SANTA ROSA -- The Empire College School of Law has opened enrollment for a new master of legal studies program, with the first courses set to begin this fall, the college announced.

The new and accredited major is designed to foster an understanding of the foundation of the legal system, following some of the core courses in the traditional Juris Doctor while aiming to provide background for related careers and other graduate work.

After cores subjects like contract, tort and criminal law, participants will select elective courses that define a particular area of interest. The school describes the major as applicable to a variety of fields, including banking, finance, insurance, education, law enforcement and sales.

"This degree gives students a competitive edge in the marketplace by helping them gain an educated appreciation for the intricacies surrounding the intersection of law, public policy and the professions," said Empire law dean William Robertson, in the announcement.

The program has received approval from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the California Committee of Bar Examiners.

Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree and have letters of recommendation to be eligible for the 36-unit, two-year program. Participants can spend an additional two years to earn their Juris Doctor.

The college will be holding an informational seminar on Tuesday, July 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at their campus in Santa Rosa. More information is available at 707-546-4000 or