A master's degree in legal studies (MLS) greatly benefits professionals who need a working knowledge of law but do not want to work as lawyers. MLS programs train students in legal research and analysis, ethical standards, and risk management. Candidates can individualize their degree plans by pursuing a concentration in an area like financial regulations, information privacy and cybersecurity, and criminal law.

Best Online Master of Legal Studies Programs:

  1. Washington University in St Louis - Saint Louis, MO
  2. Webster University - Saint Louis, MO
  3. University of Illinois at Springfield - Springfield, IL
  4. University of Oklahoma - Norman, OK
  5. Pepperdine University - Malibu, CA
  6. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA
  7. West Virginia University - Morgantown, WV
  8. Texas A & M International University - Laredo, TX
  9. Regent University - Virginia Beach, VA
  10. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Legal studies graduates are prepared to work in diverse industries that closely interact with the law. For example, students who pursue a healthcare compliance concentration can become health services managers. These organizational leaders ensure their department or facility provides patient care that aligns with industry standards and government regulations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that medical and health services management positions will grow an astounding 18% from 2018 to 2028.

2019’s Best Accredited Online Master of Legal Studies Programs

Online master's in legal studies programs typically total a minimum of 30 credits, which traditional students can complete in two years. Distance learners can expedite graduation by enrolling in accelerated tracks, obtaining their credentials in as little as one year. Part-time enrollment is an option for working professionals who need to juggle busy work and family schedules. These candidates generally earn their master's degree in about three years.

Prospective students often find the plethora of degree options overwhelming as they search for the program that best supports their needs. The following rankings can help you choose the right school with regard to cost, course structure, and concentration offerings. You can also gain insight into each school's academic resources (like online tutoring) and career services (like internship placement and resume writing assistance). If a program peaks your interest, contact the school's admissions specialists for more information.

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Founded in 1853, Washington University provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs from six locations in the greater St. Louis area. It enrolls more than 15,000 students in over 90 fields of study and boasts an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The master of legal studies online, offered through the School of Law, benefits corporate, education, insurance, and real estate professionals by covering topics in legal procedures, risk management, and government regulations. Paralegals, lobbyists, and individuals working within legal and regulatory settings gain legal expertise to advance their careers.

Washington University’s online master of legal studies curriculum includes 24 credit hours that learners complete in one year. Coursework includes one required class in the foundations of law and seven electives in subjects such as civil procedure, trial advocacy, and constitutional law. Students complete classes geared toward their interests and goals as they learn to draft legal documents and conduct legal research. Through discussions, debates, and online assignments, students analyze laws and regulations as they apply to contemporary business and ethical issues.

Applicants to the online legal studies master’s degree must submit a statement of purpose, resume, and official transcripts. They also participate in an online interview. The program offers four start dates each year with applications accepted on a rolling basis. Washington University holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and the master of legal studies program obtained approval from the American Bar Association.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Business law; conflict resolution; employment law; litigation; regulatory compliance
Tuition: $2,367/credit
Credit Requirements: 24 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact
Phone: (314) 281-5200
Email: admissions@onlinelaw.wustl.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

From its Webster Groves campus in St. Louis, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate programs through five schools and colleges. Founded as one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River, Webster emphasizes global learning components in all of its educational programs.

The online master of arts in legal studies builds an understanding of the American legal system. Students study how laws, regulations, and judiciaries relate to businesses, communities, and individuals. Learners develop critical thinking and analytical skills applicable to careers that require legal expertise. Students explore legal reasoning and analysis, professional codes of conduct, theoretical and practical applications of legal principles, and legal communication practices.

The 39-credit online master’s in legal studies includes classes in jurisprudence, methods of legal research and writing, civil actions, and Anglo-American legal history. Additional courses include ethics for the legal profession, computerized legal research, and American constitutional law. Students finish the degree with a research and writing project.

To apply to Webster’s online legal studies master’s degree, students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants submit transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and an essay.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Arts in Legal Studies
Tuition: $780/credit
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (314) 246-8724
Email: robinjefferson85@webster.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Based in the capital city of Illinois, UIS joined the University of Illinois System in 1995. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, UIS provides undergraduate and graduate programs to almost 5,000 students, including more than 1,000 online learners. UIS offers a master of arts in legal studies that offers students a comprehensive understanding of the American legal system.

The 36-credit online master’s in legal studies builds practical legal knowledge for professionals who interact with laws and legal processes. Business professionals, investigators, international lawyers, and compliance experts gain insight into judicial processes, legal theory, and how law intersects with social and cultural change.

