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Master in Law (ML) FAQ

ML FAQ

I have an international law degree. What is the difference between Penn Laws LLM and ML degrees?

I have an international law degree. What is the difference between Penn Laws LLM and ML degrees? The Master in Law (ML) degree is not a graduate law degree (LLM, LLCM, SJD) for attorneys or law students. If you are an attorney or law student seeking information about the LLM, LLCM or SJD, please visit Penn Law Graduate Law Programs.

As an international student, what are the requirements to maintain F-1 student status?

International students seeking an F-1 sponsorship by the Master in Law program at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School must maintain full-time student status (4 CUs) per semester and complete the degree requirements in one academic year.

How do I schedule an appointment with the Master in Law program?

Prospective students can schedule appointments here (link) or by emailing master@law.upenn.edu

I have degrees from a foreign institution. Do I need to submit them through an outside credentialing service?

Yes. The program requires that any foreign transcripts be submitted through a credentialing service. The ML degree application process integrates Certifile for applicants who completed any postsecondary work outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada. You must use this service or another approved credentialing service for the evaluation of your foreign transcripts. The one exception to this requirement is if you completed the foreign work through a study-abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a U.S. or Canadian institution, the program was no longer than one year in length, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript. There is an associated fee for Certifile and all details are included in the application platform.

I have been out of school for a while, from whom should I get my letters of recommendation?

The Admissions Committee is aware that many applicants for the ML degree and Certificate in Law may not have recent educational experiences. The letters of recommendation can come from an employer, professional colleague, professor, or someone who will speak to your ability to succeed in a rigorous law school environment.

What does the Admissions Committee consider strong GPA and Standardized Test Scores?

The Admissions Committee does not employ the use of matrices or indexes when evaluating applicant files and has no statistical cut-offs for review; each file is read from cover to cover in a very holistic approach to the application evaluation. The Admissions Committee considers the applicant’s entire academic history, including breadth and rigor of curriculum, grade trends, and advanced coursework if applicable. The Admissions Committee also evaluates the applicant’s writing ability based on the personal statement, optional essays, and letters of recommendation. Additionally, the Committee considers work experience, personal background and experiences, service, leadership, overcoming challenges or disadvantages, and any other factors that make an applicant unique and that will positively contribute to the life of the Law School and/or the legal community.

How long will it take for a decision to be made on my application?

Applicants for the Master in Law degree and for the Certificate in Law should expect a decision to take approximately 2-4 weeks from the time a completed application is in the Admissions Committee queue.

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 confidentiality 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 platform, all applicants are required to complete a separate application for the Master in Law Degree Program and Certificate in Law through CollegeNet/ApplyWeb and upload the required documentation regardless of other applications submitted to Penn or through a common application service.

When is the Certificate in Law application deadline?

Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis.

  • For Fall admission, recommend a complete application submitted by June 1.
  • For Spring admission, recommend a complete application submitted by October 1.
  • For Summer admission, recommend a complete application submitted by April 1.
When is the Master in Law degree application deadline?

Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis.

  • For Fall admission, recommend a complete application submitted by June 1.
  • For Spring admission, recommend a complete application submitted by October 1.
  • For Summer admission, recommend a complete application submitted by April 1.
Can I audit a course in the ML program?

There are no ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ audits at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School in the Master in Law program. With approval from both the lecturer and the Penn Carey Law Registrar, a student may select ‘audit’ status for grade type during registration. Normal tuition and fees apply with an audit status.

Please note, a class graded as ‘audit’ or ‘pass/fail’ cannot be used and will not be approved to fulfill the requirements of the Master in Law degree or the Certificate in Law.*

*Exception - this is not applicable to grading during 2020C of the COVID-19 pandemic.*

If I am a graduate student pursuing the Certificate in Law, can I count courses from my primary area of academic study toward the certificate?

A Certificate candidates who are graduate students at the University may request credit for one law-relevant class taken outside of the law school from their primary program. This course must come from their primary program, be deemed relevant to their Certificate 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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

Can prior credits taken at the University of Pennsylvania Carey 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 the ML degree.

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 fulfilled.

ML degree candidates must satisfy both ML substantive requirements and ML total CU requirements for graduation.

* If an application is submitted during the applicant’s 3rd class in the ML program, that class can be applied toward the degree requirements with approval from the Master in Law Program.

