Law and Government Organization & Leadership (JD/MS)

Program Availability

The JD/MS in Government Organization and Leadership (GOAL) joint degree program from Creighton University School of Law will prepare you for leadership positions with government entities and the organizations that work closely with them. You’ll gain an invaluable mix of career-driven legal experience and professional subtleties that can’t be learned from a textbook. You’ll see the inner workings of our nation’s capital. 


In the GOAL program, you’ll spend the first semester of your third year of law school living in Washington, DC, immersed in a full-time externship with a federal agency, Congressional committee or office of a member of Congress.

You’ll attend hearings and conferences, join in strategy sessions and accompany federal government attorneys to formal and informal gatherings and meetings. You’ll research law, prepare memoranda, draft federal rules and otherwise engage in the day-to-day professional lives of your externship host. You could extern at the:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • National Indian Gaming Commission
  • National Mediation Service
  • Peace Corps
  • Senate Agriculture Committee
  • Senate Banking Committee
  • Senate Finance Committee
  • CATO Institute​
  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Military Commissions Defense Organization
  • U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
  • Virginia Office of the General Counsel
  • Veterans Administration
  • DC Public Defender
  • World Bank
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • Federal Aviation Administration Office of the Chief Counsel
  • Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General
  • FIA

The full-time, semester-long externship experience in Washington, DC, provides 11 credits toward the GOAL degree. During the externship, you will secure five (5) additional credits. These five credits may go toward the Juris Doctor degree. All externships are non-paid unless extraordinary circumstances present themselves.


The GOAL program prepares law students to be leaders in governmental agencies or legislative bodies at both the state and federal levels. The program offers a bridge between theory and practice and provides graduates with:

  • Enhanced employment opportunities as lawyers in government service upon graduation
  • A comprehensive understanding of the role of professional ethics in government settings, including a focused examination of the specific standards of ethical conduct applicable to lawyers in government service and to generic ethical principles arising from both the core values of society at large and the Jesuit tradition
  • Skills to facilitate and improve strategic planning, creativity, collaboration and consensus building
  • A set of core competencies to promote the capacity to assume leadership roles
  • An understanding of the role of attorneys within large and diverse governmental organizations


In addition to a full array of law courses, you’ll take courses in government law and case-study regulatory programs. No later than the second year, you’ll be expected to master the refinements of administrative processes.

While in the nation’s capital as a third-year law student, you’ll take 2 courses to enhance your practical experiences: One examines issues of leadership and features speakers in top leadership positions throughout DC; the other examines specific ethical issues encountered by attorneys in public service.

You’ll also attend seminars on practical aspects of a Washington, DC, career—everything from maximizing networking opportunities, to the value of nuanced communication and even proper attire for success. Because of Creighton’s Washington connections, you’ll be invited to receptions and events where you’ll meet professionals in your area of interest. Our students have visited the White House and the Pentagon, met with both U.S. senators from Nebraska and attended Creighton law alumni gatherings at prominent DC law firms.

The degree requires completion of at least 35 credits of study, 13 of which may be satisfied by successfully completing a list of courses taken for law school credit.

In sum, to secure both degrees, you must assemble a total of 106 credit hours. The receipt of a JD degree is a necessary prerequisite to receipt of the Master of Science degree in the GOAL program.

Course Requirements 

Course descriptions provided below are for courses not already described on the Creighton Law website.
Course requirements are subject to change at any time.

  • Courses created exclusively for the GOAL program are designated as [GOL]  
  • Law school courses are designated as [LAW]
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution graduate courses are designated as [NCR]
  • Political Science graduate courses are designated as [PLS] 


I. Required Courses taught in Omaha [All five courses  required; total: 12 credit hours.]

  • Administrative Law [LAW 307] (3 credit hours) Credit hours awarded for this course count as credit for both the MS degree and JD degree. [Important: this course requirement must be satisfied prior to the externship semester in Washington, DC] 
  • State & Local Governments in a Federal System [LAW 406] (3 credit hours) Credit hours awarded for this course count as credit for both the MS degree and JD degree. [Important: this course requirement must be satisfied prior to the externship semester in Washington, DC] 
  • Leadership:  Theories, Models, Behavior [GOL 615] (3 credit hours) The course explores theories and approaches to leadership and examines skills, styles, and ethics of organizational leadership. It considers situational and psychodynamic  approaches as well as transformational leadership.  Emphasis is placed on organizational culture and on managing organizational cultural change. Students must engage in and present case studies on organizational leadership. [Important: must be satisfied prior to the externship semester in Washington, DC] Credit hours awarded for this course do not count as credit toward the JD degree.
  • Workshop: Emerging Perspectives on Governance [GOL 690] (2 credit hours) This workshop focuses on current issues in government. The course looks at current events in the news relating to government. The course also focuses on understanding the teachings of leading social and political philosophers such as Plato, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Mill, and others. Students are required to write a paper on a current political, social, or economic problem that could be addressed by government action. The paper completed for this course satisfies the major paper requirement for the MS degree. Credit hours awarded for this course do not count as credit toward the JD degree.
  • Government Organization & Research [GOL 670] (1 credit hour)  Students are oriented to the organizational structure of federal entities and the organization of the federal government.  They are trained in government documents research; emphasizing agency records and legislation.  GOL 670 meets as part of the last half  of the Advanced Legal Research [LAW 313] course.  Credit hours awarded for this course do not count as credit toward the JD degree. 


