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

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

10 Credits Required from the Following Options

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

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

Mandatory Courses – 10-12 credits

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

10-11 Credits Required from the Following Options

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

Mandatory Courses – 6 or 7 credits

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

12-14 Credits Required from the Following Options

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

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

9 Credits Required from the Following Options

  • Air Pollution Control (6432)– 2 or 3 credits each
  • Water Pollution Control (6434) – 2 credits
  • Trade and Sustainable Development (6435) - 3 credits
  • Energy Law Seminar: Energy Commodities (6441) - 2 credits
  • Energy Law Seminar: U.S. Electric System & Sustainability (6441) - 2 credits
  • Control of Solid and Hazardous Wastes (6442) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Oil and Gas Law (6443) – 2 credits
  • Environmental Issues in Business Transactions (6452) -- 2 or 3 credit
  • International Environmental Law (6454) – 2 or 3 credits
  • International Climate Change Law  (6455) – 2 or 3 credits
  • Atomic Energy Law (6459) – 2 credits
  • Environmental Law Seminar:  Food and Agriculture (6466) - 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

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

11 Required Credits from the Following Options

  • 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 - 11 credits

  • Formation of Government Contracts (6502) - 3 credits
  • Performance of Government Contracts (6503) - 3 credits
  • Anti-corruption and Compliance (6511) - 2 credits
  • Government Contracts Cost and Pricing (6506) - 2 credits
  • Advanced Writing (65xx) - 1 credit

Elective Courses - 13 Credits (to be chosen from this representative sampling)

  • Government Contracts Advocacy (6505) - 3 credits
  • Comparative Public Procurement (6508) - 2 credits
  • State and Local Procurement Seminar (6509) - 2 credits
  • Procurement Reform Seminar (6509) - 2 credits
  • Foreign Government Contracting Seminar (6509) - 2 credit
  • Government Procurement of Intellectual Property Law Seminar (6512) - 2 credits
  • Federal Grants Law (6514) - 2 credits
  • Procurement in International Development (6516) - 2 credits

Mandatory Courses – 9 credits

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

10 Credits Required from the Following Options

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

Electives – up to 5 credits permitted

 Mandatory Courses

  • Legal Research and Writing for International LLM Students I (6692) --for non-U.S. university graduates only - 1 credit
  • Fundamental Issues in U.S. Law (6694) - 2 credits

Minimum of 14 credits from the Following Options:

  • Intellectual Property Law (6470) - 3 credits
  • Patent Law (6471) - 1 or 2 credits
  • Copyright Law (6472) - 2 or 3 credits
  • International Copyright Law (6473) - 1 or 2 credits
  • Trademark Law and Unfair Competition (6474) - 2 or 3 credits
  • Entertainment Law (6475) - 2 credits
  • Patent Strategies and Practice (6476) - 2 credits
  • The Federal Circuit (6477) - 1 or 2 credits
  • Licensing of Intellectual Property Rights (6478) - 2 credits
  • Chemical and Biotech Patent Law (6480) - 2 credits
  • Design Law (6481) - 2 credits
  • Patent Enforcement (6482) - 1 or 2 credits
  • Patent Appellate Practice (6483) - 2 credits
  • Computer Law (6484) - 2 credits
  • Law in Cyberspace (6485) - 2 or 3 credits
  • Art, Cultural Heritage, and the Law Seminar (6488) - 2 credits
  • International and Comparative Patent Law (6490) - 2 credits
  • International Intellectual Property (6491) - 3 credits
  • Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the U.S. International Trade Commission (6489) - 2 credits
  • Advanced Trademark Law (6492) - 2 credits
  • Intellectual Property Antitrust Seminar (6494) - 2 credits
  • Intellectual Property Law Seminar (6496) - 2 credits
  • Government Procurement of Intellectual Property (6512) - 2 credits
  • Intellectual Asset Management

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.