Legal Degree for Non-Lawyers

McGeorge’s online MSL programs offer a legal degree for non-lawyers. Neither the MSL in Water and Environmental Law nor the MSL in Government Law and Policy requires a Juris Doctor (JD) or a legal background. They are designed for working professionals and recent graduates who aim to gain a legal education to further their careers.

What is an MSL Degree?

McGeorge launched its MSL programs, a Master of Science in Law, in 2012. Neither a paralegal nor a JD degree, this versatile option is meant for professionals who seek the benefits of advanced training in legal reasoning and analysis. With so many businesses and industries being impacted by constantly changing laws and regulations, having knowledge and training in legal analysis can be advantageous when dealing with every day law-related issues. Taught by full-time tenured faculty and adjunct faculty, you get to learn from experts who conduct research and practice in the field. 

Why Pursue an MSL Degree?

An MSL degree is designed for those who work in a field that is highly regulated, who have a position where you are required to have regulatory knowledge, who want to expand and grow their existing knowledge in a specific area of law, or who recently graduated with the B.A. but want a higher level of education to jumpstart their career. You can always work with McGeorge’s Career Development Office to develop a personalized plan and determine your next steps. We work individually with all of our students to find the best curriculum for their career goals, and you have access to an advisor who you can connect with online. 

Moreover, as an MSL student, you’ll gain expertise in a particular area of the law and enjoy increased career options. In some fields, you can’t get a promotion without first getting an additional degree. 

An MSL degree is likewise the perfect choice if you want to change your field or start a new career but aren’t entirely sure where to start. This degree can help you make the transition, not only because you’ll gain knowledge and skills, but also because you’ll have McGeorge’s network at your disposal to help you find a job in your new career. Finally, you can increase your job security with an MSL by becoming more valuable to your employer. 

Watch Our Webinar 

Master of Science in Law, Water and Environmental Law


This MSL serves professionals and recent graduates who need practical knowledge of law and policy in the dynamic field of water and environmental law. This MSL is beneficial for anyone working in this field that is highly regulated since the concentration provides the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that are critical in today’s complex regulatory environment. This course of study facilitates interdisciplinary excellence within government, non-profit, and private enterprise. Our program is often ranked as one of the best in the country, and we’re proud to have many distinguished professors widely-recognized as experts. You can take classes part-time or full-time with our flexible pre-recorded modules. The program includes eight (8) required courses and two (2) electives. 


Master of Science in Law, Government Law and Policy


This MSL introduces students to the role that government agency leaders play in developing, modifying, implementing, advocating, and influencing public policy including through legislation, regulations, executive orders, court orders, and more. The program’s coursework gives students the opportunity to analyze policies and learn essential organizational procedures. Students will also be able to consider the strategic implications associated with various venues. You’ll receive access to legal research tools equal to those found in JD programs to conduct research on federal and state policymaking. There are eight (8) required courses and two (2) electives. 


What Makes McGeorge Online Graduate Degrees Distinctive?


All of our online MSL degrees have asynchronous lectures, yet they’re highly interactive thanks to compelling online discussions. Our upgraded quizzes and chats are structured for maximized learning, and we provide practical real-world assignments. You get regular feedback from professors plus a collegiate online community. Optional live, in-person office hours and lectures may also be available. 


Next Steps


Watch our June 2022 Webinar, with Assistant Dean Clemence Kucera to hear how you can further your legal career by earning a Master of Science in Law (MSL) in either Government Law & Policy or Water and Environmental Law.

Apply to our program by clicking on the link below. No GRE or LSAT, entrance exam, J.D., or any other law degree is required to enroll in this program.


We’re happy to set up one-on-one sessions to discuss your career goals, answer your questions, and walk you through the application process. Remember, the sooner you apply, the more likely you are to receive scholarships!

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