Classes in public advocacy, theories of justice, and politics and law precede four hours of clinical education coursework. Students participate in an internship with a legal aid office, private law firm, public interest group, or administrative agency to apply degree knowledge. Elective classes in human rights, social justice, criminal justice, and public policy allow students to tailor the program to their interests. The program also includes a thesis requirement for all students.

The online master’s in legal studies includes synchronous and asynchronous classes with real-time and recorded lectures. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and they must submit a personal statement.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Arts in Legal Studies
Tuition: $362/credit
Credit Requirements: 40 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (217) 206-6535
Email: les@uis.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Founded in 1890, OU provides educational programs from three locations in Oklahoma, including its main campus in Norman. The College of Law, established in 1909, is the only public law school in Oklahoma. OU Law’s more than 800 students complete graduate, professional, and dual-degree programs on campus and online.

The online master of legal studies degree provides advanced knowledge to working professionals seeking legal training. The master of legal studies online includes four specializations, including oil, gas, and energy law; indigenous peoples law; healthcare law; and international business law. Students can complete the 32-33-credit program in 15 months.

Core coursework for all concentrations emphasizes the foundations of law and legal systems. Students in the oil, gas, and energy law concentration focus on legal drafting, environmental law, contracts, and regulatory practices, while learners in the indigenous peoples program explore tribal courts, Native American gaming regulations, and religion and culture as it relates to Native American law. The oil, gas, and energy law specialization requires students to complete a one-week residency in Norman.

The healthcare law specialization offers coursework on the American healthcare system alongside classes in quality control, healthcare enterprises, coding and billing, and health insurance regulatory practices. The international business law program incorporates coursework on corporate law, international trade and payment systems, and international corporate responsibility regulations.

Prospective students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Applicants submit a resume, personal statement, optional letter of recommendation, and official transcripts.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Oil, gas, and energy law; indigenous peoples law; healthcare law; international business law
Tuition: $504/credit in-state; $884/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 32-33 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (405) 325-4699
Email: lawcommunications@ou.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

Based in Malibu, Pepperdine provides educational programs from six campuses and centers in California and abroad. Pepperdine’s five academic schools offer 73 degrees and boast a 12.5-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Offered through Pepperdine School of Law, the online master of legal studies program includes 20 credits of core courses and 10 elective classes.

Core classes include legal writing, contracts, and regulatory compliance. Elective coursework allows students to focus their studies on healthcare, intellectual property, business organization, or education law. Students can also specialize in dispute resolution, focusing on arbitration and conflict mediation while developing negotiation skills applicable to the legal, business, and government sectors.

Legal studies students complete two residencies over two weekends during the program. During residencies, students participate in role playing, critical discussion, and mock trial activities to solve legal problems. Residencies also include lectures from legal experts on current issues and interactions within the legal system. Learners typically graduate in 16-28 months.

Pepperdine accepts students on a rolling basis with three start dates each year. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree and must submit official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, statement of purpose, and resume. Applicants also participate in a video interview.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Dispute resolution
Tuition: $2,055/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 16 months

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact
Phone: (844) 707-9208
Email: admissions@onlinelaw.pepperdine.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel’s 15 colleges and schools offer more than 200 degrees. The school’s namesake, Anthony J. Drexel, opened the school with a vision to provide private, nonsectarian, coeducational higher education programs. Drexel’s current mission remains consistent with these ideals, incorporating cooperative learning options and research excellence into its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Drexel’s online master of legal studies program includes eight specializations: criminal law, cybersecurity and information privacy compliance, entrepreneurship and law, financial regulatory compliance, healthcare compliance, higher education compliance, human resource compliance, and NCAA compliance and sports law.

Core classes develop foundational knowledge of ethics and professional standards, legal research and analysis, risk assessment and management, and compliance. Learners complete specialized coursework that aligns with their interests and goals. All degrees include 30 credits, including a capstone. The capstone requires students to present a research project, literature review, or experimental study.

Applicants submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, an essay, and a resume. All students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Drexel maintains accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Drexel’s master of legal studies in healthcare compliance holds accreditation through the Compliance Certification Board.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Criminal law; cybersecurity and information privacy compliance; entrepreneurship and law; financial regulatory compliance; healthcare compliance; higher education compliance; human resources compliance; NCAA compliance and sports law
Tuition: $1,215/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (215) 895-1529
Email: audrey.woods@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Nearly 27,000 students attend WVU on campus in Morganton and online. The master of legal studies online degree offers three concentrations: healthcare, the justice system, and homeland security. Students complete 21 required credits and nine credit hours of electives. Learners typically complete the 30-credit degree in 18 months.

Core classes in law and the legal system, legal research, dispute resolution, and administrative ethics prepare students to take advanced classes in their specialization. The healthcare focus emphasizes healthcare law, long-term care regulation, and elder law through coursework that covers state and federal regulations.

