Best Media Law Schools and Degree Programs

Jul 17, 2018

Learn about degree programs in media law, which can be found at stand-alone law schools or national and regional universities. Explore study options at four top-notch schools, and get an idea of where else in the U.S. you can learn about media law.

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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:38 University of California
  • 1:27 Chapman University
  • 1:57 Southwestern Law School
  • 2:37 Columbia University
  • 3:24 Top Media Law Schools

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School Overviews

Media law programs can lead to a Master of Laws (LL.M.) or Juris Doctor (J.D.); some schools offer joint J.D. and Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in media and communications law. At other schools, media law-focused internship and externship opportunities are available. Aspiring media law specialists can find programs at the University of California, Los Angeles, Chapman University, Southwestern Law School, and Columbia University. Each of these schools was nationally or regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

University of California, Los Angeles

School Highlight: The school publishes a journal called the Entertainment Law Review.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a teaching and research university that U.S. News & World Report ranked 24th among national universities in 2017. UCLA's School of Law offers a J.D. with a specialization in entertainment and media law and policy. This 3-year program prepares students for careers in entertainment, government, and nonprofit industries. Courses cover the legal aspects of trademarks, copyrights, technology, and artistic property.

UCLA Law School also offers a 1-year LL.M. in entertainment and media law and policy program. LL.M. students can complete an externship for course credit, upon approval of the program director.

Chapman University in Orange, CA

School Highlight: The program was the first to offer an entertainment law emphasis program.

Chapman University (CU) is a private school that U.S. News & World Report ranked sixth among regional universities in the West for 2017. CU offers programs in law, business, and film studies, including an LL.M. in entertainment and media law. Courses examine the first amendment, film and television law, copyright law, and sports law.

Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, CA

School Highlight: The Entertainment and Media Law Institute offers numerous externship opportunities.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Southwestern Law School (SLS) 57th on its list of part-time law programs for 2016. SLS is a private college that offers programs in education, family, and entertainment law, which include an LL.M. in entertainment and media law. The program is available both on campus and online. Once enrolled, students learn about international comparative media and motion picture production law; they can also take a seminar in entertainment law, which may include topics in newsgathering and broadcasting industries.

Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Columbia Law School offers dual-degree programs.

Through Columbia University's Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, first and second year J.D. candidates who are interested in media law can pursue a summer internship at a media organization. These internships last for ten weeks and are available at top media organizations, such as National Public Radio and Wikimedia. Another option is an arts law externship, which provides J.D. candidates with a combination of real-world training and in-class instruction on the legal aspects of the entertainment industry. For 2016, Columbia was tied for #4 among all law schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Media Law Schools

Here a few more schools with educational offerings in media law:

School Name Location Distinction
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY College of Law and School of Public Communications offers a dual J.D. and Master of Science in Public Communications
University of Florida Gainesville, FL Offers an M.A. in Media Law and a joint J.D./M.A. and J.D./Ph.D. in Mass Communications program
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Joint J.D. and M.S. in journalism program
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Center for Media Law and Policy
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Tied for eighth-best law school by U.S. News & World Report in 2016
Yale University New Haven, CT Yale Law School offers summer internships through the Knight Law and Media program

For students who want to earn degrees or get focused training in media law, there are academic programs and real-world training opportunities offered at top-notch universities.

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