Admissions

Merit-based Tuition Scholarships

Academics

Co-op

Public Interest

Financial Aid 

Professional Advancement

Student Life 

Housing

Information for High School and Community College Students 

 


Admission

When should I submit my application? 

The School of Law begins to receive applications in September for the next year’s class (about a year prior to enrollment). Northeastern has a modified rolling admissions process with two application deadlines: one for Early Action and the other for Regular Admission.

Early Action – Application Deadline November 15th

Applications must be submitted by November 15th to be considered for Early Action. If you would like your application to be reviewed under the Early Action program, you must indicate this on your application online.

Regular Admission – Application Deadline March 1st

If you are applying for regular admission, you are encouraged to submit your application by the March 1st priority deadline.

When will I receive an admissions decision?

Early Action Candidates – Receive a decision by mid-to-late January

If you have applied for the law school’s Early Action program, your decision will be posted on your application status checker by January 15th. You will be notified via email when your decision is available. At this point in the process, the Admissions Committee may decide to admit, deny, waitlist, or defer you to the regular application pool. A deferral is not an indication of any particular decision later in the process. If you are deferred, you will be notified via email when your final decision — admit, deny, or waitlist — is updated on your application status checker by April 15th. Admitted students will also receive a paper (hard) copy of their admission letter via postal service.

Regular Admissions Candidates – Receive a decision by mid to late April

You will be notified via email when your decision is posted on your application status checker by April 15th (assuming you met the deadline of March 1st). You may be admitted, denied, or placed on the waitlist. Admitted students will also receive a paper (hard) copy of their admission letter via postal service. Applications received after our March 1st deadline will not be given priority, and we cannot guarantee a decision date for decisions.

If you are admitted and wish to enroll at the School of Law, you must pay the deposit fee by May 1st, unless otherwise indicated on your acceptance letter.

How will I receive my admission decision?

Applicants will receive an email notification when their admissions decision has become available on the application status checker. Admitted students will also receive a paper (hard) copy of their admission letter via postal service. Other applicants who require a paper (hard) copy of their admissions decision should contact the Office of Admissions at (617) 373-2395 for assistance.

If I am admitted through the Early Action program, am I required to attend?

No. Early Action applicants who are admitted are not required to attend the School of Law. The program is non-binding and your choice to enroll is optional.

What do I need to submit to make my application complete?

You must submit a completed application form, résumé, personal statement, and $75 application fee. You may also choose to provide a response to our optional essay topic. Once the law school receives your application, the Admissions Committee will contact the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) in order to obtain copies of your transcript(s), LSAT score(s), letter(s) of recommendation, and any other information you have sent to LSAC. After the Admissions Committee receives these materials, it will review your application. The Office of Admissions does its best to inform you if your application is incomplete but cannot guarantee that all applicants will be notified. Please keep track of your application and contact the Admissions Office if you are concerned about your status.

How many recommendations are required? May I submit additional letters?

The Admissions Committee requires one letter of recommendation submitted via LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Students have the option of submitting one additional letter of recommendation through the CAS. We cannot accept more than two letters of recommendation.

Do you require or accept the evaluation service from LSAC?

No. NUSL does not require - or accept - LSAC's evaluation service.

May I submit additional, supplemental materials such as my senior thesis?

We kindly ask that you refrain from submitting additional, supplemental materials, including, but not limited to, senior theses, works of art, creative writing, publications, reports, videography, music, or other materials, unless you are sending optional materials for our Public Interest Law Scholarship selection process. We encourage applicants to include information about such work in their applications if applicable — in resumes, personal statements, or, if necessary, application addenda — but we strongly discourage applicants from sending extraneous material directly to our office. Thank you for your cooperation.

What are the median LSAT score and GPA for enrolled students?

For the Class of 2016, the median LSAT score was 161, and the median GPA was 3.53 as of August 26, 2013.

I applied before and was waitlisted/denied. How do I reapply?

