Constitutional law students learn to interpret the U.S. Constitution and to identify the relationships it defines among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. They also explore individual rights granted by the Constitution and learn how these rights relate to state and federal governments. Master's degree and graduate certificate programs are available in the area of constitutional law. Program fields include constitutional law, law, and political science.
Master's Degree in Constitutional Law
Master of Studies in Law (MSL) or Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science degree programs may offer a constitutional law concentration. These programs can provide excellent preparation for law school or further studies related to legal issues. Graduates may also enter law-related careers in a variety of fields, including education, journalism, public policy and government.
This degree program enhances students' reasoning abilities, analytical skills, research talents and writing capabilities. Students develop a deep understanding of law and public policy. The curriculum also enlightens them on the interrelationships between constitutional principles and Supreme Court decisions. The importance of research is emphasized throughout the curriculum.
For admission into a master's degree program in constitutional law, students must hold a bachelor's degree. Many schools also require a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA and scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Letters of recommendation are commonly requested.
A master's degree in constitutional law provides a wide-ranging education in the law and legal processes. Classes cover legal specialties. Students may take courses such as:
- The American legal system
- Administrative law
- Legal reasoning and writing
- Human rights
- Media law
- Federal litigation
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Graduate Certificate Program in Constitutional Law
Certificate programs in constitutional law are concentration options within a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program; the certificate can be compared to a major in a bachelor's degree program. After completing required courses in first year of law school, students have the freedom to select certificate programs in their legal areas of interest.
Many constitutional law programs also incorporate elements of civil rights law or administrative law. Students may take classes focused on specific groups of people, such as Native Americans, immigrants, minorities, gays and lesbians, women, children or elders. Programs may require participation in external symposiums, writing programs, pro bono programs, internships and/or externships. Graduates are prepared to take the bar exam, become licensed and seek employment.
Typically, a bachelor's degree, in any major, is necessary for entrance into law school. Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores must be submitted. A personal statement and letters of interest are also generally required.
Certificate programs in constitutional law center on courses that examine constitutional elements of modern American and international laws, as well as how these laws relate to contemporary society. Common courses include:
- Constitutional litigation
- International law
- Educational law
- Employment and discrimination law
- Environmental law
- Sexuality law
Popular Career Options
Students with a master's degree in constitutional law who choose not to continue on to law school can pursue a number of law-related careers. Some popular job choices include:
- Legal journalist
- Compliance specialist
- History or law teacher
- Legal advisor
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of a J.D. program generally work as attorneys, concentrating on constitutional law, although a small percentage may work in law school environments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job growth for lawyers in general would increase at a fast as average rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported in 2015 that the median annual wage for lawyers was $115,820.
Continuing Education Information.
Graduates may further their education through a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program. This is considered a second professional degree. Students have the liberty to create their own degree plans, and can select courses related to constitutional law. Individuals who earn the LL.M. degree may seek teaching and research careers.
There are a variety of degree programs available to someone wishing to pursue a career in law. A degree in constitutional law can prepare students for a variety of jobs, including lawyers, teachers, and many others.