If I am a graduate student pursuing the Certificate in Law, can I count courses from my primary area of academic study toward the certificate?

Certificate candidates who are graduate students at the University may request credit for one law-relevant class taken outside of the law school from their primary program. This course must come from their primary program, be deemed relevant to their Certificate 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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

Can prior credits taken at the University of Pennsylvania Carey 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 the ML degree.

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 fulfilled.

ML degree candidates must satisfy both ML substantive requirements and ML total CU requirements for graduation.

* If an application is submitted during the applicant’s 3rd class in the ML program, that class can be applied toward the degree requirements with approval from the Master in Law Program.

How do I Request Enrollment in a Penn Carey Law Course?

If you are enrolled in a degree program at Penn, or have previously taken a course at Penn Carey Law, please submit a Request to Take a Law Course Form.

If you are Penn Staff/Faculty and are not enrolled in a degree program at Penn and have not previously taken a course at Penn Carey Law, please complete the Staff/Faculty request to Take a Master in Law Course Form.

Will I take classes with JD students as well as other ML students?

Following foundational ML coursework, ML degree and certificate candidates enter the JD classroom (required for the degree, optional for the certificate) and learn alongside JD students, enriching the classroom experience while creating valuable relationships and professional networks. ML courses are specifically designed for students and professionals not intending to practice law. JD students will not be enrolled in the ML courses.

What resources are available to me as a Master in Law degree candidate?

ML degree candidates have access to Biddle Law Library, Academic Support, IT support, and many online resources including a Penn Carey Law e-mail address. ML degree candidates have the opportunity to join many student groups, attend Penn Carey Law events and presentations, and take part in many other Penn Carey Law student activities. Particular career service opportunities are available to ML degree Certain courses, activities, and services are unavailable to the ML degree students as these focus exclusively on preparing JD & LLM students to enter the practice of law as attorneys. These could include specific legal practice clinics, the legal writing competition, and JD focused law career placement services provided through the Penn Carey Law Career Planning and Placement office.

Who teaches in the Master in Law program?

For the most part, ML courses are taught by lecturers/adjuncts 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 a solid foundation for those who will be continuing in ML and JD courses in pursuit of an ML degree and/or Certificate in Law.

See more information about ML lecturers

How can I contact you for additional information?

If you can’t find what you are looking for on our web pages, please contact the program at master@law.upenn.edu. We welcome attendance at any of our information sessions listed on our calendar.

May I visit the Law School or sit in on a class?

Due to the pandemic prospective applicants, and general guests are unable to physically visit the law school. In the meantime, please view the virtual tour and Master in Law viewbook.

Can I meet individually with a representative of the Master in Law program?

Yes. It is strongly recommended that prospective students review information on the Master in Law program and attend an information session prior to requesting an appointment.

Are Merit Based Scholarships available and how do I apply?

Merit-based scholarships available to degree candidates. All admitted applicants are considered for merit scholarships, although some exemptions apply. Dual degree and University of Pennsylvania faculty and staff should contact the ML program office.

What is the tuition for the ML program?

Generally, tuition and fees are assessed on a per course/CU billing basis but if you are a dual degree student, please note that graduate students in primary programs outside of the law school are billed pursuant to the primary school’s policies. Please check with your advisor or Registrar to know the specifics of your situation. See Financial Aid and Tuition.

What specialized areas of study are available for the Master in Law degree at Penn Carey Law?

Outside of the required core foundational Master in Law coursework, students plan a course of study to best suit their career interests and areas of academic scholarship. Learn more about the many opportunities for specialized emphasis in the ML degree by viewing course finder, sample curricular plans, and student features.

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 degree is designed for graduate students and professionals who desire an education in the law directly related to their fields or areas of academic scholarship.

What is the difference between JD, LLM, and ML?

A JD is for individuals who intend to be practicing attorneys. An LLM at Penn Carey 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.

How long has the Master in Law program been in existence?

The Master in Law program and degree launched in 2014.

Who should apply to the Master in Law degree?

The Master in Law (ML) degree welcomes applications from emerging and accomplished professionals and graduate students who do not intend to become practicing attorneys but who wish to enrich their careers or studies with legal education at Penn Carey Law School. If you are an attorney or JD student seeking information about other degree options available for you (LLM, LLCM or SJD), please visit Penn Carey Law Graduate Law Programs.

FAQ topic: Applications

I have degrees from a foreign institution. Do I need to submit them through an outside credentialing service?

