The Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L) program is a fully online, thirty-six hour master's degree program designed primarily for non-lawyers interested in pursuing a specialized, career-enhancing graduate degree. Students will complete two, three credit hour classes per term for six consecutive terms, earning the degree in twenty-four months. Following the twelve-hour core, students may choose from one of four majors or design a personalized course of study by choosing from a variety of electives.

View the M.S.L. - Custom Option Course of Study

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  1. Synthesize and explain the fundamental principles of American law and procedure.
  2. Apply an understanding of legal principles to a particular area of professional focus.
  3. Demonstrate research skills relevant to professional practice.
  4. Communicate about legal issues with attorneys and others.
  5. Recognize policy implications in decision-making.
  6. Develop expertise in self-designed area of study.

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Law and Legal Procedure

The course will focus upon the process of adjudicating a civil action in the U.S. and the related procedural rules and policies including the major conceptions and foundations of civil procedure. Topics covered will include: the jurisdictional and justiciability doctrines; initiation of a civil action; dispositive motions before trial; discovery; alternative dispute resolution; aggregate actions; trial; and appeal and judgment. In addition, the course will address the major procedural issues regarding the investigation and prosecution of crimes including search and seizure, legal doctrines, privileges, pre-trial release, grand juries, rights to counsel, and rights to a jury and a fair trial.

Principles of Business Law

Required core course for students pursuing the Master of Studies in Law degree (M.S.L.). This course surveys the legal environment of business including contract law, liability considerations, agency and employment law, and types of business organizations. Students will consider these concepts in the context of their major/concentration.

Legal Research and Communication Skills

Introduces students to the basic legal skills required for non-lawyers to find, analyze, explain, and apply the law. Students will learn the research and writing processes practicing attorneys use and how to apply them to legal and non-legal settings. Students will develop communications skills, both oral and written, that will assist them in communicating with attorneys, clients, and others. The course will emphasize legal research strategies available via the internet rather than through subscription databases.

Introduction to Public Policy: Legislation and Regulation

Introduction to the rise of legislative and regulatory government and the nature of the public policy process.

Master of Studies in Law Capstone

The culminating course of the Master of Studies in Law curriculum. Students will sharpen communication skills as they work with a mentor to produce a unique, well-researched project to present to classmates and colleagues virtually or on campus.

Program Goals

The goals of the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs are to:

  • Prepare students for professional careers through a systematic program of real world courses and training
  • Encourage graduates to pursue relevant professional credentials from industry-leading organizations
  • Empower students to communicate and interact effectively with attorneys, compliance professionals, and other members of the legal community
  • Develop the core competencies in a specialized field of study which are necessary for professional success

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete and submit an online application.  All materials must be submitted through the online system which includes detailed instructions.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to log into his or her application to confirm that all required materials (recommendations, transcripts) have been received.  Official transcripts from all universities from which the applicant received college credit must be submitted directly from the institution to Cumberland School of Law, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham Alabama, 35229, ATTN: Grad Law.  Please allow ample time for transcript orders to be processed.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.)

  • A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA from a regionally accredited institution
  • GRE or MAT scores strongly advised, but not required, for students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume*

*Competitive applications for all programs will include a resume demonstrating industry experience. Students applying for the Legal Project Management concentration must have a minimum of one year of experience in a law firm or corporate legal environment

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

  • Must have earned a J.D. or be currently enrolled as a J.D. student at Cumberland School of Law
  • One letter of recommendation from a former faculty member or professional colleague
  • Personal statement indicating career plans and likelihood of success in graduate study
  • Professional resume
Important Dates
  • Application Open – October 1, 2017
  • Application Deadline – July 31, 2018
  • Orientation – August 11, 2018 (on-campus or online)
  • Fall Start Date – August 27, 2018

International Applicant Information

Financial Aid, Tuition and Fees

For information about financial aid, please visit the Office of Financial Aid online or contact their office at 205-726-2905 or 1-800-888-7245.

Tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year are posted on the Student Financial Services website. Students in the M.S.L. and LL.M. programs pay Samford University’s graduate per-credit-hour tuition rate. For academic year 2018-19, the graduate per-credit-hour rate is $837.  Please see the link above for complete information, including fees.  You may also view our Virtual Information Session for tuition and fee information. At this time, no scholarship opportunities are available for students in the M.S.L. or LL.M. programs.

Our Team

Photo of Kim Davey
Kim Davey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Public Health
Office: CHS Building 1 1626
Photo of Michael E. DeBow
Michael E. DeBow
Steven Everett Wells Professor of Municipal Law
Cumberland School of Law
Office: Robinson Hall 
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Lynne Lee
Photo of Mary Menard
Mary Menard
Photo of Pamela Nelson
Pamela J. Nelson
Director of Student Services and ADA Compliance
Cumberland School of Law
Office: Robinson Hall 
Photo of Paige Price
Paige Price
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs
Office: Robinson Hall 
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Kelli Robinson
Photo of Laura H. Tomlin
Laura H. Tomlin
Director of Graduate and Professional Programs
Cumberland School of Law
Office: Robinson Hall