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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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There are very few, if any, careers that exist outside of the scope of the law. Working professionals in a variety of fields, like healthcare, education, or business, are all faced with decisions that require an informed understanding of the law and often the legal system of the United States.

There's no doubt that the social, political, and economic conditions of the world today are influenced constantly by and evolved by law and legal matters. There are very few—if any— careers that exist outside of the scope of the law. Working professionals in a variety of fields are all faced with decisions requiring an informed understanding of the law--and often--the legal system of the US.

Earning a graduate-level degree in Legal Studies is a guaranteed way to not only maximizing one's ability to make informed and well-rounded decisions in their field but to open up more opportunities for career growth than ever before. It may also serve as a beginning for a more dedicated-to-law career.

Most Masters programs for Legal Studies programs are open to those who do not serve as attorneys, as the curriculum does not prepare one for the bar exam. Regardless, students who pursue a Legal Studies graduate degree benefit from fundamental knowledge in legal theory and practice and often elect to complete a specialization or focus area in a field that is relevant to their work or where they desire to go post-graduation.

Nearly all Legal Studies programs are designed for working professionals, and with this in mind, many are offered online. The following list has compiled programs that are all entirely online--with some on-campus options--and are designed with flexible course schedules. There has hardly been a time better than today to pursue any amount of education in law.

The world is seeing many ways in which legal process and thought influence everyday decisions in all fields. Earning a Master of Legal Studies promises to prepare all types of workers and thinkers for this ever-changing global political economy in 2020.

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one's higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%)
  • Academic Success (15%)

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!

Here are the 20 Best Online Master's Degrees in Legal Studies!

20. Washington University in St. Louis - St. Louis, MO

Master of Legal Studies


Washington University in St. Louis offers an entirely online Master of Legal Studies designed specifically for working professionals who are not attorneys and are not in pursuit of J.D. status. The program is a total of 24 credits, consisting of only one required course and the rest being electives. This allows maximum flexibility in not only schedule but course topics and focus areas. The required course covers foundational legal topics and theory, where electives consist of topics like Intellectual Property, Legal Writing, Health Law, Mediation and Arbitration, and many more. The degree is typically earned in only one year. Students also have the opportunity to complete an on-campus weekend learning experience in St. Louis, where they'll work with law firm professionals and organizations in the area, observe live court hearings, and meet with federal and state judges.

Net Price: $27,777
Score: 76.1

19. Nova Southeastern University - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Master of Science in Law


Nova Southeastern University's online Master of Science in Law is a rigorous program offering focus areas that will prepare students to improve the lives of others: Education Law, Employment Law, Health Law, and Law and Policy. Alongside these degrees, there are concentration areas in Cybersecurity, Employee Relations Law, and many others. The program can be completed in as little as two years and is designed for working students and busy professionals. This curriculum layout maximizes flexibility in schedule and course load. Application is open to those who have graduated from an undergraduate institution and does not require test scores. However, the MS in Employment Law and MS in Health Law programs require at least two years of relevant work experience.

Net Price: $26,740
Score: 78.1

18. Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Master of Studies in Law


Samford University's Master of Studies in Law is a flexible degree program, giving students the option of focusing on health law and policy, financial services regulatory compliance, legal project management, and more. Students may also customize their own curriculum if a focus area does not suit their needs. The two-year program admits students who have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, but 50 percent of students in the program also already have a graduate degree. The curriculum is designed specifically for nonlawyers whom the degree could provide career advancement. Not only will graduates have benefit from advanced knowledge focused around real-world courses and training, but they will also have competitive skills in communicating with attorneys and others in the legal community.

Net Price: $30,017
Score: 79.7

17. New York University - New York City, NY

Master of Science in Law in Taxation


The Master of Science in Law in Taxation from New York University is a part-time program designed for accountants and financial professionals. The curriculum focuses on the regulatory, judicial, and policy foundations of tax law, with courses taught by faculty with experience ranging from corporate mergers to complex partner transactions. The degree may be completed in as little as two years or up to five depending on the needs of the student. The curriculum is made up of video recording of on-campus courses, online interaction through discussion boards, and final exams at the end of each course. All students also complete a final written project on a tax law or policy topic relevant to today's global and political setting.

Net Price: $36,256
Score: 80.7

16. American University - Washington, D.C.

Master of Legal Studies


The Master of Legal Studies from American University is designed for those already working in the professional field and hold many law-related responsibilities. The degree can be earned in as little as 15 months. Concentration tracks are offered in General MLS, Business, Health Care and Compliance, and Technology. All concentration areas will provide students with fundamental and foundational legal training and knowledge specific to their chosen industry. Upon graduation, students will have the skills necessary to legitimize their credibility and support informed decisions in their organization. Applicants must submit an official undergraduate transcript with no minimum GPA, and a professional CV or resume. GRE or LSAT scores are also not required.

