Choose the Best Online Master of Legal Studies Program for You for 2022

An online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) and other legal studies master’s programs may provide an advanced understanding of the laws, regulations and legal standards and procedures that affect businesses and organizations. These degree programs are typically designed for nonlawyers who seek knowledge in various areas of law including regulations, compliance, negotiations, human resources, law enforcement and more.  

Students of master’s in legal studies online programs come from diverse backgrounds. Schools may require students to have a bachelor’s degree, though GRE scores may not be necessary. For MLS programs, students may take as few as one to three courses per term, allowing them to choose the graduate career pathway that is right for them.

OnlineMasterofLegalStudies.com was created to help students research master’s legal studies online programs. With this page as your guide, you’ll be able to understand what a master’s in legal studies is, decide if an MLS is a good next step for your career and which program is best for your needs.

Sponsored Online MLS and Law Programs

Washington College of Law

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Master of Legal Studies

  • Complete in as few as 12 months 
  • No GRE/LSAT scores required to apply 
  • Four tracks available: General MLS, Business, Health Care Compliance, and Technology 
  • Three certificates available: Business, Health Care Compliance, and Technology

School of Law

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Master of Studies in Law

  • GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores not required to apply 
  • Complete in as few as 12 months 
  • Minimum two years’ compliance-related work experience recommended

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Best Online Master of Legal Studies Programs For You

We have curated a list of over 21 online master’s in legal studies programs and collected some program information here to enable you to find the best schools for you. Some of these are online Master of Legal Studies programs, while others are close variations, such as an online Master of Science in Law or a Master of Studies in Law. All of these online programs listed have been granted acquiescence by the American Bar Association (ABA) and offer both full- and part-time options for students.

Information for the universities below was last retrieved on March 1, 2021. For the most up-to-date information, check with the university.

UniversityDegree NameNumber of CreditsFormatEnrollment Type
Master of Legal Studies
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Masters of Legal Studies
45
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Studies in Law
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master in the Study of Law
34
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
30
Online
Part-Time
Master of Science in Law
36
Online
Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
32
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Arts in Law
30+
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Studies in Law
34
Online
Part-Time
Master Of Legal Studies In Compliance And Risk Management
30
Online
Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
30
Online
Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Science in Legal Administration
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Masters Degrees
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies
32
Online
Part-Time
Master of Science in Law
26
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Masters Degrees
30
Online
Full-Time and Part-Time
Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
24
Online
N/A

Caruso School of Law

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Master of Legal Studies

  • No GRE or LSAT scores required to apply 
  • Complete in as few as 16 months 
  • Dispute resolution concentration available

Washington University School of Law

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Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

  • Complete in as little as one year  
  • Bachelor’s degree required  
  • Students can choose to concentrate in one of five specialization areas 

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Arizona State University

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Master of Legal Studies

Phoenix, Arizona

Name of Degree: Master of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Conflict Resolution, Construction Law, Corporate and Health Care Compliance, Criminal Law, HR and Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Law and Sustainability, Sports Law and Business

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Legal Studies from Arizona State University

Drexel University

Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Masters of Legal Studies

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Masters of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 45

Concentrations:

Cybersecurity and Information Privacy, Financial Regulatory Compliance, Healthcare Compliance, Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Regulatory Compliance, Human Resources Compliance, Higher Education Compliance, NCAA Compliance and Sports Law, Criminal Law

Admission Requirements:

  • Official transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Resume
  • GMAT/GRE/LSAT/MCAT waivers available
Learn more about the Masters of Legal Studies from Drexel University

Hamline University

College of Liberal Arts

Master in the Study of Law

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Name of Degree: Master in the Study of Law

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 34

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement

Conditional admission if GPA 2.5-2.9:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Academic narrative statement
Learn more about the Master in the Study of Law from Hamline University

Northeastern University

School of Law

Master of Legal Studies

Boston, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Master of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Business Law, Health Law, Human Resources Law, Intellectual Property Law, Public Law and Policy

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Resume/CV
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • One letter of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Legal Studies from Northeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Shepard Broad College of Law

Master of Science in Law

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Law

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 36

Concentrations:

Law and Policy, Education Law, Health Law, Employment Law

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
Learn more about the Master of Science in Law from Nova Southeastern University

