University of Georgia School of Law, Athens University of Georgia School of Law, Athens

The University of Georgia School of Law has started a graduate degree program for non-lawyers who want to learn more about law for their jobs.

UGA Law is offering a Master in the Study of Law program next fall at its Atlanta branch, which it opened in 2016 to support a new externship program for its law students.

The 30 credit-hour M.S.L. program provides an overview of the law in areas relevant to business people, such as labor and employment, public policy, intellectual property and health care law.

Judge Timothy Batten Sr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia will teach a required introductory course on the American legal system.

Batten, a UGA Law alumnus, is serving as instructor in residence for the Atlanta campus, located in Buckhead across from Lenox Square. He earned a law degree from UGA Law in 1984 and practiced with Atlanta firm Schreeder, Wheeler & Flint until becoming a federal judge in 2006.

The degree is aimed at professionals who work in regulated industries, interact with government or must work with general counsels and other lawyers. It does not make them eligible to take the bar exam or practice law.

Participants can complete the program in one year full time or two years part time. They will attend class with UGA Law students and also can take classes at the school’s main Athens campus. The deadline to apply is July 1.

“In today’s highly regulated, legislated and litigated work environments, there is a growing need for a broader understanding of the law,” said UGA Law’s dean, Bo Rutledge, in a statement.

The M.S.L. offering gives Atlanta professionals the opportunity to learn more about law for their careers without having to commute to UGA Law’s main campus in Athens, Rutledge said.

Other Atlanta course offerings for the M.S.L. include: legislative process and statutory interpretation; health law and policy; and corporate, state and local government, federal, administrative, employment and constitutional law.

“We believe this is the natural growth both of our programming in Atlanta and our role as the flagship provider of legal education in our state,” said Hillel Levin, the director for UGA Law in Atlanta, in a statement.

The new UGA Law masters degree continues a trend of Georgia law schools expanding their course offerings beyond those for traditional law students.

Emory University School of Law started online LL.M.s in business and regulatory law and health care law this semester. Georgia State University College of Law is offering LL.M.s next fall in health care; IP; and environmental and land usage law, as well as a general LL.M.

But those LL.M.s are for practicing lawyers who already have J.D degrees, not non-lawyers, so that they can gain in-depth expertise in specific areas of law.