MSL in Taxation

Academic Policies-MSL in Taxation

The MSL in Taxation is a part-time degree program which is completed entirely online. Most experienced professionals have likely undertaken some online courses during their careers, but may not have undertaken a formal academic program in an online setting.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The maximum length of time one can take to complete the MSL degree is five years. Most students find they are able to complete the 30-credit program in three to four years, depending on how many credits they enroll in each semester. See below for more information on the award of advanced standing or transfer credits from prior academic coursework.  Some students are able to finish after only two years of part-time study. Students must enroll in at least one credit in each fall or spring semester, though they may request a leave of absence for one or two semesters for any reason. Students may take summer session courses to hasten the completion of their studies, but are not required to do so. Taking a leave of absence does not extend the period of study and does incur a fee for maintaining matriculation.

Course Load

Students in the MSL program study online on a part-time basis and may register for up to six credits each semester. (We often cap registration at five credits, lest students inadvertently trigger New York State immunization requirements, which apply to those who register for six or more credits.) Each class is typically between one and three credits, with most online classes being two credit hours. Most of our practicing part-time LLM students find that two or three credits per semester is a manageable course load. As they progress, some students take four to six credit hours per semester, after they have become re-accustomed to being back in school, developed new study habits for online learning, and become used to the fast pace of NYU’s tax classes.

Watching Classes

Online classes are recorded versions of our on campus course offerings, which feature faculty lecturing and interacting with students. Many classes meet in two hour blocks, and we generally split these classes in videos of approximately 50-60 minutes each, though a few class videos may be 75 or 110 minutes in length. Students are not required to watch an entire class video in a single sitting, and may instead watch class videos in shorter segments of 20 or 40 minutes, as their schedule allows. Students may watch videos as many times as they like during the semester. Each class typically requires you to complete assignments and readings ahead of time. We teach using the problem method, which explores the tax code through a discussion of commonly encountered scenarios. After completing the problems, students watch the corresponding class, which typically discusses the problem sets. At the end of the semester, an exam is given. Shortly after an exam is held, access to the videos ends. Videos are streamed and require continuous access to the internet to view. Videos can be watched on mobile devices, but cannot be downloaded.

We do require students to meet attendance deadlines for each course. Typically, a full semester course will require students to have watched 40% of the class videos by around halfway through the semester, and 80% of the videos near to the end of the semester. For 1 credit courses or summer courses, which are taught on an abbreviated schedule, we typically only have a single attendance deadline. Details about attendance deadlines are posted on each course website.


Our courses are designed for practicing tax professionals, so when a prerequisite is listed, we generally will not waive it based on any work experience or based on a non-law school course. Courses which feature numbers in the title are meant to be taken in order, e.g.., International Tax 1, International Tax 2, and International Tax 3. Many of our part-time students have tax experience, but find that our courses cover a broad range of topics in great depth, often touching upon areas which with they are unfamiliar. We understand that many students in the MSL program may have taken significant prior tax coursework, though we may not be able to waive prerequisites in many cases. If admitted to the MSL program, please contact us to discuss.

One exception to our rule about prerequisites is that we automatically waive the prerequisite of “Income Taxation”, which is listed on many tax courses. We assume that everyone coming to the program has had some exposure to tax in an academic environment already, and if not, upon admission to the program we can recommend resources to cover the basics.


Information on financing is available from the office of student financial services.


Most of our courses feature in-class exams. These exams are often objective, requiring you to give a short answer or to answer multiple choice questions. Some exam questions may ask for more narrative answers. In a more narrative exam answer, faculty may be looking for you to read a complex fact pattern and address questions about the legal issues therein. Exams often ask you to analyze the facts and circumstances in light of the law you have learned in class. In a law school setting, exams are graded anonymously. Thus, once an exam has been given, students may not discuss the exam with other students or with the faculty. Students shouldn’t mention anything to the professor or in their exam answer which might reveal their identity. Exam dates are not flexible and may not be postponed for work or travel conflicts. MSL in Taxation students do not receive letter grades in their courses; instead they are graded on a High Pass/Pass/Fail basis.

Registration, Tuition, and Fees

Registration occurs prior to the start of each semester, and students have a limited amount of time to adjust their schedule. Tuition charges are incurred upon registration, and the student is responsible to pay the balance due unless the charge is dropped within the refund period. In the Fall 2014 semester, tuition is $2,306 per credit. Registration fees are $363 for the first credit taken and $31 for each additional credit. A technology use fee of approximately $101 is also assessed each semester. Admitted students will be provided detailed information about registration and our refund schedules. A two credit class taken in the fall of 2014 would cost $5,006 in tuition and fees, excluding books, late fees, and the recommended examining device.

