Application, Tuition, and Financial Aid

Application Process

Applications for the MSL are completed and submitted through an online portal. The application requires a statement of purpose that addresses three specific questions, one letter of recommendation, a resume or CV, and transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs. International students must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score or apply for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver.

Applicants are welcome to submit standardized test score reports (e.g. GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT), but a test score is not required. Applicants are also free to submit additional optional materials, such as further letters of recommendation.

There is currently no fee to apply for the MSL Program.

View MSL application instructions (PDF)

For the 2018-2019 academic year, MSL applications are accepted and reviewed in three rounds:

  • First round application deadline: January 15, 2018
  • Second round application deadline: April 1, 2018 *note: this is the final deadline for international applicants
  • Third round application deadline: June 1, 2018 *note: domestic applicants only

Admissions decisions will generally be provided within one month of the application deadlines.

Apply to the MSL Program


The following tuition rates and fees apply to the 2017-2018 academic year

Tuition for full-time MSL Students is $50,876.  Half of the total tuition is billed at the start of the fall semester and the other half is billed at the start of the spring semester. Full-time students also incur an annual SBA and Student Activities Fee of $300, which includes the Ventra card fee.  Full-time students are also required to have health insurance. The insurance plan provided through Northwestern University costs $3,856 for the year.

Tuition for part-time MSL students is $1,817 per credit, up to 28 credits. Students are charged for tuition as they enroll in classes.

All MSL students are permitted to take between 28 and 32 credits without paying additional tuition. Students who surpass 32 credit hours will be charged a one-time extended studies fee of $1,500.

The Law School has compiled additional information about the cost of attendance, including living expenses, transportation, and so on.

Financial Aid

“Financial aid” in the MSL Program consists of various components, including the MSL Scholarship Program and the opportunity to apply for federal and private loans.

The MSL Scholarship Program offers partial-tuition awards to help defray some of the costs of attendance. Scholarships are awarded to full-time students on a combined basis of merit and need. Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $15,000, with the average award in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. The program does not award full- or half-tuition scholarships at this time.

In addition to the general MSL Scholarship Program, there is a special scholarship program for PhDs and postdocs who are not receiving employer funding. Each year, the program will invite qualified applicants to apply and will award a small number of scholarships specifically to PhDs and postdocs studying either full time or part time.

Eligible students will be informed of the process of applying for scholarships within a week of admittance. Scholarship awards are announced approximately two weeks prior to the deposit deadline. 

Both full-time and part-time students may be eligible to apply for federal and private loans. Visit the Law School's loans page for more information. 

With its limited awards, the MSL Scholarship Program cannot cover the financial needs of all students, and we understand that it is difficult to find the funds to cover your tuition and other expenses. Many of our students have sought scholarships and funding from outside entities, often focusing on particular scholarships that match their individual profiles. To get you started with this process, we provide here a non-exhaustive list of outside resources to assist in the financial aid search:

100 Great Scholarships for Master's Degree Programs
Student Scholarship Search