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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider an M.L.S. degree?

The UCLA Law M.L.S. program offers a graduate‐level legal education to non‐lawyers whose professional success will be aided by a deep understanding of how law operates to shape our economy and society. Since law permeates the entire economy, many professionals need to understand law, legal institutions and the way lawyers think and solve problems. But not all of these professionals need—or want—to become licensed attorneys.

Why earn an M.L.S. degree at UCLA Law?

Approximately half of the courses you will take as an M.L.S. student at UCLA Law were designed by some of our best full-time faculty members, specifically to serve the unique educational needs of M.L.S. students. Your five "core" courses will give you a solid and unique grounding in law, legal institutions and legal problem solving. In the other half (approximately) of your courses, you will be able to take advantage of the tremendous breadth and depth of the UCLA Law curriculum.  This combination is unmatched by any similar program in Southern California or the country.

Can I work full time and earn an M.L.S. degree?

Yes, but you will need to have some flexibility in your work schedule. Core M.L.S. courses will be offered between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weeknights. Courses for 3 units of credit typically meet twice a week during the semester for approximately 80 minutes each, while courses for 2 units of credit typically meet once a week for 120 minutes. Most of the elective courses that you might wish to take are taught during the day, and taking these courses will require some flexibility in a full-time work schedule. Our academic advisors will work with you to create a plan that balances your work requirements with the opportunity to access the unmatched curriculum of UCLA Law.  As the program expands, we will offer new evening or weekend elective courses in areas of particular interest to M.L.S. students.

Can I take courses for the M.L.S. degree remotely?

At this time, the M.L.S. program is an entirely residential program.  We offer no online courses.

Can I practice law with an M.L.S. degree?

No. The M.L.S. degree will not qualify you to sit for a bar examination or obtain a license to practice law.

How long does it take to earn an M.L.S.?

An M.L.S. degree may be completed in one academic year (nine months) on a full-time basis.  Alternatively, it can be completed on a part‐time basis in two to four years. The maximum time to complete the degree is four years. We strongly encourage part-time students to complete the program in three years or less in order to maintain continuity of study and consistent progress toward the degree.

If I want to earn a J.D. and become a lawyer, should I earn an M.L.S. first?

The M.L.S. course of study is not a pre-J.D. program. While students who earn an M.L.S. degree may subsequently apply to J.D. programs at UCLA or elsewhere, under American Bar Association regulations, no law school may award credit toward a J.D. for any coursework taken during an M.L.S. degree program. If you wish to become a licensed lawyer, you should earn a J.D., not an M.L.S.

What classes are required for M.L.S. students?

Which core courses are offered each semester?

For my elective courses, may I choose from any class or seminar offered at UCLA Law?

In addition to the courses that are part of the core M.L.S. curriculum, more than 300 UCLA Law courses are open as electives to M.L.S. students.  A small number of UCLA Law courses are not available to M.L.S. students because of American Bar Association restrictions, graduation and bar association requirements for J.D. and LL.M. graduates, and the fact that completion of prerequisites not available to M.L.S. students is necessary for some courses. Courses only offered to first-year J.D. students are not open to M.L.S. students. If you are concerned about being able to register for specific courses that do not satisfy a specialization requirement, please contact the M.L.S. office.

How much work should I expect outside of class?

You should expect approximately two hours of out-of-class work for every hour spent in class.

What is required for the M.L.S. capstone project?

Students have several options. They may enroll in the M.L.S. capstone seminar, which will involve the design and completion of an individual or group project that integrates concepts from the M.L.S. coursework to address a complex issue. They may enroll in a seminar in their field of specialization and complete a research paper of 25 to 50 pages. They may participate in a UCLA Law policy clinic and work with J.D. and LL.M. students to complete a project that serves clients, producing significant written work in the process. Or, with the approval of the M.L.S. program director, they may design and complete an independent study project under a faculty member’s supervision.

Can I be considered for the M.L.S. program if I have been out of college for many years?

Absolutely! The M.L.S. program is designed primarily for professionals in the private, nonprofit or government sectors who believe that deeper knowledge of the law can help them be more successful in their field. The program's admissions evaluation will give substantial weight to an applicant’s work experience and expertise.

Can I be considered for the M.L.S. program if I just received my undergraduate degree?

Yes, but your statement of purpose will be more important to your chances of admission if you do not have a record of full-time work experience. We want to make sure that all students admitted to the M.L.S. program have a clear vision of how the M.L.S. degree will help them achieve their career goals.

International Applicants:  What is the process for receiving my Visa?

If you accept UCLA's offer of admission, the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will email you instructions for applying for an I-20 form online. Along with your I-20 application, you will be required to submit electronic copies of your passport, as well as financial documentation which demonstrates that you possess the necessary funds to pay for the costs of tuition and living expenses. After receiving and processing these items, the Dashew Center will issue your I-20 form, and the law school will ship it to you.

After receiving the I-20 form, you must make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence in order to apply for an F-1 student visa to travel to the United States. Please make an appointment well in advance of the date you intend to travel to the United States, as some embassies and consulates take several weeks (or even months) to process visa requests.

International Applicants:  Will I be able to take any English language instruction before the start of the program?

Yes! Email MLS@law.ucla.edu for some available options.