Colorado Law's MSL in Ethics and Compliance trains students to become compliance and ethics officers at large corporations, as well as at nonprofit entities, such as colleges, universities, and hospitals. These organizations are subject to an increasing number of legal requirements and need trained professionals to lead effective in-house programs to ensure compliance with statutes and regulations, as well as to ensure ethical behavior and culture.

This program prepares students to develop, improve, and manage ethics and compliance programs and help organizations obey the law, reduce the risk of fraud, other law-breaking, and misconduct, and mitigate their firms’ legal liability and reputation risk. Students have the opportunity to focus on specific fields of law, such as privacy/cybersecurity, health care, and financial services. 

The following is a sample course schedule for MSL students:*


  • Introduction to U.S. Law for MSL Students (3 credits) (Offered exclusively to MSL students)
    The course will help MSL students begin to “think like lawyers” by providing the necessary vocabulary and skills to use legal resources and legal reasoning in academic and professional environments, including reading and analyzing cases, statutes, and regulations; doing legal research; and applying existing law to the issue at hand to predict answers to legal questions.

Fall Semester

  • Communications for Compliance Professionals (2 credits) (Offered exclusively to MSL students)
    This course introduces the fundamental writing skills necessary for professionals to communicate effectively and appropriately to their intended audience, both in writing and orally. The course will emphasize the ability to write clearly and concisely and the ability to adapt writing style and format to different contexts, and students will receive individual feedback on every assignment.
  • Compliance (3 credits)
    This is a required course for students in their first semester of the MSL program, and an elective course for JD students. It surveys the sources and nature of American compliance law, focusing on the legal incentives and obligations of businesses and other organizations to comply with the laws, ethics, internal policies, and other public and private norms applicable to their business operations or other organizational conduct. The course is especially appropriate training for future in-house attorneys, ethics and compliance officers, corporate lawyers, defense counsel, or even prosecutors and other government lawyers. 
  • Ethical Organizations and Professionals (3 credits) (Offered exclusively to MSL students)
    This course, designed specifically for MSL students, will examine ethical cultures in organizations. It will investigate the qualities, factors, and structures that promote ethical cultures, as well as the leadership traits that foster and inspire an ethical mindset in team members. The course will employ active, hands-on projects, group discussion, and guest speakers to maximize learning.
  • Electives (see below for list of available elective courses)

Spring Semester

  • Ethics and Compliance Capstone (3 credits)
    This is a required course for students in their second semester of the MSL program and an elective course for JD students. It serves as the culmination of the program, and offers students hands-on opportunities to work in the ethics and compliance field either through an externship with a business or other organization’s compliance department or by preparing practical ethics and compliance programs, policies, and other materials for use in such organizations or other business settings. 
  • Externships for Credit
    MSL students have the opportunity to work in approved externships for course credit, providing a valuable hands-on, real-world experience.  Previous students have externed in fields including higher education, health care, and the financial industry.
  • Electives (see below for list of available elective courses)

Additional Requirement in Spring or Wintersession

One of the following two courses is required:

(Note: This requirement could be waived for students with prior coursework in accounting.)

Electives (Fall, Spring, and Wintersession)

* This is subject to change.