When most people think of a law career, they naturally think of someone cramming for nights on end to pass the bar exam and become a lawyer. Offered here are some Juris Doctor degrees intended for those hoping to follow this route. However, some warnings are in order.
In spite of the rapid growth in online learning over the past 20 years, it remains extremely risky to pursue an online degree with the intention of practicing law.
5 Most Affordable Online Law Schools
|1||University of Central Florida|
|3||Pennsylvania State University|
|4||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale|
What kind of online law school should I attend?
While the schools below will all offer you a foundation in legal studies, they will each vary in how you can specialize and what you will specifically study. For example, Liberty University and Regent University are committed to giving you a faith-based approach to law and legal studies. And on the other end of the spectrum, Penn State will provide a broad-based introduction to law from a renowned faculty community.
However you choose a program, know that all of these degrees can be completed online and at your own pace.
How much money will I make with a degree in law?
And there continues to be good employment for lawyers and for those hoping to specialize in an array of areas. These are significant challenges, and anybody hoping to become a lawyer by utilizing online education should think twice. It is one possible route into the field, but requires a lot of hard work and, to be honest, more than a little good luck.
These cautionary remarks aside, there are excellent reasons for studying law besides intending to practice as a lawyer.
We have also included here very affordable non-Juris Doctor law degrees that are intended to either prepare students for a Juris Doctor or prepare students to become paralegals, policy makers, risk managers, and HR representatives.
What can I do with a degree in law?
Whatever the source, the saying is true in that law has always been one of the most ambitious and respectable professions around, even if we do occasionally make jokes at the expense lawyers. Also, given its versatility, it can be a gateway to just about any major field, from corporate business to healthcare to politics.
Another great option is paralegal work. Paralegals are an especially in-demand career with excellent earning potential. Paralegals in areas such as Washington DC and Alaska can expect to earn around 70,000 dollars a year. Our research will help you make the most of whatever legal career you choose by finding the most affordable programs with the added flexibility of online learning.
What are the requirements for a degree in law?
The American Bar Association (ABA) currently does not accredit any online degrees and only one state- California- allows students from non-ABA accredited online schools to sit for the bar exam. Moreover, those online students who complete a Juris Doctor degree and sit for the California bar are much less likely to pass it.
Even those who manage to pass the exam face significant challenges, as it is difficult to find employment in a preexisting firm with a degree from a non-ABA accredited school.
For those who manage to practice law in California, it can take several years of law practice before they are eligible to practice in other states, so if you are planning on getting an online degree for the purpose of practicing law, expect to live in California for at least a decade. Then again, there are worse places to live than the land of sun and sand.
What are the most affordable online law degrees?
Because this list includes Juris Doctor degrees as well as master’s degrees and bachelor degrees, we have ranked the programs by cost per credit unit rather than by total cost. You may also find our Most Affordable Online Master’s Programs useful.
However, included in the description of each program is the out of pocket tuition expenses you can expect to pay for the entire degree. Now stick around while College Choice passes judgment on the most affordable online programs in the fields of law and legal studies.
Most Affordable Online Law Schools
University of Central Florida
Location: Orlando, FL
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $327
UCF in Orlando offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in addition to graduate certificate programs. Students seeking a reputable, regionally accredited online law degree should consider UCF’s online bachelor’s degree in legal studies. The 120-credit program from the community innovation and education college gives learners a foundation in law and prepares them for careers as attorneys, court reporters, paralegals, and legal assistants.
The completely online program does not require any in-person commitments. However, degree-seekers can participate in internships and study-abroad opportunities. All full-time faculty members graduated from American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law schools and can offer personalized advising and mentorship to legal studies majors. Core curriculum includes courses in law and the legal system, professionalism and civility in the law, and legal research. Students can tailor their degree to reflect their career goals by adding a minor or certificate.
University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $772
Dedicated to serving working students, Peirce College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers career-relevant degrees in business, healthcare, and legal studies. Distance learners looking for online law school programs may want to consider Peirce’s ABA-approved bachelor of science in paralegal studies. Students gain the skills to serve the legal community or enter graduate school.
Curriculum includes advanced legal research, civil litigation, and real estate law. Paralegal studies majors also must complete a paralegal capstone. The 121-credit degree accepts up to 90 transfer credits and includes online and on-campus classes. Students must complete at least four foundation classes on the Peirce campus in Philadelphia or transfer their equivalents from another ABA-accredited program. Online students in the paralegal studies program pay the same tuition rate, regardless of where they live. Some learners may qualify for a corporate discount.
Peirce College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Pennsylvania State University
Location: University Park, PA
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $898
Pennsylvania State University boasts more than 125 years of experience, delivering distance education programs. The world campus got its start in 1998, and today offers more than 150 online academic programs. The world campus offers the same tuition rate for residents and nonresidents.
Penn State’s bachelor’s in law and society covers American legal principles, the law, and legal processes and systems. Students also gain skills in legal writing, research, rhetoric, and logic. The 123-credit degree requires 15 credits of core coursework in classes, such as law and society, conflict resolution and negotiation, and rhetoric and the law. Online law and society students can apply for membership in Penn State’s Phi Delta Phi, the country’s oldest legal organization. Career opportunities for graduates of Penn State’s law and society program include legal assistant, contract negotiator, and arbitrator.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $759
A private, nonprofit institution in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University offers dozens of online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Established in 1977, Keiser’s founders wanted to create a university dedicated to serving career-focused learners.
