Fall 2020 Flex Start Option for LLM & MSL Candidates

GW Law will offer all students admitted to the Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree programs a one- time option to start their degree program online in Fall 2020 through the GW Law Flex Start Program.

Students who opt into the Flex Start Program will begin their studies online in the Fall 2020 semester and then transition to in-residence semesters in Spring 2021 and Fall 2021. Students will also have the option of completing their program either in Summer 2021 or in Fall 2021, to allow for considerations around applying for OPT (Optional Practical Training) or the New York bar exam. 

During the Fall semester, Flex Start international students who have received their first degree in law from outside the United States will be required to take two mandatory courses online:  Fundamental Issues in U.S. Law, and Legal Research and Writing for International LLM Students.  For those who have a U.S. JD, this requirement does not apply.  MSL students must also take these two courses during the Fall semester.  Students can also opt to take additional courses with the approval of their program director. Students who follow this plan would then begin their in-residence program in the Spring 2021 semester and continue through Summer or Fall 2021.

The Flex Start Option would give students an easier transition into the program by reducing the number of credits taken each semester.  It would also permit each student to:

  • Undertake an unpaid externship for academic credit during the Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021 semesters.  Please keep in mind that any externship for credit does not count towards the New York Bar requirements. 
  • Be eligible to sit for the February 2022 New York Bar.
  • Be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon completion of their studies in winter 2021/2022, having been in the United States for the required time of on-campus attendance. Please note that OPT regulations require a candidate to be in residence for 2 full semesters to be eligible, and are subject to change.

If you are interested in this option, please contact Ms. Shehernaz Joshi in the Graduate & International Programs Office via email ([email protected]) to discuss this further and to map out a proposed plan of study.  In addition, all students will be required to submit a study plan to their program directors prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester. 

GW Law and the Graduate and International Programs Office remain committed to assisting and supporting our students at all times.  However, due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, there may be issues that arise pertaining to COVID-19, immigration, bar requirements, or other matters that will be outside of the control of The George Washington University Law School and that may lead to changes in the Flex Start Program.