program’s Path II focuses more on the development of legal knowledge and skills. You will:
- refine your abilities to read, write about and analyze the law
- enhance your substantive knowledge of law
- engage in the practical study of how law can be used as a tool to solve problems
While this degree may improve your competitiveness for many jobs that require legal knowledge, it does not offer paralegal certification, which some law-related jobs require. If you already have paralegal certification, you’ll find that this master’s program complements your training and expands the breadth of work you can perform.
Hear from some of our talented alumni...
James Scott, B.A. '10, M.A. '12
"The Legal Studies program was applicable to my future goals because I wanted to enter the legal job market after graduate school—and to be marketable—and I wanted to position myself to apply to law school in the future. After graduate school, I had the opportunity to gain real-world experience by working in the state and federal court systems and at a couple of public sector law firms. The knowledge and skills I gained from the Legal Studies program allowed me to seamlessly and effectively perform my duties at an advanced level and allowed me to make valuable connections along the way."
Paul rodriguez, M.A. '15
"The faculty by far is the best reason to choose this program. It is extremely rare or even unheard of for a program not run by or through a law school to have practicing and previously practicing attorneys among its faculty. It is like getting a preview of what a legal education actually looks like.
The program ultimately helped me decide to attend law school, and afforded me a chance to create a network of professionals in the legal field with whom I have remained in touch."
Classes are offered evenings; some courses are offered online and some are offered in the summer for continuing students.