Program Description: Government Law and Policy for Non-Lawyers

Built on the foundation of McGeorge’s nationally-ranked program in public law and its renowned Capital Center for Law & Policy, this fully online master’s degree program enables you to learn from professors and practitioners who are experts in law, legislative process, regulation, and policymaking.

Pen lying on a contract or application form, wide angle view.

The online Master of Science in Law (MSL) in Government Law & Policy is designed for local, state, and federal agency employees, and for lobbyists, legislative staff, and others who seek to enhance their skills in lawmaking, regulation, election law, and lobbying but who do not require a traditional law degree for their success. It’s also a practical path for recent graduates who wish to work in these areas. You’ll have access to services and professors befitting a JD student, with a greater focus on practical training in the areas of law and policy theory.

You build marketable expertise under the guidance of our faculty, who are chosen for outstanding teaching as well as depth of knowledge in government law and policy. Courses emphasize real-world knowledge and the development of practical skills.

  • Enhance your potential for career advancement with specialized knowledge in government law and policy.
  • Understand the nuances of legal protocol and how lawyers think.
  • Build networks with faculty and experts as well as other alumni and current students in government law and policy to achieve career goals.
  • Distinguish yourself from other professionals in the field with a unique degree and focus.
  • Increase your credibility with a publishable piece of research that, coupled with a research-focused MSL, can be a gateway to Ph.D. work.

The Online MSL in Government Law and Policy equips you for wherever your career takes you. Whether you want to prepare for promotion or find a new job, you’ll have the skills and expertise to achieve your goals.

  • Sharpen skills so you can deliver more value in your current position and improve advancement and promotion prospects.
  • Become an expert in a specialized area important to your career.
  • Prepare for a new job in a new industry or organization.
  • Pursue or advance a career as a public policy advocate, researcher, lobbyist, legislative staffer, compliance officer, or lawmaker.

The curriculum balances federal and state concerns, so students who live and work outside of California still learn valuable principles that can be applied within their home state.

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission to the MSL program. No GRE or LSAT required.

Master of Science in Law, Government Law & Policy Concentration

Students earn the Government Law & Policy concentration through part-time, fully online, asynchronous courses. Courses are designed using state-of-the-art best practices for online learning and are delivered in a user-friendly learning portal. Online discussion boards are the heart of each course, providing significant opportunities for interaction with professors and fellow students. Each week delivers multimodal content: readings that progress logically over the course of a semester, focused videos that augment the readings, and assignments where students put their learning into practice and demonstrate progressive mastery of course objectives.

The program is a total of 26 units over approximately two years:

  • Students typically enroll in two 3-unit courses each semester.
  • Fall and spring semesters are 15 weeks long. Summer courses, when offered, run on a four-week semester. For one of our summer courses, students have an option to spend a long weekend at the McGeorge campus in Sacramento, the capital city of California.
  • Online students interact with their professors and classmates for an average of one hour per week and study for an additional two hours per week for every course unit.
  • Weekly courses are asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to be online at any specific time. Students can schedule their coursework around other commitments. Some courses offer optional videoconference “live sessions,” which students can either attend in real time or watch via a recording at a time that suits them.

Learn More Apply Now

“I chose McGeorge because the classes build up specific knowledge about things that only people working in the field might know. It gets you a step ahead of the competition.”

— Brandon Chaidez ’18

“My decision to come to McGeorge was influenced in large part by the caliber and dedication of the professors here. The professors not only want to teach us the current law, but also encourage us to challenge laws that are antiquated or prejudicial to marginalized community members."

— Vallerye Mosquera ’15, Sacramento Immigration Attorney

"When I work with McGeorge alumni, they seem experienced, polished and able to connect the dots. The experience, attention to detail, and rigor of the program really shows, and for these reasons, we love hiring McGeorge students as law clerks at SMUD."

— Andrew Meditz ’09, Senior Attorney, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

Hear Our Podcast on How You Can Build Your Experience with an MSL Degree