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Putting Core Values in Practice

Ethics & Business Law Department

We strive to be on the leading edge of education and scholarly inquiry into contemporary issues of ethics, law, business and society. Led by faculty who are respected scholars in their fields and recognized for innovative teaching techniques, we are dedicated to developing thoughtful, global business leaders with insight into their ethical values and legal responsibilities.

Navigating a Dynamic Legal Environment & Developing Ethical Instincts

With a strong focus on ethics and compliance, our interdisciplinary law and business program is one of only a few such programs in the country. From an undergraduate concentration in legal studies in business to specialized graduate courses, the Department of Ethics and Business Law teaches St. Thomas students to consider how the legal and ethical complexities of the business environment necessarily impact business decision making. Each Opus College of Business student—regardless of their concentration—is required to take one course concerning the legal environment in which businesses operate as well as one course in business ethics. These courses help prepare students to navigate the legal rules and professional responsibilities at all levels of organizations and to use that knowledge to manage risk, create value, and become a principled leader.

In response to today’s global marketplace, our faculty is dedicated to exposing students to the international aspects of ethics in business law – a world that operates with different rules. Our undergraduate and MBA international business law classes require students to put those rules into practice by negotiating and drafting international agreements. Students have negotiated these agreements face to face and virtually with students in other countries. In addition, our study abroad opportunities provide unique insight into the global application of legal and compliance practices.

Learn more about our ethics and business law programs, resources and faculty. Have questions? Please contact us.

Undergraduate Students: (651) 962-5544
Graduate Students: (651) 962-4200

Contact

Dr. Katherina Pattit

Department Chair
Dr. Katherina Pattit headshot
Phone Number
(651) 962-4283

Explore the Ethics and Business Law Department

  • Academic Programs and Research Opportunities
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Career Placement
  • Academic Programs and Research Opportunities

    St. Thomas undergrads interested in business law may pursue a Legal Studies in Business concentration, which provides an excellent introduction into the regulatory and compliance aspects of business. Graduate students concerned with how to influence corporate responsibility can earn an MSL or LLM in Organizational Ethics and Compliance, a program offered in partnership with the St. Thomas School of Law. 

    We also offer a variety of business law and ethics courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels that provide more in-depth content to those interested in this specialized area of business or provide more detail for those focusing on other areas such as international business, operations and supply chain, or data analytics. Faculty within the department regularly work with undergraduate and graduate students on guided research in areas of law related to their career interests. Several undergraduates have distinguished themselves competing in regional or national student paper competitions.

    Explore Ethics and Business Law Degrees and Concentrations

    Undergraduate concentrations:

    Graduate programs:

    Internship Opportunities

    An internship is a great way to refine the knowledge you’ve gained in class and put your new skills to work. Local organizations approach St. Thomas seeking interns, and we can help you identify the internship opportunities that best align with your professional goals. Given the flexibility and breadth of the ethics and business law program, students in the Legal Studies in Business Program have taken internships in a broad array of industries. Many of the recent positions have related to sourcing and compliance.

    Career Placement

    Organizations understand the necessity to stay current in the ever-changing regulatory environment. Increasingly they also work to enhance their reputation as good corporate citizens. Compliance is a growing field, with entry-level careers in data privacy and data analytics. Graduates with a concentration in Legal Studies in Business have achieved senior level compliance positions in a variety of industries, including banking and the business of health care. Recent graduates are pursuing positions in banking, health care, finance and many other industries. For a 3-year average, 94% of those seeking employment reported being employed full time.

    Academic Programs and Research Opportunities

    St. Thomas undergrads interested in business law may pursue a Legal Studies in Business concentration, which provides an excellent introduction into the regulatory and compliance aspects of business. Graduate students concerned with how to influence corporate responsibility can earn an MSL or LLM in Organizational Ethics and Compliance, a program offered in partnership with the St. Thomas School of Law. 

    We also offer a variety of business law and ethics courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels that provide more in-depth content to those interested in this specialized area of business or provide more detail for those focusing on other areas such as international business, operations and supply chain, or data analytics. Faculty within the department regularly work with undergraduate and graduate students on guided research in areas of law related to their career interests. Several undergraduates have distinguished themselves competing in regional or national student paper competitions.

    Explore Ethics and Business Law Degrees and Concentrations

    Undergraduate concentrations:

    Graduate programs:

    Internship Opportunities

    An internship is a great way to refine the knowledge you’ve gained in class and put your new skills to work. Local organizations approach St. Thomas seeking interns, and we can help you identify the internship opportunities that best align with your professional goals. Given the flexibility and breadth of the ethics and business law program, students in the Legal Studies in Business Program have taken internships in a broad array of industries. Many of the recent positions have related to sourcing and compliance.

    Career Placement

    Organizations understand the necessity to stay current in the ever-changing regulatory environment. Increasingly they also work to enhance their reputation as good corporate citizens. Compliance is a growing field, with entry-level careers in data privacy and data analytics. Graduates with a concentration in Legal Studies in Business have achieved senior level compliance positions in a variety of industries, including banking and the business of health care. Recent graduates are pursuing positions in banking, health care, finance and many other industries. For a 3-year average, 94% of those seeking employment reported being employed full time.

    Featured Faculty

    Susan Marsnik headshot.

    Susan Marsnik, PhD

    Professor, Ethics & Business Law

    In addition to working on global initiatives for St. Thomas, Susan Marsnick has taught short- and long-term study abroad programs for undergraduates and MBA students. She has served as a visiting professor at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. and has held visiting appointments at the Université de Strassbourg, Université de Caen and the Université de Potier in France and Novosibirsk State University in Russia.

    Read Full Bio

    Dawn Elm headshot.

    Dawn Elm, PhD

    Professor, Ethics & Business Law

    Dawn Elm conducts research, teaches and consults in the areas of business ethics, strategy, leadership, corporate governance and the integration of the arts and ethics. Prior to coming to the University of St. Thomas, Elm worked in product development with the Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, after receiving her B.S. in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is widely published in the field of business ethics and is the recipient of the 2017 Sumner Marcus Lifetime Achievement Award of the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management.

    Read Full Bio

    Christopher Michaelson headshot.

    Christopher Michaelson, PhD

    For over a decade, Christopher Michaelson has combined full-time academic positions at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University and the University of St. Thomas with part-time business practice and community service. Michaelson's business clients have included major multinational corporations, along with government and non-governmental organizations and multilateral financial institutions. His research specialties include meaningful work, global ethics and emerging risks.

    Read Full Bio

    Ethics & Business Law Faculty

    Business Law Club

    Business Law Club members, which include students from many disciplines, have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the interrelationship of ethics, the legal environment and business. Students are exposed to academic, career, social and service opportunities. They have successfully brought in leaders from across industries to provide a perspective on careers and the role law and ethics play in business.

    London Business Semester

    Get international insights on business law and ethics during the London Business Semester, which includes BLAW 301: Legal Environment of Business as one of its three core courses. Combine theory with practice as you make London your living classroom. Site visits, excursions and weekend travel complement the topics covered in each course.

    London Business Semester Details