The School of Law welcomes applications from candidates who have previously applied. If you applied to Northeastern in a previous year, the Admissions Committee encourages you to include an updated resume, personal statement, letter(s) of recommendation, and/or optional essay, though these are not required. Your LSAT score must be no more than five years old as of the date of your new application. You do not need to pay an additional application fee if you are submitting your new application the year following your original application.

How do I apply for the Public Interest Law Scholars (PILS) Program?

Northeastern’s most generous and prestigious scholarship program is the Public Interest Law Scholars (PILS) Program. This program offers full tuition to students with strong social justice and public interest backgrounds and is renewable each year so long as the student remains in good standing. All applicants to the law school, whose applications are received by January 10, 2014, are automatically considered for this scholarship.

Applicants may also submit any or all of the following optional, supplemental materials to bolster their candidacy for the Public Interest Law Scholarship:

  • Public Interest Experience/Work
    Please submit a list of all activities that are related to your public interest experience. Relevant experiences may be volunteer or paid positions and may go back as far as your high school years. Please list these experiences in a grid with the name of the organization, type of activity, and dates/time spent in each activity.
  • Public Interest Essay
    Please discuss, in no more than two pages, your view of the role of the law as a vehicle for influencing social change. Please focus on your professional and/or personal experiences with a specific social issue. How do you expect the knowledge you gain from legal studies to advance your ability to address this or similar issues?
  • Optional Letter(s) of Recommendation (up to two)

    For more information on the selection process for the PILS Scholarship, and how to submit additional optional materials, check out the PILS webpage.

What are the character and fitness requirements?

Each state has its own character and fitness requirements concerning who is eligible for admission to the bar, and we encourage every applicant prior to matriculation to ascertain those requirements in every state in which he or she intends to practice.

Northeastern asks applicants to answer a series of character and fitness questions. These questions are required. Because of the high ethical standards to which lawyers are held, the failure to disclose an act or event can lead to more serious consequences than the act or event itself. Failure to provide truthful answers, or failure to inform the Office of Admissions of any changes to your answers in advance of matriculation or during school enrollment, may result in revocation of admission or disciplinary action by the School of Law, or denial of permission to practice law by the state in which you seek bar admission.

Merit-Based Tuition Scholarships

When will I find out if I have been awarded a merit-based tuition scholarship?

Generally speaking, if you are awarded a merit-based tuition scholarship (other than the Public Interest Law Scholarship, which has a separate selection precedure), this information is included with your admission letter. Merit-based scholarships can only be applied to tuition.

What are the conditions for renewing my merit-based tuition scholarship? Are there any GPA or class rank requirements?

Our merit-based tuition scholarships are guaranteed for three years; a student automatically keeps his/her merit-based tuition scholarship as long as s/he remains in good standing at the law school. There are no GPA or class rank requirements. Northeastern University School of Law firmly believes that students work best, and learn best, in a cooperative and collaborative community environment. As such, we neither rank our students nor calculate a GPA for them.

Academics

I heard that Northeastern doesn't have traditional letter grades. Is that true?

Yes. When the law school re-opened in the 1960s, the program was designed to replace the typical adversarial law school environment with a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. In order to do this successfully, student rankings and letter and number grades were replaced with written evaluations of students’ work in class and on co-op. This system:

  • Allows you to work with classmates without worrying that you are giving away the opportunity to be at the top of a grading curve.
  • Gives you a more thorough review of your work by professors so that you know where you are doing well and where you need to improve your performance.
  • Teaches you, before you go out on co-op and begin your career, how to work well on teams and get more out of your work because others depend on it.

How does the evaluation system at the law school work?

Rather than a number or letter grade, you will receive a narrative evaluation from your professor for each class you take throughout your law school career, as well as from your supervisor for each of your four co-ops. Copies of all of these evaluations are included in your law school transcript. There are no class rankings or GPAs. During the second and third years, students may receive Honors or High Honors designations for strong performance in academic courses. As discussed above, your narrative evaluations will provide you — and potential employers — with a much stronger understanding of your skills and abilities than a single number or letter.