Keiser offers a 120-credit BA in legal studies for students looking to attend an undergraduate law school online. The program takes about 40 months to complete. Distance learners who want to seek careers in law or law-related fields or pursue a graduate law degree should complete the general BA in legal studies. The program also offers the degree with a law office management concentration, which requires completion of five business and accounting courses.
Core curriculum includes classes in legal research and writing; wills, trusts, and estates; and legal interviewing and investigation. Students can take up to six electives, three of which must come from the legal studies curriculum.
Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Location: Naples, FL
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $560
A private university founded in 1990, Hodges University in Naples, Florida, offers many accredited online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees with accelerated options. Designed for professionals seeking legal training, the school’s online law degree develops practical legal skills that students can immediately apply in their workplaces. The program also prepares graduates to apply for graduate programs in law or related fields. Learners can complete the degree fully online or in a blended format.
The bachelor of science in legal studies features instruction from lawyers with relevant professional experience related to their courses. The program offers eLitigation law training and includes eLitigation and eDiscovery courses. Degree-seekers gain a foundation in legal practice and theory. The 120-credit degree includes 60 general education and 60 legal studies credits. Students take classes in data privacy and social media, advanced constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.
Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
California University of Pennsylvania
Location: California, PA
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $322
A public university founded in 1852, California University of Pennsylvania, located in California, Pennsylvania, boasts more than 200 academic programs. Cal U offers a fully online law school program for undergraduate students, including a bachelor of arts in jurisprudence with a concentration in legal studies.
The 120-credit degree includes advanced study of legal issues and the law, preparing students for careers in the legal profession and related fields. The curriculum explores issues such as legal research and writing, estates and trusts, ethics, litigation, and legal reasoning. Students take classes such as law, business, and the workplace; administrative law; and Anglo-American jurisprudence.
Cal U’s admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED and SAT or ACT scores. The school waives these requirements for applicants out of school two or more years. Applicants may optionally submit recommendation letters and a personal statement.
California University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $565
Founded by the Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1971, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers more than 400 online programs. The evangelical liberal arts university provides a bachelor of science in law and policy through its online law school. The 120-credit, fully online degree takes 3.5 years to complete and features eight-week courses. Students can transfer up to 75% of the required credits. The curriculum integrates a biblical worldview and explores the ways that Judeo-Christian values influence the legal system.
Designed for learners interested in law and public policy, the program prepares graduates for a variety of roles in legal and public affairs. Law and policy majors can choose a focus in pre-law or public policy. The pre-law focus prepares students for legal work or law school. Students who want to pursue policy work in areas of healthcare, education, and law can choose the public policy focus.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Location: La Jolla, CA
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $370
Veteran-founded in 1971, National University in La Jolla, California, offers more than 75 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Students seeking an online law school can consider NU’s BA in pre-law studies. The 180-credit degree includes classes in current legal issues, legal aspects of business, and introduction to law and legal writing. Learners must complete at least 45 credits in residence at NU. The school accepts the rest in transfer credit.
The program features four-week classes, year-round enrollment, and tuition discounts to members of the military and their families. Students develop analytical, verbal, and critical-thinking skills and gain a foundation in legal studies. Graduates hold the knowledge and skills necessary to apply to graduate programs in law or pursue a career in government or business. Curriculum covers the negotiation process, contemporary legal issues, and development of legal arguments.
National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WASC).
Location: Bellevue, NE
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $565
Founded in 1966, Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska, offers affordable, career-relevant academic programs. The university’s online law degree prepares students for jobs in the legal system or to continue their education at the graduate level. The school’s BS in legal studies provides a comprehensive overview of the American legal system and helps students develop reasoning and critical-thinking skills.
Curriculum covers topics in the legal and judicial systems, criminal justice, and political science. The 127-credit degree requires 36 general education, 40 major, and 51 elective credits. Required courses include constitutional law, liberty, and emerging policy; the rule and role of law in matters of life and death; and professional responsibility and ethics in law.
The program features instruction from experienced faculty with relevant professional experience. Students also get a chance to learn from guest lectures from judges, lobbyists, legislators, and other legal professionals.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Location: River Forest, IL
Tuition Per Credit Unit: $850
A Catholic university in River Forest, Illinois, Dominican University offers fully online and hybrid programs in business, education, social work, and nursing. Students at Dominican can earn an interdisciplinary law degree online that provides a foundation in the legal system with an emphasis on social justice.
A flexible program designed for working students, Dominican’s bachelor of professional studies in legal studies boasts strong faculty, varied courses, and an accelerated pace. Degree-seekers take eight-week courses and can attend class year-round. The curriculum includes courses in religion and the law, legal ethics, and philosophical basis of the law.
Distance learners can tailor the program to reflect their professional interests and choose up to two concentrations in fields of social justice, paralegal studies, disability advocacy, or public administration. The program also lets learners design their own concentration. Dominican accepts academic transfer credits towards the degree. Students can potentially receive credit for other prior professional and life experiences.
Dominican University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).