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 are the best business law programs of 2020? Here are our top 5:
|1||Tulane University||New Orleans, LA|
|2||Loyola University of Chicago||Chicago, IL|
|3||Western Michigan University||Lansing, MI|
|4||The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa, AL|
|5||Widener University||Chester, PA|
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?
|New Orleans, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 85%||
Tulane's online master's degree in labor and employment law appeals to working professionals who want an asynchronous program. The 30-credit curriculum includes coursework in legal analysis, an introduction to employment discrimination law, and sex and gender issues in the workplace. Full-time students can earn their degree in two years.
The university helps degree-seekers and alumni earn high-paying jobs by offering an extensive alumni network. Students can also access CRIS — an online portal that features job postings and career development courses.
Admission requirements include GRE scores and undergraduate transcripts. Tulane does not charge out-of-state tuition to online degree-seekers. All incoming learners submit FAFSA results to apply for federal aid programs.
Loyola University of Chicago
|Chicago, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 74%||
Practicing attorneys who want to specialize may be interested in Loyola's master's in business law and compliance program. The hybrid curriculum features three core courses: business planning, international business transactions, and a business law thesis. Through approximately 25 electives, students can explore topics like contracts and entertainment law. Students must earn a total of 24 credits, including a written thesis.
Specialized career services for law students include one-on-one advising sessions, mock interviews, and the latest information concerning judicial clerkships throughout the nation. Thanks to these resources, 91% of Loyola's School of Law alumni find a job within 10 months of graduation.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and a law degree. Students who live outside of Illinois do not pay higher tuition rates. Loyola's advisors help prospective and current students explore federal and private financial aid opportunities.
Western Michigan University
|Lansing, MI||Graduation Rate: 74%||
WMU's Law School offers an online master's in corporate law and finance. Courses in this 36-credit program include advanced corporate transactions, corporate professional responsibility, and corporate governance and finance. Students can customize the program by selecting a global track or a small business track.
WMU provides law students with personalized resources like career coaches, mock interview programs, and networking opportunities. These services help nearly two-thirds of alumni find a job before or immediately after graduating.
Admission requirements include a JD, one recommendation letter, a personal statement, and a writing sample. Full-time students receive a significant tuition discount compared to part-time learners. Merit-based scholarships award up to full tuition to eligible learners.
The University of Alabama
|Tuscaloosa, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
UA's online master of laws program offers a concentration in business transactions. During the 24-credit curriculum, students analyze tax procedures, partnerships, and executive compensation. In the program's final year, students take comprehensive examinations on UA's Tuscaloosa campus.
Approximately 94% of alumni report finding a job within 10 months of earning a degree. UA helps students achieve professional success by posting the latest job openings and resume guides on Symplicity — the university's online career resources platform.
Prospective students submit undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and UA recommends — but does not require — one recommendation letter. The program does not charge out-of-state tuition.
|Chester, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Widener offers a dual MBA/master of jurisprudence in corporate and business law. Students complete 48 credits to earn both degrees in just 2.5 years. All coursework can be taken online.
Participants complete 24 credits of business classes as well as 24 credits of law classes. Coursework covers topics like corporate compliance and ethics, managing business processes, and information systems and data analytics. Students also take two capstone courses.
Applicants to the dual-degree program must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students should send in transcripts, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a summary describing why they want to enroll in the program. Some students may also be asked to submit GMAT scores.
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.
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