Schools with Copyright Law Programs: How to Choose

Intellectual property, such as technology, music, literature and inventions, is protected through copyrights and trademarks. Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree candidates and practicing lawyers seeking specialized education in intellectual property can enroll in certificate and master's degree programs offered at several U.S. law schools.

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Students interested in copyright law could pursue a J.D. degree with a corresponding certificate in intellectual property, alternatively, practicing lawyers seeking additional training in copyright law could also pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Intellectual Property. Both are available at various law schools throughout the country.

Top Ten Intellectual Property Law Schools

These ten postsecondary institutions were ranked highest by U.S. News & World Report in 2016:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA Public $48,679 in-state, $52,630 out-of-state
Stanford University Stanford, CA Private $56,274
New York University New York, NY Private $59,330
George Washington University Washington, DC Private $54,114
University of New Hampshire School of Law Concord, NH Public $37,383 in-state, $41,383 out-of-state
Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA Private $1,623 (per credit)
Yeshiva University New York, NY Private $54,895
University of Houston Houston, TX Public $29,784 in-state, $44,044 out-of-state
American University Washington, DC Private $51,002
Boston University Boston, MA Private $49,330

Source: *U.S. News & World Report

School Selection Criteria

You may want to think about the following considerations when choosing a copyright law program:

  • Look for a school that offers student groups and activities like copyright competitions, law clinics and colloquiums, providing the opportunity to interact with professionals and obtain field experience.
  • Research the faculty to determine their experience and reputation in the arena of intellectual property law, as well as learning about their published works, alma mater and legal specialty.
  • If you want to study law in a distance learning format, find out if the program offers online study options.
  • If you have daytime obligations, look into whether evening classes are available.

J.D. with Certificate in Intellectual Property

Applicants to a J.D. degree program must have a bachelor's degree and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Schools offering certificate programs in intellectual property typically include courses that explore Internet and video game copyright laws. Certificates require up to 20 credit hours in addition to the J.D. degree.

LL.M. in Intellectual Property

LL.M. programs are available for practicing lawyers who have already earned a J.D. degree. These programs are often highly selective and can usually be completed within one year. Most schools offer programs part-time, during the evening or online. Courses cover the enforcement of copyrights and trademarks. Typically, students must complete a publishable thesis relating to intellectual property.

Aspiring and experienced lawyers who are interested in copyright law can find relevant degree programs. They can make the most of their training by enrolling in a school that is well-known for intellectual property law and offers a variety of academic opportunities.

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