Master in the Study of Tax Law

The Master in the Study of Tax Law (MSL-Tax) is designed for nonlawyers who seek advanced training in the complexities of tax law. It draws a broad range of students—from recent college graduates to seasoned accountants, wealth-managers, and tax advisors from both the public and private sectors.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  • A foundational understanding of the US tax system, law, and procedures.
  • Skills in tax research and draftsmanship.

Degree Requirements

The MSL-Tax requires successful completion of 24 credits. Students enrolled in the full- or part-time program must complete seven required courses and are encouraged to choose electives that suit their personal, academic, and professional needs. A full-time student completes the degree requirements in one academic year; a part-time student must complete the degree requirements within four years. Upon request, a student with the appropriate tax background may be excused from taking a required course or a prerequisite or corequisite course in order to take additional elective courses.

Students must fulfill a writing requirement consisting of a research paper of at least 7,500 words (completed as part of TX 982). Additionally, a student may supplement the program with courses at other Boston University graduate or professional programs such as the Questrom School of Business or Metropolitan College. Upon approval, credit for these courses may be applied toward the MSL-Tax degree.

An individual who has completed graduate work in taxation at another American Bar Association–approved law school may, upon application, be granted advanced standing in the full- or part-time residential program. However, a minimum of 18 credit hours must be completed at BU Law.

For more information regarding degree requirements, please refer to the Graduate Tax Program’s Academic Regulations.

Curriculum

Required Courses

  • Federal Income Taxation I
  • Federal Income Taxation II
  • Introduction to Corporate Tax
  • Partnership Tax I
  • Tax Practice and Procedure
  • Tax Research
  • Tax Seminar

Elective Courses*

  • Comparative Income Tax
  • Comparative VAT
  • Consolidated Corporations
  • Corporate Reorganizations
  • Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Planning: Advanced
  • Estate Planning & Drafting
  • Executive Compensation
  • Exempt Organizations
  • Inbound International Taxation
  • International Estate Planning
  • International Taxation
  • Life Cycle of a Business Venture
  • Making Tax Law
  • Outbound International Taxation
  • Partnership Tax II
  • Pensions and Profit-Sharing Plans
  • RICs, REITs, and REMICs
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Structuring Intellectual Property Ownership
  • Tax Accounting for Financial Statements
  • Tax Law of Accounting Methods
  • Tax and Technology
  • Tax Aspects of Buying and Selling a Business
  • Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving
  • Taxation of Bankruptcies and Workouts
  • Taxation of Financial Products: Policy and Theory
  • Taxation of Financial Products: Principles and Applications
  • Taxation of Intellectual Property
  • Taxation of Trusts and Fiduciaries
  • Transfer Pricing
  • Transfer Pricing & Technology
  • US Transfer Pricing

* Curriculum offerings will vary by semester; be sure to check the course schedule available on our website.

Concentrations and Emphasis Areas

MSL-Tax students are free to specialize their learning according to their own interests through concentrations and emphasis areas. Concentrations are composed of a certain number of required and elective courses, and the completion of a concentration is reflected on a student’s transcript. An emphasis area, on the other hand, is a series of courses that center around a particular theme in tax law but does not have required courses and is not listed on a student’s transcript.

Concentrations

Estate Planning

Students must complete all three of the required courses and any of the three listed electives to earn the concentration in estate planning. Students merely interested in learning more about estate planning but not willing to fulfill the requirements of the concentration should look at the courses in the estate planning emphasis area.

Required Courses

  • Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Taxation of Trusts and Fiduciaries

Elective Courses

  • Estate Planning—Advanced
  • International Estate Planning
  • Introduction to Corporate Tax
  • Life Cycle of a Business Venture
  • Partnership Tax I
  • Tax Aspects of Buying and Selling a Business
  • Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving

Emphasis Areas

General Business Taxation

A student who has a background in basic federal income taxation and corporate taxation and who wishes to focus on business tax issues should consider the following elective courses:

  • Consolidated Corporations
  • Corporate Reorganizations
  • Executive Compensation
  • International Taxation
  • Life Cycle of a Business Venture
  • Partnership Tax II
  • Pension and Profit-Sharing Plans
  • RICs, REITs, and REMICs
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Structuring Intellectual Property Ownership
  • Tax Accounting for Financial Statements
  • Tax Aspects of Buying and Selling a Business
  • Tax and Technology
  • Taxation of Bankruptcies and Workouts
  • Taxation of Intellectual Property
  • Tax Issues in Business Decisions
  • Tax Law of Accounting Methods

Estate Planning

Students not able to commit to the full concentration in estate planning but interested in learning more about it should consider the following elective courses:

  • Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate Planning: Advanced
  • Estate Planning & Drafting
  • Executive Compensation
  • Life Cycle of a Business Venture
  • International Estate Planning
  • Pension and Profit-Sharing Plans
  • Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving
  • Taxation of Trusts and Fiduciaries

Financial Services

Students interested in financial services should consider the following elective courses:

  • Inbound International Taxation
  • International Taxation
  • Outbound Taxation
  • Partnership Tax II
  • RICs, REITs, and REMICs
  • Tax Accounting for Financial Statements
  • Taxation of Financial Products: Policy and Theory
  • Taxation of Financial Products: Principles and Applications
  • Tax Law of Accounting Methods

International Taxation

Students interested in international tax should consider the following elective courses:

  • Comparative VAT
  • EU VAT
  • Inbound International Taxation
  • International Taxation
  • Outbound International Taxation
  • Structuring Intellectual Property Ownership
  • Taxation of Intellectual Property
  • Transfer Pricing & Technology
  • US Transfer Pricing

Note: Classes are subject to change and may not be offered every semester. Please consult the BU Law course website for updated class offerings.

Related Certificate

Students seeking exposure to estate planning topics but not able to commit to a full degree program should consider the Estate Planning Certificate.