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J.D./M.L.S. Concurrent Degree

dual shields

Monterey College of Law provides students the opportunity to concurrently enroll in the J.D. and Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree programs.

Students who matriculate into our J.D. program are automatically enrolled in the MLS program and can opt out after they begin their program if they prefer to do the single J.D. degree.

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 J.D. 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 J.D. program.

In accordance with Rule 4.25(A) of the Admissions and Educational Standards, the California Committee of Bar Examiners requires applicants to have completed 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of college work to be eligible to apply.  The completed units must be equivalent to at least half of what is required for a bachelor's degree from a college or university that has degree-granting authority from the state in which it is located and completed with a grade average adequate for graduation. 

Applicants who have not completed at least two years of college work in accordance with Rule 4.25 (A) and Section 6060(c)(1) of the California Business and Professions Code may still apply but must satisfy the general education requirements prior to beginning law school by attaining a score of 50 or higher on a series of College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams administered by the College Board

Additionally, students who have been accepted into the JD program by completing the CLEP examinations MUST take the First-Year Law Student Exam (FYLSX) after completing their first year of studies.  The student must pass the exam within the first three administrations after becoming eligible in order to move forward in the JD program.

More information about College Equivalency Education requirements can be found on the State Bar of California website

The LSAT is not required to apply.

[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 prerequisites 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.