Graduate Legal Studies

MSLA Degree Options

Legal Administration Certificate | Externship Information | Advanced Standing MSLA | JD and MSLA Dual Degree



The MSLA program requires 30 semester hours of credit. The program is fully ONLINE. The degree may be earned full time in two online semesters, plus a summer term, in which the student completes a managed externship/creative project, or part time and finishing in 2 – 4 years followed by a managed externship/creative project. The managed externship/creative project provides MSLA students with the opportunity to apply knowledge acquired during the duration of the coursework and oftentimes becomes their first job after graduation. Students who are working in the legal industry may service the externship requirement in their job by undertaking a special creative project. All courses are available online and there is no residency requirement.

Once admitted to the MSLA program, students choose from one of three concentrations:

Legal Administration Certificate


  • The Certificate Program is designed to provide an academic credential, conferred at the College of Law graduation, for persons who are not candidates for the Master of Science in Legal Administration (MSLA) degree.
  • Students take courses to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the following areas: law firm administration, court administration or international court administration. The Certificate is awarded upon successful completion of a wide variety of MSLA courses. The program allows for flexibility; enrolled students may design the certificate curriculum to suit their individual needs. Practicing administrators are encouraged to apply for candidacy. A bachelor’s degree is required for the certificate.
  • The Certificate in Law Firm Administration, Court Administration or International Court Administration requires completion of 18 semester hours and may be completed in class, online, or a combination of both.

The Certificate option allows students to choose one unique concentration:

  • Court Administration
  • Law Firm Administration
  • International Court Administration

For federally required disclosures regarding this program, please click here.

Externship Information

Capstone: Project/Externship is an MSLA program requirement that is typically pursued when a student has completed at least 50% of the required coursework, or, ideally, in the last term of study. The Capstone intends to provide students with an experiential opportunity to utilize knowledge acquired duringMSLA coursework through a meaningful experience in a law firm, legal organization or court. The law firm, legal organization or court hosting the extern is asked to provide relevant, real-world experience for the student, allowing the student to see the full range of administrative issues that a law firm, legal organization or court administrator might face. Host supervisors plan the agenda, monitor the performance and evaluate the performance of the student.

A student may use their current place of employment to fulfill the externship requirements. If a separate placement is sought, the student is required to obtain pre-approval of host site from the Program Director. Students must complete at least 150 hours of field work when in a placement that is not their current job. Student must also complete a related research project culminating in a research paper of 20-25 pages.

Students will also be registered for a concurrent Capstone course in Canvas. Under the supervision of MSLA faculty, the online component will focus on professional development and provide necessary skills and tools for students to market themselves and communicate learning experiences to potential employers.

Steps for Capstone approval:
1. Complete Research Project Proposal Form
2. Complete Externship Proposal Form
3. The Graduate Legal Studies office will register you for Capstone credits once all forms are received and approved

Advanced Standing MSLA


  • The Advanced Standing MSLA is available to current and graduated Juris Doctor students.
  • Advanced Standing students complete 27 credit hours rather than the 30 semester hours required in the traditional MSLA program. The Advanced Standing students are exempt from taking the following classes:
    • Research and Writing for the Legal Administrator
    • Introduction to the US Judicial System
    • Capstone/Externship
  • Like the MSLA, all classes may be completed online. Students also choose from three concentrations: Law Firm Administration, Court Administration and International Court Administration.


JD and MSLA Dual Degree

  • The MSLA program blends well with the JD degree. In the dual degree program, students may first complete the MSLA coursework and then, once admitted, begin the J.D.; or, the law student seeking a dual degree must first take the first year of JD classes in their entirety, then MSLA classes may be interspersed with second and third year JD coursework. The dual degree program can be completed in three and a half years. As a dual degree program within the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, the student receives a cross-credit allowance of 10 credits toward the JD degree.


SOLO Small Practice Management Certificate

  • The Solo and Small Practice Management Certificate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law provides attorneys with the necessary business skills and knowledge to open and operate a legal practice. This program helps attorneys bridge the gap between lawyering and operating a solo or small legal practice. The 16 semester-credit hour certificate can be completed in one year and will cover all aspects of operating a law practice and a business, including but not limited to: client service and relationship management, trust accounts, accounting processes, marketing, law practice administration, business development, social media, and billing and fees.

Please contact the Graduate Legal Studies Department at (303) 871-6249 or   to discuss a curriculum plan.

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208