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Application Instructions
Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Degree

Designed for both seasoned and early-career professionals, the online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) helps meet the growing demand for non-lawyers to be familiar with numerous ways that law and policy influence business and industry. Ideal candidates are those who work in, or are seeking to enter, the fields of business, education, compliance, engineering, entertainment, health care, social work, law enforcement, human resources, government, and more. Both the applicant's professional experience and their academic background are taken into consideration for admission.

Dates and Deadlines

USC Gould School of Law offers three starts throughout the year in fall, spring and summer. Below are the upcoming start dates and application deadlines:

Program Start Date Priority Application Deadline Final Application Deadline
Summer 2018: May 9, 2018 March 14, 2018 April 4, 2018
Fall 2018: September 5, 2018 July 11, 2018 July 25, 2018
Spring 2019: January 9, 2019 October 31, 2018 November 14, 2018

Applications for Summer 2018 and Fall 2018 will be accepted on a rolling basis as space is available until 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) by our final application deadlines listed above. We highly encourage you to apply by our priority deadline in order to provide sufficient time to process your required documents. Our Spring 2019 application will open in August 2018.

Application Process

To apply for admission, please submit the following documents:

  1. Online Application

    Note: Once you start your application by clicking above, you may be directed to complete your online application through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) if you have earned (or will earn) a degree from outside of the U.S. Applicable instructions and links will then be provided within the USC Gould application.

  2. Personal Statement

    Provide a two or three-page document that includes your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree and how you plan to use this degree to advance your career. Include your personal, academic, and professional background and how the online format will help you to achieve your aspirations. Email your personal statement to

  3. Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Provide a record of your employment history and list of any distinctions, publications, and licenses/credentials by emailing your resume/CV to

  4. Official Transcripts and Degree Verification

    Submitting your transcripts from a university or college where you have earned your undergraduate degree is a two-step process:

    First, email us a scanned copy of your official transcripts to after you have submitted your online application. These can be transcripts that have been issued directly to you, but they must be official transcripts printed on university letterhead. Print-outs from online student portals are not accepted.

    Second, submit sealed official transcripts directly to USC Gould's mailing address listed below after you have received your admissions decision:

    Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Degree
    USC Gould School of Law
    699 Exposition Boulevard, Room 105
    Los Angeles, California 90089-0071

    Alternatively, we accept electronic transcripts, provided that the transcript originates from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution and the school is located in the United States. Many institutions use secure third-party vendors, such as eTranscript California, Parchment Exchange, eSCRIP-SAFE and National Student Clearinghouse, to formally submit official electronic transcripts. Please instruct the institution/vendor to email the transcript to us at

    Please note you must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale) in order to be considered for USC Gould's MSL. A law degree is not required. Our Admissions Committee will certainly consider GPAs below our recommendation, provided that they meet other admissions criteria. We also welcome applicants to submit official transcripts if they have earned a graduate degree and/or certificates.

  5. International Applicants: English Proficiency

    International applicants who native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). We do not have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score; however, we recommend a 90 TOEFL iBT or 7.0 IELTS. Our official scores will be sent directly to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC); their institutional code is 8395. Test scores are valid for two years from the date taken.

The Admissions Committee will not review an application until all transcripts and support documents are received. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all of their documents are submitted by 5 p.m. (Pacific Time) by the final application deadline and before a decision will be made on the application. Be sure to check the email address you have provided on the application in the event that the Admissions Committee requests additional materials or information.

Admission to the online MSL does not require letters of recommendation, nor any LSAT or GRE exam scores. Prior exposure to or experience in law is not required.


Once your application and supporting documents have been received and verified, admissions decisions are normally released within two to four weeks of application submission confirmation. Admission decisions are sent by email. No admission decisions will be released by telephone.