Online master’s in legal studies programs prepare learners for various law careers. Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree. Some programs require resumes, personal statements, and recommendation letters. Coursework covers negotiation, law and strategy, and data regulation and compliance. Learners can customize their degree with concentrations.
Graduates with a master’s in legal studies degree can pursue careers outside the legal arena. They may work as human resources managers, senior compliance officers, or business analysts.
This page lists the most affordable online legal studies degrees. Read on to learn about common courses and salary potential for graduates.View Our Rankings List Here
Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Studies
Can you practice law with a master’s in legal studies?
An on-campus or online master’s in legal studies degree does not qualify graduates to practice law. Graduates can use the degree to pursue management-level roles in various industries.
What jobs can you get with a legal studies degree?
Graduates may work for law practices, corporations, government departments, or lobby groups. Many employers need professionals with in-depth knowledge of the law.
What field of law is most in demand?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the insurance and finance, healthcare, and consulting fields may experience a high need for lawyers.
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Why Get a Master’s in Legal Studies?
Students pursuing an online master’s in legal studies degree benefit from flexibility. Many programs run asynchronously, allowing enrollees to complete coursework at their convenience. Online learning also allows students to enroll in the most affordable programs without relocating. Distance learners can access the same resources as their on-campus peers.
Earning a master’s degree can increase earning potential. Professionals with a master’s degree earn about $13,000 more annually than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree-holders experience only a 2% unemployment rate.
How Much Does a Master’s in Legal Studies Degree Cost?
Degree costs vary by school and program length. The average cost of a master’s degree is $66,340, according to EducationData.org. Most master’s in legal studies programs charge per-credit tuition. This rate benefits part-time learners balancing their education with work. However, part-time enrollees may need an extra year to graduate.
Learners can save money by attending public, in-state schools. Private schools may charge significantly higher tuition. Scholarships and grants can help degree-seekers pay for their education. Students should first complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal grants and loans.
Additional Online Student Fees
Online learners save money by avoiding a campus commute. However, they should budget for expenses such as books and online learning fees. Some programs also charge graduation fees. Students may need to buy new computers or upgrade their internet. Universities post technology requirements online.
Some graduates pursue professional certifications or join associations. Both require fees. Some organizations awarding certifications offer member discounts.
Courses in a Master’s in Legal Studies Program
Affordable online legal studies degrees emphasize compliance, human resources, and negotiation fundamentals. Students develop a broad understanding of the law. Concentrations allow learners to align their degrees with their career aspirations. Some options include health law, intellectual property, and international trade.
See below for courses commonly found in master’s in legal studies programs. Not all programs offer these courses. Learners should check with their prospective schools on specific offerings.
Many law disputes involve contracts between two parties. Learners analyze contract fundamentals, including purpose, structure, and requirements. This information helps students identify problems and parties reach agreements. Other learning outcomes include recognizing breach of contract and avoiding ethical conflicts.
Law professionals must know how to write and analyze legal documents. This course teaches research and writing best practices by assigning primary and secondary sources. Students engage with online legal databases and practice writing legal documents. Graduates use their skills to draft papers and give presentations.
Civil Procedure and Litigation
These courses cover the processes involved in holding a trial. Students analyze different procedures, such as pleadings, discovery, and jury selection. Coursework highlights pretrial and how different courts interact. These assignments help learners understand how lawyers and judges operate within the justice system.
Career and Salary Outlook for Legal Studies
Online master’s in legal studies graduates work in many industries. Learners can visit their school’s career center website to take interest assessments, explore job boards, and prepare for interviews.
See below for three potential careers for legal studies degree holders. Salaries vary by geographic location and employer. Click the embedded links to learn more about each job.
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
A master’s in legal studies degree provides the skills these professionals need to help disputing parties reach agreements. These professionals answer questions and draft contracts. They may work with local or state government agencies. Entry-level positions require bachelor’s degrees. Master’s degrees can lead to leadership positions.
Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners
These professionals use their legal education to draft legal transcripts. They use stenography machines or other devices. Professionals need strong attention to detail. Learners with a master’s need additional training to enter this field. A court reporting program takes 2-3 years to finish.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
These professionals help lawyers with research, organization, and evidence analysis. They draft legal documents and interview clients. Many professionals work for legal services agencies or the federal government. Paralegals and legal assistants need an associate degree. Some employers prefer applicants with advanced degrees.
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Located in Los Angeles, USC's Gould School of Law offers an online master of studies in law. Students take courses 100% online in full-time or part-time tracks and can complete the program in as few as 16 months.
The 21-credit program starts with two courses: an introduction to the U.S. legal system and legal research. From there, students take 18 credits in their chosen certificate from one of the following: U.S. law, business law, compliance, entertainment law and industry, financial compliance, healthcare compliance, human resources law, or privacy law and cybersecurity. Students may also choose a general track by taking courses from each certificate section.
USC does not require GRE or LSAT scores, but students must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students may transfer up to five credits into the program for elective use.
USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Based in Tallahassee, FSU offers an online juris master with three concentrations: financial regulation and compliance, legal risk management and HR compliance, and healthcare regulation.
The 30-credit program begins with five required common courses: torts, introduction to legal studies and research, legislation and regulation, regulatory compliance, and contracts. Students then take advanced electives in their chosen concentration to complete the program. Each concentration offers a targeted series of courses designed for advanced study and includes courses such as e-health and telemedicine, economic privacy and cybersecurity, or consumer protection law.
Applicants must submit GRE or LSAT scores to apply (waived through fall 2021). The school does not require a minimum GPA, and students do not need prior work experience to qualify for the program. FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in College Station, Texas A&M offers an online master of laws in three online-only concentrations: international tax curriculum, risk management, and wealth management. Candidates in the international tax track may also choose a master of jurisprudence degree track.
Students take just one or two courses per session. Students begin with courses such as an introduction to the U.S. legal system and ethics in decision-making before moving on to concentration track courses. The tracks require around 24 credits, while the master of jurisprudence in international tax degree requires 30. Students may also take capstone courses for greater experience in research and hands-on problem-solving.
Applicants must possess a law degree from a school accredited by the American Bar Association to qualify for admission. The school does not specify a minimum GPA or work experience requirements.
Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Malibu, California, Pepperdine offers an online master of legal studies with a full-time or part-time track. Students complete courses online with two in-person weekend residencies on Pepperdine's campus required. Students may also choose to pursue optional certificates in dispute resolution, human resources, or litigation.
The 32-credit program includes foundation courses such as contracts, legal writing, constitutional law, and civil procedure and litigation. Students take 18 credits of electives designed to further focus their degree in areas such as intellectual property, business organizations, and education law. Motivated students may also apply for the dual-degree master of dispute resolution program and earn both degrees in less time than applying separately.
Pepperdine accepts applications on a rolling basis with three yearly start dates. Students must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. The school does not require LSAT or GRE scores.
Pepperdine is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Based in Washington, D.C., GW offers an online master of studies in law for government procurement law. Students study weekly through online synchronous course sessions with no residency requirements and can begin the program in either fall or spring.
Students begin with a government contracts overview course in their first term. Students then choose a thesis or non-thesis track and take courses such as the formation of government contracts, comparative public procurement, government contracts moot court, and government procurement of intellectual property. Non-thesis track students must also take four-credit selected topics in government procurement acquisition policy-making to complete the program.
Students must hold a bachelor's degree and a JD from an accredited institution to begin the application process. Students do not need to submit LSAT or GRE scores to apply. GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Featured Online Legal Studies Programs
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