New opportunities in legal education

Q & A with Susan Stephan, MLS Program Director

In October, the University of Cincinnati College of Law launched a new online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program. A complement to the nationally ranked JD program and the LL.M. for internationally-trained lawyers, the UC MLS expands access to legal studies to a wide range of working professionals.

The inaugural program director, Susan Stephan, was excited to sit down with us to answer some of the key questions about this addition to the UC Law graduate degree opportunities.

Who do you see benefitting from the educational opportunities that the new MLS program offers?

One of the most exciting things about the Master of Legal Studies is its wide appeal to professionals in any field. Anyone who is inspired to learn more about the laws and regulations that intersect with their career is an excellent candidate for the MLS program. And these days, knowledge about the legal aspects of any industry is a significant advantage.

Is there any requirement to attend classes on UC’s campus, or is this program available completely online?

The UC MLS program is 100% online! The online, asynchronous coursework allows for the ultimate flexibility for graduate legal studies. And UC Law’s partnership with the award-winning UC Online team ensures that the law school’s sophisticated experience with legal education combines with the technical expertise of one of the best online program providers in the nation to deliver a first-rate online learning experience - from any location with internet access.

How will online MLS students be integrated into the UC Law community?

The vast resources of the UC College of Law are available to the entire UC Law community, including our MLS students. For example, full law library access is available to MLS students, with an extensive online database and publications available. The MLS program staff as well as the research and reference librarians are always happy to engage with MLS students to make sure they have everything they need for a successful program experience. Each MLS student also will have a dedicated UC liaison who will be available from enrollment through graduation to make MLS studies as seamless as possible.

Are there opportunities to take advantage of all the resources of the fuller University of Cincinnati community?

Absolutely! It is so exciting to be part of an active university campus, and even if MLS students are not able to visit in person (although students are always welcomed!) they will immediately be a part of the Bearcat community and all that comes with the vibrant educational and athletic environment.

What kind of coursework can a UC MLS student expect?

We are extremely proud of the MLS curriculum, which includes unique courses designed by law faculty to address the specific needs of working professionals. MLS students will engage in practically focused legal studies that address real-world issues related to regulations and compliance in the workplace. Courses include an Introduction to Law, Legal Research and Communication, Business Law, Compliance, Risk Management, Privacy and Cybersecurity Law, Contracts, Employment Law, Administrative Law, and a Capstone Experience involving a topic of the student’s choosing.

How can a working professional find out more about the MLS degree?

The UC MLS website is a great start for an overview of all that the program has to offer; but I always welcome inquiries from prospective students as well! I can be reached at  or at 513-556-0160. The MLS is a fantastic opportunity for personal and career growth. I look forward to hearing from interested students and learning more about their career paths as they embark on a new graduate legal education journey.