Master of Arts (M.A.) Major in Legal Studies

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the 2017-2018 academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on the program’s web page. International students should review the International Admission Documents section of the catalog for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $10 nonrefundable certificate fee (see Paralegal Studies Certificate Program, if applicable)
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)*
  • GRE scores not required
  • interview
  • additional documents not required* 

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

If you do not meet the scores above, you may qualify for English-based conditional admission if you meet the minimum scores below:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 59 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 5.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 5.5

*Additional Information 
If your last-60-hours GPA falls between 2.5 and 3.0, please submit the following:

  • personal statement 
  • two letters of recommendation 

The Department of Political Science also offers a Texas State Certificate in paralegal studies only in conjunction with the legal studies master's program.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts (M.A.) major in Legal Studies is a non-thesis, 36-hour program consisting of a core of 21 hours, including a cumulative research project and an internship. To receive an M.A. major in Legal Studies, all students must successfully complete the 36-hour curriculum while maintaining a “B” average and must receive a “B” or better in each required course.

In addition, an oral comprehensive examination over courses and a cumulative research project will be required for completion of the degree. The M.A. major in Legal Studies is an ABA-approved program that offers career enhancement in law-related fields and helps meet the evolving needs of the legal and business communities and federal and state government entities. This program does not qualify graduates to practice law. Legal assistants or paralegals must work under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

Course Requirements

LS 5310Introduction to the Paralegal Profession and Legal Technology3
LS 5320Legal Research3
LS 5330Legal Theories and Analysis3
LS 5340Litigation3
LS 5350Legal Drafting3
LS 5360Advanced Litigation3
LS 5370Advanced Legal Research & Writing3
LS 5389Law Office Internship3
LS 5399Applied Research Project3
Prescribed Electives
Choose 9 hours from the following:9
Administrative Law
Family Law
Business Organizations
Estates and Trusts
Real Estate
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Criminal Law and Procedure
Social Legislation
Intellectual Property Law
Contract Law
Issues and Problems in Law
Total Hours36

Master's level courses in Political Science: POSI

Courses Offered

Legal Studies (LS)

LS 5310. Introduction to the Paralegal Profession and Legal Technology.

This course provides an introduction to the paralegal profession and law office technology, including the history of and current issues facing the profession, paralegal associations, paralegal regulation and certification options, paralegal ethics, and the skills necessary to become an effective paralegal, with an emphasis placed on legal technology.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5320. Legal Research.

This course provides a study of the legal research process, including primary and secondary sources of law and related finding tools and legal citation rules; research using books and online tools; and provides a basic introduction to legal writing, including how to brief cases and prepare legal research memoranda.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5330. Legal Theories and Analysis.

This course is a study of statutory and case law development of basic legal theory including tort theory, contract theory, and evidence theory. This course is intended to assist students in gaining knowledge of fundamental legal theory, reasoning, and analysis.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5340. Litigation.

This course is a study of statutory and case law relating to civil procedure in order to develop an understanding of litigation.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5341. Administrative Law.

This course deals with the origin, development, and theory of Administrative Law as well as the agencies and tribunals that administer the law. Emphasis is on enforcement, quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers of federal administrative agencies and state tribunals.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5343. Family Law.

This course examines Texas law, dealing with pre-marital contracts, marriage relationships, annulment, abortion, adoption, juveniles, Family Code, divorce, support for children, custody, and separation agreements.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5349. Business Organizations.

This course is a study of the federal and Texas law relating to corporations with particular emphasis on the preparation of initial and amended articles of incorporation, satisfaction of state filing requirements, the drafting of employment agreements, and other activities necessary to the maintenance, merger, and the closing of corporations.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5350. Legal Drafting.

This course is a study of legal drafting styles, forms and techniques, including legal document drafting, objective, informative document drafting, and persuasive-style drafting of trial and appellate briefs. Prerequisite: LS 5320 with grade of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5351. Estates and Trusts.

This course is the study of Texas laws relating to estates and trusts with emphasis on the preparation of documents regarding the administration of estates.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5353. Real Estate.

This course is a study of Texas laws concerning real properties, conveyances, recordation, taxation, and sales regarding real property. Students are familiarized with various records dealing with real property maintained by public officials and develop an understanding of the procedures by which titles are searched. Repeatable with different emphasis for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Real Estate

LS 5359. Alternative Dispute Resolution.

This course is an in-depth study of procedural and substantive legal principles of alternative dispute resolution. Emphasis will be placed on procedures and practical applications of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and alternative adjudicative processes with integration of ethical and policy issues.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5360. Advanced Litigation.

This course is a study of the use of the American legal system to resolve disputes between indviduals and entitles. Emphasis is on trial advocacy planning, analysis, preparation, and strategy. Students develop skills necessary to understand and to participate as an advocate in the trial process. Prerequisites: LS 5320 and LS 5340 with grades of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5361. Criminal Law and Procedure.

This course is a study of the state and federal statutory and common law relating to the criminal justice system. This course includes the study of the criminal litigation process and procedure with emphasis on theory and practical legal assistant skill development.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5363. Social Legislation.

This course is a study of Texas and federal laws established by statute to remedy various social problems including worker's compensation, unemployment compensation, bankruptcy, and commercial transactions. This course includes a study of statutory and case law development. May be repeated with different emphasis for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Social Legislation

LS 5370. Advanced Legal Research & Writing.

This course has four components: (1) refinement of skills in computer-assisted and manual legal research; (2) legal analysis, legal writing, and organizing, complex legal documents; (3) techniques of persuasive argument; and (4) applied research project. Prerequisites: LS 5320 and LS 5350, with grades of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5371. Intellectual Property Law.

This course covers principal tenets of intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Students analyze a wide variety of intellectual property issues, the impact of intellectual property in our current society, and the practical and theoretical concerns raised by the interplay of state and federal laws.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5373. Contract Law.

This course is a study of contracts (e.g., real estate contracts, employment contracts; contracts for services; construction contracts; e-contracts); the common law and statutory law of contracts (e.g., Statute of Frauds; Uniform Commercial Code; Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act; Uniform Electronic Transactions Act), and contract drafting.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5379. Issues and Problems in Law.

This course examines current legal issues and problems through legal analysis and conceptual aspects of legal research and writing. Students perform literature reviews of current topics and develop research questions. Prerequisite: LS 5320 with a grade of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5388. Directed Reading and Research.

This course is an advanced reading and/or research on various topics in legal studies under the direction of a graduate faculty member. May be repeated once with different emphasis and professor for a maximum of 6 credit hours. Departmental approval required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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LS 5389. Law Office Internship.

This course emphasizes problems, procedures, and ethics in the legal-working environment. Students are involved in internship consisting of approximately 10-15 hours a week to gain experience in the legal-working environment. Course is required unless the student has related experience and has, with program director permission, elected to take a practicum. Departmental approval required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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LS 5399. Applied Research Project.

This course is the applied research project for the Master of Arts in Legal Studies degree. Students work with the supervising instructor to complete an applied research project to submit for oral examination. Prerequisites: LS 5320, LS 5350, and LS 5370 with grades of "B" or better. Departmental approval required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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