Regent University

School of Law

Master of Arts in Law

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Name of Degree: Master of Arts in Law

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30+

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Admissions questionnaire
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Government-issued photo ID
Learn more about the Master of Arts in Law from Regent University

Samford University

Cumberland School of Law

Master of Studies in Law

Birmingham, Alabama

Name of Degree: Master of Studies in Law

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 34

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • GRE or MAT scores recommended if GPA < 3.0
Learn more about the Master of Studies in Law from Samford University

Seattle University

School of Law

Master Of Legal Studies In Compliance And Risk Management

Seattle, Washington

Name of Degree: Master Of Legal Studies In Compliance And Risk Management

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 2 years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Healthcare Compliance, Corporate Compliance, Financial Compliance, Data & Cybersecurity Compliance

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Three references
Learn more about the Master Of Legal Studies In Compliance And Risk Management from Seattle University

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

School of Law

Master of Legal Studies

San Diego, California

Name of Degree: Master of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of interest
  • Resume/CV
  • One letter of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Legal Studies from Thomas Jefferson School of Law

The University of Arizona

James E. Rogers College of Law

Master of Legal Studies

Tucson, Arizona

Name of Degree: Master of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Compliance and Legal Risk Management, Criminal Law and Policy, Environmental Law and Policy, Family and Juvenile Law, Health Law and Policy, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy, Intellectual Property, International Trade and Business Law, Mining Law and Policy, Tax Law and Policy

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of interest
  • Resume/CV
  • One letter of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Legal Studies from The University of Arizona

University of Denver

Sturm College of Law

Master of Science in Legal Administration

Denver, Colorado

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Legal Administration

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Science in Legal Administration from University of Denver

University of New Hampshire

Franklin Pierce School of Law

Masters Degrees

Concord, New Hampshire

Name of Degree: Masters Degrees

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Intellectual Property Law, International Criminal Law and Justice, Commerce and Technology Law

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Essay
  • Resume/CV
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Masters Degrees from University of New Hampshire

The University of Oklahoma

College of Law

Master of Legal Studies

Norman, Oklahoma

Name of Degree: Master of Legal Studies

Enrollment Type: Part-Time

Length of Program: 1.25 years

Credits: 32

Concentrations:

Energy and Natural Resources Law, Indigenous Peoples Law, International Business Law, Healthcare Law

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of recommendation (optional)
Learn more about the Master of Legal Studies from The University of Oklahoma

University of the Pacific

McGeorge School of Law

Master of Science in Law

Sacramento, California

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Law

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 26

Concentrations:

Government Law & Policy, Health, Human Resources, Water & Environmental Law

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Interview may be requested
Learn more about the Master of Science in Law from University of the Pacific

Vermont Law and Graduate School

School of Law

Masters Degrees

South Royalton, Vermont

Name of Degree: Masters Degrees

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 30

Concentrations:

Environmental Law and Policy, Energy Regulation and Law, Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, Restorative Justice

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Essay
  • Two letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Masters Degrees from Vermont Law and Graduate School

What is an Online Master of Legal Studies?

You may wonder, what exactly is a Master of Legal Studies online degree? An online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is a graduate degree for nonlawyers and others working in various fields who want to expand their knowledge of law with an interdisciplinary understanding of different types of laws, regulations, and other legal issues. While it doesn’t qualify students to sit for the bar exam or practice law as an attorney, earning an MLS may help professionals enhance their knowledge of the social, political and economic impacts of the law on their industry or business. Similar master’s degrees in legal studies may include a Master of Science in Law, Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and Juris Master (JM).

MLS Curriculum and Course Examples

Online master’s in legal studies programs may include:

  • Core classes to give students a fundamental understanding of legal concepts and procedures. They may include U.S. Law and Legal Institutions, Introduction to Regulation and Compliance, Negotiation and Communication, Legal Research and Writing for Nonlawyers, etc.
  • Concentration coursework for students who have declared a concentration in a master’s in legal studies program. Schools may require students to complete a minimum of credits in the chosen concentration area. Coursework will vary. 
  • Elective courses for students to customize their studies to meet academic and professional goals. Students may be able to choose courses in other concentrations, such as international financial crimes, privacy and cybersecurity, human rights compliance, mediation and arbitration. Course topics vary from program to program. 
  • Capstone projects so students can apply and practice what they’ve learned from their MLS program, under the supervision of a capstone professor. The capstone project may occur close to or during your last semester.

