MSU College of Law

Frequently Asked Questions – MSU Law in Dubai Graduate Programs in Law

The Michigan State University College of Law Graduate Programs at MSU Dubai are specially designed for foreign professionals who wish to expand their knowledge of the American legal system and enhance their careers in their home countries. Students with a prior law degree may earn the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree; students with a prior degree in another discipline may earn the Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) degree.

The program offers a rigorous, yet flexible, curriculum that allows foreign lawyers and other professionals to receive a comprehensive introduction to the U.S. legal system or to focus their studies in a specific area of law.

What programs are offered?

MSU Law in Dubai offers two graduate degrees, one for non-lawyers (the Masters of Jurisprudence in the American Legal System) and one for lawyers (the Master of Laws in the American Legal System). The curriculum for the two degrees is identical except that non-lawyers must take one additional two-credit foundational course.

What makes MSU Law in Dubai unique?

MSU Law in Dubai is the only program offering a degree in American law (common law) in the Gulf Region, and is taught fully by professors from the main MSU campus in East Lansing, rather than adjunct professors from the UAE.

MSU Law’s program in American Legal System for Foreign- Educated Lawyers and Professionals program provides candidates with the following:

  • An improved understanding of legal English and American legal culture
  • A solid practical and theoretical experience in the American legal system
  • The skills needed to work in a multi-national legal environment and to represent clients in transactions with U.S. entities
  • A lasting professional network and enhanced career opportunities

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students who attend all offered classes can complete the program in two years.

When can I start the program?

Students can start whenever a course is offered (six times a year).

What if I just want to take one class, not the whole program?

Students can take up to six credits (three classes) as a non-degree student. If after taking these six credits they wish to enroll in the degree program, the credits will transfer so long as the student received a 3.0 (B) or higher in each course they wish to transfer.

When are classes offered?

Classes in Dubai are offered six times during the academic year (October, November, December, February, March, April/May) and occasionally online. Courses meet Thursday evenings (5:30-9:30 p.m.), Fridays and Saturdays (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sundays (5:30-9:30 p.m.) so that working professionals do not miss time on the job.

For the 2014-15 academic year, course offerings are:

Mediation Advocacy – October 9-12. 2014 with Professor Brian Pappas

Business Enterprises (Introduction to American Business Law) – November 13-16, 2014 with Professor Michael Lawrence

Contracts – December 11-14, 2014 with Professor Daniel Barnhizer

Civil Litigation Practice and Procedure for Foreign Lawyers and Professionals – February 5-8, 2015 with Professor Nicholas Wittner

Common Law Reasoning and Writing – March 12-15, 2015 with Professor Sammy Mansour

International Corporate Governance: Agenda for the 21st Century – April 30-May 3, 2015 with Professor Bruce Bean

How much does it cost?

MSU Law tuition in Dubai is USD $995 per credit hour for the 2014-15 academic year. Students in the Master of Laws in the American Legal System program must complete a total of 24 credits ($23,880 total at the current tuition rate), while students in the Masters of Jurisprudence must complete 26 credits ($25,870 total at the current tuition rate). Tuition in Dubai is roughly 25% less than tuition at our East Lansing campus.

Tuition is paid in advance of each course, thus offering students the ability to pay as they progress through the program rather than having to pay the entire amount up front.

Will a degree from MSU Law in Dubai qualify me to take a bar examination in the United States?

Each student should check with the board of bar examiners in the state in which they wish to take a bar examination, but generally, LL.M. degrees from satellite campuses of U.S. law schools (such as the MSU Law campus in Dubai) will not qualify an applicant to take a U.S. bar examination. If you wish to take a bar exam, you should contact the board of bar examiners in that state to see if you qualify to take the exam independent of your participation in the Dubai program.

What are classes like?

The American education system is much more interactive than in many other countries.  Rather than use a strict lecture format, professors will routinely ask students to answer questions and assist in explaining the material.  Two credits over four days is very intensive, so professors will include a mix of some short lecture along with group and individual exercises.  Professors will expect students to be fully prepared for each class.

How is learning the common law different than learning civil or Shari’a law?

Unlike other legal systems, the common law is not primarily focused on codes. While students and lawyers use statutes to understand the law, most legal education, and most legal discourse, centers around reading important decisions from U.S. courts of all levels. In the common law, judges have wider discretion to make law than in civil or Shari’a systems, and so legal precedent is set via the court system rather than code.

Will I need a visa to study in Dubai if I don’t live in the UAE?

Some students will need a student visa to study in Dubai, depending on the agreement between the government of the UAE and their country of citizenship. The majority of students coming from other countries in the Persian Gulf region will not need a student visa. For more information, please contact us at

How will a degree from MSU Law in Dubai help my career?

Numerous current students and alumni have found career benefits from their degree from MSU Law, whether through promotion by a current employer, a new job, or greater knowledge with which to perform in their current position. Given the amount of international law practiced in the UAE, and specifically in Dubai, a degree in American law is very helpful to lawyers and non-lawyers alike working in the region and around the globe.