Does Northeastern offer a part-time or evening program?

No. The law school offers a full-time program only, with all students enrolling in the fall. This is necessary in order for all students to complete their required four co-op positions.

Does the law school offer any academic support programs?

Yes. The Academic Success Program is here to support you with workshops, teaching assistants, study groups, and more, particularly as you are making the transition into law school during your first year.

How long are the academic terms?

The law school’s first year classes follow a traditional academic calendar, with the first semester running from late August to December and the second semester running from January to May. Second- and third- year classes run on a quarter system, with each term lasting about eleven weeks.

How much material is covered in an upper-level academic quarter at Northeastern?

Northeastern’s courses cover about the same amount of material as courses at other schools. Though the law school’s upper-level quarters are eleven weeks and semesters are usually fourteen or fifteen weeks, most semester schools run fifty-minute hours, while Northeastern uses sixty. Sixty-minute classes meeting three times a week for eleven weeks provide 1,980 minutes of classroom time. Fifty-minute classes meeting three time a week for fourteen weeks provide 2,100 minutes of classroom time. That is a difference of only about two hours. Northeastern's compressed schedule eliminates much of the "hello and goodbye" portions of the semester. Additionally, many professors have optional out-of-class reviews as a supplement to their courses.

How much time would I spend in class during the first year?

During the first year, students typically spend 16-18 total hours in class per week. Students generally have about 3-4 classes per day; classes range anywhere from 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours long.

How many academic credits are required to graduate?

Northeastern's first-year is 34 semester credit hours, so you will need to complete at least 53 quarter hours during your second and third years during at least four (4) upper-level academic quarters. For more information, read about Northeastern's degree requirements.

Do Northeastern professors use the Socratic method in teaching their courses?

While teaching styles vary widely throughout the faculty, most professors use what could be termed a modified Socratic method. Some professors do "cold call" students but may leave open the option to pass or get help from neighbors. Additionally, unlike in a traditional Socratic method, students typically aren't on the "hot seat" for the entire class but rather for a short period of time.

How many credits do upper-level Northeastern students usually take during a given academic quarter?

Usually between 12 and 16 credits. You can take between 10 and 16 credits per quarter and need to get permission if you plan to take less than 12 or more than 16. However, keep in mind that with the shorter terms (11 weeks), 15 or 16 credits is a heavy load, and you are advised not to take more than 16 credits. To meet the ABA Residency Requirement, you will have to enroll in at least 10 quarter hours and pass at least 9.

What clinical programs does the law school offer?

Northeastern offers students the opportunity to engage in advocacy on behalf of individuals and community organizations often unacknowledged or underrepresented by the justice system. Together, the clinics, institutes, and special programs reflect and fulfill a commitment to social and economic justice that distinguishes Northeastern as one of the nation's foremost public interest law schools. Students can participate with faculty and staff in the work of the following outstanding research and service centers: the Domestic Violence Institute, the Public Health Advocacy Institute, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, and the Program on Health Policy and Law. Northeastern also offers seven clinics: Civil Rights and Restorative Justice, Community Business, Criminal Advocacy, Domestic Violence, Poverty Law and Practice, Prisoners' Rights, and Public Health. The clinics differ from one another by substantive legal focus, advocacy experience, and the primary skills each seeks to impart. Students engage in challenging legal practice with the support of clinical faculty who provide the requisite training, close supervision, and opportunity for reflection.

Tell me about the dual-degree programs.

Northeastern offers seven dual-degree programs. In cooperation with Tufts University School of Medicine, students may pursue a JD/MPH program. Completion of the dual-degree program takes three and a half years, rather than the average five years if the degrees were obtained sequentially. The School of Law has also partnered with Brandeis University's Heller School of Social Policy and Management to offer a JD/MA in sustainable international development. This accelerated four-year program includes combined law/international development co-ops. For students interested in environmental law, the School of Law, in conjunction with Vermont Law School, offers its law students the opportunity to earn both a JD and a master's degree in environmental law and policy (MELP) in the same three-year period it would take to earn just the JD. Dual degrees are also available from other schools and colleges at Northeastern University, including a JD/MBA, JD/MSA/MBA, JD/MS-Law and Public Policy, and JD/MA-Music Industry Leadership.