Net Price: $32,732
Score: 81.2

15. Seton Hall University - South Orange, NJ

Master of Science in Jurisprudence


Seton Hall University's Master of Science in Jurisprudence is designed for non-lawyers who desire to up their competitive skills and credibility to advance their professional careers. The curriculum is designed to further prepare professionals in a number of industries, such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, information technology, telecommunications, and more. The program at Seton Hall is especially recognized for its specialization area on health and intellectual property law. The program can be completed in as little as two years on a part-time schedule. Concentration areas are offered in Health and Hospital Law, Privacy Law and Cyber Security, and many more.

Net Price: $28,700
Score: 82.2

14. Pepperdine University - Malibu, CA

Master of Science in Law


The Master of Science in Law from Pepperdine University is focused on preparing students for the analysis and interpretation of legal concepts, enabling them to make informed legal decisions in their professional field. The program can be completed in just 16 months and is designed for those who would benefit from a legal education but may not desire to become a practicing attorney. The curriculum is made up of 18 core courses, and then students take up to 12 electives in areas like Intellectual Property, Business Organizations, Health Law, and Education Law. Students also benefit from the opportunity to complete an on-campus weekend residency, where they'll participate in a one-credit course working on case studies and mock trials.

Net Price: $36,372
Score: 83.2

13. Saint Leo University - St. Leo, FL

Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Legal Studies


The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University offers a specialization in Legal Studies that is designed for those working as criminal justice administrators, first responders, government officials, correctional offers, an probation and parole officers. Saint Leo prides itself on being one of the leading military colleges in the US and has a curriculum dedicated to criminal justice-oriented education with Catholic influence. The program is a total of 36 credits made up of five core courses and six electives. The Legal Studies specialization prepares students with an understanding of legal procedures in the civil and criminal domain.

Net Price: $20,552
Score: 84.7

12. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PY

Master of Legal Studies


Drexel University's Master of Legal Studies prepares students with foundational and advanced knowledge in compliance, legal research and analysis, risk management, ethics, and professional standards. There are eight specialization areas, consisting of Criminal Law, Financial Regulatory Compliance, Higher Education Compliance, NCAA Compliance and Sports Law, and more. The program curriculum is designed for non-lawyers who would benefit from a solid understanding of the laws and legal systems that influence and regulate their professional industry. For those students who work in related but not strictly legal fields, the program partners with faculty from other Drexel schools, such as the School of Education and College of Nursing and Health Professionals, to provide interdisciplinary education.

Net Price: $40,977
Score: 85.6

11. University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

Master of Studies in Law


The Master of Studies in Law from the University of Southern California is a part-time program designed for working professionals, who can earn the degree in as little as 16 months. Additional certificates within the degree are offered including Entertainment Law and Industry; Financial Compliance; and Human Resources Law and Compliance. The online curriculum is centered on weekly live discussions facilitated by the professor, interactive modules, virtual office hours, and message boards. The academic week is scheduled Wednesday through Tuesday, expecting students to maximize their study time on Saturdays and Sundays so that they're able to maintain exterior responsibilities.

Net Price: $32,892
Score: 86.7

10. Webster University - Webster Groves, MO

Master of Arts in Legal Studies


The Master of Arts in Legal Studies offered by Webster University is designed for working professionals who will benefit from a broad understanding of legal environments, perhaps working as teachers, managers, government employees, or legal assistants. The 39 credit program consists of core courses in Legal Research and Writing, Civil Actions, Criminal Actions, Computerized Legal Research, and more. All students will also complete a Research and Writing Project. The program is specifically for those who are not on a specific track to become a licensed attorney and subsequently does not prepare graduates for the bar exam. Applicants are considered on a rolling basis and must have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA.

Net Price: $23,835
Score: 87.6

9. Regent University - Virginia Beach, VI

Master of Science in Law


The Master of Science in Law degree offered by Regent University is a five-semester program designed to enhance the credentials of working professionals who will benefit from an understanding of legal knowledge and foundational legal contexts. As Regent is a proud Christian university, the program provides a Christian worldview and lens to course topics. Graduates will be well-equipped with competitive and marketable skills to work alongside attorneys and in legal environments. Courses include Business Entities, American Tort System, Criminal Law, Foundations of Legal Thought, and more. Applicants must not submit an LSAT or GRE score, and there is no minimum undergraduate GPA requirement.

