Well paid and highly respected, lawyers draw on skills including public speaking, persuasion, and critical analysis. Law students learn to understand and practice the law. Attending a top-ranked school can lead to high-paying career paths in fields such as business and politics.
Applicants to online law schools typically need a bachelor’s degree. However, students with various backgrounds can receive admission. Common undergraduate majors for law students include English, political science, history, and business.
This guide to online law schools provides an overview of available degrees, typical courses, and career options.
View Our Rankings List Here
Questions About Law School
Q. Can I go to law school online?
Many schools offer hybrid JD programs, but few deliver fully online JD programs. Learners may pursue other law degrees entirely online.
Q. What types of law degrees are there?
JD programs prepare students to practice law. Law students can also earn a master of science in law, a master of legal studies, or a juris master.
Q. What degree do I need to get into law school?
Law school applicants need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. Most programs accept students with any undergraduate major.
Why Get a Law Degree?
While earning an online law degree, learners build extensive legal knowledge. These programs prepare students for various legal careers. While law school is expensive, lawyers often earn high salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that lawyers earn a median salary of $126,930 per year.
Many online law schools offer master’s degrees in the field. However, fully online JD programs are rare. Learners who want to attend law school online may consider hybrid JD programs, which blend on-campus and online learning. Degree-seekers in hybrid programs may visit campus only a few times per semester.
How Much Does a Law Degree Cost?
Tuition rates for law degrees vary by school. However, EducationData.org reports an average tuition cost of $137,533 for JD programs. Most law programs require three years, but part-time options may take longer to complete.
As of 2022, only St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, offers a fully online JD program with approval from the American Bar Association. However, many online law schools offer hybrid JD programs. Institutions may also deliver other fully online law degrees, such as a master of legal studies.
Additional Online Student Fees
Students who attend law school online may save on costs associated with relocating or commuting to campus. Online learners typically pay additional technology fees, which cover services such as tech support. Online students may also pay graduation fees.
For hybrid programs, learners must pay travel expenses for required in-person activities. Degree-seekers may attend conferences or visit campus regularly. Graduates of JD programs also pay to take the bar exam.
How Much Do Law School Majors Make?
Graduates of JD programs commonly become lawyers, who earn a median salary well above the median for all occupations. Lawyers with significant experience may secure positions as judges or magistrates, who earn an annual median salary of $141,080.
People with a law-related master’s degree can apply their legal expertise to a variety of careers. Degree-holders may become hearing officers, who earn an annual median salary of $97,520. Graduates can also pursue roles as human resources managers, legal assistants, and lobbyists.
Courses in a Law Program
Law students gain a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. legal system and the practice of law. Learners develop skills in critical analysis, legal research, and writing.
Law programs cover topics including civil procedure, criminal law, and constitutional law. Many programs offer specializations such as environmental law and civil rights law. The following list highlights three courses common to law programs. Course titles and content vary by program.
Legal Research and WritingWriting and research play a major role in legal practice. This course focuses on legal writing strategies for documents such as trial memoranda and appellate briefs. Students explore the relationship of legal research to case preparation and analysis.
Property LawProperty law focuses on the private ownership of land and personal property. This course covers topics such as landlord and tenant relationships. Other topics include land-use issues and forms of concurrent ownership. Students examine adverse possession and easements.
Constitutional LawLaw programs explore the Constitution’s role in determining citizens’ rights and the overall government structure. Degree-seekers explore topics such as due process and congressional regulatory power. The course also explores courts’ authority to declare various legislation unconstitutional.
Most Affordable Online Law Schools 2022
Located in Morgantown, WVU offers an online master of legal studies designed for students who need a working knowledge of the law but do not plan to become lawyers. Students can choose from three concentrations: healthcare, justice systems, and homeland security.
The 30-credit program focuses on regulation, policy, and compliance. Students take courses such as law and the legal system, law and society, and researching the law. Students take elective courses in their chosen concentration, including homeland security, healthcare law, or immigration and border security. Most students finish in just 18 months, and all courses occur on a flexible schedule.
The graduate school requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 to begin the admissions process, but the department prefers at least a 3.0. Students may waive the GRE requirement with five or more years of relevant work experience or with a minimum GPA of 3.4.
WVU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Dayton, Ohio, UD offers several online law programs, including a hybrid juris doctor (JD) and an online master of laws (LL.M.).
The hybrid JD takes four years to complete and offers students more flexibility than a traditional law degree. Students attend weekly live classes through online frameworks and attend two to three on-campus experiences per year. Students can take the bar exam pending their state's requirements.
The LL.M. in American and transnational law program occurs solely online, and students finish in as little as one year. Students gain an understanding of U.S. law and legal practice.
Law school applicants submit applications through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and must submit LSAT scores or the GRE. LL.M. applicants must hold a JD and may apply through LSAC or the law school.
UD is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and boasts departmental accreditation from the American Bar Association.
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Located in San Diego, California, Thomas Jefferson offers several online law programs, including three master's degree concentrations and one doctor of juridical science (JSD) program.
Master's concentrations include financial compliance and risk management, taxation, and financial services. Students take eight-week, asynchronous courses, allowing them to concentrate on fewer courses per term. Students with a law degree may opt for the master of laws track, while those with a bachelor's degree may choose the master of science in law track. JSD students complete 60 credits of in-depth, independent study to complete the program.
Master's students may choose one of eight start dates per year and should contact the graduate admissions department for admission requirements. JSD applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a master's degree to qualify for admission.
Thomas Jefferson is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.