In a world that's increasingly connected through business, it's crucial that organizations work with professionals who can navigate complex business regulations and protect their own interests. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment rates for lawyers are projected to grow by 6% between 2016 and 2024, which is on par with the national average rate of job growth. A master's in business law online is perfect for those who are interested in both the legal and business worlds and who want a degree that will prepare them for a wide variety of positions in those fields.
What's the Difference Between a Master's in Business Law and a Juris Doctor (JD)?
There are a few key differences between a juris doctor (JD) degree and a master's degree in business law. A JD degree is usually considered the first degree in law or the basic degree needed to practice law in the U.S. JD degree programs require incoming students to have bachelor's degrees and submit LSAT scores. This degree is offered by American Bar Association-approved law schools, and graduates must complete the bar exam. A JD degree typically takes three years to complete and provides students with a broad foundation in fundamental theories and concepts in the U.S. legal system.
A master's in business law is an advanced law degree that emphasizes legal issues in the business world. Most business law master's programs require incoming students to already have a JD degree and boast curricula that cover business-specific areas of law rather than general legal concepts. This master's degree is ideal for legal professionals who want to enter an advanced area of U.S. or international law and for international lawyers who would like an education in American law.
What Are The Best Online Master's in Business Law Programs?
The law school at Atlanta, Georgia's Emory University offers an online master of laws with a concentration in transactional law that is designed for practicing lawyers or new graduates who already hold juris doctors (or foreign equivalents) from schools accredited by the American Bar Association. The program is popular among international students who are pursuing careers with global corporations or nonprofits and need a strong foundational understanding of U.S. law.
Students finish this program online in 18 months, but can take up to four years. Part-time options are available for students who do not require a student visa. This 24-credit program is easy to customize, and transactional law is just one of six available concentrations. Other concentrations include human rights law, child law and policy, and law and religion. Foreign-trained graduates of this program are eligible to sit the U.S. bar exam in several states, including New York and Georgia.
Applications are accepted until June 30 for fall semester and November 15 for spring semester. Prospective students are required to participate in an interview with one or more admission committee members, which can be via teleconference. Once accepted, students are assigned to an academic advisor; they also have access to the law library and Microsoft Office 365, including email services.
Emory University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|New Orleans, LA||
Existing or aspiring human resources professionals and business managers can advance their careers with an online master of jurisprudence in labor and employment law from Tulane University's law school. Established in 1847 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tulane is the 12th-oldest American law school and teaches both common law and civil law.
The two-year, 30-credit curriculum includes required classes in legal analysis, employment law, social media issues, and labor law, plus a capstone course. The capstone is a group project in which students must negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with their supervising instructor, and then draft four additional policy projects. Elective options include sex and gender issues in the workplace, negotiating skills, and workplace privacy.
All courses are offered online except for one required on-campus Employment Law Immersion Weekend, which is held every summer at the New Orleans campus. The weekend includes a keynote speaker, lectures and workshops led by industry leaders, and opportunities to network with professors, classmates, and industry professionals.
Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, a computer with high-speed Internet, basic computer skills, and proficiency in English. Applicants also need a letter of recommendation from someone not related to them.
Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama
The online master of laws with concentration in business transactions program at the University of Alabama's Hugh F. Culverhouse, Jr. School of Law is designed for working lawyers who cannot attend on-campus classes. The curriculum helps attorneys guide their clients through business ventures from start to finish, teaching skills in entity and formation, growth financing, reorganizations and mergers, and recession and dissolution. Other notable class topics include securities regulation, offshore financial transactions, criminal tax procedure, and intellectual property.
Online classes are offered in the evenings in a synchronous format. Students log into live virtual classrooms and interact with professors and classmates over video. Video streams and podcasts of previously recorded lectures are also available.
Prior to the start of the program, students participate in a required online orientation. Attendance at the live session is encouraged, but a pre-recorded session is also available. Students are required to attend campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the summer after their third semester for comprehensive exams. The 24-semester-hour program usually takes two years to complete, but students who take classes four nights a week can finish in one year.
Applicants need a law degree and a strong academic record. Admissions are primarily based on prior academic performance, but relevant practical experience is also considered. Tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students, and the program may satisfy state bar annual Continuing Legal Education requirements.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|South Orange, NJ||
Working professionals who do not plan to become attorneys can earn an online master of science in jurisprudence from Seton Hall University's school of law. Located in South Orange, New Jersey, Seton offers specializations in health and intellectual property law.
This 31-credit program offers students fully online or hybrid options. Students must select a concentration area, choosing between financial services compliance, health and hospital law, pharmaceutical and medical device law and compliance, intellectual property law, or privacy law and cyber security. Dual concentrations are allowed. Graduates find jobs in risk management, healthcare administration, patents and trademarks, and quality assurance.
Online courses are offered five times a year and are taken consecutively. Courses last eight weeks, and the program takes two years to complete (except for students pursuing a dual concentration). All students take introduction to law and legal writing as their first course. Classes begin and end on set dates, but students can decide when to log in each week. They communicate with instructors and classmates through email and online discussion forums.
Seton Hall's admissions committee looks for applicants with a diversity of professional experiences. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or foreign equivalent and professional experience in their chosen concentration. Test scores are not required. There is no residency requirement for the online program. Transfer credits from law schools accredited by the American Bar Assoication may be accepted.
