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The University of St. Thomas is home to one of just two LL.M. programs in the U.S. accredited by AACSB International.

The Master of Laws program (LL.M., 24 credits) is for those who already hold a U.S. law degree but seek an LL.M. degree specifically tailored to a career in ethics and compliance. This is a 17-month program running four consecutive semesters, beginning in January and ending in May.

Compliance Programming (3 credits) FCPA (2 credits) Ethical Cultures (3 credits) Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age (3 credits)
Risk Management (3 credits) Investigations (2 credits) Project Management (3 credits) Executive Perspectives (3 credits)
  White Collar Crime and Compliance (2 credits)    



Compliance Programming (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 will engage 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 will also use 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.”

Risk Management (3 credits)
The recent economic crisis, along with a range of other looming challenges (climate change, unrest in the Middle East, health and food security concerns, demographic changes and social mobility), have presented global organizations with a daunting array of risks. Broadly, this situation presents organizations with the challenge of developing more comprehensive approaches to the management of risk. Key subjects of investigation in MGMT 751 will include: 1. Engaging Boards and Executive Management in order to get risk management onto their agendas. 2. Translating risk policy into risk management systems and structures. 3. Knitting together the existing technical specialist infrastructure. 4. Developing sufficient risk management competence among the entire organization. 5. Communicating relevant risk information to external stakeholders.


Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (2 credits)
This course focuses on international anti-corruption law, practice, and compliance. The course will review the history and substance of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the theoretical and political reasons for anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA, the interpretation of the FCPA by the courts and agencies that enforce it (the U.S. DOJ and SEC), the FCPA’s impact and influence on businesses, anticorruption compliance programs and investigation best practices, the proliferation of anticorruption laws and enforcement around the world, and arguments around FCPA reform.

Investigations (2 credits)
Conducting and supervising investigations have become growing responsibilities of many types of attorneys. The purpose of this joint course is to engage in a practical focus on the development of knowledge-based skills and practices that will benefit future lawyers in the acquisition and analysis of relevant facts to address and solve legal issues and problems. This experiential course will provide an opportunity for students to learn about criminal, civil, and internal investigations from a practical, hands-on perspective. Through individual and group exercises, each student will play multiple roles of government lawyer, criminal defense attorney, outside counsel, and in-house counsel.

White Collar Crime and Compliance (2 credits)
This course will expose each student to key types of white collar offenses within the context of a focus on ethics and compliance, all through learning how to investigate, prosecute, and defend white collar cases, as well as how to prevent or minimize such cases in any organization. Topics may include conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, bribery and computer and internet fraud, and money laundering. Guest speakers will participate on a regular basis. A critical component of the course will be experiential learning.


Ethical Culture (3 credits)
Cultures of economic competitiveness and legal compliance are necessary but not sufficient for corporate responsibility. This course will examine 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 will be used to introduce frameworks for making reasoned, thoughtful ethical decisions and to diagnose both positive and negative cultural leadership. Students will learn to recognize and resolve ethical issues and identify practical ways (1) to enhance sound ethical cultures and (2) to remediate weak ethical cultures.

Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age (3 credits)
Built on a legal ethics framework, this course explains in understandable terms the real-time threats of hacking, the ever-present concerns about the security of client and personal data, and the growing amount of unlawful activity on the Dark Web. Students will analyze privacy and ethical considerations of data protection and data protection in light of fast-changing legal frameworks. The course will also explore the discovery and admissibility of electronically stored information (ESI) in the modern courtroom. The course focuses both on current practical skills and knowledge and also underlying core principles and concerns that will impact future considerations and changes in this realm.


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

Project Management (3 credits)
The field of project management is young and constantly changing. Companies seek to reduce development cycles while increasing the technological complexity of their products. Corporate downsizing has increased the average workload and reduced the resources available for project development. Sound familiar? This course will discuss the fundamental basis for scheduling and project scope difficulties, and provide tools for creating practical solutions. We will become more aware of why we encounter similar pitfalls with each new project. Discover that you are not alone in encountering a chaotic project life-cycle, the complexity people bring, and the reasons why our organizations are continuing to become more chaotic. This course will examine the new phase development of project management. We will use numerous disciplines to create a more dynamic and flexible project management methodology. These disciplines include Industrial Behavior, Psychology, Human Behavior, Chaos and Complexity, Organizational Behavior, and Systems Theory to name a few. As project managers, we face impossible schedules, unrealistic specifications, and limited budgets. As leaders we face personnel issues, motivation requirements and organizational issues. This course will provide insight and practical examples of the areas of knowledge needed to practice effective project management in today's dynamic work environment.


Tuition for the online LL.M. program is $31,980. Students also are required to pay a technology fee of $116.50/term. There may also be costs associated with textbooks, copyright fees and commencement fees.


St. Thomas offers a guaranteed discount rate (GDR) to all qualified and accepted applicants in its organizational ethics and compliance program. In other words, you will automatically qualify for the GDR if you are admitted into the program. For more detailed information on the GDR, contact Colleen Dorsey, director of organizational ethics and compliance programs, at colleen.dorsey@stthomas.edu or (651) 962-4864.


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, you must be registered for a minimum of 3 credits per term. 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 Juris Doctor from an ABA-accredited law school or be enrolled in a J.D. program at an ABA-accredited law school to be eligible for admission into the online LL.M. in Organizational Ethics and Compliance program. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.


The application period for January 2021 is now open. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2020. 


Option 1: Apply online through the University of St. Thomas Graduate Admissions

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)

e-mail: lawschool@stthomas.edu


Option 2: Apply online through LSAC

  1. Sign up for an account at www.lsac.org
  2. Register for the LL.M. Credential Assembly Service (LL.M. CAS)
    • Arrange to have official academic transcripts, from all universities attended, sent to LSAC to be included in your LL.M. CAS report
    • Submit at least two letters of recommendation (no more than four)
  3. Complete the St. Thomas electronic application directly through LSAC. 
    • Includes: essays, resume or CV, and any necessary addendums.


Because many of our courses directly cover compliance, ethics, risk, corporate governance, internal controls and other relevant topics, they can be submitted to count toward live training and/or continuing professional education requirements. This includes certifications offered by:

  • SCCE/CCB including the following trademarked certifications: CCEP, CCEP-I, CCEP-F, CHC, CHC-F, CHRC, and CHPC;
  • MN CLE credits;
  • CPE credits related to the Certified Internal Auditor certifications offered by The Institute of Internal Auditors;
  • CE credits required for any of the certifications offered by the American Bankers Association; and
  • CPE’s required by The American Anti-Corruption Institute for its Certified Anti-Corruption Manager professional qualification

If your certifying body is not listed, but you would like to explore whether courses in our program would count as continuing professional education in your chosen focus area, please contact Colleen Dorsey at colleen.dorsey@stthomas.edu or 651-952-4864.