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Student walk in during the 2018 Commencement Ceremony

Influence Corporate Responsibility

MSL in Organizational Ethics & Compliance

Master of Studies in Law - Online

Develop your skills in one of the most important and influential fields of business today. Whether you are new to the field of ethics and compliance or a seasoned practitioner, St. Thomas’ program will help you take the next step in your career.

A Comprehensive Ethics and Compliance Education

Students in our program gain a deep and broad understanding of compliance programming, risk management, international anti-corruption, cybersecurity and more. They also gain practical skills in how to conduct investigations, build ethical cultures and manage complex projects.

Learn from Experts in Business and Law

Faculty members include professionals working in ethics and compliance, as well as professors from St. Thomas' School of Law and Opus College of Business. The program's advisory board of compliance leaders from 3M, Target, U.S. Bank, Ecolab and Medtronic, just to name a few, keep us tuned in to current industry issues and trends.

Our Accreditation Sets Us Apart

Our program is the only ethics and compliance graduate degree program in the nation which has earned an AACSB accreditation. AACSB-accredited schools are the best business schools in the world and have passed rigorous standards for quality.

We're a Dedicated Ethics Leader

A significant part of our program focuses on ethics and culture, equipping our students to make a positive impact on corporate behavior and understand how compliance work fits within the broader vision of corporate responsibility.

Compliance Certifications

St. Thomas also offers online courses for those who want to be a Certified Securities Compliance Professional (CSCP) or a Certified Investment Company Compliance Professional (CICCP). Learn more about a certificate

The online M.S.L. (30 credits) is a 21-month program operating in a cohort model and running five consecutive semesters, beginning in August and ending in May. Each cohort is limited to 25 students. No LSAT, GRE or GMAT required to apply.

The M.S.L. program is offered in partnership with the St. Thomas School of Law.

A Relevant Curriculum

The online M.S.L. program offers a preselected curriculum designed to provide you with a broad scope of study including international anti-corruption, project management, investigations and white-collar crime. It will also give you the knowledge you need to confidently present complex concepts and factual patterns to all levels of your organization, as well as build consensus, persuade, influence, collaborate and solve problems within diverse organizational structures.

Intro to Legal Reasoning (3 credits)

Through this course, non-lawyers will gain a better understanding of the ways that attorneys are trained to navigate complex situations. Careful reading and analysis of case law and statutes will prepare students to address the ambiguity of many scenarios that arise in compliance work, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and argument. The course will also introduce students to the common law method by which doctrine is created; the importance and authority of statutes, codes, and regulations; and the structure of the U.S. legal system and its various actors and venues. The U.S. doctrines of contract and tort liability will form the substantive underpinning for the course, both because knowledge of these areas is foundational for many later law courses and also because professionals working in the compliance field encounter these areas of law.

Compliance Programming: Design, Operation and Performance (3 credits)

Compliance and ethics management is a complex management process that requires program design that supports management’s objectives, coordinated activities to be operated across functions and geographies, and performance measurement to reasonably assure effectiveness and a return on management’s investment. This course will engage participants’ personal knowledge and experience – in dialogue with instructors and guests from industry with law and business backgrounds – to explore the following themes: program design frameworks and key elements (including risk identification and assessment, communication and training, investigations and discipline, reporting and disclosure, auditing and monitoring, and remediation), leading practices relating to these program elements, and how to measure effectiveness (from the perspectives of both ethics and economics). The course will also use case method and other practical examples to explore the familiar distinction between compliance-based and integrity-based programs as a link to the course, “Ethical Culture.”

Privacy and Data Protection (3 credits)

Privacy and data protection are fundamental issues in the digital world and the growing information economy. As noted by Gartner in 2020, “By 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have its personal information covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% today.” Almost every commercial business involves the processing or personal data either as its primary purpose or in its administration. Collecting, storing, transferring, or otherwise processing the personal data of individuals creates a multitude of legal and compliance obligations which these new laws seek to regulate. This course will examine the sectoral and fundamental human rights models of current privacy laws, data subject rights, international data transfers, strategic differentiators, emerging laws, and applicable legal cases. By investigating these topics, student will have a foundational knowledge of privacy and security laws, individual rights, business obligations, and regulatory requirements.

Risk Management (3 credits)

The recent economic crisis, along with a range of other looming challenges (climate change, unrest in the Middle East, health and food security concerns, demographic changes and social mobility), have presented global organizations with a daunting array of risks. Broadly, this situation presents organizations with the challenge of developing more comprehensive approaches to the management of risk. Key subjects of investigation in MGMT 751 will include: 1. Engaging Boards and Executive Management in order to get risk management onto their agendas. 2. Translating risk policy into risk management systems and structures. 3. Knitting together the existing technical specialist infrastructure. 4. Developing sufficient risk management competence among the entire organization. 5. Communicating relevant risk information to external stakeholders.

