Who should apply to the Master in Law degree?
The Master in Law (ML) degree is for individuals who are neither law students nor lawyers who wish to complement their studies or careers with a legal education at Penn Law. This degree is not a graduate law degree for attorneys or law students. If you are an attorney or law student seeking information about Graduate Programs such as the LLM, LLCM or SJD, please visit Penn Law Graduate Law Programs.
What is the difference between JD, LLM, and ML?
A JD is for individuals who intend to be practicing attorneys. An LLM at Penn Law is designed primarily for attorneys trained outside of the United States. An ML is for those individuals who do not intend to practice law but seek legal knowledge to inform their professional and/or academic pursuits. The ML degree is not a pathway to a JD program.
Will I be eligible to sit for the bar exam after completion of the ML degree?
No. ML graduates are not eligible to sit for any bar exam. The ML program is designed for graduate students and professionals who desire education in the law without becoming practicing attorneys.
I am a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. What programs are available for me?
As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, unless your primary program has restrictions, you have 3 available options. You may submit an application for either the Master in Law degree or the Certificate in Law programs, or you may take ad hoc classes from the Master in Law course offerings and if space is available, in the upper level JD curriculum.
I am faculty/staff within the University of Pennsylvania system. What programs are available for me?
As a member of the University of Pennsylvania system, you have 3 available options. You may submit an application for either the Master in Law degree or the Certificate in Law, or you may take ad hoc classes from the Master in Law course offerings.
What are the ML degree requirements?
Click here to see ML degree requirements.
Can prior credits taken at the University of Pennsylvania Law School be counted towards the ML degree?
Two (2) CUs maximum taken in the Master in Law or JD course offerings prior to acceptance can be applied toward the eight (8) CUs required for graduation.
If a student has completed all three (3) ML required core classes prior to applying*, only two (2) CUs will count toward the total eight (8) CU requirement, leaving six (6) CUs remaining to be be fulfilled.
ML degree candidates must satisfy both ML substantive requirements and ML total CU requirements.
* If an application is submitted during the applicant’s 3rd class in the ML program, that class can be applied toward the degree requirements.
As a dual or joint degree candidate, can I count courses from my primary area of academic study toward the ML degree?
Dual degree candidates may request credit towards their Master in Law degree for up to two law-relevant classes taken outside of the law school while enrolled in a dual or joint program. These courses must come from their primary program, be deemed relevant to their Master in Law studies and subject to the policies and approvals of their primary academic program and the academic faculty advisor of the Master in Law program.
Can I audit a course in the ML program?
There are no ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ audits at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the Master in Law program. With approval from both the lecturer and the Penn Law Registrar, a student may select ‘audit’ status for grade type during registration. Normal tuition and fees apply with an audit status.
Additionally, if a student is considering pursuing the Master in Law degree or the Certificate in Law, a class graded as ‘audit’ or ‘pass/fail’ cannot be used and will not be approved to fulfill the requirements.
What should be included in the Master in Law application materials?
Click here to see application requirements.
When is the Master in Law degree application deadline?
- Applications are accepted at any time and are considered on a rolling basis.
- For Fall admission, we recommend submission of your completed application by June 15.
- For Spring admission, we recommend submission of your completed application by October 15.
- For Summer admission, we recommend submission of your completed application by April 15.
If I applied to another University of Pennsylvania program or have applied to other graduate programs through a common application, is my application transferable?
Due to privacy concerns and admissions protocol, the transfer of application materials, including letters of recommendation and transcripts, between schools or organizations is not permitted. While some materials might pre-populate if an applicant has previously set up an account in the application system, all applicants are required to complete a separate application for the Master in Law Degree Program and Certificate through CollegeNet and upload the required documentation regardless of other applications submitted to Penn or through a common application service.
Who teaches in the Master in Law program?
Master in Law degree & certificate students will take classes from both the ML courses designed for and limited to non-lawyers and JD courses alongside JD students. For the most part, ML courses are taught by lecturers who are practitioners experienced in their fields, bridging legal principles and practice and translating complex legal concepts to professionals who are not lawyers but who interact with the law on a regular basis. Based on the understanding that many students come to the program without a law background, our lecturers make legal concepts digestible while providing students with a solid foundation for their future ML and JD courses.
What resources are available to me as an Master in Law degree candidate?
ML degree candidates have access to Biddle Law Library, IT support, and many online resources including a Penn Law e-mail address. ML degree candidates have the opportunity to join many student groups, attend Penn Law events and presentations, and take part in many other Penn Law student activities. Certain courses, activities, and services, however, are unavailable to the ML students because these focus exclusively on preparing students to enter the practice of law as attorneys. These could include legal practice clinics, the legal writing competition and law career placement services provided through the Penn Law Career Planning and Placement office.
Will I take classes with JD students as well as other ML students?
JD students will not be enrolled in the ML courses. The ML courses are specifically designed for students and professionals not intending to practice law. Following their foundational coursework, ML students pursuing the ML degree or Certificate in Law enter the JD classroom and learn alongside with JD students, enriching the classroom experience while creating valuable relationships and professional networks.
How can I contact you for additional information?