The world’s first advanced legal degree programs in animal law are now fully online


The world’s only advanced legal degree programs in animal law are now fully online

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that the information on this page is specific to our online Animal Law MSL program. For frequently asked questions regarding our in-person MSL program, go here.

Applying & Admissions to the online Animal Law MSL program

No. The MSL degree is designed for non-lawyers. All applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree. Neither an LSAT nor GRE score is required to apply.

Please see our MSL page for details. Please note that applicants must bear a Bachelor’s degree by the start of the online Animal Law MSL program. Neither an LSAT nor GRE score is required to apply.

Oftentimes, the letter of recommendation comes from a current or former employer, professor, or colleague. In any case, the most helpful letters come from individuals who know the applicant well and can attest to their interest in animal law and ability to thrive in our program. Letters should be written to help the Admissions Committee evaluate a student’s academic capacity, ethical character, writing and research skills, and professional ability. Letters for international applicants should discuss their ability to study in a U.S. law school and facility with English, if known.

No. Students may submit scanned copies of their transcripts. However, all students who have been offered admission to the program must send official transcripts to before they are eligible to begin classes. Students who will be applying close to the beginning of the semester are advised to secure these ahead of time.

In order to be successful in our program, students must have excellent English comprehension and writing skills. Like most U.S. law schools, our program requires extensive reading and writing on a daily basis. Applicants can meet the English proficiency in one of the following ways:

1) a minimum IETLS score of 8; or

2) a minimum internet-based TOEFL score of 100.

This is possible in certain circumstances. Email in advance to confirm that this is possible. If you receive permission to submit your score late, the admissions committee will review your application without proof of English proficiency; however, you must send in your satisfactory IELTS or TOEFL score within two weeks of the application deadline. Those who do should note that this may reduce the time they have to accept or decline an offer of admission.

Interviews are generally not required but may be requested by the Program Director to gather more information about an applicant.

The number of students admitted to the program varies by application cycle. In general, the program admits approximately 15-20 students per application cycle. Application is competitive.

The Admissions Committee reviews all applications and will contact applicants regarding their decisions. For efficiency and environmental reasons, email is used to communicate with candidates on the status of their application and admissions decisions. Admissions decisions are typically made within three weeks after the application deadline has closed.

If offered a scholarship, an applicant must accept or decline the offer within approximately two weeks. The letter of admission will state how long the applicant has.

Program Costs & Scholarship Opportunities

Up-to-date tuition & additional cost information can be found on the tuition page. The full program is 26 credits.  Please note that tuition increases every academic year by approximately 4%. New rates go into effect at the start of each summer. As such, students in the online Program should expect a tuition rate increase at least once during their time in the Program.

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) strives to minimize the cost of the online Animal Law MSL Program to make this unique, high-quality legal education a possibility for all accepted students. CALS is pleased to be able to offer scholarship support to well-qualified applicants. Depending on availability of funds, these scholarships may take the form of a full or partial award. Candidates who submit their applications by the deadline are automatically considered for all scholarship support we offer. There is no separate application for scholarship consideration.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for financial aid awards provided through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

All eligible students should submit the FAFSA anytime after October 1 of the year before they intend to start law school. Having a FAFSA on file ensures eligible students access to low-interest federal loans and the federal work-study program. Loan amounts are determined by the Office of Financial Aid using the information you provide in the FAFSA form.

Although no financial aid award will be made until after a student is admitted, we strongly recommend filing a FAFSA at the same time as you apply for admission.

To learn more about the FAFSA and how to file, visit our Tuition & Financial Aid department page here.

Program Structure

The complete program is 26 credits. Students take courses during the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. In their first term in the program, students must take a 2-credit Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course. On top of this, students normally take two 3-credit courses per term over four terms. 

The online Animal Law MSL program is offered in a 100% asynchronous format. This means students watch recorded lectures and participate with the professor and other students via discussion boards. While courses will often feature weekly readings, engagements, and assignments, students generally complete these at their own pace. There are no required virtual synchronous meetings via Zoom or otherwise. If a course includes a synchronous meeting, it will be optional.


The online program’s asynchronous structure ensures that working professionals and international students will be able to fully participate in the program offerings.

No. The answer ultimately depends on the course and professor, but the program as a whole is designed to be applicable for U.S. and international students, with some courses delving more deeply into comparative international frameworks than others. Additionally, some courses may explore animal law subject areas in a more general and less jurisdictional context.

Course offerings vary, but examples of courses that students may take include:
  • Animal Law Fundamentals (3)
  • Animals in the Law (3)
  • Industrial Animal Agriculture Law (3)
  • Introduction to US Legal Studies (2)
  • Food Law (3) 
  • Aquatic Animal Law (3)
  • Food Law (3)
  • Animal Law Trial Advocacy (3)
  • Nonprofit Animal Law (3)
  • Companion Animal Law (3)
  • Crimes Against Animals (3)
  • International Animal Law (3)
  • Aquatic Animal Law (3)
  • The Law & Ethics of Animal Testing (3)
  • Global Wild Animal Law (3)

The online Animal Law program courses are generally structured as weekly “modules.” Modules typically open on Mondays, giving students access to that module’s reading(s) and lecture(s). Usually, readings are completed before watching the module’s lectures. Some modules may have a reading quiz to ensure students keep up with course requirements. Students engage with the course professor and their peers via discussion boards throughout the course by addressing one or more discussion prompts a week and responding to one another’s posts. There will be variability with respect to the assignments and learning approach in each course. Overall, this framework provides an interactive learning environment despite the fully asynchronous format. A professor may have a final exam, paper, or other final assignment due at the end of the course, as well as weekly assignments. Each course is graded differently, with different weight given to the various components of the course, as determined by the professor. Students will receive specific information about each particular course at the start of the course.


The time commitment varies depending on the course and week. In general, students should expect to dedicate approximately 15 hours per week for their courses, but as noted, that amount of time may vary during the semester and the number of credits taken.

Some courses feature exams, which students can start within a set window (roughly one week). Once students start the exam, they will have the normal time that the professor has allocated for the exam; some exams may be three hours, others may be open for a full day. Some courses will feature short or long papers or other final assignments in lieu of exams.

No, the online program does not offer these options at this time.

Program Offerings

No. Although it is a legal degree, the Animal Law MSL does not allow graduates to sit for U.S. bar exams or practice law.

No. Credits towards the MSL degree cannot be directed toward a prospective JD degree if the student decides to pursue a JD later.

No, the degree is the same. Graduates of the online Animal Law MSL program receive an Animal Law MSL degree. The only online notation on the graduate’s transcript will be in the titles of the courses.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Animal Law Admissions at or 503-768-6895.

Want to Learn More?

Want to Learn More?

Important Dates

Spring Semester Begins

January 8th, 2025


Spring Application Deadline

October 7th, 2024

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