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A Master’s in Legal Studies will Open Many Doors for your Career

If you’re interested in pursuing an online legal studies degree, you’ll open the door to many rewarding and interesting careers. The legal field remains an exciting sector that offers intellectually stimulating positions and the opportunity to make a difference. When you explore legal studies online, you can launch and develop a career that aligns with your individual interests, whether you desire to work in banking and finance; negotiation and conflict resolution; or academia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 8% through 2026. The field offers professionals the chance to build a potentially lucrative career, with lawyers earning an annual median wage of $119, 250. You can typically earn an online legal studies degree in 1-2 years, allowing you to jumpstart your career relatively quickly. Keep reading to learn more about the possibilities that await you when you pursue an online master’s degree in legal studies.

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The 20 Best Online Legal Studies Master’s Degrees Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer a master of legal studies degrees online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.

*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.

Ranking Factors

Unfortunately, there are a limited number of master’s degrees in legal studies and law available online. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a complex ranking system in which we’d filter out schools based on a list of specific factors.

So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap online master’s degrees in legal studies (and other law-related master’s programs), ranked from most to least expensive.

Top Cheap Master’s Degrees in Legal Studies Ranked

  1. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With an average tuition of less than $7,000 a year, Arizona State University easily blows past the competition to offer the most affordable master of legal studies degree online. But low costs are not the end of the story at ASU. This program also stands out for its flexible, accelerated schedule (you can earn the degree in just one year!) and customizable coursework. On the latter point, you can personalize ASU's curriculum by opting for one of five emphases. These include relatively standard options (e.g., Criminal Law, Intellectual Property Law) as well as more unique tracks like Sports Law, Employment Law, and Law and Sustainability.

  2. Hamline University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Forget trying to memorize a bunch of legal information related to a specific profession. Hamline's goal for its students is much simpler: to teach them to think like lawyers. This includes immersing program participants in the "culture of law" so that they obtain a "nuanced understanding" of how the legal system affects and connects to other industries. Hamline's accredited online master's degree in law also comes with concentrations, although they primarily focus on subdisciplines of law rather than specific occupations. For example, you could concentrate on Conflict Resolution, Social Justice, or Litigation. However, there is also a track in Professional Practice Management for those working in the legal field who want to gain career-oriented skills.

  3. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Professionals working in business, public administration, and criminal justice will appreciate Liberty's well-balanced Juris Master program. With its focus on American legal studies, this degree provides an in-depth look at domestic topics like criminal law, contracts, economics, and American business law. These lessons aim to help non-lawyers get ahead in industries that frequently intersect with the legal system. Plus, since the program is 100% online and takes less than two years to complete, you can easily study while continuing to put in hours on the job. And if your current profession is more globally-minded, note that Liberty also offers a separate online master's degree in law with a focus on International Legal Studies.

  4. Trinity International University
    Location

    Davie, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    For Christian students, Trinity International University might have the best cheap master of legal studies degree online. The faculty teaches all classes from a "distinctly Christian worldview," and the core curriculum even incorporates a required "Philosophy and Theology of Justice" class. Plus, the program offers an optional concentration in Church and Ministry Management. Classes within this track address topics like staffing and compensation, religious liberty, strategic planning, and religious organizations. Of course, TIU has plenty to offer non-Christians as well. In fact, Trinity's program offers four other concentrations covering unique fields like Bioethics, Nonprofit Organizations, and Human Rights.

  5. Hodges University
    Location

    Naples, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Intellectual property, regulatory compliance, arbitration - these are all topics you'll learn about while enrolled in Hodges' online legal studies master's degree program. The curriculum also touches upon ethics, governance, international law, and even employment. In other words, this is a great choice for students who want to develop a big-picture understanding of the law and how it affects various industries. You'll also get up to date on topical issues through a "Legal Environment Seminar" and gain practical experience through a final capstone. In this capstone, you'll work through simulated legal scenarios and discuss pertinent issues with your classmates as you hone your problem-solving skills.

  6. Webster University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Whether you're a legal assistant that works directly with lawyers, or a business executive trying to understand complex industry regulations, Webster's program can help you out. The university's MA in Legal Studies is designed to provide an overarching view of an increasingly complicated field. After studying crucial topics like "American Constitutional Law," "Civil Actions," and "Jurisprudence," you'll graduate with a solid foundation in law and the skills to quickly understand even more complicated topics you might face on the job. This is also one of the top master of legal studies degrees online for research-oriented occupations; the curriculum incorporates multiple classes in research methods, information acquisition, and professional writing.

  7. Regent University
    Location

    Virginia Beach, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Working adults who want to expand their job prospects or transition into a new law-related career path will find a clear avenue to do just that at Regent University. The school's accredited online master's degree in legal studies provides a general overview of the field, making it suitable for applicants with wide-ranging backgrounds and goals. Coursework aims to help students build a solid understanding of basic legal principles, from the constitution to the legislative process. The 30-credit curriculum consists of 10 required courses and no electives, which is ideal for candidates who want a straightforward path from start to finish.

  8. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois at Springfield offers a no-nonsense, practically minded MLS program for busy professionals. With flexible scheduling, 100% online courses (plus evening and blended options for local students), and small class sizes, this degree makes it easy for you to study and work at the same time. Plus, your coursework will have direct applications to your job. Lessons in legal research, public advocacy, policymaking, and more hold relevance in myriad career fields. But the most unique aspect of this affordable online legal studies master's degree is its clinical education component. Here, you can earn up to four credits for on-the-job training you complete at a local government agency or other law-related enterprises.

  9. University of Oklahoma
    Location

    Oklahoma City, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Sensitive to the needs of local industries, the University of Oklahoma has created a set of MLS programs centered around some of the region's most in-demand career fields. More specifically, OU offers legal studies degrees in Indigenous Peoples; Healthcare; and Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. All three options are designed specifically for non-lawyer professionals who want to boost their understanding of certain legal issues. In addition, all programs are 32-33 credits in length and take 15 months to complete. Of the three master of legal studies degrees online, the healthcare option is especially popular. This should come as no surprise, considering that OU has more than 4,000 students enrolled in health-related programs across the university!

  10. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Of all the places you could earn a cheap master of legal studies degree online, West Virginia University stands out for its functional, well-balanced curriculum. Instead of offering numerous tracks to suit different career types, WVU supports a single, all-encompassing MLS program. The coursework includes a robust core - featuring classes like "The Legislative Process" and "Researching the Law" - to ensure all students acquire a solid understanding of legal system fundamentals. However, the curriculum also incorporates a number of electives. Without the limitations of preset concentrations, you'll have free range to pick and choose whatever classes interest you, from "Immigration and Border Security" to "Constitutional Law" and "Administrative Ethics."

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap online master’s degrees in law and legal studies!

Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator

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