Compliance FAQ

I am a current 1L or 2L at St. Thomas. What are my options?

As a J.D. student, you have three options: you may elect to take compliance courses as electives; add a concentration in Organizational Ethics and Compliance to your J.D.; or pursue an LL.M. in Organizational Ethics & Compliance.

The Organizational Ethics & Compliance program was designed to help our J.D. students as well. The courses in this program are open to you as J.D. elective credits if you decide they would be interesting and useful.

If you want some more depth and a note on your transcript, the compliance concentration might be for you. You would take 12 or more credit hours of compliance courses, including 3 required courses and 1 or more elective courses. The concentration would be noted on your transcript and you could tell future employers of your concentration in law school toward this skill set.

If you want more compliance experience and coursework still, the LL.M. program is the best fit. The LL.M. is an additional degree program, to be completed after your J.D. The LL.M. requires 24 credit hours, including 3 required courses (9 hours) and 15 hours of electives. But you can take advantage of the dual degree option and take as few as 12 additional credit hours after you complete your J.D. if you plan your coursework with the LL.M. in mind. An LL.M. degree prepares you for more advanced positions in the compliance field.

The compliance master’s program is not an option. That degree program is designed for non-J.D. candidates.

I am a current 3L at St. Thomas. What are my options?

Because the program formally starts in fall 2014, you will be an alumnus/alumna of the law school when the program is underway (congratulations!). You could pursue an LL.M. in Organizational Ethics and Compliance in as few as 12 additional credit hours. This is a 24-credit degree (with 3 required courses (9 hours) and 15 hours of electives), but if you have already taken courses that qualify as electives for the LL.M., we will work with you to make them count toward the LL.M. degree. An LL.M. degree prepares you for more advanced positions in the compliance field.

The compliance master’s program is not an option. That degree program is designed for non-J.D. candidates. The concentration also is not an option for you, since it must be completed while you are enrolled as a J.D. student.

Do you offer a J.D./LL.M. dual degree program?

Yes. Any St. Thomas student (current 1L or 2L, or future student) can work toward completing the J.D. and LL.M. in a total of seven semesters rather than the eight it would typically take to earn both degrees. This means you can complete both degrees in as few as 100 total credit hours. You can finish the 88 credits required to earn the J.D. and take the bar exam in the summer, and then return and complete the LL.M. in just one more semester. View Dual Degree Sample Schedules.

Can I finish both my J.D. and LL.M. degree in three years?

Yes. You can complete all the requirements in three years, although we don't generally recommend it because you might have to take classes at the expense of gaining work experience and networking during school. But if this is best for your situation, it is possible. If you choose to complete the J.D. and LL.M. in six semesters (plus summers), you will take the bar exam after graduation. View Dual Degree Sample Schedules.

I am a graduate of UST Law. Can I get the LL.M. in fewer than 24 credit hours?

Probably. Although the LL.M. in Organizational Ethics and Compliance is designed as a 24-credit degree, we are able to extend the dual degree program to current 3Ls and other alumni. If you took courses that qualify as electives for the LL.M. program while you were a student at St. Thomas - and you were not already a joint degree student here - we can award you up to 12 hours of credit toward the LL.M.

If I start in the M.S.L. program, can I switch to the J.D. program?

Yes. We are not able to transfer any credits earned in the M.S.L. program toward the J.D. program, however, because there are strict ABA accreditation requirements that restrict our ability to grant credit toward a J.D. for any course taken prior to your enrollment as a J.D. student. You also would need to go through the regular admissions process to become a J.D. student.

If I start in the J.D. program as a first-year law student, can I switch to the M.S.L. program if I decide it is a better fit for me?

Yes. We cannot formally transfer credits between degree programs, but you can petition the Associate Dean to reduce the total number of credit hours needed to earn the M.S.L. For example, if you successfully complete the first semester of law school but then transfer to the M.S.L. program, you could receive a 7-credit waiver toward the 30 hours needed for the M.S.L.

Will I be eligible to take compliance certification exams upon completion of my St. Thomas degree (either the M.S.L., LL.M., or J.D. with Concentration)?

We are still working with the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics on how best to handle the exams. We hope to be able to do so and will post more information soon.

Can I get credit for courses taken through other graduate programs at UST toward the M.S.L. in Compliance?

We offer credit toward the M.S.L. only for courses taken while enrolled at the School of Law. Some of the courses on the elective list are regular offerings at the Opus College of Business, and those elective courses count as law courses for the M.S.L. even if taken at the business school.

Will M.S.L. and LL.M. courses for compliance be offered during J-term and summer?

Yes, some elective courses will be offered in the shortened term in January and summer. Our J-term is a two-week session — up from one week in prior years.

Will I be allowed to take electives for the compliance degree program that are not on the approved list?

Yes, you will have the ability to take an elective not on the list. You will need to petition the Associate Dean for permission.

Do you have salary information for compliance jobs?

We are working with our advisory board to gather additional information on jobs and salaries for compliance. Salary information for compliance positions within health care can be found here.  

What is the application deadline for the M.S.L. or LL.M. in compliance?

We will accept applications through early August. The orientation program for new compliance students will be held the week of Aug. 18, and courses will begin the week of Aug. 25. 

How do I apply for admission?

Are scholarships available?

There are no institutional scholarships available for the compliance programs. If you are a student in the dual degree program (including alumni), the ability to take fewer credit hours total can substantially reduce the cost of the program, in addition to reducing the number of courses required to complete the LL.M. Click here for information on financial aid.

Can I apply for financial aid as a part-time student?

In order to qualify for financial aid, a part-time student must be enrolled in at least six or more credits.

For further information, contact Chad Nosbusch, Associate Director of Graduate Financial Aid.

When will classes be held?

The required courses and some elective courses will be offered in the late afternoon and evening between 4-8:30 p.m. two days a week (likely Tuesday and Thursday). Other elective courses will be offered throughout the day and on other evenings, and these times and days will vary each semester. More course scheduling information will be available at the beginning of April.

Can the courses be taken online or remotely?

This program is not offered online. The courses are offered on site at the School of Law’s downtown Minneapolis, skyway-connected campus.

How long will it take to complete the compliance program?

Both the M.S.L. and LL.M. programs are available full time or part time. If you attend full time, you can complete either program in one year or two semesters. If you attend part time, you can complete either program in two years. If you need to take longer to complete a degree, you may petition the associate dean. 

Can I audit compliance courses?

Because of limited capacity in our classes at the outset, we are not able to allow course audits at this time. 

I am a UST employee. Can I use the tuition remission program?

Yes. St. Thomas employees may use the tuition remission program to enroll in either the master's or the LL.M. program on a part-time basis.

I am already in a joint degree program (or I graduated with joint degrees). What are my options?

As a student pursuing a joint degree other than the J.D./LL.M., you cannot receive your LL.M. in fewer than 24 credit hours. You must have the full 88 credit hours applied to your J.D. in order to get a 12-credit reduction toward the LL.M. Joint degree holders usually have only 76 credit hours applied toward their J.D.

You may choose to pursue the Concentration in Organizational Ethics and Compliance to be applied toward your J.D., or you can finish your joint degree programs and then enroll in the 24-credit LL.M. program separately.