Choose the Best Online Master
of Legal Studies
Program for You

This page was created to help students research top online Master of Legal Studies Programs. We are the only online resource that gives you all the information you need about online MLS programs in one place. With this page as your guide, you’ll be able to decide if an MLS is a good next step for your career, which programs is best for your particular needs, and what career options could be available to you after earning your degree.

Admission criteria varies from school to school. While all programs require a bachelor’s degree, a completed application, and undergraduate transcripts, some programs allow you to augment your application with personal statements, your resume, writing samples, and even your professional experience. Acceptance rates for online Master of Legal Studies average about 70%1. However, a benefit of these varying admission requirements is that if you feel your GPA isn’t strong but your work experience is, then you might want to apply to the programs that consider your resume and work experience.

Online Master of Legal Studies programs are designed for working professionals. For most programs you can take as few as one course per term up to a full load. As a result, you can design your graduate career to fit into your specific time needs, thereby helping to ensure that you will successfully complete the program.

We have curated a list of all online Master of Legal Studies Programs and collected the results here to enable you to find the best school for you. View some of the top ranked Master of Legal Studies programs, get answers to your questions about MLS degrees and compare all the areas of concentration offered at each school.

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Overview of Online Top Master of Legal Studies Programs

We have identified 14 schools that offer competitive and comprehensive Online Master of Legal Studies Programs. These schools are all accredited by respected and universally known agencies such as the American Bar Association, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges, among others.

School Name Degree Name Length Synchronous or Asynchronous Part-Time Full-Time
Arizona State University-Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law Master of Legal Studies 30 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
California Southern University Master of Science in Law 36 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
California University of Pennsylvania Master of Legal Studies 36 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
Drexel University Thomas L. Kline School of Law Master of Legal Studies 30 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
Kaplan University Master of Legal Studies 55 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
Loyola University Chicago-School of Law Beazly Institute for Health Law and Policy Master's of Jurisprudence 24 credits Synchronous Yes Yes
Michigan State University-College of Social Science School of Criminal Justice Master of Science Degree in Judicial Administration 30 credits Asynchronous No Yes
Pepperdine Law Master of Legal Studies 32 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
Seton Hall University School of Law Master of Science in Jurisprudence 30 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
University of Dayton School of Law Master of Studies in Law 30 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
University of Illinois-Springfield Legal Studies Master’s 36 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
USC Gould School of Law Master of Studies in Law 21 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
Wake Forest University School of Law Master of Studies in Law 30 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes
Washington University School of Law Master of Legal Studies 24 credits Hybrid Yes Yes
West Virginia University School of Law Master of Science in Legal Studies 36 credits Asynchronous Yes Yes

Arizona State University – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

  • State: Arizona
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: 12 months
  • Available Concentrations:
    • HR & Employment Law
    • Intellectual Property Law
    • Sports Law & Business
    • Sustainability Law
    • Criminal Law
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA requirement
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree. LSAT accepted (median score: 162)
  • Start Dates: Next start date is August 16, 2018
  • Admissions Contact Information:

California Southern University

  • State: California
  • Program Length: 36 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~18 months
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations. Areas of focus/interest include:
    • Strategies and Ethics in Negotiations
    • Mediation
    • Property
    • Business Associations
    • Wills, Trusts, and Estates
    • Immigration Law
    • Domestic Relations
    • International Law
    • Intellectual Property
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree. No required entrance exams
  • Start Dates: Classes start monthly throughout the year, no set semester schedule
  • Admissions Contact Information:

California University of Pennsylvania

Drexel University Thomas L. Kline School of Law

  • State: Pennsylvania (main campus)
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~18 months
  • Available Concentrations:
    • Cybersecurity and Information Privacy
    • Financial Regulatory Compliance
    • Health Care Compliance
    • Human Resources Compliance
    • Higher Education Compliance
    • NCAA Compliance and Sports Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Entrepreneurship and Law
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree. GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT all accepted but not required
  • Start Dates:
    • Fall 2018: August 20, 2018
    • Spring 2019: January 7, 2019
    • Summer 2019: May 20, 2019
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Loyola University Chicago-School of Law Beazly Institute for Health Law and Policy

  • State: Chicago
  • Program Length: 24 credits
  • Average Completion Time: 2 years, designed for part-time students
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations; certificate in Compliance Studies is available
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree. Primary degree in law (JD or LLB). At least three years’ relevant working experience. No entrance exam
  • Start Dates: Fall – early September; Spring – January; Summer – May
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Michigan State University-College of Social Science School of Criminal Justice

