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MSL Master in the Study of Law


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Earn your MSL degree online

With Hamline's online Master in the Study of Law, you'll combine the foundational training of Hamline's ABA-approved paralegal certificate with the in-depth study of a legal area of your choice. You can earn your paralegal certificate, develop a nuanced understanding of how the law and legal system impact your work, and gain key skills and knowledge:

  • Deep understanding of legal authorities' rules and reasoning and the ability to apply them in a variety of legal settings
  • Foundational legal knowledge, including the structure, components, and function of the legal system
  • Advocacy, problem-solving, and collaboration in legal matters, including formal and informal disputes
  • Expertise in conflict resolution, education law and compliance, litigation support, or social justice

What will it take?

Cost per Credit
Time to Complete
Next Session Starts
August 26, 2024

MSL degree program details

Important Dates
Time to Complete

Start dates and application deadlines

We review applications on a rolling basis, meaning you can apply and start your MSL degree at three separate times throughout the year. We recommend applying at least six weeks before the start of your term to ensure your spot.

How to apply


Fall 2024 term starts
Spring 2025 term starts
Summer 2025 term starts

Online Master in the Study of Law format

Hamline's MSL program is fully online. Your first five courses in the program meet virtually once a week, from 7 to 9 p.m. CDT or CST. The last four classes are online, with no designated meeting time.

MSL program time to complete degree

Students enrolled full-time (8 credits per term) can finish the paralegal certificate portion of the MSL degree in one year or less. Students enrolled full-time can complete the full MSL degree in as few as 18 months.

Already have your paralegal certificate?

If you have a paralegal degree or certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program in the past 10 years and a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your master’s in the study of law in just 12 months.

MSL for Paralegals

Online MSL program courses

You’ll finish your MSL degree online in 8-9 courses.

Core coursework (24 credits):

  • LGST 8000: Foundations in Law (4 credits)
  • LGST 8020: Legal Writing and Research (4 credits)
  • LGST 8010: Civil Litigation Survey and Procedure (4 credits)
  • LGST 8012: Transactions and Contracts in Business (4 credits)
  • LGST 8015: Regulation in America (4 credits)
  • LGST 8495: Graduate Legal Capstone (4 credits)

Elective coursework (10 credits):

You’ll complete three more courses as your electives and can focus your courses in many areas, including:

  • Substantive law survey courses
  • Topics in justice and equity
  • Procedures and skills courses

MSL course descriptions

Online MSL program courses

When you get your Master in the Study of Law from Hamline, you will graduate with valuable knowledge and skills you can apply directly to your work. Your culminating course, the capstone, prepares you for your career by engaging all your new skills, either in a research action project or a thesis-quality research paper.

Research action project

If you complete a research action project, you will follow standardized approaches in your chosen field. Examples include developing a legal compliance program, designing a workplace dispute resolution system, or creating a legal compliance program.

Research paper

If you choose to do a thesis-quality research paper, you will focus on a law-related topic in an area of your interest.

Past papers titles include:

  • Structure & Impacts of TX SB-8
  • U.S. Custody Laws and Military Service: Favoring the Best Interest of the Child
  • Too Little and Too Late: International Law and the Failure to Regulate Agent Orange During and After the American War
  • Expanding Juvenile Protection Under the Eighth Amendment: Why Juveniles Should Not be Prosecuted in Adult Court
  • When the Courts have Failed: The Resegregation of Minnesota and the United States School Systems

A promising career outlook

Job Growth


job growth is expected in non-attorney legal occupations from 2021 to 2031
(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)



is the median annual wage for non-attorney legal occupations in May 2021
(US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Added Value


the difference in median annual salary between those with a bachelor’s vs. a master’s degree in 2020
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

How we help make your MSL degree affordable

Competitive tuition

When you invest in a master’s in the study of law from Hamline, you benefit from a prestigious degree from Minnesota's first university. We work hard to ensure our tuition, accompanied by scholarships, tuition discounts, and other financial aid, is a worthwhile investment for all students.


Generous financial aid

Along with the scholarships and tuition discounts listed below, additional financial aid is also available, and many graduate students use low-interest loans to finance their education.

  • Department scholarships - up to $2,000
  • 3M scholarships - up to $1,000
  • Learning partnership discounts - 10% off tuition
  • Service scholarships - 10% off tuition
  • Alumni discounts 10% off tuition


Financial aid

Already have a paralegal certificate? Get your MSL in just 12 months.

Hamline Student Brian Tolkkinen

My MSL education has provided me with new perspectives as a thought leader who can contribute innovative ideas to my organization.

Brian Tolkkinen ’21, Master in the Study of Law; director of information security at Delano, MN

What can you do with an MSL?

Student in library holding an open book and looking at the camera

Careers in the legal field

An MSL can help you advance your career by building a deeper understanding of the law, and legal and dispute-related proceedings.

  • Legal assistant
  • Legal journalist
  • Paralegal
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Mediator
business person, grad student at Hamline

Careers in business

  • Auditor
  • Corporate executive
  • Compliance officer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Human resources manager
  • Real estate agent

Master in the Study of Law FAQs

*Hamline University’s 20-credit Graduate Paralegal Certificate is approved by the American Bar Association for the training of paralegals. The Master in the Study of Law is not a program subject to approval or accreditation by the ABA. The ABA-approved Graduate Paralegal Certificate forms the core of the MSL program, and students may not earn the MSL without an ABA-approved paralegal certificate. 

**Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to clients or to the public, except as permitted by law. Neither the Paralegal Certificate nor Master in the Study of Law degree qualify the recipient to sit for the bar examination or work as a lawyer.

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