International Anti-Corruption Law (2 credits)

This course focuses on international anti-corruption law, practice, and compliance. The course will review the history and substance of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the theoretical and political reasons for anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA, the interpretation of the FCPA by the courts and agencies that enforce it (the U.S. DOJ and SEC), the FCPA’s impact and influence on businesses, anticorruption compliance programs and investigation best practices, the proliferation of anticorruption laws and enforcement around the world, and arguments around FCPA reform.

Investigations (2 credits)

Conducting and supervising investigations has become a growing responsibility of many types of attorneys. The purpose of this joint course is to engage in a practical focus on the development of knowledge-based skills and practices that will benefit future lawyers in the acquisition and analysis of relevant facts to address and solve legal issues and problems. This experiential course will provide an opportunity for students to learn about criminal, civil, and internal investigations from a practical, hands-on perspective. Through individual and group exercises, each student will play multiple roles of government lawyer, criminal defense attorney, outside counsel, and in-house counsel.

White Collar Crime and Compliance (2 credits)

This course will expose each student to key types of white-collar offenses within the context of a focus on ethics and compliance, all through learning how to investigate, prosecute, and defend white collar cases, as well as how to prevent or minimize such cases in any organization. Topics may include conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, bribery and computer and internet fraud, and money laundering. Guest speakers will participate on a regular basis. A critical component of the course will be experiential learning.

Ethical Culture (3 credits)

Cultures of economic competitiveness and legal compliance are necessary but not sufficient for corporate responsibility. This course will examine the elements of ethical decision-making and ethical corporate cultures from the perspective of an organization’s leadership. The premise of the course is that leaders are the architects of corporate culture – and that the moral agenda of leaders includes three practical imperatives: elucidating, institutionalizing and sustaining ethical values. The first two imperatives (elucidating and institutionalizing) involve placing moral considerations in a position of salience and authority alongside considerations of competitive strategy and compliance in the organization’s mindset. The third imperative (sustaining) has to do with passing on the spirit of this effort in two directions: to future leaders of the organization and to the wider network of organizations and institutions that make up the social system as a whole. The case method will be used to introduce frameworks for making reasoned, thoughtful ethical decisions and to diagnose both positive and negative cultural leadership. Students will learn to recognize and resolve ethical issues and identify practical ways (1) to enhance sound ethical cultures and (2) to remediate weak ethical cultures.

Project Management (3 credits)

The field of project management is young and constantly changing. Companies seek to reduce development cycles while increasing the technological complexity of their products. Corporate downsizing has increased the average workload and reduced the resources available for project development. Sound familiar? This course will discuss the fundamental basis for scheduling and project scope difficulties, and provide tools for creating practical solutions. We will become more aware of why we encounter similar pitfalls with each new project. Discover that you are not alone in encountering a chaotic project life-cycle, the complexity people bring, and the reasons why our organizations are continuing to become more chaotic. This course will examine the new phase development of project management. We will use numerous disciplines to create a more dynamic and flexible project management methodology. These disciplines include Industrial Behavior, Psychology, Human Behavior, Chaos and Complexity, Organizational Behavior, and Systems Theory to name a few. As project managers, we face impossible schedules, unrealistic specifications, and limited budgets. As leaders we face personnel issues, motivation requirements and organizational issues. This course will provide insight and practical examples of the areas of knowledge needed to practice effective project management in today's dynamic work environment.

Executive Perspectives on Ethics and Compliance (3 credits)

This course will provide students with an opportunity to learn about compliance from the perspective of executives and leaders in the industry. Practicing compliance executives will discuss goals, strategies, activities and challenges associated with their business. Students will have an opportunity to relate the philosophies and techniques developed in the MSL/LLM Compliance program to those presented. Through candid and in-depth conversations with participating executives, students will learn about compliance from a leadership perspective relevant to today’s complex business environment.

Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age (3 credits)

Built on a legal ethics framework, this course explains in understandable terms the real-time threats of hacking, the ever-present concerns about the security of client and personal data, and the growing amount of unlawful activity on the Dark Web. Students will analyze privacy and ethical considerations of data protection and data protection in light of fast-changing legal frameworks. The course will also explore the discovery and admissibility of electronically stored information (ESI) in the modern courtroom. The course focuses both on current practical skills and knowledge and also underlying core principles and concerns that will impact future considerations and changes in this realm.

Get in Touch

Learn more about St. Thomas Law and the Organizational Ethics and Compliance program by scheduling a one-on-one virtual meeting or by attending one of our virtual information sessions. We’d also be happy to connect you with one of our professors, a current student or an alumnus to help you get answers to your questions. Simply send us an email or call to set up an appointment.