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Thriving Master in Law Program transcends disciplinary boundaries

September 21, 2021

In its eighth year, the Law School’s Master in Law Program continues to expand, drawing students from a wide array of fields with its fundamentally cross-disciplinary approach to legal education.

Over the first five years of its existence, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Master in Law (ML) Program graduated 66 scholars, faculty, and staff from throughout the University of Pennsylvania. Now, at the start of its eighth year, the ML Program is comprised of an impressive 117 alumnae and 118 degree candidates with increasingly diverse academic and professional backgrounds that span the worlds of medicine, education, business, technology, and beyond.

Because the Program operates on rolling admissions, students have flexible opportunities to earn their degree at a pace that works for them and may graduate at one of three points throughout the year. Approximately 20-30 students earn an ML degree each year; by the conclusion of the Spring of 2022, the Program expects its cumulative number of graduates to amount to nearly 150.

When the ML Program began in 2014, it served to offer Perelman medical students an opportunity to take law classes to help them better understand the complicated regulatory areas of the law governing and impacting healthcare and their future careers in medicine. As the Program gained notoriety and popularity, it expanded its offerings to other schools within the University. Within a few years, the ML Program was populated by University students, faculty, and staff who studied and worked in a wide array of fields, and in 2019, the Law School opened the doors of the ML Program to students beyond those in the Penn Community.

Throughout the Program’s evolution, an ardent interest in valuable and pertinent legal knowledge consistently unites an increasingly dynamic and multi-disciplinary ML student body.

Students who enroll in the ML Program bring with them a wealth of professional and academic experiences. At the time of application, 90% of students either hold or are dually pursuing at least one advanced degree in addition to the ML. Over a quarter of those students hold more than one advanced degree. An impressive 60% of ML students and graduates arrived to the ML Program with anywhere from 6 to 30 years of professional experience.

Students completing the ML degree take three required foundational courses designed to introduce them to the essential elements of the American judicial system and one specific ML elective course. Then, they enroll in up to four JD elective courses of their choosing, enabling students to tailor their educational pursuits to their professional discipline or concurrent course of study. Students have come from a wide range of disciplines, including education, entrepreneurship, finance/corporate sector, healthcare, human resources, journalism, privacy/intellectual property, regulatory/compliance, and technology and innovation.

In addition to enabling a vast array of professionals and multi-disciplinary students to expand their education, the degree’s flexibility also engenders an environment wherein a constantly fluctuating class of students with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise can meet, learn from one another, and expand their networks.

Moreover, because the Law School purposefully integrates the ML and JD curriculums, JD students often have the opportunity to benefit from the hands-on experiences that ML students bring to the classrooms, enriching course discussions and serving to further expand the boundaries of Penn Law’s legal educational offerings.

Learn more about Penn Law’s Master in Law Program.