Program Details

The information below is specific to our in-person Animal Law MSL program. For details regarding our online Animal Law MSL program, go here.

Program Length and Curriculum

The Animal Law MSL degree requires 26 credit hours to complete. Program requirements can be completed in as few as two semesters. U.S. students have a total of two and a half years to complete the degree. Under U.S. Homeland Security regulations, international students must ordinarily complete the degree within 18 months and contact the International Students and Scholars Office well in advance if an extension is needed. Students begin their studies in the Fall term and take an Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course, which is offered in an online format that both precedes and runs into the first few weeks of regular Fall courses.

Check out our full catalogue of animal law course offerings and review the courses that will be offered in a given year. Animal Law MSL students are eligible to take all of our animal law courses with the exception of animal law clinics. If a specific area of interest is not represented, a student may request to design an individual research project under the supervision of a faculty member or request to create a reading group with fellow students and under faculty supervision.

Degree Requirements

To obtain the Animal Law MSL degree, students must earn a minimum of 26 credits. MSL students are graded on a “credit / no credit / honors” basis. As such, they do not receive letter grades (e.g., A, B+, C-, etc.) for final course grades. However, they may receive an “HR,” or Honors, designation for courses in which they would have earned a B+ or higher.

MSL students must take an online Introduction to US Legal Studies course, which both precedes and runs into the first few weeks of regular Fall courses. MSL students must also take an Animal Law Fundamentals survey course. Finally, at least 18 of the 26 total credits must be come from the animal law curriculum. Note that Introduction to US Legal Studies (2 credits) and Animal Law Fundamentals (3 credits) both count toward this 18-credit requirement. Assuming seats are available, students may request to dedicate up to 8 credits from non-animal law courses to the Animal Law MSL degree.

Course Load/Timing

In addition to the requirements listed above, MSL students must register for a minimum of 5 credits each semester, except for the Summer term and the student’s final term if fewer than 5 credits are needed to complete the degree. If a U.S. student wishes to take fewer than 5 credits in any semester that is not the Summer term or their final semester, they must request and receive permission to “underload” from the Animal Law Program Director. Note that a student must be registered for at least 5 credits each term to be considered a full-time student. Being less than a full-time student may impact the ability to defer federal loan repayments, so students should plan accordingly.

Academic Calendar

The law school is on the semester system, with 13 weeks of classes and two weeks of exams in each semester. The Fall semester usually begins the week before Labor Day and ends the third week of December; please note that MSL students must take an Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course, which begins two weeks before the regular Fall semester start date. The Spring semester begins in early January and ends in May, with a one-week spring break in March. For specific dates, see the school’s academic calendar.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact the Animal Law Program Coordinator, Danielle Lopez, at or 503-768-6895.