Master of Legal Studies

About the Master of Legal Studies Degree

Advance your career opportunities with a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) from Seattle University School of Law. The 30-credit program is directed at educating working professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge in a specific field while gaining a comprehensive understanding of how the law intersects with and applies to their chosen field of interest. Students will seek this degree to improve their professional position and to develop a level of knowledge and expertise that will allow them to alert their employers or firms to legal issues as they arise.

For Fall 2018, candidates pursuing the MLS may select from the following tracks:

  1. Tribal law and governance
  2. Business development
  3. Innovation and technology law
  4. Health law
  5. General Studies 

Who Can Benefit?

  1. The tribal law and governance track would benefit students interested in acquiring the knowledge needed to work as a manager or leader within a tribe; or working in a tribal legal office, tribal government, federal government, or a tribally-chartered corporation; or in working for non-tribal firms and corporations doing business in Indian country. Students in the program may already be working or aspiring to work as tribal administrators, council members, executives, entrepreneurs, or tribal leaders. In addition to academic offerings, the law school provides MLS students with outstanding opportunities for scholarship, field trips, social events, and networking opportunities through the law school’s Center for Indian Law & Policy, the American Indian Law Journal, and the Alaska Law Campus, as well as the law school’s numerous externships and internships with tribes and native corporations in the Northwest.
  2. The business development track will appeal to candidates, many of whom will be professionals already in the workforce, who need an understanding of the law and how it relates to complex regulations in their professional fields. The program will benefit students seeking knowledge about legal issues affecting established businesses, including: non-disclosure and non-competition agreements; shareholder and founder agreements; customer agreements; supplier agreements; development contracts; intellectual property; securities and IPOs; and corporate governance and responsibility. Students in the program may already be recent graduates, career-changers, or those working in banking, compliance, healthcare, real estate, sales, marketing, consulting, retail and commerce, accounting, human resources, government, technology, and nonprofits.
  3. The innovation and technology law track will feature courses in data privacy, cybersecurity, and digital commerce. This track will benefit students interested in acquiring the legal knowledge needed to work as a compliance officer, manager, or leader within a corporation, hospital, governmental, or other organization as a chief security/privacy officer, a technical manager, security/privacy manager, consultant, policy maker, or in financial technology. Additionally, courses in intellectual property will appeal to professionals and graduate students whose education and training in intellectual property will enhance their careers in related fields such as engineering, entrepreneurship, publishing, and public policy. For example, professionals involved in regulatory work would benefit from an understanding of how the legal system works; a business person would benefit from an understanding of corporate law; a technology manager would benefit from an understanding of intellectual property. Students in the program may already be working or aspiring to work at the intersection of law and technology by drafting or advising on company or organizational policy, drafting or advising on key legislation, producing publications, speaking on pivotal developments, or developing policy.
  4. The health law track will educate students seeking expertise in navigating the field of health care law, regulation, and policy. Health care continues to play a growing role in the national economy. In Seattle, the industry reaches beyond patient services to biotechnology research and development, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical device and instrument manufacturing, management of health care institutions, healthcare insurers, professional associations, and government agencies. Students in this MLS track can choose from among such areas as: the law of bioethics, biotechnology, compliance, data privacy and security, infectious disease control, medical fraud, medical and product liability, mental health, public policy, health care decision-making, and access to health care coverage (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and the Affordable Care Act).
  5. The general studies track is specifically tailored to the individual student’s area of interest depending on the student’s professional goals and learning objectives. Examples of professional or academic areas students may wish to focus their studies include environmental law, health law, labor and employment, intellectual property, and many more.

Degree Requirements

The MLS program requires the completion of 30 credits, which includes two required courses and four core courses, with the remaining credits chosen from approved electives and independent study.

Students may pursue their course of study either full-time over a single year, or part-time over two years.


Student curriculum plans are carefully designed in consultation with the program director. During the first semester, all students enrolled in the MLS program are required to take Introduction to the American Legal System and Legal Research and Writing Seminar.

Sample Courses – Tribal Law & Governance Track

  • American Indian Tribal Law
  • Contemporary Issues in Indian Law
  • Tribal Governmental Gaming Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Indian Law & Natural Resources
  • Advanced Environmental and Indian Law: Restoring the Elwha River
  • Rebuilding Tribal Nations: Legal, Economic and Social Challenges
  • Tribal Administration and Governance
  • Tribal Intergovernmental Relations
  • Tribal Taxation
  • Native Culture Intellectual Property

Sample Courses - Business Development Track

  • Business Entities
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Finance
  • International Business Transactions
  • Corporate Acquisitions
  • Antitrust
  • Corporate Compliance and Investigations

Sample Courses – Innovation and Technology Law Track

  • Intellectual Property
  • Introduction to Privacy Law
  • Internet and Cyberspace Law
  • Mass Media Law & Policy
  • Cybercrime, Cyberespionage, and Cyberwar
  • Privacy and Healthcare Law
  • Open Government Law
  • Law, Technology, and Ethics in the Age of Innovation
  • Managing Privacy Risks Across the Business Enterprise
  • Electronic Commerce Law
  • Cybersecurity and Data Breach: Legal and Practical Prevention and Response
  • Consumer Information and Digital Commerce
  • Surveillance Law, Personal Privacy, and Government
  • Digital Commerce Law

Sample Courses - Health Law Track

  • Administrative Law
  • Bioethics and the Law
  • Biotechnology and the Law
  • Health Law I
  • Health Law II
  • Insurance Law
  • Insurance Law: Bad Faith and Fair Conduct
  • Law, Policy and Mental Health
  • Medical Fraud
  • Medical Liability
  • Public Benefits Law
  • Public Health Law

Application Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the MLS program, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree.

Preferred application deadline: May 15 for Fall applicants.

Apply here using this form or apply on In addition to this application form, applicants must submit:

  1. Personal Statement (1-2 pages). Please discuss your background, goals, how you plan to use your MLS degree, and any additional information you would like us to know.
  2. Nonrefundable $60 (US) application fee (waived for current Seattle University students and alumni).
  3. A resume or C.V.
  4. A list of three references (academic or professional references preferred but not required).

The following items must be sent to the law school directly from the appropriate institutions:

  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions where you have studied. A certified translation must be attached if the transcript is not in English.
  • If English is not your first language, official TOEFL score report must be sent directly from ETC. TOEFL is waived for students whose first language is English, who attended an educational institution in which English was the primary language of instruction, or who worked in an English-speaking environment for one year or more.

Tuition and Fees

Financial Aid Program
Preferred deadline for financial aid is June 15 for Fall applicants.

Tuition for the MLS is $1,084 per credit (MLS Online is $1,200 per credit).  Tuition Deposit: This $250 nonrefundable deposit is applied to your first semester's tuition and ensures you a place in the entering class. The deposit is due one month after the date of admission.

Tuition is paid per term, and determined by the number of credits you are taking. You may pay tuition charges with financial aid, personal resources, and/or employer benefits. If you choose not to use financial aid or have remaining charges after financial aid is applied to your account, you may arrange a payment plan directly with the law school business office, (206) 398-4050.