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November 2013 News Releases

Washburn University School of Law Announces Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L) Degree

Washburn University School of Law is now offering a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L) degree. Washburn Law’s M.S.L. degree is designed to meet the needs of prospective students who will gain from an enriched background in the study of law, who do not plan to devote the time and resources needed for a full three year study of law, and whose professional interests do not require admission to the bar.  Because the program will be offered for either full or part time students, the program will meet the needs of individuals making career changes as well as those wanting to advance their existing professional positions.

The goal of the program is to provide a legal background that will complement the professional interests of the participants, strengthen their ability to interact effectively with the legal community, and provide professional certification of those accomplishments.  The M.S.L. degree does not qualify graduates for admission to the bar, and credit earned toward an M.S.L. degree cannot be counted toward a J.D. degree prior to admission to that program.

This degree is not offered by any school within the immediate vicinity.  Topeka is the ideal location for such a program because of the high level of law-related professional activity in this community related to local, state, and national government agencies and activities.  The facilities, library resources, and administrative structure of the law school are all ideally suited for this program.

The existing Washburn curriculum is also tailor-made for such a program.  Organization of the curriculum, built upon a framework of Centers for Excellence and certificate programs, provides a professional curriculum in the following career paths: Business and Transactional, Children and Family, Tax or Estate Planning, Government, Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Criminal Justice. Adding a limited number of students with parallel professional interests and experience will enhance those courses by offering a diverse perspective to students enrolled in the J.D. program, while simultaneously providing a valuable educational experience to the students seeking a master’s level degree.

The law school has received American Bar Association acquiescence to ensure that the proposed program does not detract from the existing J.D. program. The ABA does not accredit or assess masters’ level programs.  The program has been approved by the Washburn University Board of Regents and the Kansas Board of Regents.  A request for approval is pending before the Higher Learning Commission. 

A full-time student will be able to complete this program within a single academic year.  Part-time students must complete all credit hours needed for the degree within four calendar years beginning with the first semester after enrollment. Costs per credit hour for the M.S.L. students would be the same as that for J.D. students.  Because students need only to complete 30 credit hours in order to earn their degree, however, the total tuition cost of the program is one-third of the cost of the J.D. tuition.

For more information, visit

Contact: Professor Bill Rich, James R. Ahrens Chair in Law

(785) 670-1679,


Washburn University School of Law – ABA-Accredited Since 1923
1700 SW College, Topeka, KS 66621

Washburn University School of Law was founded in 1903 with 41 students enrolled in the first class. More than 110 years later, our worldwide network of nearly 7,000 alumni includes nationally recognized lawyers, state and federal judges, Kansas Supreme Court Justices, politicians, television journalists and senior executives of Fortune 500 companies and national legal associations. Washburn University School of Law’s tradition of excellence in teaching is enhanced by its five Centers for Excellence:
the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, the Center for Law and Government,
the Children and Family Law Center, and the Oil and Gas Law Center.
For more information about Washburn Law, visit