- Program Structure
- Student Profile
- Career Advancement
- Tuition and Scholarships
- Application Information
- M.L.S. Events
Step 1: Submit Application for Master of Legal Studies
- The UCLA Division of Graduate Education Application: This online application form will request demographic information, education and employment history.
- Statement of Purpose (up to 500 words): Your Statement of Purpose should clearly communicate why you are pursuing this degree and how it will help you achieve your professional/career goals. The Admissions Committee considers the Statement of Purpose very important for admission.
- Personal Statement (up to 500 words): Your Personal Statement talks about your story and what led you to become the person you are today. This is a great place to also talk about your strengths and what will make you a great student in the program.
- 2-3 Letters of Recommendation: Your letters of recommendation can come from either a professional or academic connection. It could be a professor, a supervisor, colleague, or other person who can genuinely attest to your ability to succeed in an academically rigorous graduate-level environment.
- Resume / C.V.: Think of the resume you submit for this program's application as one you would submit for a job. Tailor your resume to showcase your positions, accomplishments, accolades, etc. to show your fit for our program.
- Transcripts from all undergraduate education institutions: Electronic official transcripts are preferred and can be sent directly to email@example.com. If electronic transcripts are not available, retrieve and scan a copy of your transcripts to upload to your application. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
International applicants are required to submit translated transcripts for the Bachelor’s degree if not in English; see below for additional details and requirements.
*Transcripts for UCLA Graduates: If you attended UCLA, you do not have to order a UCLA transcript to be sent to us.
Degree and GPA Requirements
M.L.S. applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average (GPA) of B (3.0 of 4.0) or better, or its equivalent if the letter grade system is not used. Applicants who do not meet the minimum-GPA requirement and have substantial work experience are still encouraged to apply and may be considered for admission at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
Students who have earned a J.D. or LL.B. are ineligible for the M.L.S. program. These students should consider applying to UCLA Law’s LL.M. program.
Students who wish to apply for admission to our graduate program are not required to take the GRE/GMAT/LSAT or submit a GRE/GMAT/LSAT score report as part of their application package. However, students may voluntarily submit GRE/GMAT/LSAT test scores and they will be reviewed as part of the holistic application consideration. The applications with GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores will not be given greater weight than those that do not include scores.
UCLA Graduate Education has specific English language proficiency requirements that apply to U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents as well as international applicants. The requirements can be found at https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements.
Step 2: Application Review & Admissions Interview
Applications to the Master of Legal Studies program undergo holistic review, meaning admissions decisions are determined by reading the whole file, every part of the application. Admissions decisions consider the applicant as a unique being in light of individual characteristics and achievements and the whole person within the context of their family and school environments, hardships, extenuating circumstances, and educational opportunities.
Application finalists will be contacted via email with details to complete a written and video assessment as well as an oral interview. For the admission assessment, finalists will receive a couple of legal cases to read and will login to a separate platform to record video responses to questions regarding the cases; no prior legal knowledge is necessary nor required. The oral interview is scheduled upon completion of the admission assessment.
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 for professionals in the private, nonprofit or government sectors who have a growth mindset and 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! This degree has helped graduates launch their career in a variety of industries. The admissions committee will look closely at your academic record and statement of purpose to determine what your goal and expectations are with this degree.
Are all M.L.S. applicants interviewed?
Only application finalists are contacted for an interview.
Is an assessment and interview a required component for all finalists?
Yes, the interview is a required component of the application. Finalists will complete short video questions that pertain to provided legal cases and a written component; no prior legal knowledge is necessary nor required.
The video assessment provides the opportunity to ensure each candidate receives a very similar interview experience. The written component provides applicants to showcase their analysis and writing.
Finally, the oral interview allows us to get to know you better outside of your submitted application.
Step 3: Admission Offer
All applicants will be contacted via email from UCLA Graduate Admissions regarding their application decision.
Applicants who are admitted will receive two letters, one for admission and one awarding funding scholarships. Admitted applicants will be required to submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) and a non-refundable seat deposit of $1,000 within two weeks of their decision letter release.
When are decisions released?
Decisions are typically released 4-6 weeks from application submission.
- Must have a Bachelor’s degree or undergraduate degree equivalent; see additional requirements to UCLA's Graduate School for International Applicants here: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/international-applicants/.
- Must submit transcripts, diploma, and degree certificate in English and the original language if not English.
