Application, Tuition, and Financial Aid

Application Process

All MSL programs use the same admissions standards and use the same online portal for application submissions. 

The application requires a statement of purpose that addresses 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 letters of recommendation. 

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

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

First round priority application deadline  January 15, 2018 1
First round final application deadline  January 31, 2018 2
Second round application deadline April 1, 2018 3
Third round application deadline June 1, 2018

1 January 15 is the priority deadline for Round 1 applications (and we encourage you to apply by January 15). Applications submitted by January 15 will receive an admissions decision by January 29.
2 January 31 is the Round 1 final deadline. Applications submitted between January 15 and January 31 will receive an admissions decision by February 21.   
3 International students applying to the residential program must apply by the second round deadline to allow time for the visa process.

For a Spring 2019 start (online program only), applications are accepted and reviewed in the following two rounds:

First round application deadline August 15, 2018
Second round application deadline October 1, 2018


The following tuition rates and fees apply for the 2018-2019 academic year. 

  • Full-time Tuition: $52,784, 50% billed at the start of the fall semester and the remaining 50% billed at the start of the spring semester. Full-time students incur the following additional fees: $300 (annual SBA and Student Activities Fee, including Ventra card). Full-time students are also required to have health insurance. The insurance plan provided through Northwestern University costs $3,856 for the year.
  • Part-time Tuition: $1,885 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

There are several financial aid options available to MSL students, including loans.

MSL Scholarship Program

The MSL Scholarship Program offers partial-tuition awards to full-time students (part-time residential and online students are not eligible) based on a combination 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.

MSL-PhD Scholarship

The MSL program offers a limited number of competitive scholarships for PhD applicants, equal to 25% or more of the regular MSL tuition. The MSL-PhD scholarship can be applied to part-time or full-time study in the MSL Program. Recipients must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have a PhD in a STEM field
  • Be a post-qualifier PhD candidate working toward a STEM field PhD

Please note that PhDs and postdocs who qualify for an employer tuition benefit are not eligible for the MSL-PhD scholarship. 

Students interested in these scholarships should go through the regular admissions process. Once admissions decisions have been made, the Admissions Committee will invite eligible candidates to apply for the MSL-PhD scholarships. These scholarships are competitive, and early application is highly encouraged. 

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. 

Other Financial Aid

Many MSL students seek scholarships and funding from outside entities, often applying for scholarships that match their individual profiles. Here are several resources to assist in the financial aid search:

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