II. Required Courses taught in Washington DC (Fall semester, 3rd year  of Law School) [All three courses required; total: 16 credit hours]. To participate in this part of the program, students must have at least a 2.25 law school grade point average, must otherwise be in good standing, and must have completed  four semesters of law school.

  • Counsel Roles and Leadership in Government [GOL 710] (3 credit hours)  This course provides a comprehensive look at the major functions of government lawyers. Heavy emphasis is placed upon exploring the question of “who is the client?” and upon developing knowledge and skills in working with other managerial stakeholders within  agencies and with external stakeholders such as OMB, Congress, and other agencies. The course is offered on a 1-week intensive basis before commencement of the externship with some additional evenings during the semester; part of the course is intended to help students maximize the externship experience. Credit hours awarded for this course also serve as credit toward the JD degree.
  • Ethics in Government [GOL 720] (2 credit hours)  This course offers a detailed introduction to the Office of Government Ethics, designated agency ethics officials (DAEO’s), and the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Students also explore broader ethical concepts as well as compare formal government ethics with  other ethical systems, including the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The course runs during the externship semester, with class sessions held one evening each week. Credit hours awarded for this course also serve as credit toward the JD degree.
  • Externship Program (full-time work in a government office; may include regular roundtables with faculty on-site and online) [GOL  730] (11 credit hours) This program is a full-time government externship in the legal office of a federal agency, legislative office in Congress, or another government entity spanning 3 months, providing an opportunity for intensive study of government legal processes and counsel office operations. Externships are aimed at developing skills through in-depth work on a variety of assignments. Students will also be invited to meetings and activities involving government lawyers as opportunities arise. 


III. Electives minimum of 7 credit hours from the following list] Credit hours awarded for these courses, with the exception of PLS coded courses, serve as credit for both the MS degree and the JD degree. Please note that credit hour awards for specific courses can change, as can the list of approved courses; accordingly, please check the website for updated information.

  • Advanced Constitutional Law [LAW 311] (3 credit hours)
  • Climate Change & International Environmental Law [LAW 379] (2 credit hours)
  • Comparative Constitutional Law [LAW 309] (2 credit hours) 
  • Congress & the Legislative Process [PLS324/524] (3 credit hours)
  • Copyright Law [LAW 339] (3 credit hours)
  • Current Topics in Public Health Law [LAW 362] (3 credit hours)
  • Dynamics of Conflict Resolution [NCR 624] (3 credit hours)
  • Education Law [LAW 432] (2 credit hours)
  • Elder Law [LAW 350] (3 credit hours)
  • Employment Discrimination [LAW 346] (2, 3 credit hours)
  • Employment Law [LAW 398] (3 credit hours)
  • Energy Law [LAW 354] (2 credit hours)
  • Environmental & Natural Resources Law [LAW 349] (2 credit hours)
  • Estate and Gift Taxation [LAW 351] (3 credit hours)
  • Federal Courts: Jurisdiction & Procedure of the District Courts [LAW 361] (2, 3 credit hours)
  • Federal Income Taxation [LAW 363] (3 credit hours)
  • First Amendment Freedom of Speech [LAW 366] (2, 3 credit hours)
  • Food & Drug Law [LAW 359] (3 credit hours)
  • Health Care Insurance Law [LAW 347] (2 credit hours) 
  • Health Care Organizations [LAW 376] (2 credit hours)
  • Health Information Privacy [LAW 368] (2 credit hours)
  • Immigration Law [LAW 370] (2-3 credit hours)
  • International Criminal Law [LAW 382] (2 credit hours or 3 credits)
  • International Law [LAW 423] (3 credit hours)
  • International Trade Regulation [LAW 342] (3 credit hours)
  • Interest Group Politics [PLS 335/435] (3 credit hours)
  • Land Use Law [LAW 387] (3 credit hours) 
  • Law of Armed Conflict Seminar [LAW 402] (2 credit hours)
  • Legal Issues in Electronic Commerce [LAW 397] (2 credit hours)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions [LAW 380] (3 credit hours)
  • Native American Law [LAW 403] (3 credit hours)
  • Patent Law [LAW 413] (3 credit hours)
  • Public Policy Analysis [PLS 433/533] (3 credit hours)
  • Securities Regulation [LAW 436] (3 credit hours)
  • State & Local Taxation [LAW 443] (2 credit hours)
  • Structural Injustice: Engaging Constructively with Demographic Change [LAW 396] (3 credit hours)
  • Supreme Court Seminar [LAW 438] (1 credit hour)
  • Trademarks and Unfair Competition [LAW 440] (3 credit hours)
  • White Collar Crime [LAW 459] (3 credit hours)



Creighton University has maintained continuous accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission since 1928.  For information regarding the University’s accreditation status, visit

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Admissions Requirements

Applications for the GOAL program must be completed no later than the spring semester of your first year of law school at Creighton. Contact goal [at] creighton [dot] edu for more information. You must be a student enrolled at Creighton University School of Law to participate in the GOAL program.

Tuition & Scholarships

This year’s tuition is $22,000, or $5,500 per term. 

If you have a federal financial aid award, your award is usually increased to cover this amount. Since JD/MS-GOAL students are already law students, no additional Creighton fees or charges are attached to the tuition.

To help pay for your education, Creighton School of Law can help you secure financial aid and federal student loans, such as the Stafford and Grad-Plus loans. More info

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