Online Full-Time Master of Legal Studies Programs

It is important that you carefully consider if a part-time or full-time online master of legal studies program is right for you.

You should assess your time commitments, your finances, work/life balance, career trajectory and your personal learning style. Luckily, one factor you do not have to consider is the quality of education. Both part-time and full-time MLS options offered by the same school may receive the same level of education, same course content, same professors, and same academic resources.

Legal theory, application of the law, and legal research will be taught and applied in both types of programs. Ultimately, making the right decision will help to set you off on a path toward success.

Ask yourself:

  • How much time can I commit to my studies?
  • Do I need to earn your degree within a set period of time?
  • Can I afford to not work, or work just part-time?
  • What are the income tax implications of returning to school?
  • If I have to maintain a full-time job while I study, will I be able to maintain my family obligations?
  • Will I qualify for financial aid if I only attend part-time?
  • Will I be able to maintain my focus if I only attend part-time?
  • Will I be more successful with immersion into my studies full-time?
  • Is your company reimbursing a part of your tuition

Sponsored Online MLS and Law Programs

American University

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

Fordham University

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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Benefits of Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time programs may typically be completed in 18-24 months. The coursework may be quite demanding and being able to focus full time on your studies can be beneficial.

If you want to maximize your time and earn your degree quickly, full-time can be a good option. Some forms of financial aid require that you be a full-time student, so choosing a full-time program may help you maximize the aid that you receive. Some programs charge by the semester/quarter rather than by the class, so full-time may also enable you to save money if you are enrolled in one of those programs.

Drawbacks of Full-Time Enrollment

Full-time programs are a big time commitment and may make it challenging to maintain a full-time job. Full-time students may not be able to juggle a family, a job, and school. If you are unable to work while in school, you may need to take out student loans to help support you during the program duration.

Part-time MLS students who are working in a career may have an opportunity of immediately applying newly learned legal concepts to their daily work. Transitioning from a working professional to a full-time student is a big adjustment and can take time. It may be difficult to jump into a rigorous full-time program.

Frequently Asked Questions on Online Full-Time Master of Legal Studies Degrees

What is the minimum number of credit hours required to maintain full-time enrollment?

Most graduate programs and financial aid awards require six credits to maintain full-time status, so generally students may take two courses each term. Depending on the program, however, there may be courses that are just one or 1.5 credits. In this case, students may need to take more than two courses each term.

How can I balance my workload while working and being enrolled in a full-time MLS program?

The solutions may vary widely by programs, individuals and their work type. Some tips may include: creating a personal schedule for yourself; taking no more than six credits; or enrolling in more courses later, once you have a stable schedule. In an online program, students may benefit from online MLS programs that may eliminate the need for commuting.

How long does it take to complete a full-time online MLS program compared to a part-time program?

It may depend on how many credits students take for their part-time program each term. Generally, a 30-credit MLS program may be completed in as few as 12 months in full-time enrollment, while part-time may take two years or more.

Sponsored Online MLS and Law Programs

Pepperdine University

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

Washington University School of Law

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Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

  • Complete in as little as 18 months
  • Bachelor’s degree required  
  • Students can choose to concentrate in one of five specialization areas 

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Information for the above programs was retrieved as of February 2022. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the school’s website.