SLO College of Law provides applicants the option of concurrently enrolling in the J.D. and Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree programs. Upon successful completion of the 90-unit program, the student is granted both the J.D. and M.L.S. degrees. Completion of the J.D./M.L.S. program requires successful completion of the program requirements of BOTH the M.L.S. degree and the JD degree. Students should carefully review the separate program requirements of both degrees prior to electing to concurrently enroll in the J.D./M.L.S. program.

Completion of the M.L.S. degree requires a major writing project. All other credit courses are completed concurrently with the J.D. program. Students in the J.D./M.L.S. program may elect to discontinue their legal studies upon completion of the M.L.S. degree program without continuing in the J.D. program. Students in the J.D./M.L.S. program may also choose not to complete the writing requirement of the M.L.S. and still be eligible to complete the JD program.

The M.L.S. degree is not a replacement for a law degree, does not entitle an individual to practice law or hold themselves out as a lawyer, and does not qualify the holder to sit for a bar exam. The following notice is required by Guideline 13.3 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules:

Except as provided in rule 4.30 of the Admission Rules (Legal Education in a foreign state or country), completion of a professional law degree program (MLS) at SLO College of Law other than the Juris Doctor degree does not qualify a student to take the California Bar Exam or satisfy the requirements for admission to practice law in California. It may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or to satisfy a requirement for admission to the practice of law in any other jurisdiction. A student intending to seek admission to practice law should contact the admitting authority in the jurisdictions where the student intends to qualify to sit for the bar examination or be admitted to practice for information regarding their legal education requirements.

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Admission Requirements

  1. Submission of a completed J.D./M.L.S. Degree Program Application form and payment of the non-refundable application fee.
  2. Official transcripts of all college, graduate school, and professional study, whether or not a degree was obtained.
  3. A personal statement on how the J.D./M.L.S. degree will advance the applicant’s professional or academic objectives.
  4. Signed acknowledgement of the Guideline 13.3 Notice Regarding the M.L.S. Degree.

The law school has a policy effective 2019 under which the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) may be optional for certain eligible applicants. For more information about the LSAT policy, please contact Dean of Admissions, Wendy LaRiviere at Foreign applicants of non-English background may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TEOFL) and submit their official scores to MCL. Individuals who received undergraduate or graduate degrees from a foreign academic institution must submit their transcripts to one of the State Bar approved evaluation services. Information is provided on the State Bar of California website (

Decisions on admissions are made on the basis of a “full file” review that includes each applicant’s previous academic record, test scores (if required or submitted), work experience, personal and professional recommendations, and a personal statement.

Program Requirments

[Please note: The following are subject to periodic faculty review and modification.]

  1. To qualify for the M.L.S. Degree, students must complete 36 units of legal studies and a required writing requirement. (A minimum of 18 units must be completed in residence at Monterey College of Law.) The 36 units of the M.L.S. will also be credited towards the 90 unit requirement for the J.D. degree.
    1. Required Courses for the M.L.S. degree: The following 24 units of required courses must be completed from the regular J.D .curriculum – Contracts (6), Torts (6), Criminal Law (3), Constitutional Law (6), Legal Research (3).
    2. Elective Courses: The 12 units of electives may be selected from other courses that are offered as part of the regular JD curriculum (subject to pre-requisites for certain advanced law courses).
  2. Writing Requirement: To be eligible for the M.L.S./J.D. concurrent degree, the M.L.S. writing requirement must also be met. The writing requirement is the completion of a 5,000 to 7,500 word Note or Comment on a contemporary legal issue. The writing requirement is a mandatory, non-credit degree requirement. The writing requirement may be completed at any time prior to graduation. The law school will provide a non-credit M.L.S. writing workshop for students who need assistance in the preparation, outlining, and writing of the M.L.S. writing project. Workshop faculty will also provide editing assistance for students enrolled in the M.L.S .writing workshop.
  3. Attendance Requirement: J.D./M.L.S. students are required to meet the same attendance requirements and are held to the same standards for class preparation and participation as regular law students.
  4. Compliance with Student Policies: J.D./M.L.S. students are subject to all administrative policies, including the Student Honor Code, exam procedures, registration, payment of tuition and fees, academic disqualification, and grade appeals that are contained in the Student Handbook.
  5. Grading Standards: During their course of study, J.D./M.L.S. students are not identified separately from regular JD students in courses, examinations, or the grading process. All papers, assignments, and exams are graded using the MCL system for assigning student or exam ID numbers that protect student identity and ensures anonymous grading.
  6. Administration and Student Advising: The J.D./M.L.S. degree program is under the academic direction and supervision of the law school Dean and the Assoc. Dean for Academic Support. The regular departments of MCL provide all other administrative services.
  7. Faculty: Since all J.D./M.L.S. courses are regular J.D. courses, the faculty members for the MLS degree are the same as for the J.D. program.
  8. Graduation and Conferring of Degrees: Upon completion of the J.D./M.L.S. degree program, graduates shall be eligible to participate in the MCL annual graduation ceremony and receive both their J.D. and M.L.S. diplomas.

Click Here For The J.D./M.L.S. Application


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