M.L.S. Program Course of Study

The Master of Legal Studies program is designed to have a balance of foundational training on "thinking like a lawyer" and specialized courses tailored to the student's interest and career focus. As such, the program is designed to be completed in three phases (as outlined below). The Full-Time program can be completed in 9 months. The Part-Time program can be spread out over 2-4 years.

The program is a 26-32 unit program. 26 units is the minimum to complete, but students wishing to do more may take up to 32 units (with the optional units 27-32 coming in the final semester at no additional charge).


Students at UCLA School of Law have access to a dynamic and innovative law school education. From the first day of orientation, students are exposed to the foundations of legal reasoning and begin to develop their professional identities and intellectual engagement with the law. Our wide array of core curriculum and specialization classes are recognized as some of the finest professional training for law students anywhere.

Textbook Information

3 Phases

  • Phase 1: Core Curriculum (12 units total)

    These courses are designed exclusively for M.L.S. students. They are all taught in the evenings starting at 6:30 PM, between 1-3 nights a week. The first course is Introduction to American Law which is taught the week before the start of the Fall semester. Students will need to plan to be on campus the full week before the start of the first Fall semester for orientation and this course. Full-Time students will take all of these courses in the first two semesters. Part-Time students will likely spread out these courses over two years. The core curriculum courses are as follows:

    Introduction to American Law (1 unit, taught the week before the first Fall semester)
    Private Law: Property and Contract (3 units, Fall Semester)
    The Modern Regulatory State (3 units, Fall Semester)
    Legal Analysis and Communication (2 units, Fall Semester)
    Business Law for Non Lawyers OR The American Dispute Resolution System (3 units, Spring Semester)

  • Phase 2: Specialization Courses (11-17 units total)

     Students may select from one of eight specializations. These classes generally are taken from the J.D. curriculum with J.D. students (M.L.S. students are graded separately from J.D. students), but some specific courses of interest are created for the M.L.S students. With over 200+ courses to choose from ranging in time from the morning into the evening, we will work with you to craft the best schedule. Students who want to take a variety of courses may elect a self-designed program in lieu of a specialization.

    The eight specializations are:

    1. Business Law
    2. Employment & Human Resources Law
    3. Entertainment & Media Law
    4. Health Law & Policy
    5. Government & National Security Law
    6. Public Interest Law
    7. Law and Technology
    8. Environmental Law

    More information about the specializations (including list of courses for each).

  • Phase 3: Capstone (3 units)

    This is a requirement for graduates of all Master's programs at UCLA. The capstone allows students to deeply engage with issues relevant to their career focus or intellectual interest. There are two ways to satisfy this requirement.

    1. Capstone Seminar

    This course is offered each Spring semester. It guides the student through a project applying the skills and knowledge gained in the program to a "real world" scenario. This is flexible, but could include a project at work or a project completed with professor guidance.

    1. Seminar course

    There are several paper-based courses where a student will write an academic paper within the specialization area. It is possible for this to count as the capstone project. This must be approved by the Executive Director of the program in advance.

Part-Time Program

A flexible program designed for executives and working professionals currently with full-time work.

Learn about the Part-Time Program

Full-Time Program

A nine-month program designed for recent graduates, those on F-1 Visas, and those who are able to take a sabbatical from work.

Learn about the Full-Time Program
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