Will I get a tuition discount if I participate in one of the dual-degree programs?

There is no tuition discount, but the dual-degree programs are designed to allow you to earn both degrees in less time than it would take to complete each program separately.

Co-op

What is co-op and how does it work?

Northeastern's unique approach to training law students for a career in the legal profession is known as Cooperative Legal Education. This program ensures that you will graduate with one full year of practical legal experience gained through four different academic quarters of full-time work ("co-ops"). You will complete a traditional first year of academic study. During your second and third years, you will alternate between full-time classes and full-time legal work every three months. You will work about 11 weeks during a cooperative quarter and usually take a short break before returning to full-time academic studies. The successful completion of four cooperative work quarters is a graduation requirement for all Northeastern law students.

How is co-op different from internship or externship programs at other schools?

There are several features that distinguish Northeastern’s co-op program from traditional intern or externship programs. First, many intern or externships are part-time; co-ops are full-time positions. Intern or externship programs may have limited space; you are guaranteed to complete four co-ops as a Northeastern law student and graduate with a full year of legal work experience. Also, students may have to choose between participating in an internship program and taking classes; you will not miss out on any academic opportunities due to co-op. Finally, only a small portion of the student body may participate in an intern or externship program; at Northeastern, you and all of your classmates will complete four co-ops. The diverse, practical experience that everyone brings back to the classroom greatly enhances classroom discussions and learning.

How does the application process for co-ops work?

The co-op application process begins early. Shortly after the school year starts, you will meet with a co-op advisor to go over your résumé and begin to think strategically about where you will apply for co-ops. The Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement also runs a series of co-op panels and workshops for first-year students.

When it comes time to apply for co-op positions, you may choose to apply to one of the over 900 participating co-op employers or create your own co-op with any other legal employer. If you create your own co-op, you must work with the Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement to ensure that your work experience will fulfill the requirements for co-op in order to have the co-op approved.

The majority of students choose to apply to participating co-op employers. Each quarter, the Center contacts participating employers to ask whether the employer intends to hire Northeastern co-op students for the upcoming quarter. They then publish an updated list each week of co-op employers, indicating whether the employer is interested in hiring co-op students. You may submit applications to up to ten of these employers through the Center. The Center will post interview requests and job offers as they come in from employers. You will have one business day to respond to an interview request, and three business days to respond to an offer. During the eighth week of each quarter, there is a supplemental mailing for students still looking for co-ops. In between these times, additional job postings will be sent to you.

Will it take longer to earn a JD because of the co-op program?

No. You will be able to complete Northeastern’s JD requirements in the same three years as your counterparts at other law schools. Not only will you complete your JD in three years, you’ll gain a full year of legal work experience while you’re at it.

Will I get paid while I’m on co-op?

Students may be paid on co-op with salaries ranging from minimal compensation for public interest employers to more than $3,100 per week for large private firms. Some students may be eligible for Federal Work Study; additionally, students may apply for stipends to support certain types of co-ops.

Can I travel outside of Boston for a co-op? 

Yes. Students go on co-ops all over the country and around the world with the program’s more than 900 employers. The major co-op hubs outside of Boston are New York City, Washington, and San Francisco. The Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement can assist you in setting up new co-ops throughout the world, provided that potential employers meet the program requirements. You will work with a co-op advisor who can guide you through the process of finding a co-op, taking into consideration your desired location and the type of work you wish to pursue.

If I take a co-op outside of the Boston area, how can I find housing?

