One of the most diverse law schools in the nation, St. Mary's prepares its graduates for the competent and ethical practice of law in a community that supports educational excellence.
This 30 credit-hour program is designed for those who do not wish to practice law but are interested in gaining a broader understanding of the American legal system. Thus, the credits acquired through the M.Jur. program will not count towards the completion of a J.D. degree, and this M.Jur. degree does not satisfy the requirements to sit for the bar exam.
The M.Jur. degree is primarily for professionals practicing in areas that intersect with the law such as human relations, criminal and juvenile justice, the court system (including magistrates and probation officers), journalism, social work, regulatory agencies, county and municipal government, health care, intellectual property and technology, business, and other professions that directly interact with the legal system.
The M.Jur. provides an alternative means of acquiring practical knowledge about law in a more efficient manner than the J.D. program and a more comprehensive manner than on-the-job training. As a result, law schools throughout the United States have implemented similar programs.
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Are M.Jur. courses regular law school courses?
Will the M.Jur. train me to be a lawyer?
Do M.Jur. courses count toward the J.D. degree if I decide I want to pursue that degree?
Will the M.Jur. degree help me get into a J.D. program?
Who will benefit from the Master of Jurisprudence degree?
May I combine graduate or professional studies with the Master of Jurisprudence?
Are there any required courses in the M.Jur. program?
How many other courses do I need to take?
Will I get any advice and guidance in the courses I should take?
What is the difference between a “track” and a “concentration”?
Do I have to go to school full time or may I obtain the M.Jur. degree part time?
When are courses offered?
What courses will I take in my first semester?
What is the grading system for students in the M.Jur. program?
What is the tuition for the M.Jur. Program?
Is there financial aid for M.Jur. students?
What are the requirements for admission to the M.Jur.?
Are international students eligible for admission to the M.Jur. Program?
How do I apply for the M.Jur. program?
What is the application deadline?
Is the program accredited?
Q: Are M.Jur. courses regular law school courses?
Yes. The M. Jur. degree courses are the same courses that the J.D. degree students take with the exception of Introduction to American Law (2 credit hours), which is specifically designed for M.Jur. students.
Q: Will the M.Jur. train me to be a lawyer?
No. If you want to become a lawyer, you should apply to our J.D. program instead. The M.Jur. provides new skills and knowledge to enhance your existing repertoire rather than to prepare you for a new career. It will not permit you to take the bar.
Q: Do M.Jur. courses count toward the J.D. degree if I decide I want to pursue that degree?
No. American Bar Association regulations do not permit credits acquired in the M.Jur. degree to be credited toward the J.D. degree. However, certain credits may be transferable from the J.D. degree to the M.Jur. degree.
Q: Will the M.Jur. degree help me get into a J.D. program?
The M.Jur. program is an independent degree program. It is not designed to be a gateway to the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program. Students who attend or complete the M.Jur. program may apply to the J.D. program. However, these students will be treated as a traditional J.D. applicant and will receive no specialized treatment or advantages. None of the credits earned in the M.Jur. program can be applied towards the J.D. In addition, M.Jur. students who attended or completed the M.Jur. program must retake the LSAT and submit their score before their application will be processed. Applicants who received a score of 153 or above within the last five years are exempt from this requirement. Applicants may also be asked to provide supplemental information regarding their professional and academic performance in the M.Jur. program.
Q: Who will benefit from the Masters of Jurisprudence degree?
The M.Jur. degree is designed to enhance the knowledge and skill sets of professionals who interact with the law on a regular basis. Many corporate managers, auditors, health care providers, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), government employees and others regularly work with lawyers or work with the law. Other people may have little contact with lawyers, but a lot with the law. If you are in this group, then pursuing the M.Jur. degree will help you obtain a better understanding of the rules and regulations you work with and help to place them in a larger and more systematic context.
Furthermore, those who are pursuing graduate degrees in other fields may also find an M.Jur. degree useful. For instance, MBA students may find that an M.Jur. with a special emphasis on business law enriches their overall understanding of business administration. Ph.D. candidates in a number of fields, such as political science, philosophy or social sciences, can learn more about the policies that shape laws and how they are interpreted and enforced. Even those pursuing degrees in the hard sciences will find the M.Jur. useful for obtaining insights into fields such as health law, intellectual property law, environmental law and natural resource law. In short, the M.Jur. may appeal to any number of people in a variety of concentrations.
Q: May I combine graduate or professional studies with the Masters of Jurisprudence?
Yes. Graduate and professional students in many fields may enhance their primary program with the study of law in general, and the particular area of law that complements their field. St. Mary’s allows students to design their own specialized track with the assistance of the program director to ensure that each degree candidate is able to maximize his or her degree experience. In addition, St. Mary’s is working on developing a number of concentrations that reflect specialized studies in particular fields, such as Environmental and Natural Resource Law and International and Comparative Law.
Students enrolled in any American or foreign university, if they are able to take a leave of absence from their studies, may enroll in the M.Jur. program, or they may pursue the degree on the completion of their graduate or professional studies. However, St. Mary’s does not currently offer joint degrees for its M.Jur. degree with any other institutions.
Q: Are there any required courses in the M.Jur. program?
Yes. All M.Jur. students take four required courses:
These courses help place your field of concentration in a broader legal context and help you to understand how lawyers and judges think about and use law.
Q: How many other courses do I need to take?
Altogether, you will need 30 credits to complete the M.Jur. degree, all of which must be taken in the School of Law. Most courses are three credits, but some are two and some are four.
Concentrations (if one is chosen) will have additional requirements to those needed for a basic M.Jur. These remaining credits may be taken in any elective approved by your concentration advisor.
Q: Will I get any advice and guidance in the courses I should take?
Yes. You will work closely with the program director who will ask you about your professional goals and will advise you on what courses will best help you to achieve your goals. You may wish to simply take a variety of courses, or to develop a specific track with an emphasis in a particular area. Furthermore, St. Mary’s has developed and continues to develop concentrations that reflect study in particular fields, such as Environmental and Natural Resource Law and International and Comparative Law.
Q: What is the difference between a “track” and a “concentration”?
Each M.Jur. candidate is allowed to create his or her own track of study that reflects the student’s interests and goals. These are created in collaboration with the program director. These tracks are not reflected on the M.Jur. degree, however. Instead of developing a track, students may choose to pursue a concentration. The concentrations are in specific fields and have been developed by experts in those fields. Concentrations require students to take specific courses that reflect appropriate study in the chosen field. Unlike the tracks, concentrations are reflected on the degree itself. St. Mary’s is currently developing a number of concentrations and will continue to develop concentrations to react to the demands of our students. The concentrations currently being developed are listed below.
Q: Do I have to go to school full time, or may I obtain the M.Jur. degree part time?
You may pursue the M.Jur. degree either on a full-time or part-time basis. The degree may be completed in one academic year (late August to mid-May) if pursued full-time. If you wish to take a part-time course of study, you will have up to three years to complete the degree.
Q: When are courses offered?
Courses are offered in the fall and spring, and a limited number of courses in the summer. Fall courses begin in late August and end in early December. Spring courses begin in early January and end in early May. Summer courses typically run from mid-May to late June and early July to mid-August. Courses are offered during the day and evening.
Q: What courses will I take in my first semester?
All M.Jur. students take Introduction to American Law (2 credits), a course designed especially for M.Jur. students, and open only to M.Jur. students. This course is designed as a partial substitute for the courses J.D. students take in their first semester of law school.
In addition, you will take Legal Research and Writing (2 credits), and at least two regular first-semester J.D. courses. Courses meet 2, 3, or even 4 times a week for 50 to 110 minutes. Though courses are offered in the evening, part-time students may need to have flexibility in their work schedule to attend classes and to successfully complete the M.Jur. program.
Q: What is the grading system for students in the M.Jur. program?
In order to complete the M.Jur. program, the candidate must obtain 30 credits with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 (C) or better in courses approved by the director of the M.Jur. program. Though J.D. students are graded on a curve, M.Jur. students are not graded on the same curve as the J.D. students. Instead, M.Jur. students are graded according to the individual professor’s preferences; however, professors may use the J.D. performances as a point of reference.
Q: What is the tuition for the M.Jur. Program?
As M.Jur. students are using the same resources and facilities as J.D. students, the tuition is the same and is currently calculated on a per hour basis (rather than by semester). The J.D. tuition rates can be found here.
Q: Is there financial aid for M.Jur. students?
Financial aid, such as through student loans, is available. However, as the program is new, scholarships have not yet been developed for M.Jur. students. Efforts to fund scholarships for the program are underway. Furthermore, some students may be eligible for re-imbursement through their employers, but this is not controlled by St. Mary’s.
Q: What are the requirements for admission to the M.Jur.?
Applicants must submit:
1. Proof of a four-year undergraduate degree, either
a) from an accredited college or university in the United States or
b) a comparable degree from a foreign institution approved by either the government or the relevant accrediting authority of the nation where the school is located;
2. Official transcripts of undergraduate studies
3. A personal statement;
5. Two letters of recommendation;
6. A completed M.Jur. application form.
All applicants will be considered holistically and admission will be based on the applicant’s academic training, professional background, personal statement, and professional and academic references. Applicants may, but are not required, to submit official LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or MCAT score reports.
Q: Are international students eligible for admission to the M.Jur. Program?
Yes. In addition to the required documents listed above, foreign M.Jur. applicants must have English test scores, TOEFL (70 or above) or IELTS (6.0 or above). After an interview, program directors may waive English tests with the permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
Q: How do I apply for the M.Jur. program?
Information on how to apply for the Masters of Jurisprudence program can be found here.
Q: What is the application deadline?
To make it easier for M.Jur. applicants to apply, the law school has a rolling deadline for M.Jur. program admissions. The only exception to this policy is for foreign M.Jur. applicants who must submit a complete application package at least five weeks before the commencement of the semester in which the applicant intends to begin his/her first semester of study. This is necessary to ensure that the I-20 can be processed by the university’s International Student and Scholar Services office and thereafter received by the applicant in time to secure a student visa for study in the M.Jur. program.
Q: Is the program accredited?
St. Mary’s School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools and, as part of the larger University, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The ABA does not approve non-J.D. programs but has acquiesced to St. Mary’s M. Jur. program and the degree has been acknowledged by the AALS and SACS.