» LL. M. in Prosecutorial Science

The Chapman University Fowler School of Law, in conjunction with the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), is one of the only schools in the country to offer an advanced LL.M degree in criminal law specifically for active criminal prosecutors with five or more years of experience with comprehensive training in

  • criminal procedure
  • evidence
  • the handling of homicide cases
  • investigative techniques
  • essentials of trial practice

The majority of the curriculum applies to all states, special electives provide state-specific legal training.

Other than the two required 10-day summertime sessions, students may complete the balance of the required courses from their home or office via live two-way webcam instruction. The Distance Learning Component will allow students to gain access to this unique LL.M. opportunity, while remaining close to family and work. Participants will interact in live two-way classroom discussions by the same instructors as those teaching the on campus program. These courses will also be archived for those who are unable to attend certain sessions. With a curriculum that will benefit all prosecutors, regardless of jurisdiction, the Distance Learning Component creates a convenient option for out-of-state counsel. For interactive video conferencing, you need:

  • A PC with Intel Pentium IV 1.8 GHz or higherLive Classroom
  • Microsoft Windows XP or later
  • Internet Explorer® 6.0 or later
  • Microsoft Direct X 9.0b or later
  • Windows Media Player 9.0 or later
  • A USB webcam (with a microphone and speaker—headset preferred)
  • Broadband IP connection (LAN, DSL or Cable - minimum 128kbps upstream for internet connection)

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+ - Courses

8000 (required): Advanced Professional Responsibility (3 units)

This course deals with those aspects of the rules of professional responsibility which are particularly applicable to prosecutors, and will explore areas of professional responsibility which challenge prosecutors in particular.

8001 (required): Directed Research (3 units)

Individual directed research shall be taken by students for credit. A descriptive outline of a proposed project must be submitted to the supervising faculty member, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the program Director for their respective approvals prior to registration to determine the feasibility of the project and the number of credits merited. During the course of their enrollment, students may undertake a maximum of two Directed Research papers, each prepared under a different faculty member (subject to approval by the Associate Dean). (Student directed research papers, will, as appropriate and with the approval of its editor-in-chief and editorial advisory board, be published in the Chapman Journal of Criminal Justice.)

8005 (elective): Advanced Criminal Law (2 units)

An in-depth review of the elements of crime, mental responsibility, the insanity defense, appropriate punishment, and related areas (including general theories of criminology).

8006 (elective): Advanced Criminal Procedure-Police Practice (3 units)

This course provides a close examination of the laws of criminal investigation. Topics include constitutional limits on arrests and stops, search and seizure, interrogations of suspects, right to counsel, and the privilege against self-incrimination.

8007 (elective): Advanced Criminal Procedure-Adjudicative Process (3 units)

This course involves a study of the adjudicative stages of criminal justice: initial appearance; bail, prosecutorial discretion; grand jury proceedings; preliminary hearings; joinder and severance of offenses and defendants; right to speedy trial; guilty pleas; discovery; trial by jury; publicity; double jeopardy; and post-conviction remedies.

8008 (elective): Advanced Evidence (3 units)

This is an applied evidence course. Complex evidentiary issues are presented in a simulation environment. Students are expected to apply legal theories in developing a theory of the case, and in developing and making evidentiary arguments. Students are given opportunities to organize and present evidence to establish a theory of the case. Students learn how to introduce evidence and how to oppose successfully the introduction of evidence by defense counsel. The course grade is based on written exercises and performance evaluations.

8009 (elective): Advanced Seminar in Criminal Law and Procedure (3 units)

This course deals with advanced topics in criminal law and procedure such as capital punishment issues and juvenile law, environmental crime, and corporate fraud.

8010 (elective): Advanced Seminar in Jurisprudence/Legal Process (3 units)

This course covers perspectives on law and/or public policy. These perspectives may be jurisprudential or theoretical in nature, or may examine the law as a dynamic process shaped by social, political and institutional forces. For example, students may be exposed to theories like

  • Natural Law
  • Positivism
  • American Realism
  • Scandinavian Realism
  • Law and Economics
  • Critical Legal Studies
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Legal Feminism
  • Law and Literature.

Although the means for examining these perspectives and the precise perspectives examined may vary from semester to semester, students will enrich their skills of creative legal analysis by considering several different lenses through which to view legal principles and institutions.

8011 (elective): Appellate Practice/Procedure (2 units)

This course focuses on the procedures involved in bringing actions to the appellate level. Subjects include jurisdiction, evaluating a lower court ruling in determining the appropriateness of appeal, the finality of the lower court ruling, the one final judgment rule, time limitations, effective appellate brief writing, and effective appellate advocacy.

8012 (elective): Handling the Homicide Case (2-4 units)

This course entails an intense consideration of the special problems presented in the prosecution of homicide and death penalty cases.

8012 (elective): Handling Media Relations (2 units)

This class will examine the unique problems associated with high-profile criminal prosecutions, and the various legal and ethical considerations involved in media relations, including statements to the media and banning the media from certain proceedings.

8013 (elective): Advanced Investigative Techniques (2 units)

This course focuses on the prosecutor's role in handling techniques useful in complex long-term investigations that are often necessary to root out criminal activity. Use of grand jury subpoenas, immunity and cooperation agreements, financial investigations, and undercover techniques will be among the subjects examined.

8014 (elective): Advanced Trial Practice (2 units)

This course examines the strategic and tactical issues that complex criminal trial raise. Topics covered will include voir dire in notorious or controversial litigation, proving and overproving the complex case, the use of accomplice witnesses, dealing with adverse evidence, and refining the art of cross-examination.

8015 (elective): Environmental Crimes (2 units)

This course focuses on the legal and policy considerations raised by the use of criminal sanctions for violations of environmental laws, a unique and rapidly growing area of criminal enforcement. Among the topics addressed in the course are:

  • the role of criminal enforcement in a regulatory regime
  • the elements of the major environmental crimes (including both pollution control and natural resources crimes)
  • related non-environmental crimes
  • the interplay between the civil and criminal enforcement systems
  • investigation and information gathering
  • prosecutorial decision-making
  • culpable parties to environmental crimes
  • special issues of corporate liability
  • proof of criminal intent
  • sentencing issues.

8016 (elective): Environmental Enforcement (2 or 3 units)

This course focuses on the increasingly complex area of environmental enforcement. It covers both civil and criminal enforcement. Among the topics addressed are:

  • the interplay between the civil and criminal enforcement systems
  • investigation and information gathering
  • major environmental violations and crimes
  • special issues related to corporate liability and proof of criminal intent
  • prosecutorial decision-making
  • defenses to environmental violations
  • sentencing issues.

The course may also address programmatic alternatives to enforcement, such as compliance assistance, voluntary approaches, and incentive programs, and alternatives to traditional enforcement.

+ - Faculty

The Director of the LL.M. in Prosecutorial Science Program is Dr. Ronald L. Steiner, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Graduate, Summer & Joint Degree Programs.

+ - Contact Us



The mission of the LL.M. program is to create a high-caliber educational opportunity for prosecutorial leaders in California and the nation. The program is offered to prosecutors from District Attorney Offices, City Attorney Offices, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Justice as well as a variety of national offices. The program consists primarily of evening, weekend and summer classes supplemented by live distance-learning classes.


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