Legal Studies Degree

This field will no longer be accepting applicants after the spring 2018 admission cycle (March 15 to April 15, 2018). If you have started your admissions coursework, you may continue and apply during summer, fall, or spring (see Degree Program Admission for specific dates). To find courses, you can log into online services and choose Degree Program Admissions from the menu.

Check out our graduate degrees and certificates in related fields.

Gain theoretical and practical insights into law through an interdisciplinary approach to legal theory, systems, policymaking, history, and ethics.

Key learning outcomes

Through the master’s degree in the field of legal studies you gain:

  • An understanding of the impact of legal issues on diverse fields and institutions.
  • Deeper insight on how concepts of justice have evolved and how the law functions within diverse segments of society.
  • Solid grounding in the rhetoric of legal discourse.

Program Overview

The degree includes nine courses—at least three taken on campus—and a thesis.

  • Get started. You begin with three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus as part of your degree.
  • Complete your thesis. Working with a thesis director, you conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how research is executed and communicated.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Legal Studies.