Master of Science in Law — Curriculum

The MSL is a part-time, two-year evening program structured to permit professionals to integrate their course of study into their work lives. Students are required to earn thirty credits spread out over four semesters, with a focus in one of three specialty areas: Health Care Law, Environmental Law, or Crisis Management.

During the first year, students will take foundational courses, research and writing classes, and a survey of the chosen concentration. During the second year, students will focus on the specialty area, taking seminars in their concentrations and working on a faculty-supervised capstone projects. Students are additionally required to take an ethics course during the final semester.

Master of Science in Law Curriculum Overview
First Year Second Year
Fall Cr. Fall Cr.
Survey: U.S. Law and the U.S. Legal System 4 Seminar 1 (in chosen concentration) 3
Legal Methods: Analysis and Argument 3 Seminar 2 (in chosen concentration) 3
Introduction to Legal Research 1 Capstone Workshop 1
Spring Cr. Spring Cr.
Introduction to Public Law and the Regulatory Process 4 Ethics in Law & Public Policy 3
Survey Course (in chosen concentration) 3 Capstone Project 4
Capstone Colloquium 1
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

With a choice among three unique concentrations, MSL students will develop an understanding of the law within their chosen field while simultaneously gaining a fluency in the principles and modes of analysis that will complement their existing professional knowledge and experience. The program will allow students to develop necessary core competencies, such as:

  • An ability to recognize and understand the legal regimes and structures that regulate or otherwise affect their professional roles;
  • A capacity to read and understand legal documents, including contracts, judicial opinions, statutes, regulations, executive orders, legislative commentaries, and legal opinion letters;
  • An ability to identify the legal context for effectuating policy, and thus to recognize and better appreciate the legal risks that may affect decision-making in public and private organizations;
  • An understanding of major modes of dispute avoidance and resolution, including negotiation, private settlement, mediation, arbitration, and litigation;
  • The ability to conduct basic legal research and draft documents for internal use; and
  • The ability to assess more effectively when legal issues require or justify the engagement of legal professionals and the ability to communicate more effectively with those professionals in identifying and evaluating the range of options appropriate to specific circumstances.

Semester One:

  1. Survey: U.S. Law and the U.S. Legal System (4 credits): This course surveys the fundamental legal principles of American law in the areas of torts, contracts, and property. The development of the law will be explored, from common law roots to more recent legislation and judicial decisions, culminating with discussion of current legal topics in each area, and their implications for the workplace and society at large. This course will also introduce students to sources of law including Constitutions, statutes, case law, common law and regulations, as well as the structure and functions of U.S. courts at the federal and state levels, the jurisdiction of both federal and state courts, and the role of law in society.
  2. Legal Methods: Analysis and Argument (3 credits): This course will introduce students to the structure of the American legal system and the sources of legal authority. It will cover the essentials of legal reasoning and require at least one written project and one oral presentation. Students will learn to read and analyze statutes and to understand the relationships among cases, statutes and regulations. The course will teach students to distinguish among and evaluate various types of legal authority, and to use that authority to solve legal problems. Students will then learn to communicate their analysis through written and oral communication. Students will learn techniques for editing and revising their work to make it concise and clear, and they will produce both persuasive and objective documents.
  3. Introduction to Legal Research (1 credit): The goal of this course is to introduce students to legal authorities and legal research. Students will develop an understanding of the sources of legal information and legal citation formats, as well as judgment in identifying appropriate authorities for specific research assignments. The course will also introduce students to the process and strategies involved in effective management of legal research projects. The course will be conducted in a hybrid format, combining online materials and exercises with classroom meetings. There will be several specific deadlines for completion of the course materials, which will include a variety of components such as guided exercises, tutorials, and short open-ended research projects. A substantial portion of the grade may consist of performance on a final research project on an assigned topic.

Semester Two:

  1. Introduction to Public Law and the Regulatory Process (4 credits): This course surveys the fundamental legal principles in the areas of constitutional law, administrative processes and statutory interpretation. This course will examine the roles of administrative agencies in promulgating, administering, and enforcing regulations. After considering the relationship of agencies to the judicial and legislative branches of government, students will study the rule-making process, modes of administrative adjudication, and judicial review of agency decisions. This course will also examine the structural framework established by the Constitution, including principles of federalism and the role of the Supreme Court in policing the constitutional order. It will study the doctrine of judicial review, the reach of federal legislative power, limits on the reach of state power, the workings of the Supreme Court, separation of powers, and limits on the exercise of federal judicial power.
  2. Health Care Law Survey (3 credits): This introductory health law course surveys current federal and state regulatory schemes governing the provision of healthcare. The class focuses on three major themes: quality of care, access to care, and cost containment. Students will learn about professional licensure, malpractice, the provider-patient relationship, informed consent, the regulation of healthcare facilities, public and private insurance regulation, bioethics of organ transplantation and end of life care, the Affordable Care Act, and other topics,


Environmental Law Survey (3 credits): This is the introductory environmental law course that provides a comprehensive introduction to the field. After examining why we have environmental law, the course traces the evolution of environmental law from common law doctrines to the rise of the modern regulatory state. The course reviews the principal federal laws that govern regulation of waste management, toxic substances, and air and water pollution. It explores the operation of the federal regulatory process and the role of government agencies and citizen groups in the development and enforcement of environmental regulations. It also introduces laws protecting public resources and the rise of international environmental law.


Crisis Management Survey (3 credits): This survey course exposes students to the legal implications of government’s two critical roles in dealing with mass domestic terrorist incidents: crisis and consequence management. “Crisis management” is predominantly a domestic law enforcement response (sometimes supplemented by the military) to terrorist threats. It includes law enforcement and intelligence measures to prevent threats or acts of terrorism, as well as to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of terrorist attacks. “Consequence management” concerns measures to protect public health and safety, including restoring essential government services and providing emergency relief to businesses and individuals affected by the consequences of terrorist incident.

Semester Three:

  1. Seminar 1 in Concentration (3 credits): This course is focused on an issue in each specialty area.
  2. Seminar 2 in Concentration (3 credits): This is a second course focused on an issue in each specialty area.
  3. Capstone Workshop (1 credit): In this course, the students will begin to work on their capstone projects. Students will work together in small groups to develop their capstone topics (which will be significantly related to their professional experiences), conceptualize the project, and begin research and literature reviews.

Semester Four:

  1. Capstone in Specialty Area (4 credits): This course will involve students working in teams or small groups on an issue relevant to their professional experience and will involve written analysis and an oral presentation. This course will require substantial work outside of the classroom setting. The course will provide students with the opportunity to analyze the practical implications of legal principles and procedures in the context of a specific professional environment.
  2. Capstone Colloquium (1 credit): This course is the context in which all students in a cohort will come together to discuss and present their capstone projects. This colloquium will culminate with students providing an oral presentation with accompanying written and digital materials in order to receive feedback from peers, and to practice oral and written communication skills.
  3. Ethics in Law & Public Policy (3 credits): This course focuses on issues of practical professional ethics in legal, policy development, and program management contexts. This course will provoke critical thinking on value judgments underlying decision-making and public policy practices. It will introduce the fundamentals of ethics management and of analytic moral reasoning for politics and policy contexts. It will focus on the responsibilities of policy makers and public officials in the context of competing obligations that guide their actions.

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved