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Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences

M.A. in Legal and Ethical Studies

 

Explore your interest in law from a variety of perspectives, and prepare yourself for a range of law-related careers.

This Master of Arts program provides coursework in law, the legal system, legal research and methods, and the ethical and historical underpinnings of law.  It can be used as a stepping stone to law school or to advance in the many law-related careers that do not require a law degree. 

Graduates of the program have found jobs working for the courts (as clerks and commissioners), government contractors (in compliance), law firms (as legal assistants and paralegals), nonprofit organizations (as intake managers and legal coordinators), companies (in risk management and human resources), and in a wide variety of other jobs in government and business.  Graduates also sometimes use the program to improve their preparation and credentials for law school.

You can design your experience around the aspects of the law that most interest you. The program’s range of courses—from substantive areas of law, to legal and constitutional history, to skills like legal research and writing, to the philosophy and ethics of law—allows you to tailor your studies to your goals.

  • If you’re interested in studying law from a broad, humanistic perspective:

    This program’s Path I focuses on courses concerned with the social, historical and philosophical dimensions of law.  You will learn:

    • how law functions in our society, including its role in public policy and business
    • how ethical ideas influence the law and play a part in the regulation of many professions
    • how the history of law has shaped the particular legal system that we have 
  • If you’re interested in eventually applying to law school or in pursuing a law-related career:

    This program’s Path II focuses more on the development of legal knowledge and skills.  You will:

    • refine your abilities to read, write about and analyze the law
    • enhance your substantive knowledge of law
    • engage in the practical study of how law can be used as a tool to solve problems

While this degree may improve your competitiveness for many jobs that require legal knowledge, it does not offer paralegal certification, which some law-related jobs require.  If you already have paralegal certification, you’ll find that this master’s program complements your training and expands the breadth of work you can perform.


Classes are offered evenings; some courses are offered online and some are offered in the summer for continuing students.