Online master’s in legal studies’ programs may require around 30 credits and could take 12 to 36 months to complete. Depending on the school and curricula offered, each course may be equal to one to four credits.

Benefits of Online Master of Legal Studies Programs

Whether your career requires continuing your education or not, there is much to be gained from pursuing an online master’s in legal studies program.

Deep Legal Knowledge 

As with any master’s degree,  a master’s in legal studies can help demonstrate a deep and well-rounded understanding of your field, showing employers that you have the academic experience to be a force in their organization.  

Earning a master’s in legal studies may include courses such as American Common Law, Legal Writing, Criminal Procedure, International Law, Civil Litigation, and more. Sometimes the curriculum for a master’s in legal studies program intersects with that of juris doctor students. MLS students may be primed to learn about the legal systems in the United States, laws abroad, and how to work with different clients.

Career Growth Opportunities

People who pursue a career in law may be driven by a passion to uphold justice and protect the legal system.  A master’s in legal studies may help make you a better legal professional, with the training and education to make a difference in the lives of the people with whom you work. 

Candidates with advanced degrees are sometimes able to command more money and may be better positioned for promotions and salary increases. A master’s in legal studies can be viewed as an investment in yourself and your career that could open the door to new opportunities, growth and a better salary.

Flexibility of Online Learning

Pursuing education online can provide more flexibility for your schedule. For example, some online education programs may offer part-time enrollment with the ability to participate when you want instead of at set times. You may be able to continue working while pursuing an online master of legal studies degree. There is very little to no transportation costs with online learning, which could potentially reduce the overall cost of schooling.

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How to Choose An Online Master of Legal Studies Program

When selecting which master’s in legal studies program is right for you, there are many factors you should consider. Is the legal program or school accredited? What are the concentrations available? Is it 100% online or a hybrid model? Are you able to interact with other students? Which programs require you pass the GRE? What is the minimum undergraduate GPA required to apply? 

Below are a few resources to help you find the best online master’s in legal studies program for you:

Legal Studies Program Accreditation

To choose an online master’s degree in legal studies, it’s important to check the accreditation status of the programs. Qualified schools can be accredited by state bar associations as well as regional or national institutional accrediting agencies. Some common organizations may include the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). While the American Bar Association (ABA) does not accredit any non-Juris Doctor (J.D.) or post-J.D. program, the ABA may grant “acquiescence” to Master of Legal Studies and similar programs.

Making sure your legal programs are assessed and accredited by the appropriate accrediting agencies may demonstrate that the content of classes, quality of instruction and structure of the program have met criteria required by the agencies.

Legal Specializations Options

Many online and on-campus master’s in legal studies programs offer a selection of legal studies concentrations. It is important that you carefully compare the programs and concentrations offered. As a master of legal studies is commonly used to augment an existing career, you may want to align your concentration with your current profession so that you will graduate armed to make a greater contribution in your chosen field.

Some programs even offer a “Self Designated” concentration which allows you to cater your classes to what is uniquely of interest to you. Some common concentrations of an MLS degree include:

  • Labor Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Criminal Justice
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sports Law
  • Financial Regulatory Compliance
  • International and Human Rights Law
  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights
  • Personal Injury and Civil Litigation

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When selecting your concentration, it is especially important to align it to your preferred career field. Perhaps you have a bachelors or arts in liberal arts and work in the financial industry but have found you aren’t able to compete with colleagues who have a bachelor of science in business. If so, then a master of legal studies with a concentration in financial regulatory compliance may give you the competitive edge you need to advance in your field..

Program Structure and Learning Format

Online master of legal studies schools offer a few different instruction variations. Use our guide to select which learning style you would benefit from and which program offers the choices you need.

Online vs Hybrid Programs

Most schools’ online master of legal studies programs are 100% online. This means that all instruction, all research, all assignments, and all classroom interaction takes place over the internet. 

There are a few programs, however, that offer a hybrid approach. While the hybrid programs’ requirements will vary from program to program, what defines them is that they require students to be physically present on campus for some part of the program. This may be once a semester for a weekend, or once a month for half a day. Each program has differing requirements. 