Students may purchase a remote proctor unit to take exams in a home or office. This can be used in any quiet, interruption free space with a good internet connection, and costs about $180 with shipping (as of 2014), and books can range in cost—usually you spend a few hundred dollars up front on the 8 volumes of code and regulations and a few casebooks. Most students already have a laptop or desktop computer with which to view streaming class videos. Students may want to evaluate their system to see if it is time for an upgrade or not.

Advanced Standing and Transfer Credits

The MSL in Taxation requires 30 credits of coursework.  Students who have previously completed a Master's degree may receive 6 credits of advanced standing and can thus complete the degree in only 24 credits.  

Students who have taken Master's level coursework which did not lead to a completed degree, may instead (or additionally) seek the award of up to four transfer credits from another school within NYU or another educational institution.  It is possible to earn both six credits of advanced standing and four credits of transfer credit, though this would require having earned one Master's degree and having completed four credits towards a second (uncompleted) Master's degree.  There are restrictions on the credits we will accept.  At the outset, please note that we define a credit as 700 minutes of instruction, not including time spent examining. Credits earned at another institution may not transfer at the same value into the MSL degree, if the credits are approved.

At the discretion of the Vice Dean, a candidate for the MSL. degree may be allowed to transfer credit for courses taken at another institution if: (1) the courses were taken at the graduate level at an accredited college or university in either taxation or a related discipline; (2) the courses were taken after the candidate received his or her last earned degree; (3) the courses were completed with a grade point average of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale); and (4) the candidate received no credit for these courses toward any other degree. Grades from courses taken at another institution or other divisions of NYU are not used in computing grade point averages.

Subject to the foregoing limitations, transfer credit can be obtained for work done either before or after a student's initial matriculation at the Law School, so long as the credits fit within the five year period of study. The student should consult with the Graduate Tax Program about his or her plans before registering for the course in order to see if the course will be approved for transfer credit.

State Law Restrictions and Procedures

Please note that our online programs are not available in all states. Some states have recently instituted complex registration requirements for out-of-state institutions. At this time we are unable to accept new distance-learning students who will undertake their studies from within the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.*

*We recently obtained Montana’s authorization to educate Montana citizens. We previously had not allowed Montana residents to apply.

Additionally, students from the following four states may enroll, but may not take examinations in these states: Delaware, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Potential applicants from these states should contact John Stephens ( prior to applying to see if they are able to examine in these states either online or in-person under applicable state law. It may be possible for residents of these states to instead examine on campus in New York or from another state.

States may have unique complaint processes available, and a list of those can be found here, compiled by SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association).

Special Information for Maryland Residents

NYU has received approval from the state of Maryland to offer online courses to residents of that state, per recent legislation. We are required to post certain required information on our website which relates to our program's registration status with the state as well as procedures for Maryland residents to file complaints or grievances.

First, our academic policies guide (formerly known as the student handbook) in section J., Student Grievance Procedure, provides the universities policies and procedures in this regard.

Second, we note the following, per Maryland's requirements:

MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION Student Complaint Process - Institutions of Higher Education

A student must first exhaust the complaint/grievance procedures established by the institution. Disposition of specific types of complaints:

A student shall submit a specific type of complaint to the appropriate agency or organization as described below.

A complaint pertaining to occupational licensure requirements shall be submitted to the appropriate licensing board or entity. The student shall obtain contact information from the institution.

A complaint concerning compliance with the standards of accreditation shall be submitted to the accrediting agency. The student shall obtain contact information from the institution.

A complaint pertaining to potential violations of consumer protection shall be submitted to: Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General, 200 Saint Paul Place, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, Telephone: (410) 528-8662 or  (888) 743-0823 (toll free).  More information is available at:

A complaint concerning discrimination shall be submitted to: Office for Civil Rights, Philadelphia Office, US Department of Education, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 Telephone: (215) 656-8541 More information is available at:

Disposition of complaints involving alleged violations of the Education Article or the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Title 13B Maryland Higher Education Commission. A student shall submit a complaint involving an alleged violation of the Education Article or COMAR Title 13B to the Commission. The complaint shall in writing and signed by the student. (MHEC Student Complaint Form)

The Commission will acknowledge and investigate a complaint involving an alleged violation of the Education Article or COMAR Title 13B. The Commission will ask the institutional President to look into the matter and report back to the Commission. The Commission staff may interview the institution’s employees and the complainant as part of its investigation. The Commission may take regulatory action based on its review and in accordance with the Education Article and COMAR Title 13B. A complaint pertaining to matters other than the Education Article or COMAR Title 13B will not be entertained by the Commission, and will not be referred to another agency or organization.


Required notices regarding distance learning classes taken by Texas residents who are not enrolled in a degree program:

1).          New York University School of Law is not regulated in Texas under Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code;

(2)               NYU is approved and regulated by the New York State Department of Education, and the Law School is also regulated by the NY State Court of Appeals; and

(3)               The New York State Department of Education can be contacted at: (518) 474-3852.  The Court of Appeals can be contacted at: (518) 455-7700.