Net Price: $17,820
Score: 87.9

8. Texas A&M International - Laredo, TX

Masters of Jurisprudence


The Masters of Jurisprudence from Texas A&M International is offered through their School of Law and provides students with two program options: Wealth Management and Risk Management. Both programs are entirely online and designed with working students in mind, offering maximum flexibility in class scheduling. The curriculum prides itself on its focus on pedagogical techniques that take advantage of the latest technological advances in online learning. Both programs take about six semesters to complete. The M.Jur. is designed specifically for those who are not working attorneys and do not plan on pursuing J.D. status. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis.

Net Price: $4,857
Score: 90.8

7. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Master of Legal Studies


The Master of Legal Studies from the University of Arizona is designed for those already working in or pursuing careers in fields that rely on knowledge of compliance regulations, law enforcement, or working with tribal governments, non-profits, or corporations. Graduates will enter the field or return to it with competitive skills and desirable knowledge in laws and regulations. There are 11 concentration areas covering several legal topics, including Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy, Human Rights, Environmental Law and Policy, and more. The program can be completed in just one year, but working professionals are encouraged to spread the courses out over two years.

Net Price: $15,758
Score: 95.6

6. University of Illinois at Springfield - Springfield, IL

Master of Arts in Legal Studies


University of Illinois' Master of Arts in Legal Studies is designed for working professionals who may participate in judicial processes, enforce compliance with the law, or rely on an understanding of new government regulations. Graduates benefit from the practical knowledge of the legal system, and then further knowledge on a chosen concentration area. The curriculum focuses both on professional marketable skills as well as legal theory and the evolution of the role of law in America. To ensure maximum flexibility, UIS's MALS offers 100 percent online courses with many options for night classes. Some courses are taught synchronously, in real-time, where others are taught asynchronously on the student's own time.

Net Price: $12,054
Score: 95.9

5. Georgetown University - Washington, D.C.

Master of Studies in Law in Taxation


The Master of Studies in Law in Taxation program at Georgetown University is open to those who are not attorneys but experienced tax professionals and would benefit from an understanding of foundational taxation-centered legal theory and practice in the US. Certificate options are available in International Taxation or State and Local Taxation. The program is specifically designed for tax professionals and prepares them with not only marketable and competitive skills but for further education in law if desired. The MSL in Taxation is only 24 credits and is typically completed on a part-time basis within three years. At a full-time schedule, the degree can be earned in just one year.

Net Price: $27,420
Score: 96.7

4. Arizona State University - Tempe - Tempe, AZ

Master of Legal Studies


Arizona State University's Master of Legal Studies offers concentrations such as Corporate and Health Care Compliance, Intellectual Property Law, and Sustainability Law. The curriculum is designed for working professionals in a variety of fields, as the program recognizes the many ways in which law and legal issues affect all careers and industries. The 30-credit program can be completed in as little as one year and provides foundational knowledge in US law and relevant skills without demanding the length of a full law degree. The focus area chosen will fulfill four courses of the required credits. There is no required minimum undergraduate GPA, GRE, LSAT, or GMAT scores.

Net Price: $12,947
Score: 96.8

3. Northeastern University - Boston, MA

Master of Science in Law


Northeastern University's Master of Science in Law program is for non-lawyer working professionals that often engage with lawyers and legal issues. The curriculum prepares students with legal knowledge that enables them to make informed decisions in situations where a lack of legal knowledge has created an obstacle. As the program was designed with an understanding of the multidisciplinary influences of law, students have the option of concentrations in Health Law, Business Law, and Human Resources Law. Students may also design and complete their own track and subsequent electives. While the program is offered entirely online, students will receive all the benefits of on-campus students, such as a dedicated advising team and a career coach.

Net Price: $30,784
Score: 98

2. University of Oklahoma - Norman - Norman, OK

Master of Science in Law


University of Oklahoma's Master of Science in Law program is designed for those who are not lawyers, but working professionals in fields related to law as it recognizes a need for legal skills beyond practicing attorneys. The MSL degree offers four concentration areas: Indigenous Peoples Law; International Business Law; Healthcare Law; and Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. Courses are offered primarily online, and it's possible to complete the degree within 15 months while working full-time. Regardless of chosen concentration, students will take courses covering the foundations of legal thought and established theory and practice. Those interested in applying are encouraged to reach out directly to the College of Law for more application information.

Net Price: $20,003
Score: 99.6

1. West Virginia University - Morgantown, WV

Master of Legal Studies


West Virginia University's Master of Legal Studies consists of ten courses and 30 total credits. It's designed for working professionals in fields like human relations, criminal and juvenile justice, journalism, social work, and more, as the curriculum recognizes the ways in which law reaches a wide array of fields. Graduates enter or return to their desired field with competitive marketable skills in legal analysis, interpretation, and consequent decision-making. There are three specialization areas: healthcare, justice systems, and homeland security. Depending on the chosen area, students may take online courses in topics like immigration law, judicial legal process, and elder law. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.

Net Price: $11,486
Score: 99.9

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