• Master in the Study of Law

    Learn to think like a lawyer

    Hamline University's Master in the Study of Law (MSL) offers you a rigorous, integrated approach to legal education, including a sophisticated exposure to conflict resolution. You gain a nuanced understanding of how your work affects and is affected by the American legal system, while receiving training in practical dispute resolution and problem-solving tools applicable in all work environments.

    Online or In-residence

    The Hamline MSL is offered in online and in-residence formats and in two concentrations, conflict resolution and health care compliance, in collaboration with Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s* nationally renowned centers of excellence -- the Dispute Resolution Institute and the Health Law Institute.

    • In-residence MSL students take regularly scheduled law school courses alongside full-time law students. You can complete the degree in as few as 12 months.
    • In the online MSL conflict resolution concentration, you start your degree in August or January, taking two courses in each of six successive law school terms (PDF program calendar). You can complete the degree in as few as 15 months.
    • In the online MSL health care compliance concentration, you start your degree in May, August, or January (PDF program calendar) and earn a valuable certificate in Health Care Compliance along with your MSL degree. Both the certificate and degree can be completed in as few as 19 months.

      The Hamline MSL is for anyone whose work involves law or who routinely receives the advice and counsel of lawyers, including a wide range of non-lawyer professionals such as:

    • Human resources and employee benefits professionals
    • Risk managers
    • School and university administrators
    • Government regulators
    • Business executives
    • Investment advisors/financial planners/accountants/estate planners
    • Health care administrators and compliance officers
    • Journalists
    • Real estate professionals
    • Technology transfer and privacy officers


  • Pending Approval

    Residential MSL will be offered pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission, we are unable to admit international students to the MSL program.


  • MSL overview

    The demand for legal services is growing rapidly. So are the delivery methods. No longer is all the work going to lawyers. That's the past. The future, much like in the medical field, sees an array of professionals (only some with professional licensing that permits a full range of service) with specialized skills and knowledge assisting their employers to get work done, to close deals, and solve problems.

    With the Hamline MSL degree, you can deliver real value to your employer about legal questions, including a really pivotal one: knowing when you can provide the answer and when instead you need to get legal advice from a lawyer. When it's the latter, you are in the best possible position to cost-effectively understand and interpret the lawyer's counsel and communicate it to others in your workplace.

    The MSL provides:

    • Immersion in the “culture of law” (thinking like a lawyer) that make you superb and sophisticated consumers of legal advice and information;
    • Education about how law and the legal process work in general;
    • Understanding of how laws are made and policies implemented;
    • Tools to evaluate legal authority and how to apply it in diverse factual situations;
    • Perspective on the legal implications of workplace decisions;
    • Rigorous training in writing clearly and analytically;
    • Basic legal research tools; and
    • Mastery of conflict resolution theory and practical skills, including negotiation and creative problem-solving

    The last bullet point is a feature that makes the Hamline MSL unique among comparable U.S. programs. Ranked third in the nation in dispute resolution (America’s Best Graduate Schools: U.S. News & World Report, 2015 edition), Hamline has long recognized that evolution in conflict resolution management is critical. With two decades of experience teaching law students and other professionals simultaneously in our Dispute Resolution Institute January term, Summer Institute, and study abroad programs, one of our key goals is training you to be a conflict intervener who can deliver real value to an employer through your ability to creatively anticipate and solve problems. This focus on practical problem-solving is at the heart of the Hamline MSL, regardless of the delivery format (online or in-residence) and concentration (dispute resolution or health care compliance) you choose.

    MSL degree planning

    Five themes have guided Hamline’s MSL degree planning:

    • Law impacts virtually all aspects of contemporary life.
    • Many professionals come into contact with law and lawyers and have to conduct their careers in ways that require some knowledge of law. Business activity has become increasingly regulated; legal compliance is a frequent and early consideration in most transactions.
    • “Bridge” professionals -- those individuals who can combine technical expertise in a particular field with basic legal knowledge -- are best positioned to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems.
    • Law is more than just cases, statutes, and regulations; it is a way of thinking, a culture all its own that takes immersion to fully understand.
    • Proactive conflict management, creative problem-solving, and state-of-the-art dispute resolution are critical for all organizations; effectively managing conflict is a science that can be learned.

    Learn more about the Online MSL

    Learn more about the In-Residence MSL.

    Please note

    This program is not approved by the American Bar Association for training paralegals and does not qualify recipients for the practice of law. Find out more about Hamline's Paralegal Certificate or practice law with a Juris Doctor from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

  • *Hamline University, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), maintains an affiliation and collaborative relationship with Mitchell | Hamline School of Law, an autonomous law school created by the combination of Hamline University School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law and which is separately accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).