Yes. The program requires that any foreign transcripts be submitted through a credentialing service. The ML degree application process integrates Certifile for applicants who completed any postsecondary work outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada. You must use this service or another approved credentialing service for the evaluation of your foreign transcripts. The one exception to this requirement is if you completed the foreign work through a study-abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a U.S. or Canadian institution, the program was no longer than one year in length, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript. There is an associated fee for Certifile and all details are included in the application platform.

I have been out of school for a while, from whom should I get my letters of recommendation?

The Admissions Committee is aware that many applicants for the ML degree and Certificate in Law may not have recent educational experiences. The letters of recommendation can come from an employer, professional colleague, professor, or someone who will speak to your ability to succeed in a rigorous law school environment.

What does the Admissions Committee consider strong GPA and Standardized Test Scores?

The Admissions Committee does not employ the use of matrices or indexes when evaluating applicant files and has no statistical cut-offs for review; each file is read from cover to cover in a very holistic approach to the application evaluation. The Admissions Committee considers the applicant’s entire academic history, including breadth and rigor of curriculum, grade trends, and advanced coursework if applicable. The Admissions Committee also evaluates the applicant’s writing ability based on the personal statement, optional essays, and letters of recommendation. Additionally, the Committee considers work experience, personal background and experiences, service, leadership, overcoming challenges or disadvantages, and any other factors that make an applicant unique and that will positively contribute to the life of the Law School and/or the legal community.

How long will it take for a decision to be made on my application?

Applicants for the Master in Law degree and for the Certificate in Law should expect a decision to take approximately 2-4 weeks from the time a completed application is in the Admissions Committee queue.

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 confidentiality 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 platform, all applicants are required to complete a separate application for the Master in Law Degree Program and Certificate in Law through CollegeNet/ApplyWeb and upload the required documentation regardless of other applications submitted to Penn or through a common application service.

When is the Certificate in Law application deadline?

Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis.

  • For Fall admission, recommend a complete application submitted by June 1.
  • For Spring admission, recommend a complete application submitted by October 1.
  • For Summer admission, recommend a complete application submitted by April 1.

When is the Master in Law degree application deadline?

Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis.

  • For Fall admission, recommend a complete application submitted by June 1.
  • For Spring admission, recommend a complete application submitted by October 1.
  • For Summer admission, recommend a complete application submitted by April 1.

FAQ topic: Overview

I have an international law degree. What is the difference between Penn Laws LLM and ML degrees?

I have an international law degree. What is the difference between Penn Laws LLM and ML degrees? The Master in Law (ML) degree is not a graduate law degree (LLM, LLCM, SJD) for attorneys or law students. If you are an attorney or law student seeking information about the LLM, LLCM or SJD, please visit Penn Law Graduate Law Programs.

How do I schedule an appointment with the Master in Law program?

Prospective students can schedule appointments here (link) or by emailing master@law.upenn.edu

How can I contact you for additional information?

If you can’t find what you are looking for on our web pages, please contact the program at master@law.upenn.edu. We welcome attendance at any of our information sessions listed on our calendar.

May I visit the Law School or sit in on a class?

Due to the pandemic prospective applicants, and general guests are unable to physically visit the law school. In the meantime, please view the virtual tour and Master in Law viewbook.

Can I meet individually with a representative of the Master in Law program?

Yes. It is strongly recommended that prospective students review information on the Master in Law program and attend an information session prior to requesting an appointment.

Are Merit Based Scholarships available and how do I apply?

Merit-based scholarships available to degree candidates. All admitted applicants are considered for merit scholarships, although some exemptions apply. Dual degree and University of Pennsylvania faculty and staff should contact the ML program office.

What is the tuition for the ML program?

Generally, tuition and fees are assessed on a per course/CU billing basis but if you are a dual degree student, please note that graduate students in primary programs outside of the law school are billed pursuant to the primary school’s policies. Please check with your advisor or Registrar to know the specifics of your situation. See Financial Aid and Tuition.

What specialized areas of study are available for the Master in Law degree at Penn Carey Law?

Outside of the required core foundational Master in Law coursework, students plan a course of study to best suit their career interests and areas of academic scholarship. Learn more about the many opportunities for specialized emphasis in the ML degree by viewing course finder, sample curricular plans, and student features.

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 degree is designed for graduate students and professionals who desire an education in the law directly related to their fields or areas of academic scholarship.

