Master of Studies in Law (MSL)

GW Law offers a new program designed for non-lawyers interested in law!

Gain a Professional Advantage

GW Law’s MSL helps meet the growing demand for non-lawyers to be familiar with the many ways that law influences industry. The MSL program is intended for professionals who are not interested in earning a law degree or practicing law but work in jobs where knowledge of the law is important. The knowledge gained can augment career preparation or professional advancement.

Who Can Benefit?

  • Federal or governmental affairs officers
  • Journalists
  • Consultants
  • Expert witnesses who testify before government agencies
  • Compliance officers
  • Procurement specialists
  • Policy Analysts
  • Others who seek legal insight into related careers

Enjoy a Flexible, Diverse Curriculum

With a rigorous but manageable curriculum, the MSL program offers students the flexibility to design a courseload individually tailored to meet their needs. Students will build their 24-credit MSL program by choosing to focus in one of nine areas of concentration:

Mandatory Courses – 9 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Corporations (6250) – 4 credits
  • Federal Income Tax (6300) – 3 or 4 credits

10 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • Corporate Finance (6254) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Corporate Tax (6302) – 3 credits
  • Banking Law (6290) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Business Bankruptcy and Reorganization (6285)
  • Securities Regulation (6252) – 3 credits
  • Insurance (6298) – 2 or 3 credits
  • International Business Transactions (6522) – 3 credits
  • International Trade Law (6527) – 2 or 3 credits
  • International Tax (6312) – 2 or 3 credits
  • International Banking and Investment Law (6542) – 2 credits
  • Regulated Industries (6406) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Venture Capital Law (6259) – 2 credits
  • International Project Finance (6545) – 2 credits
  • Law of the European Union (6534) – 2, 3 or 4 credits

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

Mandatory Courses – 10-12 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Criminal Law (6210) – 3 credits
  • Criminal Procedure (6360) – 3 or 4 credits
  • Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure (6362) – 2 or 3 credits

10-11 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • International Criminal Law (6554) – 2 credits
  • Cybersecurity Law and Policy (6879) – 2 credits
  • White Collar Crime (6364) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Counterterrorism Law (6875) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Drugs and the Law (6372) – 2 credits
  • Computer Crime (6369) – 1, 2, or 3 credits
  • Criminal Tax Litigation (6365) – 2 credits
  • Role of the Federal Prosecutor (6363) – 2 credits
  • Forensic Science (6370) – 2 credits
  • Federal Sentencing Seminar (6374) – 2 credits
  • Computer Law (6484) – 2 credits
  • Internet Law (6493) – 1 or 2 credits
  • Criminal Tax Litigation (6365) – 2 credits
  • Military Justice (6873) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Comparative Military Law (6874) – 2 credits
  • International Money Laundering, Corruption, and Terrorism (6521) 
  • Homeland Security Law and Policy (6876) – 2 credits
  • Intelligence Law (6878) – 2 credits

Mandatory Courses – 6 or 7 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Cybersecurity Law and Policy (6879) – 2 credits
  • Law in Cyberspace (6485) – 2 or 3 credits

12-14 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • National Security Law (6870) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Counterterrorism Law (6875) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Constitutional Law Seminar: Cyber, Privacy & Speech (6399) – 2 credits
  • International Law (6520) – 3 or 4 credits
  • International Criminal Law (6554) – 2 credits
  • Information Privacy Law (6486) – 3 credits
  • Computer Law (6484) – 2 credits
  • Internet Law (6493) – 1 or 2 credits
  • US Foreign Relations Law (6871) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Disaster Law (6880) – 2 credits
  • Intelligence Law (6878) – 2 credits
  • Law of War (6552) – 2 credits
  • Advanced Topics in Global Internet Freedom (6399) – 2 credits
  • International Money Laundering, Corruption, and Terrorism (6521) 
  • White Collar Crime (6364) – 2 or 3 credits

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

Have you ever wished you knew just a little bit more about oil and gas law, federal lands, health care law, the legislative process, or any of a myriad of other laws and legal issues?Mandatory Courses – 11​credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Environmental Law (6410) –​3 credits
  • Energy Law & Regulation (6438) - 3 credits ​
  • Administrative Law (6400) – 3 credits 

9 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • Air Pollution Control​ (6432)– 2 or ​3 credits each
  • Water Pollution Control (6434) – 2 credits
  • Control of Solid and Hazardous Wastes​ (6442​) ​– 2 or 3 ​credits
  • Energy and the Environment (6439) – 2 credits
  • International Environmental Law​ (6454​) – 2 or 3 ​credits
  • International Climate Change Law ​ (6​455​) – 2 or 3 ​credits
  • ​Trade and Sustainable Development (6435) - 3 credits
  • Environmental Issues in Business Transactions (6452) -- 2 or 3 credit
  • Oil and Gas Law (6443) – 2 credits
  • Atomic Energy Law (6459) – 2 credits

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

With the intense focus on journalism in Washington, D.C., a General MSL in First Amendment Speech and Expression is an attractive option for area journalists, and graduates of GW’s Media & Public Affairs School.

