About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 115-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 rigorous and interdisciplinary curriculum, our invaluable experiential learning opportunities, and the breadth and depth of our specialized areas of concentration and certificate offerings.
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.
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Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Degree
- MASTER OF STUDIES IN LAW (MSL) DEGREE
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If you're considering our Master of Studies in Law (MSL), you may be wondering how this degree will help your career.
Can the MSL Degree Open New Career Opportunities?
In many fields, the need for legal skills in non-lawyer jobs is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the demand for professionals with MSL and similar degrees in law for non-lawyers is growing 15% through 2026. As law firms seek to increase efficiency, they are hiring more non-lawyer roles. Large companies are also expanding their in-house legal teams with non-lawyers rather than hiring additional attorneys. In these cases, the advanced knowledge and skill from a non-JD graduate degree (such as a MSL) benefit both the career professional and the company.
Having familiarity with our legal system and applicable laws can help you:
- Increase your competitiveness as a job applicant by holding a master's degree in legal studies
- Add value to your current role through greater understanding of how the law intersects with your responsibilities
- Enhance your resume by developing a specialization in compliance, business law, or entertainment law
Possible Career Pathways
Due to how the law intersects with every industry in one way or another, it is very likely there is some aspect of your current role that could be enhanced with a MSL degree. Here are some common titles for in-demand jobs:
- Compliance officer
- IT technician
- Human resources representative
- Business manager
- Contracts and grants officer
- Management consultant
- Insurance representative
- Government official
- Tax/payroll manager
- Courtroom clerk
- Law enforcement officer
- Media executive
- Healthcare practitioner
- Legal assistant
Note these job titles are not a comprehensive list of all jobs that could benefit from a MSL degree.
Pivoting Your Career
Our MSL degree can also open career opportunities by allowing you to pivot your career toward the legal aspects of your field. For example, someone working in the healthcare industry may take courses in health care compliance and regulatory compliance. Individuals working in business could obtain our business law certificate. Another person working in technology could take courses in intellectual property law.
Through our MSL coursework, you'll be better equipped to:
- Review and interpret agreements such as contracts
- Understand the regulatory requirements for specific industries
- Work with attorneys and compliance officers
As you can see, the MSL program offers a unique range of opportunities to allow you to reach your professional goals.
Is the MSL Degree Right for You?
We recommend that you identify a concrete goal for earning this degree to receive the greatest benefit. Our degree is meant to be used to enhance your current skillset, so students who can identify how they plan to use this degree to develop their non-legal careers will be in an excellent position to build coursework tailored to their needs. Please note that no graduate degree can guarantee a successful career, and the JD (rather than the MSL) degree would be advisable for those seeking to practice law.
Moreover, a degree from a top school like USC can help open new opportunities in your profession. Many of our students are able to expand their professional networks simply because they are a member of the Trojan Family, our strong and well-known alumni community.
The Most Important Advice
In determining whether the MSL degree is right for you, first consider your ultimate career goals. Knowing those goals will help you understand how our MSL courses might help you achieve those goals and whether the degree will open new opportunities for you.
For example, someone working in the entertainment industry could obtain a MSL degree to better understand the legal aspects of their job responsibilities. This might be in the case of someone overseeing contracts or managing the intellectual property portfolio for a media company.
In other cases, someone who is working as a paralegal may be looking to find a higher-paying paralegal role at a larger law firm. A MSL with a specialization in the same areas as the target firm could help an applicant stand out and command a higher salary.
Our advisors are happy to speak with you to discuss whether the MSL might benefit your career path. Ultimately, there are many ways in which the MSL degree might help you shape or recreate your career, and the specific path for how it can help will be up to you.
Taking the Next Step
The MSL is tailored for working professionals and those with other obligations so you can obtain your degree on a part-time basis. Alternatively, students can complete our program in as little as three semesters, making the online MSL an ideal option for anyone wanting to enhance their career with law in a relatively short time frame.
Are you interested in exploring new career opportunities with an MSL degree? Learn more about our application process and deadlines by clicking here or contact one of our advisors.