After you complete a co-op, you will fill out a questionnaire about your experience for the next student(s) who may be looking for the same position. If you work outside of the Boston area, you will be asked to provide some tips and information about finding housing in the area. In addition, you can stay in touch with your classmates while they are on co-op outside of Boston, and learn about housing availability from them. Under Northeastern’s co-op rotation system, half of the second and third year class will be on co-op while the other half is in classes, so you may be able to arrange to sublease a schoolmate’s apartment in another city: as your schoolmate moves out in order to return to school, you can move in to begin a co-op in the same area. Students always find the housing they need and transition into their new living and work situations each quarter.

Public Interest

Why is Northeastern considered a premier public interest law school?

Nationally recognized for its commitment to public interest law, Northeastern University School of Law is a dynamic center for service as well as learning. Whether they are representing indigent clients, combating discrimination, working with survivors of domestic violence, advocating for equal access to health care, or ensuring fair treatment for immigrants, Northeastern students, graduates, staff, and faculty are on the front lines, making the world a more humane and compassionate place.

How does the law school infuse public interest and social justice throughout its curriculum?

You’ll find that social justice is a theme in your law school courses and discussions throughout your career at Northeastern. As a first-year student, you’ll complete Northeastern’s year-long Legal Skills in Social Context course, where you’ll develop legal research, writing, and advocacy skills and put those new skills to use in a social justice project on behalf of a real-world nonprofit or community-based organization. Furthermore, you’ll fulfill a public interest requirement before you graduate by going on a public interest co-op, participating in a law school clinic, completing 30 hours of uncompensated legal work in a public interest setting or on a pro bono project at a firm, or doing a public interest independent study.

What support does Northeastern offer to students who work in the public interest sector?

Northeastern’s most generous and prestigious scholarship program is the Public Interest Law Scholars (PILS) Program. This program offers full tuition to students with strong social justice and public interest backgrounds and is renewable each year so long as the student remains in good standing. All applicants who submit their applications by January 7, 2014 are automatically considered for the PILS Scholarship, though interested candidates may also submit additional supplemental materials if they choose to do so.

If you go into public service after graduation, you may be able to have your student loans forgiven through Northeastern’s Loan Deferral and Forgiveness Program and through the federal College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

Financial Aid

When should I apply for financial aid?

Please refer to the Financial Aid section of our website for important information about applying for aid. The priority filing date for the FAFSA is February 15th; you should submit the FAFSA before this date even if you have not received an admissions decision.

When will I receive my financial aid package?

The financial aid office begins to send out financial aid award letters in mid-March to admitted students who submitted their FAFSA by the priority deadline. If you are admitted before mid-March, you will receive your financial aid award letter in the initial mailing in mid-March. If you are admitted after mid-March, you will receive your financial aid award letter about a week to a week and a half after you receive your acceptance letter, provided that you have filed your FAFSA before the priority deadline.

 

Professional Advancement

I know that Northeastern is known for public interest law. Is Northeastern the right place for me if I am not interested in a career in public interest law?

Certainly. While the law school is committed to the belief that all attorneys have a duty to serve society in some capacity, not all Northeastern students intend to practice traditional public interest law upon graduation. Northeastern’s mission is to provide students with a clear understanding of the immense power they have as lawyers in our society and the ethical and social implications of the decisions they will make in this role. On average, graduates of Northeastern enter public interest careers at a rate that is five times the national average. However, the majority of our students work in settings other than public interest after graduation, such as judicial clerkships, government agencies, and law firms (including large firms).

How does Northeastern prepare students to get jobs?

Our graduates obtain significant practical legal experience and make many professional connections through our Cooperative Legal Education Program. Through co-op every student completes nearly a year of full-time work experience in the legal field and/or practice setting of their choosing before graduation. This allows our students to discover their true professional passions and gain the practical skills necessary to excel in today's legal job market. Northeastern's Center for Co-op and Professional Advancement also provides substantial career planning assistance to students and alumni/ae. 

What is the starting salary for Northeastern University School of Law graduates?

