Penn State launches masters and certificate programs


Penn State Law in University Park has launched new masters and certificate programs aimed at students and professionals for whom legal knowledge could help advance their careers. The programs will provide opportunities to gain a general degree, specialize in the emerging areas of energy and information security and privacy, or customize a specialization.

“Legal knowledge is important to so many fields, and Penn State Law is excited to help recent graduates and working professionals advance their careers and contribute,” said Dean Hari Osofsky. “Our flexible program allows students to specialize in whatever way works best for their careers, and we have developed programs in energy and information security and privacy as important areas where law is rapidly evolving and our students can make a difference.”

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program is designed for students and professionals in a wide variety of fields to develop legal knowledge and skills to launch or advance their careers. Students who enroll full-time will generally complete the MLS program in 12 months, while part-time students can complete the program over two years. To maximize flexibility, students will have the option to take some of their courses remotely and can start in the fall, spring, or summer semester. 

Penn State Law is also offering a Certificate in Legal Studies (CLS) program that features the same flexible learning options and concentrations as the MLS, which can, generally, be completed in one semester.

“Most professions touch upon the law in some way, and with our customizable concentrations, an MLS or CLS from Penn State Law can provide significant value to almost anyone, at any stage of their career,” said Margaret Hu, associate dean for non-JD programs at Penn State Law.

Hu is also a professor of law and international affairs, faculty fellow with the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, and a faculty member of the Institute for Network and Security Research in the Penn State College of Engineering.

The programs are open to students outside the U.S. However, the Fall 2021 launch is scheduled to be primarily residential. The school is hoping to have a fully online option available for Fall 2022.

Applications for the MLS and CLS are now being accepted, on a rolling admissions basis, through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website. For more information, email or visit