M.L.S. FAQ and Visa Information


  • Can I work full time and earn an M.L.S. degree?

    Yes, but you will need to have some flexibility in your work schedule. Core M.L.S. courses will be offered between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weeknights. Courses for 3 units of credit typically meet twice a week during the semester for approximately 80 minutes each, while courses for 2 units of credit typically meet once a week for 120 minutes. Most of the elective courses that you might wish to take are taught during the day, and taking these courses will require some flexibility in a full-time work schedule. Our academic advisors will work with you to create a plan that balances your work requirements with the opportunity to access the unmatched curriculum of UCLA Law. As the program expands, we will offer new evening or weekend elective courses in areas of particular interest to M.L.S. students.

  • Can I practice law with an M.L.S. degree?

    No. The M.L.S. degree will not qualify you to sit for a bar examination or obtain a license to practice law.

  • If I want to earn a J.D. and become a lawyer, should I earn an M.L.S. first?

    The M.L.S. course of study is not a pre-J.D. program. While students who earn an M.L.S. degree may subsequently apply to J.D. programs at UCLA or elsewhere, under American Bar Association regulations, no law school may award credit toward a J.D. for any coursework taken during an M.L.S. degree program. If you wish to become a licensed lawyer, you should earn a J.D., not an M.L.S.

  • How long does it take to earn an M.L.S.?

    An M.L.S. degree may be completed in one academic year (nine months) on a full-time basis. Alternatively, it can be completed on a part‐time basis in two to four years. The maximum time to complete the degree is four years. We strongly encourage part-time students to complete the program in three years or less in order to maintain continuity of study and consistent progress toward the degree.

  • Can I be considered for the M.L.S. program if I have been out of college for many years?

    Absolutely! The M.L.S. program is designed primarily for professionals in the private, nonprofit or government sectors who believe that deeper knowledge of the law can help them be more successful in their field. The program's admissions evaluation will give substantial weight to an applicant’s work experience and expertise.

  • Can I be considered for the M.L.S. program if I just received my undergraduate degree?

    Yes, but your statement of purpose will be more important to your chances of admission if you do not have a record of full-time work experience. We want to make sure that all students admitted to the M.L.S. program have a clear vision of how the M.L.S. degree will help them achieve their career goals.

Schedule and Classes

International Applicants

  • International Applicants: What is the process for receiving my Visa?

    If you accept UCLA's offer of admission, the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars will email you instructions for applying for an I-20 form online. Along with your I-20 application, you will be required to submit electronic copies of your passport, as well as financial documentation which demonstrates that you possess the necessary funds to pay for the costs of tuition and living expenses. After receiving and processing these items, the Dashew Center will issue your I-20 form, and the law school will ship it to you.

    After receiving the I-20 form, you must make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence in order to apply for an F-1 student visa to travel to the United States. Please make an appointment well in advance of the date you intend to travel to the United States, as some embassies and consulates take several weeks (or even months) to process visa requests.

  • International Applicants: Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

    International applicants who are not native English speakers, or do not hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English, are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will also be accepted, but are less desirable.

    Please note that TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for only two years. The scores must be valid at the time you submit your application. If you took the examination multiple times, only the most recent score is considered.

    Exemptions: International applicants whose native language is English, or who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English, are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

  • International Applicants: What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score requirement?

    TOEFL: UCLA School of Law prefers a score of at least 96 on the Internet-based TOEFL, or 600 on the paper-based exam. (There is no score requirement for specific sections of the exam.) Applicants with lower scores are still welcome to apply, but are strongly advised to re-take the exam in order to increase their likelihood of admission.

    For TOEFL information and registration instructions, visit https://www.ets.org/toefl. When registering for the exam, please enter UCLA's institution code, enter 4837 and department code 03.

    IELTS: Favorable consideration will be given to applicants who submit a TOEFL score. However, an overall IELTS score of at least 7.5 will also be viewed favorably. (There is no score requirement for specific sections of the exam.) Applicants with a lower score are strongly advised to take the TOEFL in order to increase their likelihood of admission.

    For IELTS information and registration instructions, visit https://www.ielts.org. When registering for (or at the start of) the exam, please indicate that you wish to have your score forwarded to UCLA School of Law Master of Legal Studies Program (mls@law.ucla.edu) and the UCLA Graduate Division.

  • International Applicants: Will I be able to take any English language instruction before the start of the program?

    Yes! If you are an admitted applicant who has not met UCLA's English language requirement for waiving the English Requirements for this examination, you must, upon arrival at UCLA, take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE). The ESLPE is an English diagnostic test. Depending on your results on the ESLPE, you may be required to complete English as a Second Language courses beginning in your first term at UCLA. If English courses are required, you should enroll in them right away, and you should also anticipate spending a longer period of time at the University.

    Admission is canceled for those who do not pass the ESLPE.

    View the UCLA Graduate Division's English Language Requirements.


Have questions specifically about the application? Visit the Apply page for application instructions and tips.
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