Ideal for law enforcement professionals seeking to advance their career, justice system classes explore criminal law, judicial legal processes, and punishments and corrections. The homeland security concentration, tailored to emergency response, law enforcement, transportation, and immigration professionals, provides information on immigration law, military justice, and homeland security practices. All students complete a research capstone.

Applicants to the master of legal studies online program need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants submit two letters of reference, a resume, a personal statement, and official transcripts.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Healthcare; justice systems; homeland security
Tuition: $597/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE, GMAT, or LSAT

Contact
Phone: (304) 293-2614
Email: Debbie.Koon@mail.wvu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Texas A & M International University

Laredo, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Based in Laredo, TAMIU became a member of the Texas A&M University System in 1989. The school's five academic colleges serve 7,500 students on campus and online. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, TAMIU offers an online master of science in criminal justice with a legal studies focus.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and practical knowledge of the criminal justice system for professionals in public and government sectors, law enforcement and corrections, and adult and juvenile rehabilitation settings. The master’s in criminal justice includes 36 credit hours that students can complete in one year.

Students study criminology theory and justice administration with a focus on corrections, ethics, and legal studies. Core classes include foundations of the criminal justice system, law and criminal justice, and criminological theory. Elective courses include comparative criminal justice systems, cybercrime, and quantitative methods in criminal justice. Learners complete a capstone project by conducting an in-depth analysis of a topic relevant to their professional goals.

TAMIU offers six start dates each year to students pursuing the online criminal justice degree. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and must submit transcripts and a resume. Learners with a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA or 2.5 GPA with at least three years of relevant professional experience receive automatic admission.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Legal studies
Tuition: $336/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (844) 872-8712
Email: GraduateSchool@tamiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

A Christian-affiliated school located on 70 acres in Virginia Beach, Regent’s seven schools and two colleges provide undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to approximately 10,500 learners annually.

The online master of arts in law with an emphasis on general legal studies introduces students to foundational legal theories, principles, and practices. Through case studies, research projects, and interactive activities, students gain insights into legal theories, policies, and best practices. Students learn how to evaluate legal issues, communicate about law and the legal system, analyze philosophical and theological texts, and assess power structures in government sectors.

Students complete 30 credits of classes in legal thought, contract law, the American legal system and writing, and criminal law. Business professionals gain expertise in laws related to corporate and company formation, structures, rights, and liabilities. Learners with a background in real estate benefit from coursework on property law and policy.

Government professionals benefit from classes that examine the Constitution, federal and state governments, and local legal and regulatory practices. Individuals who work with contracts and legal documents build advanced competencies in performance and termination laws and regulations.

Admission to Regent’s online master’s in law program requires a bachelor’s degree and official transcripts. Applicants submit a professional resume, admissions questionnaire, and proof of identification.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Arts in Law
Available Concentrations: Advanced paralegal studies; criminal justice; healthcare law; immigration law; nonprofit organization law; alternative dispute resolution; cybersecurity law; human resources law; international business transactions; regulatory compliance; business; general legal studies; human rights and rule of law; national security
Tuition: $675/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (757) 352-4523
Email: bradjac@regent.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

Since UA graduated its first class of two women and one male in 1895, the institution has grown to almost 45,000 learners. Based in Tucson, UA offers more than 370 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs on campus and online, including an online master of legal studies degree. Offered through the James E. Rogers College of Law, the 30-credit master’s of legal studies online includes 11 concentration options.

All students complete core classes in legal procedure; American common law systems; American public law; and legal analysis, writing, and research. Learners can specialize in general legal studies, compliance and legal risk management, international economic law and policy, intellectual property, indigenous peoples law and policy, or human rights. Additional concentrations include mining law and policy, environmental law and policy, tax law and policy, criminal law and policy, and family and juvenile law.

Students can complete the online master of legal studies program in one year. Asynchronous coursework, flat-fee tuition, and no on-campus requirements allow learners to complete coursework at their own pace. Applicants submit a personal statement, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.


Program Overview
Program Name: Master of Legal Studies
Available Concentrations: Compliance and legal risk management; international economic law and policy; intellectual property; indigenous peoples law and policy; human rights; mining law and policy; environmental law and policy; criminal law and policy; family and juvenile law
Tuition: $650/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (520) 621-1373
Email: law-admissions@email.arizona.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

You can learn more about earning an online master of legal studies by exploring the complete degree guide linked below. The page covers programmatic accreditation and general admission requirements. You can also learn about certifications and licensure available to legal studies graduates.

Consult this in-depth careers page to explore the growing opportunities in the legal studies field. The guide contains job options by degree level, salary potential, and professional development resources.