About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 120-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and specialized areas.
USC Gould helps prepare you for a stellar legal career. You can pursue a JD degree, one of our numerous graduate and international offerings, or an online degree or certificate.
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
- Alumni and Giving
Application Instructions - Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Degree - Online
USC Gould School of Law
- MASTER OF STUDIES IN LAW (MSL) DEGREE - ONLINE
- APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
- CERTIFICATE TRACKS
- CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
- TUITION AND FINANCIAL AID
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- MASTER OF STUDIES IN LAW (MSL) DEGREE - ON CAMPUS
- CONTACT US
To be eligible to apply, you must have earned or plan to receive a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale) from a regionally accredited institution before enrolling at USC Gould School of Law. We seek applicants whose academic background, professional aspirations, personal commitment, tech skills and communication skills meet the demands of a rigorous online legal master's degree program. Prior exposure to or experience in law is not required.
Note: Our legal master's degree is not recommended if your goal is to practice law or earn a Juris Doctor (JD). Pursuant to the American Bar Association standards and USC's graduate transfer policies, credits earned in our MSL program are not eligible for transfer credit to a JD program at USC or other universities. If you aspire to become an attorney, please visit USC Gould's JD Program website.
Dates and Deadlines
We offer three starts throughout the year in fall, spring and summer. Below are the upcoming start dates and application deadlines:
|Program Start Date||First Day of Classes||Applications Open||Priority Application Deadline||Application Deadline|
|Summer 2023||May 10, 2023||November 30, 2023||February 22, 2023||March 22, 2023|
|Fall 2023||September 6, 2023||January 18, 2023||June 21, 2023||July 19, 2023|
|Spring 2024||January 10, 2024||August 2, 2023||October 11, 2023||November 8, 2023|
We recommend applying early for scholarship consideration.
To apply for admission, submit the following documents before 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) on the application deadlines listed above:
- Online Application
Our online application takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Please be aware that your work will not be saved automatically.
Note: If you earned a degree outside of the United States of America, you may be directed to submit your application through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) via the link above.
- Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose is your primary opportunity to discuss who you are beyond the application basics. We are particularly interested in how your academic and professional background has led to your decision to study law. This is not the place to repeat items on your resume/curriculum vitae (CV). Please address the following questions in your statement of purpose:
- Why do you want to pursue the MSL degree at USC Gould?
- How do you plan to use this degree to advance your career?
- What strategies will you put into place to be a successful online graduate student?
- Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Provide a record of your employment history, volunteer commitments, extracurricular activities, and any awards and/or honors by emailing a PDF version of your resume/CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Domestic Applicants: To expediate the processing of your application, you can submit unofficial transcripts via email with the rest of your application materials and request official transcripts to be sent to us from your undergraduate and graduate institution(s) after receiving an admissions decision.
(Optional) Step 1: Submit unofficial transcripts by scanning and emailing transcripts from your undergraduate institution (and graduate institution, if applicable) to email@example.com.
Unofficial transcripts must be printed on university letterhead or include a university seal/registrar signature. Print-outs from student portals are not accepted. If admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts from all academic institutions.
Step 2: Request official, sealed transcripts from your undergraduate and/or graduate institution(s) and provide them with our address. For transcripts to be considered official, they must be emailed or mailed directly from the issuing institution to USC Gould. Any transcripts sent from the applicant, even if in a sealed envelope, are considered unofficial transcripts.
Official electronic transcripts should be sent by the institution or through a secure site formally linked to the sending institution, such as eTranscript California, Parchment Exchange, eSCRIP-SAFE, and National Student Clearinghouse to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official hard copy transcripts should be mailed by the institution to:
Master of Studies in Law (MSL)
USC Gould School of Law
699 Exposition Blvd, Room 336
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
International Applicants: If you hold any degree from outside the U.S, you must submit use the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)'s Document Assembly Service (DAS) and International Transcript and Authentication and Evaluation Service (ITAES) to submit your transcripts. Credential evaluation takes 2-3 weeks to complete once LSAC has received all your documents; there may be further delay during LSAC's peak processing periods or if LSAC determines that additional information is required to complete its review. Therefore, we suggest you apply as early as possible so that there is no consequential delay in LSAC transmitting its evaluation report to us.
Note: The fee for DAS and ITAES is $85 and $135, respectively. LASC will charge an additional $30 to send your Law School Report to USC Gould. Fees charged by LSAC for utilizing its services are payable to LSAC. Please visit LSAC's website for more information about fees charged by LSAC, including its refund policy.
- English Proficiency - International Applicants
If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must take the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL/IELTS waiver requests will only be considered if (1) your native language is English or (2) you possess an undergraduate degree from an institution in which English is the primary language of instruction.
- USC Gould does not have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score; however, we recommend a 90 TOEFL iBT and a 7.0 IELTS or above.
- Official scores must be sent directly to LSAC. LSAC's institutional code is 8395.
- Test scores are valid for two years from the date taken.
- USC does NOT accept MyBest TOEFL scores of applicants as valid proof of language proficiency. We will consider the single best total TOEFL or IELTS score you submit along with the sub-scores from that test.
The statement of purpose should be two to three pages, double-spaced and in at least 12-point font. We value essays that are clear, concise, and compelling.
Email your statement of purpose as a PDF to email@example.com.
Note: Admission to the MSL does not require letters of recommendation, nor any LSAT or GRE exam scores. Additional application materials or interview may be requested by the Admissions Committee.
The Online MSL program is not qualified to issue Form I-20 to international students. If you wish to receive a student visa, please consider our on-campus MSL program.
The Admissions Committee will only review your application once all transcripts and supporting documents are received by the application deadlines shared above. You will receive a confirmation email when your application has been complete. Admissions decisions are normally released by email within two to four weeks of application confirmation. If you are admitted and decide to enroll, a commitment deposit will be required to reserve your seat.
State Authorization Information
Due to online learning regulations in each state, our online MSL degree is not available to students residing in all states. Certain states only authorize their residents to enroll in online master's degree programs that require 30 or more units. Other states impose different restrictions.
Effective February 24, 2022, USC Gould is unable to accept new applications for admission to the online MSL program to students currently residing in Kansas, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico. However, we are happy to receive applications for admission to our online certificate programs from students residing in any state except for Puerto Rico.
Prospective students may check this site for updates. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.