What is the difference between JD, LLM, and ML?

A JD is for individuals who intend to be practicing attorneys. An LLM at Penn Carey 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.

How long has the Master in Law program been in existence?

The Master in Law program and degree launched in 2014.

Who should apply to the Master in Law degree?

The Master in Law (ML) degree welcomes applications from emerging and accomplished professionals and graduate students who do not intend to become practicing attorneys but who wish to enrich their careers or studies with legal education at Penn Carey Law School. If you are an attorney or JD student seeking information about other degree options available for you (LLM, LLCM or SJD), please visit Penn Carey Law Graduate Law Programs.

FAQ topic: Programs

As an international student, what are the requirements to maintain F-1 student status?

International students seeking an F-1 sponsorship by the Master in Law program at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School must maintain full-time student status (4 CUs) per semester and complete the degree requirements in one academic year.

How do I Request Enrollment in a Penn Carey Law Course?

If you are enrolled in a degree program at Penn, or have previously taken a course at Penn Carey Law, please submit a Request to Take a Law Course Form.

If you are Penn Staff/Faculty and are not enrolled in a degree program at Penn and have not previously taken a course at Penn Carey Law, please complete the Staff/Faculty request to Take a Master in Law Course Form.

Will I take classes with JD students as well as other ML students?

Following foundational ML coursework, ML degree and certificate candidates enter the JD classroom (required for the degree, optional for the certificate) and learn alongside JD students, enriching the classroom experience while creating valuable relationships and professional networks. ML courses are specifically designed for students and professionals not intending to practice law. JD students will not be enrolled in the ML courses.

What resources are available to me as a Master in Law degree candidate?

ML degree candidates have access to Biddle Law Library, Academic Support, IT support, and many online resources including a Penn Carey Law e-mail address. ML degree candidates have the opportunity to join many student groups, attend Penn Carey Law events and presentations, and take part in many other Penn Carey Law student activities. Particular career service opportunities are available to ML degree Certain courses, activities, and services are unavailable to the ML degree students as these focus exclusively on preparing JD & LLM students to enter the practice of law as attorneys. These could include specific legal practice clinics, the legal writing competition, and JD focused law career placement services provided through the Penn Carey Law Career Planning and Placement office.

Who teaches in the Master in Law program?

For the most part, ML courses are taught by lecturers/adjuncts 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 a solid foundation for those who will be continuing in ML and JD courses in pursuit of an ML degree and/or Certificate in Law.

See more information about ML lecturers

FAQ topic: Requirements & Credits

Can I audit a course in the ML program?

There are no ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ audits at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School in the Master in Law program. With approval from both the lecturer and the Penn Carey Law Registrar, a student may select ‘audit’ status for grade type during registration. Normal tuition and fees apply with an audit status.

Please note, a class graded as ‘audit’ or ‘pass/fail’ cannot be used and will not be approved to fulfill the requirements of the Master in Law degree or the Certificate in Law.*

*Exception - this is not applicable to grading during 2020C of the COVID-19 pandemic.*

If I am a graduate student pursuing the Certificate in Law, can I count courses from my primary area of academic study toward the certificate?

A Certificate candidates who are graduate students at the University may request credit for one law-relevant class taken outside of the law school from their primary program. This course must come from their primary program, be deemed relevant to their Certificate 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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

Can prior credits taken at the University of Pennsylvania Carey 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 the ML degree.

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 fulfilled.

ML degree candidates must satisfy both ML substantive requirements and ML total CU requirements for graduation.

* If an application is submitted during the applicant’s 3rd class in the ML program, that class can be applied toward the degree requirements with approval from the Master in Law Program.

If I am a graduate student pursuing the Certificate in Law, can I count courses from my primary area of academic study toward the certificate?

Certificate candidates who are graduate students at the University may request credit for one law-relevant class taken outside of the law school from their primary program. This course must come from their primary program, be deemed relevant to their Certificate 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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

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. Per University policy, no coursework is permitted to count toward more than 2 program credentials.

Can prior credits taken at the University of Pennsylvania Carey 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 the ML degree.

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 fulfilled.

ML degree candidates must satisfy both ML substantive requirements and ML total CU requirements for graduation.

* If an application is submitted during the applicant’s 3rd class in the ML program, that class can be applied toward the degree requirements with approval from the Master in Law Program.