BS/BA-MSL Program for Northwestern Engineering and Arts & Sciences Undergraduates

The BS-MSL and the BA-MSL are dual degree programs that include an undergraduate BS or BA degree from either the McCormick School of Engineering or the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences plus a Master of Science in Law degree (MSL) from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Undergraduate students can be admitted to the program as early as their junior year, allowing them to immediately begin participating in various Law School activities. Admitted students have the option of enrolling in certain MSL courses during their senior year.

The Master of Science in Law degree complements an undergraduate STEM degree by situating STEM concepts into their larger legal and business contexts. The MSL is exciting, intense, and concentrated. MSL students learn about the important legal, business, policy, and regulatory issues that affect their work in STEM fields. They develop multi-disciplinary perspectives that build on the problem-solving capabilities they developed during their undergraduate studies. They become effective advocates, communicators, team-players, and negotiators. In effect, the MSL enables students to become tri-lingual, adding business and legal fluency to the fluency gained from their undergraduate STEM study.

MSL student

Eric Yim
MSL '17
BS, MS, Mechanical Engineering

"In the MSL Program, I have found that being a leader means being able to find hidden strengths in others.

I have become close with many of my classmates. I am still surprised by some of the skills that pop up."

Joining a BS or a BA with the MSL in one coordinated program allows students to integrate their different spheres of knowledge and to enter the marketplace with a unique set of interdisciplinary tools. Graduates of this dual degree program are differentiated from their STEM peers; upon completing the program, they have a more nuanced perspective and are ready to hit the ground running in a wide variety of positions in industry, policy, and entrepreneurial settings.  

BS/BA-MSL Details

MSL Curriculum

The MSL degree requires 28 credits – with a split of about one-third in required classes and two-thirds in elective classes.  Full-time students generally complete the degree in one academic year; part-time students usually take 2-3 years, and have a maximum of 4 years in which to complete the degree.  Additional information about the MSL curriculum – including information about credits, required courses, electives, pedagogy, and the MSL schedule – can be found on the curriculum and schedule pages of this website.

Who Should Apply

The BS-MSL and the BA-MSL are good options for Northwestern STEM undergraduates who want to assume a more active and multi-disciplinary role in the innovation process. They are particularly valuable programs for students interested in the intersection of law, business, and technology. Students who aspire to leadership roles or who have participated in entrepreneurship or policy-related activities make great applicants. 

Application and Admission

Students may apply to the program in either their junior or senior year of undergraduate study. 

The application includes the regular MSL application, with the requirement of an additional letter of recommendation (total of two letters). The MSL’s TOEFL requirement is waived for international Northwestern undergraduates.

There are two application deadlines each year: December 15 and March 31. Admitted students will be notified of decisions within two weeks of the submission deadline.

Tuition and Scholarships

McCormick and Weinberg students who are accepted into the program will automatically receive a scholarship award equal to 20% of the total tuition of MSL tuition. (2017-2018 tuition is $50,876, so the scholarship award would be approximately $10,175.) In addition, students admitted into the program with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better will be eligible to apply for an additional competitive scholarship award of up to $20,000.

While completing their undergraduate degrees, McCormick and Weinberg students will continue to pay undergraduate tuition and will not be charged additional tuition for MSL courses they take while still undergraduates (unless the units cause them to exceed the maximum of 5.5 units covered by the full-time undergraduate tuition rate). Once students complete their bachelor’s degrees and matriculate in the MSL Program, they will begin paying MSL tuition.

Classes, Credits and Transcripts

Students admitted to the program who wish to begin MSL study while still undergraduates will meet with advisors from both schools. With advisors’ approval, admitted students can take up to 4 MSL courses during their senior year. These MSL classes can be taken during two MSL terms; the second half of fall semester (Fall 2 term) and the first half of spring semester (Spring 1 term).

For Weinberg Students:
Credits earned in MSL courses while the student is an undergraduate will be counted toward the MSL degree and not toward the undergraduate degree. When Weinberg graduates matriculate in the MSL program, they will complete only the number of credits remaining after the credits they completed as undergraduate students are subtracted from the required total of 28 credits. 

For McCormick Students: 
Credits earned in MSL courses while the student is an undergraduate will be counted EITHER toward the undergraduate degree OR the MSL degree; the decision about where to apply the credits will be made by the student with advisor approval. If the credits are applied toward the bachelor’s degree, then, once enrolled in the MSL, the student will take the full number of credits required to complete the MSL degree. If the credits are applied toward the MSL degree, then, once enrolled in the MSL, the student will be required to complete only the number of credits remaining after the credits completed as an undergraduate are subtracted from the required total of 28 credits. If any of the MSL courses completed while the student is an undergraduate are required courses, the student will not have to repeat those courses as an MSL student, regardless of whether the credits for those courses are counted toward the bachelor’s degree or towards the MSL degree. 

For both Weinberg and McCormick Students: 
MSL courses taken while the student is an undergraduate will appear on the undergraduate transcript. Notations will be made on the law transcript if the student is counting MSL credits taken while an undergraduate toward the MSL degree and also if the student has satisfied particular MSL requirements prior to enrollment in the MSL Program. Since bachelor’s and law degrees are reflected on separate transcripts, students will have to request both documents to demonstrate completion of the respective coursework and degrees. 

Apply to the MSL Program