University of Iowa
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Master of Studies in Law (MSL)

Degree Overview

Master’s programs in the study of law are designed to provide an introduction to the legal system and a basic understanding of particular areas of law. Iowa Law’s Master of Studies in Law degree is intended primarily to educate students and professionals in other fields who do not wish to practice law but who need to recognize and respond effectively to legal issues arising in their work. Some students seeking this degree have just completed a BA or BS degree and are looking to better position themselves on the job market. Other students are on an established career path but seek to increase their skill set and enhance mobility and promotion opportunities.

Iowa Law’s MSL degree requires 30 semester credit hours of study. Approximately nine credit hours will be comprised of introductory first-year courses on legal method and the common law, and at least two credits will be a seminar or independent study with a writing component. The student will choose the remainder of the courses.  With law school approval, a student may choose to take up to nine credit hours of non-law classes in related disciplines such as accounting, statistics, finance, public health, engineering, social sciences, or other disciplines. The balance of the credits will be comprised of elective courses within the College of Law.

The degree will be flexible in both content and structure to accommodate students’ needs. Students may choose to pursue courses within a designated specialty track or to build their own customized track. Some of the specialty tracks will include a Business and Innovation track and a Law and Public Policy track. Other specialty tracks may be approved by the faculty over time. Alternatively, a student may choose, with law school approval, a customized track relating to a different area of substantive knowledge. The degree may be completed in as little as one year of full-time study or in not more than four years of part-time study.

How to Apply

Iowa Law encourages applications to its Master of Studies in Law program from students and professionals in other fields who do not wish to practice law but who need to recognize and respond effectively to legal issues arising in their work. Some students seeking this degree will have just completed a BA or BS degree and are looking to better position themselves in the job market. Other students are on established career path but seek to increase their skill set and enhance mobility and promotion opportunities.

Application Material

A completed application should contain:

  • Application form, with signature under the Certification section
  • LSAT, GRE, or GMAT score (or, if not available, then an ACT or SAT score)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation (to be sent by your recommenders)
  • Personal statement describing your interest in pursuing this degree
  • Curriculum vitae/resume
  • Official transcripts for all educational institutions attended, including graduate programs if applicable
  • TOEFL or IELTS score, if applicable

Curriculum

Master of Studies in Law students will take existing courses in the College of Law alongside JD students. MSL students also may choose to take up to nine credit hours (ordinarily three courses) in other colleges across campus.

The required MSL curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning (1 unit)
  • Two first-semester College of Law courses from among the following: (8 units)
    • Contracts (4 units)
    • Property (4 units)
    • Torts (4 units)
  • One or more writing seminars, independent studies, or tutorials in the College of Law providing a total of at least two units of writing credit
  • With law school approval, a student may take up to 9 units of non-law classes in related disciplines. E.g., a Business and Innovation track student might take courses in Accounting, Statistics, Finance, or Computer Science; a Law and Public Policy track student might take courses in Psychology, Sociology, or Sustainability. (0-9 units)
  • The balance of the curriculum will be composed of courses regularly offered at the College of Law. The number of units required depends on the number of non-law courses the student takes. The following are examples of the types of courses that a student might take depending on track. The courses included are illustrative only and are not meant to be exhaustive. Not all courses are offered every semester or every academic year.  Consult Iowa Law's Courses and Curriculum for current schedules.  (10-19 units) 
Business and Innovation Track Law and Public Policy Track Custom Track (e.g., HR)
Business Associations  Constitutional Law I  Health Law
Corporate Finance  Constitutional Law II   Administrative Law
Administrative Law     Administrative Law   Employment Law
Introduction to Intellectual Property Criminal Law  Bankruptcy
Patent Law  Human Rights   Income Tax
Trademark Law Legal History Business Associations
Copyright Law Critical Race Theory   Introduction to IP
Antitrust Nonprofit Organizations  Arbitration
Innovation and Competition Policy Public International Law Negotiations

For information about estimated costs of attendance, visit this page: https://grad.admissions.uiowa.edu/master-studies-law-msl-program-estimated-costs.