Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - Beus Center for Law and Society Snell & Wilmer Plaza

MLS Honors Program

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University offers an alternative, conditional path to admission into the JD program: the Master of Legal Studies Honors (MLS-H) program. The MLS-H program is designed to give students with strong credentials who were not offered a spot in the JD class an opportunity to prove they belong at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Applicants selected for this program have an opportunity to gain admission to the JD program beginning in spring 2024 through their successful completion of the MLS-H program in fall 2023.

All JD applicants are considered for admission to the MLS-H program and no separate application is necessary. The information included in the JD application will be used by the admissions committee to determine which students will be invited to the MLS-H program. Invitations to the MLS-H program are made at the discretion of the admissions committee.

Master of Legal Studies Honors Program Admissions process

To be considered for the MLS-H program:

  • Submit ASU Law’s JD electronic application through Law School Admission Council (LSAC) by March 1, 2023
    • Your personal statement not to exceed two double-spaced, typed pages
    • Your résumé not to exceed two pages
    • Explanations to affirmative answers to any Character and Fitness questions
    • Your signature or electronic certification on the completed application
    • Arizona Residency form for applicants claiming Arizona residency (optional if claiming AZ residency)
    • Supplemental statements (optional)
  • All applicants must register with the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
    • LSAT: LSAC will report all LSAT scores for the past five years as part of the LSAC CAS. An LSAT score is valid for 5 years. Your LSAT score is considered valid if earned on or after June 2017.
    • Official Transcripts: You must have a separate transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended sent to LSAC.
  • Your application may also include:
    • Letters of Recommendation: ASU Law accepts up to two letters of recommendation. The recommender should submit the letter directly to LSAC. Please note that since letters of recommendation are optional, the Admissions Office will not wait for letters to complete your file for review.
    • Diversity statement: Applicants have the opportunity to explain how they would bring a diverse perspective to ASU Law. Your statement should be no more than one double-spaced, typed page and in a font size no smaller than 11 point.
    • Arizona Residency Form: If you claim to be a resident of Arizona, you must submit the residency form.
    • Optional Addenda: An applicant has the option to submit optional addenda to explain undergraduate performance, standardized test performance, and any other information you would like to provide the admissions committee. Addenda should be no more than one double-spaced, typed page and in a font size no smaller than 11 point.

Master of Legal Studies Honors Program requirements

Students pursuing the MLS-H program will enroll in ASU Law’s MLS degree program, take the same classes as our 1L JD students in the fall 2023 semester and pay MLS tuition. If the MLS-H student places at or above the median of the JD class at the end of the fall 2022 semester, the student would then be enrolled in the JD program starting in the spring 2024 semester, and the student would begin paying JD tuition.

The student would still need to complete 88 credit hours to fulfill the JD degree requirement. The 15 credits taken as an MLS-H student during the fall semester would not count toward the 88 total credits required to graduate, but those classes would not need to be retaken. To comply with ABA rules, the student would need to make up the 15 credit hours. A scholarship would be awarded and spread over the remaining three years, equal to the MLS tuition and fees the student paid during the fall 2023 semester. Tuition and fees for our MLS and JD programs can be found here.

If the student does not place at the median of the class at the end of the fall 2023 semester, the student would not be eligible to pursue a JD degree from ASU Law beginning in spring 2024. However, the student could continue in the MLS-H program and obtain an MLS degree, which typically takes one additional semester to complete. The MLS degree is for non-lawyer, industry professionals who want to advance their careers through a greater understanding of legal principles. Interest in the MLS program has been growing as a number of employers within government, business, health, criminal justice, sports, technology, patent practice, sustainability, and many more, seek employees with legal knowledge.

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program is for students who want to understand legal principles to apply to their field of interest without becoming an attorney. The MLS is a flexible 30-credit graduate program for those interested in learning about the law, or whose work intersects with the law. Candidates interested in apply to the MLS program can do so here.

The Master of Legal Studies Honors (MLS-H) program is a specific track within the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program that allows certain MLS students a conditional pathway to admission to the JD program. Candidates admitted to the MLS-H program are classified as MLS students and would have the ability to earn the MLS degree if not admitted to the JD program. Candidates who wish to be considered for admission to the MLS-H program must first submit a JD application. ASU Law’s JD application is accessible through LSAC. Candidates who apply directly to the MLS program are not considered for admission to the JD program or MLS-H program.

Students in this situation can choose to continue in the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program to complete that degree. For most students, 15 additional credits will be needed to reach the 30 credits required to earn the MLS degree. Students may also choose to withdraw from the MLS degree program to pursue other opportunities or to apply to other JD programs.

No. Because you are switching degree programs and the courses taken during the first semester do not count toward the completion of the 88 credits required for the JD program, the GPA from the MLS-H program does not carry over to the JD GPA.

Yes. A student can complete the JD program in three years by taking summer school courses. A student can take up to 12 credits in the summer. The average credit load for a student is 15 credits per semester but overrides can be given for up to 17 credits if you need to catch up some additional credits. We encourage students to discuss a graduation timeline with Academic Services.

No, MLS-H students are not permitted to work. Since the MLS-H program is a conditional admission program, it should be a student’s priority.

MLS-H students who move onto the JD program are awarded a scholarship equivalent to the amount of MLS tuition paid during the first semester (fall 2023) that will be applied during their remaining semesters.

Yes. This will be the fourth year ASU Law has offered the MLS-H program and Career and Employment Services is equipped to advise students who go through the program. Students that move from the MLS-H program to the JD program should consult with Career and Employment Services to determine the best way to address how to explain what year they are in law school and how to explain the program with employers. Career and Employment Services have created a letter to employers about this program.

Students who join the JD program through successful completion of the MLS-H program are not eligible to grade on to a journal but are able to participate in the write-on competition.

Yes. With over 40 student organizations on campus, joining student organizations is a great way to get involved in the ASU Law Community. However, MLS-H students will not permitted to hold leadership positions. MLS-H students will be introduced to student organizations at orientation.

The exact number of students varies each year, but on average roughly one-third of students in the MLS-H program are admitted to the JD program.