Most Affordable Online Law Schools 2021

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Legal studies students learn about the court system, build legal research and writing skills, and examine methods of dispute resolution. An online format offers flexibility for working professionals and busy students.

A bachelor’s in legal studies or pre-law prepares graduates for a variety of career paths, including as a paralegal, arbitrator, or mediator. Many of these fields offer above-average salaries and strong projected job growth. Other legal careers, such as attorney or judge, typically require a JD degree. However, an online bachelor’s program in legal studies enables graduates to apply to law school to become a lawyer.

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Recommended Online Programs

Our list ranks the most affordable online law and legal studies programs to help prospective students find the best fit for their budget and career goals. This article also introduces requirements for entering a law program, the benefits of earning an online degree in law, and scholarships for online law students.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Law Schools

Rank School Location
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
2 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA
3 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus State College, PA
4 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
5 Hodges University Fort Meyers, FL
6 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
7 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
8 National University La Jolla, CA
9 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
10 Dominican University River Forest, IL

FAQ


  • What is the difference between a juris doctor and a law degree?

    A juris doctor degree, or JD, offers professional training for lawyers. A three-year postgraduate degree, a JD prepares graduates to take the bar exam and practice law.


  • What degree do most lawyers have?

    Lawyers typically hold a JD degree and pass the bar exam to practice law. Other legal careers often require a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in law, or an associate degree.


  • What is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

    People often use the titles “lawyer” and “attorney” interchangeably. Lawyers and attorneys both possess legal training, but the title of “attorney” specifically refers to those qualified to practice law.


  • How long does an online law degree take?

    An online law degree at the undergraduate level typically takes four years for full-time students. Applicants with prior college credit often complete their degree in less time.


Most Affordable Online Law Schools 2021



  1. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    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).

  2. Peirce College
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    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).

  3. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    State College, PA

    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).

  4. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    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).

  5. Hodges University
    Location

    Fort Meyers, FL

    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).

  6. California University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    California, PA

    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).

  7. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    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).

  8. National University
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    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).

  9. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    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).

  10. Dominican University
    Location

    River Forest, IL

    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).

What Are the Goals of a Law Degree?

A law degree trains students in legal analysis, research, and writing. While lawyers need a JD to practice law, an undergraduate law degree offers foundational training in the legal system. Degree-seekers explore topics like the history of the American legal system, comparative laws, and economic regulations.

Within an online law program, majors often specialize their course of study with a concentration in paralegal studies, business law, or compliance. A concentration offers focused training that often leads to a specialized career path after graduation. The degree also prepares graduates for JD programs.

Why Get a Law Degree?



A law degree offers many personal and professional benefits for students. While strengthening analytical skills and studying the law, learners increase their earning potential and advance their career.

Gain Legal Training
During an online law degree, majors study legal writing, legal research, and the legal system. Legal training prepares graduates for a variety of opportunities, including as a paralegal or legal assistant.
Prepare for Law School
A pre-law degree helps undergraduates build foundational skills and prepare for a JD program. Graduates use their training and experience when applying for law school.
Strengthen Analytical Skills
Legal coursework builds strong analytical skills as majors examine legal rulings and interpret the law.
Advance Your Career
A bachelor’s degree opens more career paths, allowing professionals to advance in their current career or pursue a new career.
Higher Earning Potential
Professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn higher salaries than those with an associate degree or high school diploma. Completing a bachelor’s degree often increases your earning potential.

 
 

What Are the Requirements for a Law Degree?

Undergraduates interested in an online law program need to meet prerequisite requirements. At most colleges, that means holding a high school diploma or the equivalent and taking a standardized test like the ACT or SAT.

Transfer students often need to meet different requirements. Many colleges require official college transcripts showing a minimum GPA for transfer admissions. Applicants need to submit letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, or a resume, depending on the school.

After gaining admission, law students complete general education, major, and elective requirements. Programs often include a capstone project or thesis to graduate.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Law Students



Professional organizations help online law students prepare for the next steps after earning their bachelor’s degree, whether that means entering the workforce or applying to law schools. In the legal field, professional associations offer networking opportunities, professional development support, and training opportunities. Many also host career centers.


  • American Bar Association Founded in 1878, the ABA advocates for legal professionals and accredits law schools. Members benefit from free continuing education opportunities, legal tech resources, and the ABA career center. The ABA also offers career webinars, articles, and podcasts for students and early career professionals. The association offers a free membership to law students.

  • National Association for Legal Professionals An association for legal support professionals, NALS offers certification programs, a career center, and networking opportunities through conferences and forums. Members enjoy access to education and career services to identify job opportunities, build their skills, and advance their careers. The professional paralegal certification helps professionals demonstrate advanced knowledge and expertise.

Scholarships for Law Students

Undergraduates pursuing an online degree in law qualify for many scholarship opportunities. Professional organizations, private foundations, and law firms all offer scholarships for students studying the law. In addition to the following opportunities, students often look for scholarships based on their career goals, state, or school.

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the scholarship supports students pursuing a career in an anti-fraud field. Eligible applicants attend an accredited school full-time. The scholarship application requires official transcripts and two letters of recommendation.
Amount: $10,000

Emery Reddy Scholarship for Legal Studies

Who Can Apply: Emery Reddy offers a scholarship for students studying the law, including students pursuing an online law degree. Eligible applicants demonstrate a dedication to the study of law by submitting a 500-word essay. Emery Reddy also offers a paralegal studies scholarship.
Amount: $2,500

Naqvi Injury Law Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Offered by a Las Vegas injury law firm, the scholarship supports college students pursuing a legal studies degree. Eligible applicants demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA and the scholarship gives preference to Nevada applicants. In addition to academic achievements, the scholarship takes financial need into account.
Amount: $2,000

Working Now and Then Undergraduate Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship opportunity welcomes applications from undergraduates planning a career in law. Applicants submit a transcript, resume, and essay on the greatest challenge facing workers’ rights in the future. The scholarship selects recipients based on their academic record, career promise, and the persuasiveness of their essay.
Amount: $1,000

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