Master of Legal Studies Curriculum

The M.L.S. program is a course of study that requires a minimum of 24 credits, which can be taken full-time over one academic year or part-time over three to four semesters. Students can choose from a variety of specializations, including Dickinson Law’s “Government Law and Policy” concentration and “Organizing for Social Justice” concentration, or create one designed for their own needs.

M.L.S. Degree Requirements

To earn the M.L.S. degree, the only required course is Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (2 credits). The remaining credits can be taken as electives chosen from a broad range of courses in the law school’s curriculum. Students in the M.L.S. program also may transfer up to 6 credits from:

  • Coursework completed at another accredited law school in the U.S. or abroad within the last five years; or
  • Prior related work experience completed in the U.S. or abroad within the last five years.

Because many students will have careers for which they are seeking an M.L.S. degree, Dickinson Law offers flexibility in how they approach their studies. This includes the choice to:

  • Begin their studies in either the fall or spring semester;
  • Participate in their classes either online or in person; and
  • Complete their degree on either a full-time basis, finishing their studies in as little as two semesters, or a part-time basis, finishing their degrees over three to four semesters. Full-time students must enroll in at least 12 credits but no more than 17 credits per semester.
M.L.S. Graduate-Level Courses

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, M.L.S. students may enroll in courses offered in other Penn State graduate programs, including but not limited to the University’s Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration degree programs (offered at Penn State Harrisburg), the Master and Doctor of Public Health programs, and the University’s World Campus.

M.L.S. Independent Study

M.L.S. students may take independent study courses for up to 3 credits in any one semester, and no more than a total of 4 credits during the M.L.S. program.

M.L.S. Concentrations and Courses

Arbitration, Mediation and Negotiation

Courses

  • Dispute Resolution
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Negotiation/Mediation
    • Client Counseling
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
  • Civil Litigation in the United States
    • Civil Procedure
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Federal Courts
    • Pennsylvania Practice
    • Evidence
    • Electronic Evidence Seminar
    • Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation in the United States
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • Pennsylvania Criminal Law Practice
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Substantive Law-Specific Procedure in the United States
    • Administrative Law
Business Law

Courses

  • Business Structures
    • Business Entities I: Unincorporated Business Entities
    • Business Entities II: Corporations
    • Business Planning for Small Business Enterprises
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
  • Substantive
    • Antitrust
    • International Business Transactions
    • International Investment Law
    • Contracts
    • Federal Securities Regulation
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Sales
    • Secured Transactions
    • Consumer Protection
    • Bankruptcy
    • Banking Regulation
    • Payment Systems
    • Construction Law
    • Property
    • Labor Law
    • Employment Law
    • Torts
  • Practice Based
    • Accounting for Lawyers
    • Lawyering and Ethics for the Business Attorney Seminar
Constitutional and Administrative Law

Courses

  • Federal & Constitutional Law
    • Constitutional Law I
    • Constitutional Law II
    • First Amendment – Free Speech
    • Administrative Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Federal Courts
    • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Substantive
    • Election Law
    • Nonprofit Organization Law
    • White Collar Crime
    • Regulatory & Legislative Practice Seminar
    • National Security Law
    • Immigration Law
    • Energy Law and Policy
    • Federal Tax Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Communication Law
    • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Practice Based
    • Negotiation/Mediation
    • Strategic Legal Research
  • State Law
    • State and Local Government Law
    • State & Local Taxation
    • State Constitutions Seminar
    • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
Criminal Law and Procedure

Courses

  • Foundational
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • Substantive
    • International Criminal Law
    • Death Penalty Seminar
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Juvenile Law
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • National Security Law
    • Pennsylvania Criminal Law Practice
  • Practice Based
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
Cyber Law, Data Privacy and Information Security

Courses

  • Substantive
    • Information Privacy and Security Law
  • Practice Based
    • Cyberlaw in Practice
    • Cybersecurity Law & Policy Seminar
    • Electronic Evidence Seminar
Government Law and Policy

The Government Law & Policy concentration touches upon a broad range of topics, particularly given the current tensions between the federal government and state and local governments, as well as between the various branches of the government. This concentration is designed for those who work for the government or whose jobs require frequent interaction with government bodies.

