The Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) program is a 45-quarter credit program that can be completed in one nine-month academic year. Our foundational courses are offered in the late afternoon. This will allow students to be integrated into the law school community, but still offer the opportunity for students to coordinate their study with the demands of their job if necessary and to pursue a part-time approach to their M.J. degree. The primary delivery mechanism will be in-class teaching. Foundation courses include both tailored M.J. courses and courses in which students will be combined with our existing Juris Doctor (J.D.) and other graduate students.

The required foundation courses in the M.J. curriculum include:

Introduction to American Law

This course examines the structure of the American legal system and how laws are made. We will survey key doctrinal areas of the law learning fundamental legal concepts, and explore how the law functions and evolves over time, including legal issues and decision-making related to statutory and/or common law. Versions of this course are taught by our law faculty to Honors undergraduate students and to business students. An M.J. specific section will be offered in Fall, 2015.

Legal Research Methodologies

Legal tools that answer more complex legal research problems, including federal legislative histories, sources of administrative law, specialized subject research. Federal emphasis. Extensive work with online resources. This course is currently taught to both J.D. and Master’s students from the Information School; M.J. students will take this course in Fall quarter. View course catalog information.

American Legal System and Method B550

This course provides an integrated introduction to the U.S. legal system, legal analysis, and legal research and writing. It is designed for persons who have attained standing in other legal systems or professions, but need an overview of the history and principal characteristics of the American public and private law systems, as well as experience using American law sources and developing the fundamental research, analysis, and drafting skills expected of U.S. trained lawyers.  It focuses on the essential principles of the case-law method and to legal reasoning based on the interpretation of cases and statutes. The course also teaches the sources and techniques for basic legal research, and hones students’ ability to research and write about complex legal issues in a variety of settings through a series of written assignments. View course catalog information.

Paper Requirement

The program requires an independent major research paper in an area of law of interest to the student.  This paper would typically be 30-35 pages. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that each student has significant experience working on a project that develops skills in research, analysis and writing.   A University of Washington School of Law faculty member who shares your area of interest provides the necessary supervision, either in conjunction with a graded seminar course or independent study.  

These courses are designed to provide a strong foundation of knowledge to support further study in more focused subject matter areas. Most students choose a specialty focus area, corresponding to our existing subject matter concentration tracks in of our J.D. program, the overall strengths of the law school and the university. Students will work with faculty mentors and M.J. program staff to individually design their course of study to best meet their career objectives.


Upon admission, each student will be counseled by the M.J. program director and assigned a faculty mentor that matches their academic interests. The graduate program administrator, M.J. program manager and staff will provide administrative and support services for the M.J. program and assist the students in accessing additional career counseling opportunities.

Notably, the Center for Professional & Leadership Development at the School of Law provides guidance, coaching and support for students embarking in their careers. For additional information, please visit the UW Law Center for Professional & Leadership Development.

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