The Master of Studies in Law degree (M.S.L., 30 credits) is for those who hold an undergraduate degree and seek a graduate degree specifically tailored to a career in ethics and compliance. This program can be completed in two semesters when taken full time, or two years when taken part time. If you need to take longer to complete a degree, you may petition the associate dean.

Introduction to Legal Reasoning (3 credits)
Through this course, non-lawyers gain a better understanding of the ways attorneys are trained to navigate complex situations. Careful reading and analysis of case law and statutes prepare students to address the ambiguity of many scenarios that arise in compliance work, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and argument. The course also introduces students to the common-law method by which doctrine is created; the importance and authority of statutes, codes, and regulations; and the structure of the U.S. legal system and its various actors and venues. The U.S. doctrines of contract and tort liability form the substantive underpinning for the course, both because a knowledge of these areas is foundational for many later law courses and also because professionals working in the compliance field encounter these areas of law.

Compliance Programming: Design, Operation, and Performance (3 credits)
Compliance and ethics management is a complex management process that requires program design that supports management's objectives, coordinated activities to be operated across functions and geographies, and performance measurement to reasonably assure effectiveness and a return on management's investment. This course engages participants' personal knowledge and experience—in dialogue with instructors and guests from industry with law and business backgrounds—to explore the following themes: program design frameworks and key elements (including risk identification and assessment, communication and training, investigations and discipline, reporting and disclosure, auditing and monitoring, and remediation), leading practices relating to these program elements, and how to measure effectiveness (from the perspectives of both ethics and economics). The course also uses case method and other practical examples to explore the familiar distinction between compliance-based and integrity-based programs as a link to the course, "Ethical Culture."

Ethical Culture (3 credits)
Cultures of economic competitiveness and legal compliance are necessary but not sufficient for corporate responsibility. This course examines the elements of ethical decision-making and ethical corporate cultures from the perspective of an organization's leadership. The premise of the course is that leaders are the architects of corporate culture, and that the moral agenda of leaders includes three practical imperatives: elucidating, institutionalizing and sustaining ethical values. The first two imperatives (elucidating and institutionalizing) involve placing moral considerations in a position of salience and authority alongside considerations of competitive strategy and compliance in the organization's mindset. The third imperative (sustaining) has to do with passing on the spirit of this effort in two directions: to future leaders of the organization, and to the wider network of organizations and institutions that make up the social system as a whole. The case method is used to introduce frameworks for making reasoned, thoughtful ethical decisions, and to diagnose both positive and negative cultural leadership. Students learn to recognize and resolve ethical issues and identify practical ways to enhance sound ethical cultures and to remediate weak ethical cultures.

Executive Perspectives on Ethics and Compliance (3 credits)
This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about compliance from the perspective of executives and leaders in the industry. Practicing compliance executivesl discuss goals, strategies, activities and challenges associated with their business. Students have an opportunity to relate the philosophies and techniques developed in the Organizational Ethics and Compliance Program to those presented. Through candid and in-depth conversations with participating executives, students learn about compliance from a leadership perspective relevant to today's complex business environment.

Several colleges and schools within the university offer electives, some of which require preapproval. Examples of electives our Organizational Ethics and Compliance students have taken are included below. Total electives amount to 18 credits for M.S.L. students.

Administrative Law (3 credits)
Compliance Externship (3 credits)
Corporate Governance (3 credits)
Ethical Leadership in Organizations
Employment Discrimination (2 credits)
Employment Law (3 credits)
Environmental Law (3 credits)
Financial Markets
Health Law I (3 credits)
Health Law II (3 credits)
Immigration Law
International Anti-Corruption Law (2 credits)
Investigations (2 credits)
Privacy Law (3 credits)
Securities Regulation (3 credits)
White Collar Crime and Compliance (2 credits)

Accounting (3 credits)
Competitive Strategy (3 credits)
Global Risk Leadership (3 credits)
Leading Organizational Change (3 credits)
Leading Self and Others (3 credits)
Legal Strategy (1.5 credits)
Legal Strategy for Global Business (3 credits)
Organizational Communication (3 credits)
Overview of Health Care Systems (3 credits)
Persuasion (3 credits)
Project Management (3 credits)
Reputation and Stakeholder Management (3 credits)
Statistical Methods for Decision Making (3 credits)

International Regulatory Affairs for Medical Devices (3 credits)
Medical Device Regulatory Submissions (3 credits)

Data Analytics and Visualization (3 credits)

Subject to change. The University of St. Thomas reserves the right to amend the degree requirements and to add to or delete from the list of courses that satisfy the degree requirements at any time.

Tuition for the on-campus Organizational Ethics and Compliance program in the 2019-20 academic year is $1,442 per credit. Students enrolled in 6 or more credits per semester will be assessed a technology fee of $112.50/semester, a student activity fee of $72.50/semester, and a health fee of $35 per semester. If enrolled in fewer than 6 credits per semester, students will be assessed a technology fee of $56.25 per semester, a student activity fee of $72.50 per semester, and a health fee of $17.50 per semester.


Well-qualified applicants can ask to be considered for the Dean’s Compliance Scholarship. The Dean’s Compliance Scholarship is awarded on behalf of the dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Dean’s scholars typically reflect strength in their academic performance and demonstrate a compelling fit with the mission of the Organizational Ethics and Compliance program. To be considered for this scholarship, you should include a statement of interest with your application for admission. Dean’s Compliance Scholarships will not be awarded after enrollment in the program.


As a student in our Organizational Ethics and Compliance program, you will have the option of applying for student loans. To be eligible for financial aid in the fall or spring semester, you must be registered for a minimum of 6 credits. To be eligible for financial aid in the summer term, you must be registered in a minimum of 3 credits. More information is available from Graduate Financial Aid.

Our Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews every application to understand the strengths, skills and unique potential of each prospective student. All information you submit is considered, and we encourage you to be thorough and straight forward. We want to make sure that the University of St. Thomas School of Law is a good fit for you, and that you are a good fit for the School of Law.


You must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher degree to be eligible for admission. Standardized test scores are not required for admission, but you are invited to submit GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT scores to supplement the admissions materials.


A completed application for this program includes:

  • an application form,
  • official academic transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended,
  • two letters of recommendation (no more than four),
  • a written response to essay questions posed on the application form, and
  • your resume or CV.


Sept. 1: Application available. St. Thomas operates on a rolling admissions basis.
Jan. 1: FAFSA application available. File any time between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1.
April 15: Priority application deadline. (Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis after this deadline, but priority is given to applicants applying by April 15.)
May 15: Priority registration deadline.
July 1: FAFSA priority filing date.
July 15: Final application deadline.
Aug. 19: Orientation week.
Aug. 26: Classes begin.


1. Complete the online application.

Includes: essays, resume or CV, and any necessary addendums

2. Ask at least two people to submit their recommendations to the Office of Admissions. Use the Letter of Recommendation Form LLM/MSL‌ form provided.

3. Arrange to have official academic transcripts, from all universities attended, sent directly to the Office of Admissions.

Mailing address and contact info:
University of St. Thomas School of Law
Office of Admissions
1000 LaSalle Avenue
MSL 124
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2015

(651) 962-4895 or (800) 328-6819 (Ext. 2-4895)