College of Law > Academics > MLS Program > Criminal Law at the Police Academy

Criminal Law at the Police Academy

​​​Conveniently taught at the Chicago Police Academy, DePaul College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Criminal Law offers police officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants and captains a challenging two-year curriculum. This master's degree program is especially designed for law enforcement professionals. It is ideal for those who are not seeking to practice law but who regularly encounter legal issues in their work. MLS students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the law and develop problem-solving skills that can help them in their current and future positions.

The DePaul Advantage

Tuition & Aid

Members of the Chicago Police Department are eligible for the tuition reimbursement program offered through the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and City of Chicago. Students are responsible for applying for tuition reimbursement each semester in accordance with the tuition reimbursement plan. 

If you are not eligible for 100% tuition reimbursement by your employer, DePaul also provides Chicago FOP members with a 25% tuition discount for the onsite MLS program at the Chicago Police Academy. 

As a result, FOP members who earn an “A” could have their tuition fully covered— with 75% tuition reimbursement from the City of Chicago and a 25% tuition discount from DePaul University. This discount cannot be used in combination with other university aid.

Flexible Schedule

This 30-credit hour degree program can be completed at the Police Academy in two years of part-time study. All applicants with at least one year of on-the-job experience as a police officer will qualify for a waiver of up to six credit hours, for a total degree requirement of 24 credit hours.

Continuing your education in a familiar and comfortable setting at the Police Academy, will also give you access to DePaul student resources, such as the library, for you to utilize at your convenience.

Our two-year program sessions begins in the Fall and is held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the Fall and Spring semesters. 

Degree Requirements

All MLS degree applicants are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or the foreign equivalent from a university authorized to confer such a degree by the country in which it is located.

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements

The MLS is a 30-credit hour degree program that can be completed in one and a half years of full-time study or in up to six years of part-time study. MLS students choose courses directly from the College of Law’s extensive curriculum. MLS students with significant, relevant work experience may apply for a waiver of up to six credit hours, for a total degree requirement of 24 credit hours. Students must be able to demonstrate substantial professional experience of at least 12 months' duration in a relevant field of interest to qualify.

Credits earned as part of the MLS degree program are not transferable to the JD degree. Students who graduate with an MLS degree are not eligible to sit for the bar exam or to become licensed attorneys. ​

Enrollment Classifications and Time to Degree Completion

​For MLS students a nine semester hour course load is considered full-time (6 semester hours for summer study). A six semester hour course load is considered half-time (3 hours for summer study).​ MLS students may opt to take only three semester hours per term.

Students who are unable to complete the MLS degree within six years are required to confer with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Law.

Grades and Good Standing

To be considered in good standing at the College of Law, MLS students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 over three semesters. Grades received in the Summer session are not included in a student’s GPA for the prior academic year.  MLS students are not included in the grade curve that applies to JD students.

Course Requirements

At the time of application MLS students select a specialized course of legal study, and upon completion of the program they earn a concentration in the selected area, which is designated on their final transcript. All MLS students complete two required foundational courses in American law.

Required Foundational Courses

Course Title Semester Hours

Concentration Requirements

MLS students complete the required and elective courses in their chosen concentration.  

The requirements for the criminal law concentration can be viewed in the university catalog.

Meet Our Students

Officer Incandela, LCSW

“One of the most impressive aspects of the DePaul MLS program is the caliber of instructors they have brought in. We are learning from seasoned professionals who have worked for and alongside various law enforcement agencies, including CPD. They are understanding of the demands of police work and challenge us in meaningful, thought-provoking ways. The coursework is applicable to everyday work on the job, whether you’re on patrol, in the detective division or in a supervisory role.” 

Officer Incandela, LCSW 

Officer Hodges

"My ultimate career goal within the Chicago Police Department is to become a Detective. It is my belief that this Master of Legal Studies through DePaul's law school will help me realize that particular goal as well as generally improve my Law and Law Enforcement expertise. Having received my bachelor’s degree from DePaul, I know the value and esteem that comes with a DePaul education and I look forward to successfully completing this program."

Officer Hodges

Program Faculty

DePaul carefully selects only experienced and engaging instructors to teach in the program who understand the nuances of the job, and classes are taught through the lens of contemporary policing. The following have taught in the program:

Rachel Koch comes to the law after twenty years of experience teaching both young people and adults in New Mexico, Chicago, and Ecuador.  Ms. Koch attended DePaul University College of Law, where she was a Sullivan Fellow at the International Human Rights Law Institute and a research assistant to the late Professor Emeritus M. Cherif Bassiouni. She also attended programs abroad in Costa Rica and Italy, focusing on International Law. After working in solo and private practices representing clients in at all stages of litigation in family law, immigration, criminal defense, civil forfeiture, civil and administrative cases, she currently works as an Assistant Public Defender of Cook County, in the Child Protection Conflicts Division, where she represents parents when the state petitions to take their children from their care. She is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College of Law where she has taught Education Law and Policy in the Law School and Evidence to the Master of Legal Studies students through the Fraternal Order of Police program. She also works as a lecturer for ApexCLE, a private CLE company and volunteers assisting in immigration matters.

Tina Lewis has been an attorney for 18 years, working primarily with indigent defendants. She began her legal career with the Office of the State Appellate Defender in Chicago and subsequently began work as a trial attorney in both Kane and Cook Counties. Currently, Ms. Lewis represents indigent clients in Juvenile Delinquency, but has worked with adults in Felony, Domestic Violence, and Child Protection courts. 

Ms. Lewis worked as a Legislative Assistant for members of Congress before attending the University of Colorado School of Law. At the University of Colorado, she received numerous commendations including the faculty selected Irving P. Andrews Award for her service to the legal community. In the Spring 2020 semester, Ms. Lewis became an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law, teaching Criminal Evidence through the Masters of Legal Studies program.

Patrick Morley has been a Cook County assistant state’s attorney since January 2000, where he is assigned as the Deputy Supervisor of the Gun Crime Strategy and Violent Crime Investigation Unit.  He was previously assigned to the  Gang and Complex Homicide Unit, the Cold Case Homicide Unit, and the Complex Narcotics Litigation Unit. Morley is a former seven-year member of the Chicago Police Department, serving as a patrolman and sergeant. In addition to teaching at the Police Academy for the DePaul MLS program, he also is an adjunct faculty member for Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety, Purdue Global University and Governors State University, and he has trained police officers from around the Chicago area since 2002 for North-East Multi Regional Training (NEMRT).

Allen Moye is an associate professor of law at DePaul and director of the Rinn Law Library. As director, he is responsible for the financial management and quality of library services and research support offered to faculty, students, alumni and other patrons of the library. At the College of Law, he teaches Advanced Legal Research, and for the MLS in Criminal Law, he teaches Introduction to American Law & Legal Systems. 

Justice Jack O’Malley teaches Criminal Law for the MLS program. He began his career as a Chicago police officer. While working full time, he attended law school at Cornell University and the University of Chicago. After graduating from law school, he served as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago. He later worked as a litigation partner at Winston & Strawn and as general counsel for a subsidiary of G.E. Medical Systems. His public service career includes two terms as the Cook County State’s Attorney and a 10-year term on the Illinois Appellate Court.