The Master of Science-Legal Studies (M.S.L.S.) degree is a one-year nonprofessional degree intended for Cornell University Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows who have no prior legal training and seek an introduction to the foundations of legal systems, legal reasoning, argumentation and analysis, legal procedure, and substantive law in selected areas.

M.S.L.S. FAQs:

What are the degree requirements?

The program requires that you be in residence at the Law School for at least two semesters.

The basic program for M.S.L.S. candidates consists of the current first-year J.D. curriculum, which is:

  • Civil Procedure (6 credits)
  • Constitutional Law (4 credits)
  • Contracts(3 credits)
  • Lawyering (4 credits)
  • Torts (4 credits)
  • Criminal Law (4 credits)
  • Property (4 credits)

There are four qualifications to this basic structure:

  • You are required to take the librarian-taught legal research portion of the Lawyering class, but not the legal writing component.
  • You are not enrolled in "small sections" of first-year courses.
  • You can petition to substitute Law School courses related to your field of study for required first-year courses.
  • You must complete a four-credit thesis supervised by your Law School advisor(s) with input from your home field advisor(s). This thesis, which must be independent of your Ph.D. dissertation, should integrate your Law School work with your primary field of graduate research.

You will be graded in the same manner as students in the Law School's J.D. program and in all other regards will be bound by the same requirements, procedures, and principles of good standing as J.D. students.

What is the application deadline?

All application materials must be submitted by May 1.

How do I apply?

The standard for admission to the M.S.L.S. program will be similar to that applied to applicants for admission to the Law School's regular J.D. program. However, if you have not taken the LSAT, you may substitute a general GRE test score.  Please contact us for application information.

Tuition for the program is the same as the tuition charged to first-year J.D. students. Financial aid is not available for the M.S.L.S. program.

Contact us to learn more.
Phone: 607-255-5185
Email: glsadmissions@cornell.edu