Courses in Government Law & Policy include:

  • Constitutional Law I
  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Administrative Law
  • Regulatory and Legislative Practice Seminar
  • National Security Law
  • Corporate Compliance
  • Federal Securities Regulation
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • State and Local Government
  • Public Health Law
  • Health Law and Policy
  • Child Welfare Law and Policy
  • State and Local Tax
  • Election Law
  • Education Law
  • Construction Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Taxation of Business Entities
Health Law and Policy

Courses

  • Law and Medicine
  • Health Care Law and Policy
  • Health Care Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Heath Care Organizations and Finance
  • Administrative Law
  • Torts
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Elder Law
  • Law and Aging Policy Seminar
  • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Employee Benefits Law
  • Wills, Trusts, and Estates
  • Estate Planning
  • Poverty Law
  • In-House Clinics
    • Children’s Advocacy Clinic
    • Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
Intellectual Property and Innovation

Courses

  • Contracts
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Internet Law
  • Communications Law
  • Sports and Entertainment Law
  • Business Creation
    • Business Planning for Small Business Enterprises
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
    • Contracts
  • Business Operations
    • Basic Federal Income Tax
    • Advanced Federal Income Tax
    • Sales
    • Secured Transactions
    • Federal Securities Regulation
    • Consumer Protection
    • Employee Benefits Law
    • Bankruptcy
    • Employment Law
    • Labor Law
    • Introduction to Intellectual Property
    • International Business Transactions
  • Practice Based
    • Accounting for Lawyers
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Lawyering and Ethics for the Business Attorney Seminar
    • Transactional Writing and Drafting
International Trial Advocacy

Courses

  • Substantive
    • International Human Rights
    • Comparative International Taxation
    • National Security Law
    • International Investment Law
    • Energy Law and Policy
    • Immigration Law
    • International Criminal Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Practice Based
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Advanced Appellate Advocacy
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Cross-Border Legal Practice Seminar
  • Internships
    • International Justice Internship
Organizing for Social Justice

The Organizing for Social Justice concentration centers on what are commonly considered the four principles of social justice: human rights, access, participation, and equity. This track thus focuses on not just equal protection under the law but also fair and equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities for advancement, access to the political process, and maintenance and improvement of social institutions, including schools, communities, and families. The Organizing for Social Justice concentration is designed for those who work in grassroots and other social movements as well as those in government, nonprofit organizations, and public service institutions.


Courses in Organizing for Social Justice include:

  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Constitutional Law I
  • First Amendment — Free Speech
  • Family Law
  • Child Welfare Law & Policy
  • Elder Law
  • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Education Law Seminar
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Labor Law
  • Election Law
  • International Human Rights
  • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Race, Racism, and American Law Seminar
  • Race and Equal Protection of the Law
  • Gender and Sexuality Law
  • Immigration Law
  • National Security Law
  • Poverty Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Post-Conviction Process
  • Innocence and Wrongful Conviction
  • International Criminal Law
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Administrative Law
  • Regulatory and Legislative Practice Seminar
Public Interest Law

Courses

  • Constitutional
    • Constitutional Law II
    • First Amendment — Free Speech
    • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Federal
    • Election Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Federal Indian Law Seminar
    • Immigration Law
  • Human Rights
    • International Human Rights
    • Gender and Sexuality Law
    • Race, Racism, and American Law Seminar
  • Public Interest
    • Juvenile Law
    • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
    • Poverty Law
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • Education Law
  • Criminal
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Death Penalty Seminar
  • In-House Clinics
    • Children’s Advocacy Clinic
    • Community Law Clinic (handling cases in family, disability, housing, and public benefits law)
Security Law

Courses

  • National Security Law
  • Homeland Security Law
  • Counterterrorism
  • Military Law
  • Information Privacy & Security Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Regulatory & Legislative Practice Seminar
  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Cyberlaw in Practice
  • Cybersecurity Law & Policy Seminar
Tax Law Concentration

Courses

  • Basic Federal Income Tax
  • Advanced Federal Income Tax
  • Corporate and Partnership Tax
  • Comparative International Taxation
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
  • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
Trial Advocacy and Litigation

Courses

  • General Litigation
    • Evidence
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Advanced Appellate Advocacy
    • Federal Courts
    • Conflict of Laws
  • Civil
    • Civil Procedure
    • Torts
    • Advanced Torts
    • Remedies
    • Insurance Law
    • Civil Liberties Litigation
    • Remedies
    • Property
  • Criminal
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • International Criminal Law
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Post-Conviction Process