Law and Computer Science


As the nexus of top schools and programs in law, computer science, engineering, and business—located in the heart of Silicon Valley—Stanford stands at the center of the revolution in both technology and information age. Legal policy, technological breakthroughs, and world-changing entrepreneurship all play out here in real time, creating unique opportunities, and special responsibilities.

This admixture offers historically unique pedagogical and professional opportunities—and Stanford’s JD/MS degree in law and computer science takes full advantage of both. Both Stanford Law School and the Stanford Department of Computer Science consistently rank at the top of their fields, positioning joint degree students to conduct research that is cutting-edge from both legal and technical perspectives.

While myriad programs exist to apply law to new technology, Stanford is also at the forefront of applying new technology to the law. The university is pioneering new forms of interdisciplinary course work—enabling, indeed requiring law students to engage with world-class computer scientists, entrepreneurs, legal practitioners, and policy makers. Students must focus high theory into instant practice—engaging mixed questions of code (law and software) that cannot be resolved within a single domain.

Stanford Law alumni have long excelled as law and technology thought leaders. Not only have alumni helped create leading Silicon Valley law firms, many have served as general counsel to pioneering technology companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Ebay, Yahoo, Oracle, and Google, to name just a few. Stanford’s joint degree in law and computer science echoes that collective experience.

Course Requirements

Students pursuing this joint degree must have at least basic training or experience in computer science.

As many as 45 quarter units of approved courses may be counted toward both degrees. No more than 31 quarter units of approved courses that originate outside the law school may count toward the law degree.

The maximum number of law school credits that may be counted toward the MS degree in computer science is the greater of: (i) 12 quarter units; or (ii) the maximum number of units from courses outside the department that MS candidates in computer science are permitted to count toward the MS degree under general departmental guidelines, or as set forth in the case of a particular student’s individual program.