  • State: Michigan
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~2 years
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations; three “distinct, focused” degrees in:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis
    • Judicial Administration
  • Minimum GPA: 2
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; GRE scores required for applicants who do not meet the minimum 3.2 GPA requirement
  • Start Dates: Summer 2020 (Fall semester usually begins in August, Spring in January, and Summer in May)
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Pepperdine Law

  • State: California
  • Program Length: 32 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~16 months full-time; ~28 months part-time
  • Available Concentrations: Dispute Resolution
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; no entrance exams
  • Start Dates: Fall – September; Spring – January; Summer – May
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Purdue University Global

Seton Hall University School of Law

  • State: New Jersey
  • Program Length: 31 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~2 years
  • Available Concentrations:
    • Financial Services Compliance
    • Health & Hospital Law
    • Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Law & Compliance
    • Intellectual Property Certificates
  • Minimum GPA: average GPA for incoming class: 3.43
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; no entrance exam required, but LSAT is accepted (median score: 156)
  • Start Dates: Fall – August 20, 2018; Spring – January 15, 2019
  • Admissions Contact Information:

University of Dayton School of Law

  • State: Ohio
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~12 months
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations, but certificates available in:
    • Applied Business Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property Law
  • Minimum GPA: 0
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; competitive GRE, GMAT, or similar test exam scores
  • Start Dates: Fall – late August; Spring – early January
  • Admissions Contact Information:

University of Illinois-Springfield

  • State: Illinois
  • Program Length: 36 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~2 years; program is designed for part-time students who work full-time
  • Available Concentrations:
    • Law and Public Policy
    • Human Rights/Social Justice and Public Policy
    • Criminal Justice
    • Regulatory Compliance
  • Minimum GPA: 0
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; no entrance exams
  • Start Dates: Not available on website, I’ve emailed the school
  • Admissions Contact Information:

USC Gould School of Law

  • State: California
  • Program Length: 21 credits
  • Average Completion Time: 12 – 16 months
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations; certificates available in:
    • Business Law
    • Compliance
    • Entertainment Law and Industry
    • Financial Compliance
    • Health Care Compliance
    • Human Resources Law and Compliance
  • Minimum GPA: 0
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree; no entrance exam
  • Start Dates: Fall 2018 – September 5; Spring 2019 – January 9; Summer 2019 – early May
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Wake Forest University School of Law

  • State: North Carolina
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: ~18 months
  • Available Concentrations:
    • Business Law & Compliance
    • Health Law & Policy
    • Human Resources
  • Minimum GPA: None available – work experience seems to be the key deciding factor
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; work experience in a relevant field; no entrance exams
  • Start Dates: Fall – August 20, 2018; Spring – January 14, 2019; Summer- May 21, 2019
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Washington University School of Law

  • State: Missouri
  • Program Length: 24 credits
  • Average Completion Time: one year
  • Available Concentrations: No concentrations; certificates available in:
    • Business Law
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Litigation
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Employment Law
  • Minimum GPA: No minimum GPA
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; no entrance exam but LSAT and GRE accepted
  • Start Dates: Four annual start dates – January, April, July, October
  • Admissions Contact Information:

West Virginia University School of Law

  • State: West Virginia
  • Program Length: 30 credits
  • Average Completion Time: 18 months
  • Available Concentrations:
    • Healthcare
    • Justice Systems
    • Homeland Security.
  • Minimum GPA: 75
  • GRE & Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; any graduate-level standardized test (GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.), no minimum score requirement, can be waived with prior graduate degree or 5 years’ relevant working experience
  • Start Dates: Fall 2018 – August 15
  • Admissions Contact Information:

Factors to Consider when Choosing An Online Master of Legal Studies Program

When selecting which school is right for you, there are many factors you need to consider. How many months does it take to complete the program? Is it 100% online or a hybrid model? Are you able to interact with other students? Which programs require you pass the GRE? What is the minimum undergraduate GPA required to apply? Not only do we answer these questions for you, we present them in a matrix so you can compare each program side by side.

Below are a few resources to help you find the best Master of Legal Studies school for you:

Class Structures and Instruction Methods

Online Master of Legal Studies schools offer a few different instruction variations. Use our guide to select which learning style you would benefit from and which program offers the choices you need.

