Backed by legacy. Focused on innovation.
Backed by legacy. Focused on innovation.

Get to Know the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

For more than 120 years, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law has educated legal professionals and leaders. We have produced many notable alumni and our faculty consistently rank among the best in the country. Now, we're online.

Our Online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) programs and our graduate certificate programs allow you to receive a top-quality legal education from one of the most respected law schools in the U.S., no matter where you live or work. We can’t wait to meet you. Until then, get to know more about our history and our offerings.

Timeline: A Brief History of Pitt Law

Small building that served as the original home for the law school
First Law Classes
Legal education in the U.S. was apprenticeship-based until well past 1850. In the fall of 1843, Western University of Pennsylvania (forerunner of the University of Pittsburgh) announced classes in law at “thirty-seven and one-half dollars a term, payable in advance.”
Headshot of Walter H. Lowrie
First Law Professorship
In 1843, the University appointed Walter H. Lowrie (1807-1876), who was a professor of rhetoric and belle-lettres, to the newly instituted law professorship.
University diploma
First Law Degrees
Bachelor of Law degrees were conferred on James C. McKibben, Robert Finney, Matthew Stewart, and Matthew B. Lowrie in 1847. These four men were the University’s first law graduates.
Curved dirt road leading to sprawling building
Formal Founding
In 1894, a curriculum committee issued a report to trustees that Pittsburgh was the only large city in the U.S. without a law school. The School of Law was formally founded in 1895 with John D. Schafer as the genius behind this effort.
Law journal book spines on library shelf
Evolution of the School
The School of Law has seen many changes since those first 35 students entered the fledgling law school in October of 1895. A moot court program was instituted, law journals were created, and the home base of the school continued to change.
University of Pittsburgh brick sign with founding date
University of Pittsburgh
The Western University of Pennsylvania was renamed the University of Pittsburgh on July 11, 1908, when a Common Pleas Court judge allowed the board of trustees to amend the university charter.
Exterior of the Barco Law Building
Dedicated Law Building
After a number of moves over the years, the School of Law moved into its own dedicated facility, the Barco Law Building, upon the opening of the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus in 1976.
Barco Law Building sign outdoors in front of the building
Barco Law Library
Housed in the Barco law Building, the library collection contains around 425,000 volumes and has a seating capacity, in both the individual carrels and in private reading areas, of over 400.
Student at graduation in cap and gown
MSL and Graduate Certificate Programs
The MSL and Graduate certificate programs were added to Pitt Law's offerings, with the online MSL launched in 2020. The online Health Care Compliance Certificate and the online Human Resources Law Certificate were launched in 2016 and 2019 respectively.
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Program Brochure

Are you considering a master’s degree in law or a graduate certificate to take your career to the next level? Pitt Law’s Master of Studies in Law online program is designed for professionals seeking to enhance their careers with a versatile alternative to the traditional three-year JD degree. The certificate programs are ideal for those who are not currently looking to pursue a master’s degree.

Complete the form to get a program brochure for Pitt Law’s Online MSL plus your chosen specialization, or your chosen certificate program, delivered to your inbox.

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Online Legal Education to Fit Your Life

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s online offerings are designed for busy professionals who want to deepen their understanding of the legal system. The Online MSL and online graduate certificate programs allow you to benefit from our excellent reputation without having to relocate or take time away from your career. All online programs are flexible and asynchronous, giving you the opportunity to complete coursework on your schedule.

Connect With Us
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Pitt Law’s world-renowned faculty members are leaders in their respective fields. They are also enthusiastic and compassionate mentors for Pitt Law students.

Meet the Faculty
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Online Experience
There’s never been a better time to learn online. See how you’ll grow your knowledge, network, and earning potential through our flexible and engaging online programs.

Learn More
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Whether you are looking to move up to a leadership position in your current field, or are a career changer looking for a way to stand out, Pitt Law can help. See where a legal education can take you.

Accelerate Your Career

Master’s Degree or Certificate? Pitt Law Has Your Program

Online Master of Studies in Law

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Two diverse businessmen going over paperwork and working on a laptop while sitting together in an office
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Our Online MSL is designed to give you a foundation in U.S. law and legal procedure. This 30-credit program can be completed in two years. Earn 15 credits through the core MSL curriculum and 15 credits through a specialization of your choosing.

Specializations include Corporate Compliance, Health Care Compliance, Human Resources Law, and International Business Law. Bring an immediate impact and value to your current work while setting you up for future success.

Explore MSL

Online Graduate Certificates

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Graduate School of Public Health International Dinner held at the William Pitt Union, Friday, February 8, 2019. Dinner featured performers, dinner and a trivia contest.
Aimee Obidzinski

If you are not ready to commit to a master’s program, our graduate certificate programs in Corporate Compliance, Health Care Compliance, Human Resources Law, and International Business Law can be completed in 10 months. Gain a deeper understanding of the law as it relates to your field.

Upon successful completion of a Pitt Law Online Certificate program, you may apply the 15 credits earned to the Online MSL degree if you decide you wish to pursue the full master’s program.

View Certificates

Get in Touch

Master of Studies in Law
Marily Nixon
Director, Online Master of Studies in Law Program
Health Care Compliance
Mary Nell Cummings
Director, Health Care Compliance
Human Resources Law
Joseph Hornack
Director, Human Resources Law
International Business Law
Max Laun,
​​Director, International Business Law
Director, Corporate Compliance
Corporate Compliance
Max Laun,
​​Director, International Business Law
Director, Corporate Compliance

Fall 2024 Admissions Deadlines

Priority Deadline
August 2
Fall 2024
Final Deadline
August 12
Fall 2024
Start Date
August 19
Fall 2024