Mandatory Courses – 8 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Constitutional Law I (6214) – 3 credits
  • First Amendment: Speech and Press Clauses (6382) – 3 credits

11 Required Credits from the Following Options

  • Communications Law (6412) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Constitutional Law II (6380) – 3 credits
  • First Amendment: Religion Clauses (6393) – 3 credits
  • Constitutional Law Seminar: Cyber, Privacy & Speech (6399) – 2 credits
  • Communications Law (6412) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Law in Cyberspace (6485) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Information Privacy Law (6486) – 3 credits
  • Intellectual Property (6470) – 3 credits (for general exposure, not a practice based course)

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

 Self-designed course of study with prior approval.

Mandatory Courses - 14 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Formation of Government Contracts (6502) - 3 credits
  • Performance of Government Contracts (6503) - 3 credits
  • Anti-corruption and Compliance (6511) – 3 credits
  • Cost and Pricing of Government Contracts (6506) – 3 credits

10 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • Comparative Public Procurement (6508) – 2 credits OR
  • State and Local Procurement (6509) – 2 credits
  • State and Local Procurement (6509) – 2 credits
  • Federal Grants Law (6509) – 2 credits
  • Procurement Reform (6509) – 2 credits
  • Government Procurement of Intellectual Property Law Seminar (6512) – 2 credits
  • Federal Grants Law (6514) - 2 credits
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (to be created) – 3 credits
  • Appropriations Law (to be created) – 3 credits

Electives may or may not be possible under this template. The Program Director will make the determination once they assess the strengths of the non-law students in this field of study.  

Mandatory Courses – 9 credits

  • Fundamental Issues in US Law (6694) – 2 credits
  • Health Care Law (6410) – 4 credits
  • Administrative Law (6400) – 3 credits

10 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • Constitutional I or II (6214 or 6390) – 3 credits each
  • Insurance (6298) – 2 credits
  • Health Care Law Seminar (6411) – 2 credits
  • Food and Drug Law (6408) – 2 credits
  • Law and Medicine (6617) –3 credits
  • Elder Law (6353) – 2 credits
  • Genetics and the Law (6616) – 2 credits
  • Selected Topics in Health Care Law (6409) – 2 credits
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (add course number) – 2 credits
  • ACA Seminar (6352) – 2 credits
  • Fraud and Abuse 6352) – 2 credit
  • Reproductive Rights/Assisted Reproductive Technologies (6352) – 2 credits
  • Law and Psychiatry (6614) – 2 credits
  • Public Health Law (6352) – 2 credits
  • Medical Devices (6352) – 2 credits

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

 Mandatory Courses

  • Fundamental Issues in U.S. Law
  • Legal Research and Writing for International LLM Students I--for non-U.S. university graduates only

Minimum of 14 credits from the Following Options:

  • Advanced Trademark Law
  • Art, Cultural Heritage, and the Law Seminar
  • Chemical and Biotech Patent Law
  • Computer Law
  • Copyright Law
  • Design Law
  • Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the U.S. International Trade Commission
  • Entertainment Law
  • The Federal Circuit
  • Government Procurement of Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Asset Management
  • Intellectual Property Antitrust Seminar
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Intellectual Property Law Seminar
  • International and Comparative Patent Law
  • International Copyright Law
  • International Intellectual Property
  • Law in Cyberspace
  • Licensing of Intellectual Property Rights
  • Patent Appellate Practice
  • Patent Enforcement
  • Patent Law
  • Patent Strategies and Practice
  • Trademark Law and Unfair Competition

Graduates will be awarded the MSL degree, with a notation regarding their area of concentration.

Learn At Your Pace

To ensure maximum flexibility, the program can accommodate both full-time students interested in completing the degree in one year and part-time students who may wish to take one or two courses a semester or summer session, if relevant course work is offered. All enrolled students will take courses on the Foggy Bottom campus, alongside JD and LLM students, thereby benefitting from the experience of faculty, budding legal professionals, and seasoned practitioners.

Access the Heart of the Nation’s Capital

All students benefit from GW Law’s incomparable location in the heart of Washington, D.C., across the street from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, two blocks from internationally known law firms on K Street, three blocks from the U.S. Department of State, and a subway ride away from the Supreme Court and a host of nongovernmental and policy agencies. Our students routinely interact with high-level practitioners and policymakers from those nearby institutions in internships, externships, other volunteer opportunities, and a host of lectures and timely programs on current issues of the day.

Entrance Requirements

MSL applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent and have a minimum of three to five years of professional experience related to their area of concentration, as assessed by accomplished program directors and deans. Students whose undergraduate degree was earned from a non-U.S. school where English is not the language of instruction are required to meet the minimum language test requirement. Applicants must also have strong letters of recommendation from those who are in a position to comment in detail on the nature of their work and the benefit of the MSL to their career advancement. (See Application for additional information.)

Apply Now

Applications for the fall and spring semesters are accepted on a rolling basis. For priority review, applications for fall admission should be received by March 15. For spring admission, the priority deadline is November 1. Admissions are on a rolling basis and applicants may seek admission up to 30 days in advance of the first day of fall or spring semester classes. Please Note: The application fee is waived for fall 2018 enrollment.

Contact Us

For more information about the MSL degree program, contact Shehernaz Joshi, Director, Graduate and International Programs Office, at [email protected] or 202.994.7242. We welcome your visit to GW Law.