Favorites ()
Student walking outside on campus with Minneapolis skyline in background

School of Law

Hybrid M.S.L.

Hybrid (online and on campus) Master of Studies in Law

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Compliance leaders indicate that individuals who have invested their time and money in getting a graduate degree in ethics and compliance are attractive candidates because they have demonstrated their commitment to the profession.

The educational experience and degree you receive through St. Thomas’ AACSB International-accredited Organizational Ethics and Compliance program sets you apart from others – whether you're attempting to enter the field or move upward into a better position.

The on-campus Master of Studies in Law allows those who hold an undergraduate degree to earn a specialized graduate degree. This program can be completed in two semesters when taken full time, or two years when taken part time. No LSAT, GRE or GMAT is required to apply.

Our programs are a perfect fit if you are:

  • working in compliance, risk management, regulatory affairs, finance, human resources, accounting, insurance, software engineering, technology or auditing;
  • a professional in the industries of health care, banking, energy, transportation, investments, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications or higher education;
  • ready to expand your knowledge about and job opportunities within this career path; or
  • a recent college graduate who wants to pursue a career in ethics and compliance.

The M.S.L. program is offered in partnership with the St. Thomas Opus College of Business.

A Relevant Curriculum

The hybrid (online and on campus) M.S.L. program is designed to provide you with a broad scope of study including international anti-corruption, project management, investigations and white-collar crime. It will also give you the knowledge you need to confidently present complex concepts and factual patterns to all levels of your organization, as well as build consensus, persuade, influence, collaborate and solve problems within diverse organizational structures.

Required Courses

To earn an M.S.L. in Ethics and Compliance, students must complete 30 credits. Twelve credits of required coursework (three credits each, listed below) and 18 credits in elective courses.

Introduction to Legal Reasoning engages students in careful reading and analysis of case law and statutes to prepare them to address the ambiguity of many scenarios that arise in compliance work, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and argument. The course also introduces students to the common-law method by which doctrine is created; the importance and authority of statutes, codes and regulations; and the structure of the U.S. legal system. The doctrines of contract and tort liability form the substantive underpinning for the course, both because it provides a foundation for later courses and because compliance professionals encounter these areas of law.

Compliance and ethics management is a complex process that requires program design that supports management's objectives, coordinated activities across functions and geographies, and performance measurement. This course engages participants' knowledge and experience to explore program design frameworks and key elements (including risk identification and assessment, communication and training, investigations and discipline, reporting and disclosure, auditing and monitoring, and remediation) and how to measure effectiveness.

Cultures of economic competitiveness and legal compliance are necessary but not sufficient for corporate responsibility. This course examines ethical decision-making and corporate cultures from the perspective of an organization's leadership. Leaders are the architects of corporate culture, and their moral agenda should include three practical imperatives: elucidating, institutionalizing and sustaining ethical values. The case method is used to introduce frameworks for making reasoned ethical decisions, and to diagnose both positive and negative cultural leadership. Students learn to recognize and resolve ethical issues and identify ways to enhance or remediate ethical cultures.

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about compliance from the perspective of executives and leaders in the industry. Practicing compliance executives discuss goals, strategies, activities and challenges associated with their business. Students have an opportunity to relate the philosophies and techniques developed in the Organizational Ethics and Compliance Program to those presented.

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses above, students complete 18 credits of elective courses. Examples are listed below from the School of Law and the other colleges and schools within the university that offer electives for Organizational Ethics and Compliance students.

Administrative Law

Competitive Strategy

Compliance Externship

Corporate Governance

Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in an Information Age

Employment Discrimination

Employment Law

Environmental Law

Global Risk Leadership

Health Law II

Information Privacy and Data Protection Law

International Anti-Corruption Law

International Regulatory Affairs for Medical Devices


Leading Organizational Change

Legal Strategy for Global Business

Project Management

Negotiations Skills

Privacy Law

Reputation and Stakeholder Management

Risk Management

Securities Regulation

White Collar Crime and Compliance

Subject to change. Preapproval for courses may be required. The University of St. Thomas reserves the right to amend the degree requirements and to add to or delete from the list of courses that satisfy the degree requirements at any time.

Opus College of Business

Competitive Strategy

Global Risk Leadership

Leading Organizational Change

Legal Strategy for Global Business

Negotiation Skills

Project Management

Reputation and Stakeholder Management

Risk Management

School of Engineering

International Regulatory Affairs for Medical Devices

Data Analytics and Visualization

Subject to change. Preapproval for courses may be required. The University of St. Thomas reserves the right to amend the degree requirements and to add to or delete from the list of courses that satisfy the degree requirements at any time.

Business Woman Headshot

Experiential Learning

Off-campus Compliance Externship

An off-campus compliance externship allows students to see “compliance in action.” Externs evaluate and complete projects under the supervision of a compliance professional to gain an understanding of effective ethics and compliance programming. Our externs have worked at companies such as Target, 3M, U.S. Bank, Ecolab and many more.

A man talking on a computer video call

Take Your Career to the Next Level

A Degree with Impact

Seventy-nine percent of our 2021 graduates say they got a new job, promotion or salary increase as a result of earning their ethics and compliance degree at St. Thomas Law.

Career and Professional Development

Our Director of Organizational Ethics and Compliance Colleen Dorsey and Office of Career and Professional Development are dedicated to individually helping students and alumni on their career journey. We maintain strong relationships with law firms and businesses, which allows us to effectively advise students and graduates about jobs in the ethics and compliance field.

OPUS Stone Sign

Highly Principled, Global Business Leaders

St. Thomas Opus College of Business

Opus College of Business offers a comprehensive, relevant business education that combines leadership and technical skill building and experiential learning. Its mission is to unlock the talent of future problem solvers and prepare students to be highly principled business leaders.

A Network of More Than 120,000 Alumni

When you earn a degree from St. Thomas Law, you become part of our community of nearly 3,000 alumni. You also join the network of more than 120,000 St. Thomas graduates working around the world in fields from business to engineering to the sciences.

M.S.L. Alumni

Katie Koontz Headshot

Katie Koontz

"Even as a public employee, the Organizational Ethics & Compliance program has been invaluable to me in my career. Since completing the program I have made tremendous leaps in my career path, and I am truly grateful for the opportunities that have opened up to me."