- Applicants who did not earn their undergraduate degree at an institution in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction must take the TOEFL/IELTS. Requirements are available at: https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements; see accepted TOEFL / IELTS scores below.
International applicants who have earned a first degree of law are ineligible to apply to the M.L.S. program and should apply to the LL.M. program.
Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
International applicants who do not hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English, are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will also be accepted, but are less desirable.
Please note that TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for only two years. The scores must be valid at the time you submit your application. If you took the examination multiple times, only the most recent score is considered.
Exemptions: International applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.
What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score requirement?
TOEFL: UCLA School of Law prefers a score of at least 96 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or 600 on the paper-based exam. (There is no score requirement for specific sections of the exam.) Applicants with lower scores are still welcome to apply, but are strongly advised to re-take the exam in order to increase their likelihood of admission.
For TOEFL information and registration instructions, visit https://www.ets.org/toefl. When registering for the exam, please enter UCLA's institution code, enter 4837 and department code 03.
IELTS: Favorable consideration will be given to applicants who submit a TOEFL score. However, an overall IELTS score of at least 7.5 will also be viewed favorably. (There is no score requirement for specific sections of the exam.) Applicants with a lower score are strongly advised to take the TOEFL in order to increase their likelihood of admission.
For IELTS information and registration instructions, visit https://www.ielts.org. When registering for (or at the start of) the exam, please indicate that you wish to have your score forwarded to UCLA School of Law Master of Legal Studies Program (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the UCLA Graduate Division.
Foreign language ability can fade quickly, so please note that TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for only two years. The scores must be valid at the time you submit your application. If you took the examination multiple times, only the most recent score is considered.
Where do I send my TOEFL/IELTS score report?
Upload a copy of your test taker score report of either test to your application as a supplemental document. The test taker score report should include your full name, email, appointment number, and test date.
The M.L.S. Office will then pull your official score report and upload to your application, so there is no need to have scores sent officially to us.
Will I be able to take any English language instruction before the start of the program?
Yes! If you are an admitted applicant who has not met UCLA's English language requirement for waiving the English Requirements for this examination, you must, upon arrival at UCLA, take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE). The ESLPE is an English diagnostic test. Depending on your results on the ESLPE, you may be required to complete English as a Second Language courses beginning in your first term at UCLA. If English courses are required, you should enroll in them right away, and you should also anticipate spending a longer period of time at the University.
Admission is canceled for those who do not pass the ESLPE.
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.
Is financial aid available for international students?
Students without U.S. citizenship/residency are not eligible for federal aid via the FAFSA, but all applicants can apply for, and may receive, multiple M.L.S. scholarship awards in addition to external scholarships. Applicants are typically notified concurrently with their admission offer.
Is university housing available?
Full-time M.L.S. students are eligible to apply for university housing designed for both single graduate students and those with families. Students can also choose to live off-campus in the neighborhoods of Westwood, West Los Angeles, Brentwood or Santa Monica to name a few.
Funding Resources for International Students
Please note that the outside funding organizations listed below are not affiliated with or endorsed by UCLA School of Law.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
AAUW helps women around the globe break barriers and pursue their dreams of obtaining graduate degrees or making an impact in their communities. International fellowships are awarded for full-time study in the U.S. to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the amount of $18,000 (Master’s/First Professional Degree Fellowship).
Discover Student Loans
Discover offers fixed or variable interest rate private student loans to international students attending an eligible U.S. college or university, on the condition that international students provide a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
EduPASS provides financial aid information for international students who plan to pursue higher education in the U.S. This site presents information about how to calculate college costs, scholarships and loans for international students, and other tools and resources for financing education as a foreign student in the U.S.
Foreignborn.com serves as a resource for international students who will be entering and living in the U.S. Along with immigration, visa, and health insurance information, the site provides a guide for foreign students seeking financial aid to study in the U.S. in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and other kinds of financial assistance.
Fulbright Foreign Student Program
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings citizens of other countries to the United States for Master’s degree or Ph.D. study at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions. Foreign students apply for Fulbright Fellowships through the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in their home countries.
InternationalStudentLoan.com provides financial aid resources, articles, videos, and comparison tools to help students navigate their financial aid options. The site offers loan information for international students pursuing study in the U.S.
International Student Organization in the USA (ISO)
ISO provides a detailed list of organizations which offer scholarships and grants to international students based upon factors such as background and area of interest.