Full-Time vs Part-Time

Is your goal to earn your Master of Legal Studies as quickly as possible or do you require the flexibility to be able to work your studies into your professional and social obligations? Answering these questions will help you determine if a full-time or part-time program is right for you.  

If you want to earn your Master of Legal Studies Programs in the least amount of time possible and have the ability to take on a full course load to focus primarily on your studies, then you might want to select a full-time program. If, on the other hand, you need to be able to maintain your full-time job, and/or have family obligations to juggle, then taking more time and enrolling in a part-time program might be a better option for you. 

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Classes

When deciding which master of legal studies program is right for you, you will need to consider whether you prefer to learn on a set schedule in sync with other students or if you prefer the flexibility of learning on your own time, independent of an online classroom. 

Synchronous master of legal studies programs allow students to attend classes on a set schedule, in concert with their fellow students, similar to a traditional classroom setting. Via webcam, students log in at specific times to view lectures, interact with their classmates, and learn in tandem. 

Conversely, asynchronous master of legal studies programs allow students to make their own schedule and view lectures on their own timeline. Students will watch pre-recorded lectures at a time that is convenient for them, work on assignments independently, and typically do not need to interact with other students. Assignments are submitted online according to set deadlines. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Law school scholarships are available for students pursuing legal and law degrees, not just J.D. students. Students who want to enroll in a master’s in legal studies online or on-campus program may also research scholarships offered by the university and federal student aid. Students may also consider tuition assistance from their employer or grant opportunities to further offset costs.

Resources for Legal Students

Applying to law school for a master’s in legal studies program may seem daunting but many schools offer law and legal students resources to support their academic and career goals. Be sure to check with your preferred program and school for career assistance, certificate options or off-campus experiences. Ultimately the best legal program for you would depend on your own career goals and what you expect to obtain from your master’s program.

Admissions Requirements for Master’s in Legal Studies Online Programs

Admission criteria of master’s in legal studies programs vary from school to school, so be sure to check with the school you are interested in for specific admission requirements.  Prerequisites may include an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited college. Most on-campus and online MLS programs do not require a GRE or Gmat score. Here is a checklist of commonly required documents for master’s in legal studies programs:

  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Official college or university transcripts.
  • One to three letters of recommendation.
  • Personal statement/statement of interest.
  • TOEFL for non-native English speakers.

Some schools may also require courses in finance or business before MLS applications, as well as writing samples or work experience in the legal field. 

A benefit of these varying admission requirements is that if you feel your GPA isn’t strong but your work experience is, you might apply to MLS programs that consider your resume and work experience.  

Legal Careers

There are many different careers you can pursue with a master’s in legal studiesGraduates can consider career paths to become a paralegal or become a compliance officer or even government work. Graduates may use the knowledge and skills gained through a master’s of legal studies to strengthen and increase the effectiveness in their current role. Most organizations in the United States consult the law or legal procedure in some capacity. 

As a result, a master of legal studies can be used to build upon your bachelor’s degree or current career – amplifying the reach and impact you have by improving your ability to navigate legal regulations, compliance, or business law.

FAQs on Online Master of Legal Studies Degrees

How is an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) different from an on-campus program?

Generally, both online and on-campus MLS programs are offered by the same schools and the curricula of on-campus and online Master of Legal Studies programs are very similar. They only differ in how the courses are delivered.

What types of online master’s degrees in legal studies are there?

There are several types of legal studies programs with a similar curriculum to a Master of Legal Studies. These include the Master of Science in Law (MSL), Juris Master (JM) or Master of Jurisprudence (MJ). Check this list of over 20 online master’s in legal studies programs and find the best one for you.

How long does it take to complete an online Master of Legal Studies degree?

On-campus and online Master of Legal Studies degrees usually require around 30 credits hours and take approximately 12 months to complete if students are enrolled in full-time studies.

Who should consider an online Master of Legal Studies program?

Prospective students or working professionals who live out of state and do not want to relocate or commute to campuses may consider an online Master of Legal Studies to take advantage of the flexibility of online degrees.

Is a Master of Legal Studies a law degree?

No, a Master of Legal Studies is not considered as a law degree even though it is offered by law schools. Law degrees usually refer to J.D. degrees. Read more about the differences between MLS vs. LL.M. vs. J.D.

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Last updated November 2021.