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.
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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.