MSLA Degree Options and Requirements
The MSLA program requires 30 semester hours of credit. The program is fully online with no residency requirement. The degree may be earned full time in 2 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 allows MSLA students to apply knowledge acquired during coursework and can lead to career opportunities. Students who are working in the legal industry can fulfill the externship requirement in their job with a special creative project.
Legal Administration Certificate
The Certificate Program is designed to provide an academic credential for persons who are not candidates for the Master of Science in Legal Administration (MSLA) degree. 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.
Certificate available in the following concentrations:
- Law firm administration
- Court administration
The Certificate in Legal Administration requires completion of 18 semester hours and may be completed in class, online, or a combination of both.
Course plans for certificates can be found here.
The 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 in the last term of study. The Capstone allows students to apply knowledge acquired during coursework through experiential opportunity in a law firm, legal organization or court. The host organization is asked to provide relevant, real-world experience for the student. Host supervisors plan the agenda, monitor performance and evaluate the student.
Students may use their current place of employment to fulfill the externship requirements. If a separate placement is sought, students are 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. Students 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
- Externship Proposal Form
- Capstone Research Project Proposal Form
- Capstone Research Project Specifications
- Sample Externship Projects
Advanced Standing MSLA
The Advanced Standing MSLA is available to current and graduated JD students. Advanced Standing students complete 27 credit hours rather than the 30 semester hours required in the traditional MSLA program. All classes are completed online. Students also choose from two concentrations: Law Firm Administration and Court Administration.
Advanced Standing students are exempt from taking the following classes:
- Research and Writing for the Legal Administrator
- Introduction to the US Judicial System
Course plans for the Advanced Standing MSLA:
JD and MSLA Dual Degree
The MSLA program blends well with the JD degree. The dual degree program can be completed in 3.5 years. Students receive a cross-credit allowance of 10 credits toward the JD degree.
Students may complete the dual degree program in two ways:
- Master students first complete the MSLA coursework and then, once admitted, begin the JD.
- Law students complete the first year of JD classes, then MSLA classes may be interspersed with second- and third-year JD coursework.
SOLO Small Practice Management Certificate
- The Solo and Small Practice Management Certificate provides attorneys with the business skills and knowledge to bridge the gap between lawyering and operating a solo or small legal practice. The 16 semester-credit certificate can be completed in 1 year and will cover all aspects of operating a law practice, 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.