Loyola University Chicago

Civitas ChildLaw Center

School of Law


About The Program

The Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) is an online degree program for professionals who work with children and families in a variety of disciplines and fields of practice, including social work, education, health care, and the justice system. The two-year part-time master's degree program is designed to provide individuals with a firm understanding of law and policy as they affect children and families and to prepare graduates for leadership positions in their fields. The program is offered online through Loyola's nationally-recognized Civitas ChildLaw Center, making it possible for professionals throughout the U.S. and around the globe to pursue a graduate degree in children's law and policy.

Our alumni are making a difference in the lives of children. Their achievement- and the talent and dedication of our current students- inspire our own commitment to being a recognized program of excellence in teaching, research and service on behalf of children and families.

If you have a question or would like more information about the MJ program, please email the Program Director, Catherine Birmingham at ccolumb@luc.edu or contact her at 312.915.7950.

What is an M.J.?

The Master of Jurisprudence is a Loyola University Chicago graduate degree similar to a traditional master's degree. It is not a J.D. degree and does not qualify graduates to sit for the bar or to practice law.

Why an M.J. in Children's Law and Policy?

Increasingly, professionals who work with children and families feel the need to be better informed about the law and how it intersects with and impacts their work. These professionals typically include social workers, educators, psychologists, health care providers, not-for-profit and foundation representatives, law enforcement personnel, journalists, and government policy-makers. The M.J. degree in Children's Law and Policy provides students from these and other backgrounds with an enhanced understanding of the law and helps them develop skills designed to make them better advocates and more effective leaders. Loyola's M.J. degree is a "different degree" and prepares graduates to make a "degree of difference" in their work on behalf of children and families.

How the Program Works

The online M.J. degree is a 24 unit part-time program that can be completed in two calendar years. The curriculum consists of both required and elective courses and emphasizes substantive knowledge, leadership development, and practical skills. Courses are taught by law professors, practicing attorneys, and child welfare professionals who have first-hand experience with legal issues that impact children and families. Most classes are conducted in an on-demand (asynchronous) mode, giving students the ability to schedule their studies at a time and place convenient to them. Online courses are divided into learning modules that may consist of reading assignments, video lectures, and writing assignments. Students are required to attend at least one Education Immersion Weekend (EIW) on Loyola's downtown Chicago campus.

MJ/MSW Dual Degree

MJ students may receive a dual MJ/MSW degree in three years of concentrated study rather than the four years it would take if each degree were pursued separately.  The MJ degree can be completed solely online, while the MSW is a campus-based program offered by Loyola's School of Social Work.  Students must apply and be accepted by both programs. 

For a sample MJ/MSW curriculum schedule, click here.

Why Loyola?

Since its founding in 1993, Loyola's Civitas ChildLaw Center has consistently been recognized as one of the nation's premier programs in children's law. The Center has offered a campus-based M.J. degree since 1995. Since then its graduates have used their M.J. degree to advance their careers and better serve the needs of their clients and organizations.