Seton Hall University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, Loyola University of Chicago is the largest Jesuit Catholic university in the U.S. and the only such institution in Chicago. Its online master of laws in business and compliance law program is one of only 14 in the U.S. accredited by the Compliance Certification Board. It is designed for attorneys seeking expertise in transactional law, compliance, business planning, corporate counseling, and securities, and students who concentrate on compliance qualify for compliance industry certification examinations.
Online students can begin this program in the fall, spring, or summer and graduate in two years with part-time study. Required courses are business planning; governance, ethics, and compliance; and a thesis project. Electives include case studies, seminars, drafting contracts, and policies and procedures.
To graduate, students need 24 credits including a thesis project and must attend two on-campus Education Immersion Weekends. These weekend events provide online students with networking opportunities among alumni, faculty, and fellow students. The online learning environment utilizes live classes, recorded lectures, bulletin board assignments, and quizzes and exams. Course materials may be accessed at any time. Students also have access to career services and the technology help desk.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree, a law degree or foreign equivalent, and two years of professional experience in business or compliance.
Loyola University of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
What Will I Learn in an Online Master's in Business Law Program?
Each master's in business law online program will have its own unique curriculum and course offerings. However, there are a few common courses that you should find in all business law master's programs. Below is a sample curriculum that describes some of these common courses:
- Business Organizations
This course examines the laws that govern businesses and organizations, with an emphasis on corporations. The class covers foundational concepts such as agency, partnerships, and the structure and function of a corporation that prepare students to work as legal consultants with corporations.
- Entertainment Law
This course includes study on a variety of topics like business models, contracts, case laws, and statutes in fields such as film, television, social media, music, radio, and publishing. The coursework teaches students the skills needed to work as legal professionals in the entertainment industry. Students will also study celebrity privacy rights, intellectual property, and cyber law issues.
- Real Estate Law and Business
This class prepares students for careers as real estate attorneys. Students learn the basic concepts of three main transactions: the purchase and sale agreement, the listing agreement between brokers and sellers, and the financing arrangements between lenders and borrowers.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Business Law Degrees
It is incredibly important to ensure that you enroll in an accredited master's in business law online program. Accreditation refers to a process of evaluation that ensures that a school meets certain academic standards. Schools undergo this process of evaluation to verify that they offer qualify educations. Most schools in the U.S. are regionally accredited, which is the most prestigious form of accreditation. Regional accreditation is usually pursued by nonprofit private and state schools and is widely recognized. On the other hand, national accreditation is usually pursued by for-profit institutions, religious universities, and trade or vocational schools.
Accreditation is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The ED is a federal agency that oversees regional accreditation and individual accreditation agencies. Similarly, the CHEA oversees accreditation agencies and ensure that they comply with certain standards. You can find a full list of accredited institutions on the ED's website.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Business Law Graduates
Graduates with master's degrees in business law are prepared to succeed in a wide variety of careers. Those with a master's in business law who do not also have a JD degree can become paralegals or finance analysts. Successful business attorneys and other legal or business professionals typically have strong skills in communication, analysis, research, interpersonal, and judgment. These positions also appeal to those who are creative, steadfast, and detail-oriented. Below are five occupations that an online master's in business law can prepare you for:
- Business Attorney
Business attorneys focus on issues that affect business, such as taxation and intellectual property. In order to enter this field, individuals should earn both a JD degree and a master's of business law.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $68,260
Late Career: $128,000
- Corporate Counsel
Corporate counsels are lawyers who provide a business or organization with legal protection and advice on business law. These legal professionals work solely for one business. Most corporations looking to hire corporate counsels desire candidates with specializations in business or corporate law.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $91,128
Late Career: $151,735
These legal professionals assist lawyers in negotiating and drafting contracts, conducting research, and performing other legal duties. Depending on the employer, this position usually requires candidates who have a general knowledge of business law. Paralegals are not required to have a JD degree.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $40,032
Late Career: $56,776
- Law Professor
These professors work in institutions of higher education to teach law courses to undergraduate and graduate students, either in classrooms or in law clinics. Law professors often have a particular speciality, such as business law, and should have a JD degree in addition to their master's of business law.
- Management Analyst
Management analysts help organizations run more efficiently, minimizing costs and increasing revenue by advising managers and meeting with clients. Depending on the position, many employers desire candidates with either an MBA in business law or a master's degree in business law.
Median Annual Salary
Entry Level: $58,840
Late Career: $79,951
MASTER'S IN BUSINESS LAW SALARY
A master's in business law online can significantly increase your salary throughout your career. In many cases, individuals with specialized master's degrees in business law can can enter mid-level jobs rather than entry-level jobs in occupations related to their field immediately after graduation. Even if you are interested in pursuing careers in business or management rather than in law, earning your master's in business law can provide you with skills relevant to the needs of a corporation and can therefore make you an even more competitive candidate for a variety of positions.
Joining a professional organization can help professional business law professionals pursue educational and occupational opportunities and stay informed about current issues in the field. Professional organizations for business law professionals provide their members with opportunities to search for jobs, public their work in journals, attend conferences, and participate in other activities related to the field. For example, the ABA's business law section offers an annual conference that features networking opportunities and talks on subjects in the legal and business worlds. Additionally, many university law programs offer professional organizations in order to connect graduates with potential employers.
Financing Your Online Master's in Business Law Program
There are a few different ways to fund your master's in business law online. Some students rely on scholarships from outside organizations, such as the Fulbright Scholar Program. Others rely on funding through their university, as several law programs offer merit-based scholarships and grants to top applicants. Additionally, many students rely on their own savings and income from part-time jobs. In order to access federal funding opportunities such as scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study, you will have to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.