Online vs Hybrid

Most schools’ Master of Legal Studies programs are 100% online. This means that all instruction, all research, all assignments, and all classroom interaction take place over the internet. There are a few programs, however, that offer a hybrid approach. While the hybrid programs’ requirements will vary from program to program, what defines them is that they require students to be physically present on campus for some part of the program. This may be once a semester for a weekend, or once a month for half a day. Each program has differing requirements. If you are a busy professional or working parent juggling school, work and family obligations, a 100% online program may be best for you. Also, if you have limited discretionary funds and traveling to a school campus is prohibitively expensive, you may want to chose a 100% online program. If you thrive on in person to person interaction and benefit from group learning situations, then you may want to select a hybrid program or an online program that offers some elements of person to person interaction.

To learn more about the differences between 100% online and hybrid online programs, visit our Guide to 100% Online and Hybrid Online Master of Legal Studies Programs page.



View Online ProgramsView Hybrid Programs

Synchronous vs Asynchronous

When deciding which Master of Legal Studies Program is right for you, you will need to consider whether you prefer to learn on a set schedule in sync with other students or if you prefer the flexibility of learning on your own time, independent of an online classroom. Synchronous Master of Legal Studies Programs allow students to attend classes on a set schedule, in concert with their fellow students, similar to a traditional classroom setting. Via webcam, students log in at specific times to view lectures, interact with their classmates, and learn in tandem. Conversely, asynchronous Master of Legal Studies programs allow students to make their own schedule and view lectures on their own timeline. Students will watch pre-recorded lectures at a time that is convenient for them, work on assignments independently, and typically do not need to interact with other students. Assignments are submitted online according to set deadlines. Which type is better for you? If you have a busy and unpredictable schedule, then asynchronous learning will enable you to fit your classes in whenever works for you, at varying times. If you thrive on routine and schedules as well as interacting with others, then synchronous learning, which most closely mimics traditional in classroom settings, may be right for you. Some programs offer a mixture of both synchronous and asynchronous components.

To learn more about the differences between synchronous and asynchronous programs, visit our Guide to Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Master of Legal Studies page.



View Synchronous ProgramsView Asynchronous Programs

Full time vs Part time

Is your goal to earn your Master of Legal Studies as quickly as possible or do you require the flexibility to be able to work your studies into your professional and social obligations? Answering these questions will help you determine if a full-time or part-time program is right for you. If you want to earn your Master of Legal Studies Programs in the least amount of time possible and have the ability to take on a full course load to focus primarily on your studies, then you might want to select a full-time program. If, on the other hand, you need to be able to maintain your full-time job, and/or have family obligations to juggle, then taking more time and enrolling in a part-time program might be a better option for you. Regardless of your choice, we can help you navigate through all of the program options to help you select the one that is just right for you and your individual needs and circumstances.



View Full Time ProgramsView Part Time Programs

Concentrations

Many Master of Legal Studies programs offer a selection of concentrations. It is important that you carefully compare the programs and concentrations offered. As a Master of Legal Studies is commonly used to augment an existing career, you may want to align your concentration with your current profession so that you will graduate armed to make a greater contribution in your chosen field, thereby advancing and moving up. Some programs even offer a “Self Designated” concentration which allows you to cater your classes to what is uniquely of interest to you. Some common concentrations of an MLS degree include:

  • Labor Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Criminal Justice
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sports Law
  • Financial Regulatory Compliance
  • International and Human Rights Law
  • Constitutional Law and Civil Rights
  • Personal Injury and Civil Litigation

When selecting your concentration, it is especially important to align it to your preferred  career field. Perhaps you have a BA in Liberal Arts and work in the financial industry but have found you aren’t able to compete with colleagues who have a BS in business. If so, then a Master of Legal Studies with a concentration in Financial Regulatory Compliance may give you the competitive edge you need to advance in your field.

Careers

Earning a Master of Legal Studies degree could open new career doors for you. Graduates have gone on to successful careers in government, law firms, and private industry. Some graduates use their Master of Legal Studies to propel them into law school and ultimately become attorneys or judges. Others use the knowledge and skills gained through an Master of Legal Studies to strengthen and increase the effectiveness in their current profession. Most professions in the US work with the law or legal procedure in some capacity. As a result, a Master of Legal Studies can be used to build upon your bachelor’s degree or current career– amplifying the reach and impact you have by improving your ability to navigate legal regulations, compliance, or business law.2 3 4

To find out more about how a Master of Legal Studies degree can help your career, check out our Career Guides.