There is a wide range of salaries paid to entry-level lawyers. While there is some geographic variation in salary, the biggest variation is in the type of legal work that people do (corporate, public interest, policy work) and the setting in which they do this work (small, medium or large firm, government, corporation, judiciary). For instance, on the low-end of entry-level salaries are generally lawyers who work for public interest organizations or in the criminal justice system as prosecutors or public defenders. The starting salaries can be in the low to mid $30,000. The high-end of entry-level salaries are lawyers who work for large corporate law firms in major cities. The starting salaries can be $125,000 to $160,000.

Student Life

What student groups and activities can I join as a law student?

There are many student organizations within the law school community that bring together students with common interests or backgrounds. Student organizations include a student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Black Law Students Association, the Business Interests Group, the Committee Against Institutional Racism, the Cooperative Income Sharing Program, the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, the Federalist Society, the International Law Society, the Jewish Law Students Association, the Latin American Law Students Association, the Legal Environmental Advocacy Forum, the Queer Caucus, the Society for Restorative Justice, the Women’s Law Caucus, and the Youth Advocacy Caucus.

What University amenities can I use as a law student?

As a law student, you’ll be able to work out at Northeastern University’s state of the art facilities at the Marino Center, Cabot Center, Matthews Arena or Squashbusters Center, grab something to eat, relax or browse the University bookstore in the Curry Student Center, or use the additional research materials and space in the newly renovated Snell Library.

Is the law school diverse?

Northeastern seeks a student body with a broad set of interests, backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives. Our students represent various political ideologies as well as religious, cultural. and social backgrounds, including a large number of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students. Students of color represent over a third of our students. The faculty is also diverse: 54 percent are women and 20 percent are people of color.

Such diversity is important in a law school, which must train its graduates not only to analyze and interpret the law but also to reflect on competing viewpoints, advance arguments persuasively in a variety of forums, and develop policies affecting a broad range of people. Historically, the School of Law's diverse student body has produced graduates who have served all segments of society and who have become leaders in many fields of law. Exposure to a wide array of ideas, outlooks, and experiences is an important part of law students' educational and professional development. To find out more about diversity in the legal profession, visit Discover Law.

Is the law school faculty accessible to students?

Absolutely. Most professors have open door policies, meaning that if they are in the building, students are free to come by and say hello, ask questions, or get help with difficult course material. Professors also have assigned office hours and are widely available via email. Finally, professors are very involved on the campus through student organizations, social events, and other activities that allow students to get to know them on a personal and professional level.  Generally, students rave about the accessibility and openness that the faculty maintains.

Housing

Is on-campus housing available?

Yes. On-campus housing is available each year to a limited number of law students. The demand for these housing spots varies year to year, but it is a good idea to contact the Housing and Residential Life at (617) 373-2814 early so that you are in the best position to obtain on-campus housing for the coming year.

I do not currently live in the Boston area. How can I find an apartment off-campus?

You may prefer to live in an apartment off-campus while attending law school. There are many apartments available near the school, and even more apartments in surrounding areas close to public transportation. Northeastern is accessible via two lines of the MBTA subway system (Orange & Green E-Line) and multiple bus lines. The Office of Admissions invites admitted students to join an online social network exclusively for incoming NUSL students; you will be able to discuss housing options with classmates and perhaps “meet” some roommates through this network. You can also find apartment listings at boston.craigslist.org or www.boston.com.

When looking for housing, on which neighborhoods should I concentrate my search?

Northeastern University School of Law students live in a variety of areas throughout Boston and Massachusetts.  Students have been known to live as far away as Worcester (an 1.5 hour train commute), to as close as a five minute walk from the school here in the heart of Boston.  The most popular places for students to live are Jamaica Plain (a 15-20 minute commute on the Orange Line or bus), Cambridge (especially Central Square - a short commute on the #1 Bus or Red/Orange Lines), and the Fenway area (a 10-15 minute walk).

Information for High School and Community College Students

Where can I find more information about applying to law school?

There are a number of great resources available to you as you begin to think about attending law school or a legal career. Be sure to check out Discover Law for information, advice, and support. 

Visit DiscoverLaw.org