There are several benefits to earning your Masters in Legal Studies online. The flexibility of an online schedule makes it possible for the student to study when it is easiest for them to learn. Some students may be working a full-time job to support their families. Others may be trying to gain the experience they need to apply for more advanced positions in the legal field. There are also students who simply learn better when they are allowed to study on their own terms. An online learning environment offers the freedom to study in a way that suits the student. This freedom gives them the ability to study for as long as they like without having to worry about when class ends.

Earning an online Master of Law Degree or Master of Jurisprudence online degree makes it possible to keep certifications current by fulfilling the continuing education requirements. Students who opt for an online learning platform can complete their legal degree from almost any location, whether it be across town or across the country. Online courses offer the exact same education as the courses that are taught in physical classrooms.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Master of Legal Studies Online Programs

For the Best Master’s Programs ranking of the top online legal studies master’s BMP editors focused on accredited, reputable colleges and universities with hybrid and fully distance learning degrees. Selected programs are ranked according to practical factors, with data from Niche and IPEDS: tuition, student reviews, and salary potential.

1. Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers three of the best Master of Legal Studies online programs with its Master of Legal Studies (MSL) in Financial Services/Wealth Management, Taxation, and Financial Compliance/Risk Management. Each of TJSL’s MSL degree programs requires the completion of 30 credit units through the school’s distance learning platform. This MSL program from Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers an impressive student to faculty ratio of 6 to 1, with classwork that is offered asynchronously.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law was established as a private institution of higher education in the realm of law in 1969. The state’s Bar Committee approves Thomas Jefferson School of Law of Bar Examiners. The school’s campus in sunny San Diego is home to more than 300 students. TJSL maintains a lawyer incubator program for those attorneys who intend to open a solo practice.

Program: Master of Studies in Law – 3 concentrations

2. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University offers a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program that is designed for non-Juris doctor students. Additionally, WashU offers one of the country’s best Master of Legal Studies online programs that is approved by the American Bar Association. Students enrolled in WashU’s MLS degree program can complete their MLS in twelve months by completing 24 semester units and eight classes. The average age of WashU’s MLS degree candidate is 39 years old.

Washington University (WashU – St. Louis) is a private institution of higher education that was founded in 1853. WashU operates multiple campuses in the St Louis area, which serve more than 15,000 students. WashU is among the top universities in the world for researchers who have been professionally cited and ranks first (with Stanford and MIT) in the area of genomics.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

3. Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s School of Law offers one of the nation’s best Master of Legal Studies online programs that offers four academic tracks – Intellectual Property Law, Business Law, Human Resources Law, and Health Law. NE’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree is recognized as the best in the nation for practical legal training by the National Jurist. Coursework for Northeastern University’s MLS degree includes Law and Strategy, Data Compliance, Law & Legal Reasoning, Negotiations & Advocacy, and Law and Management, among others.

Northeastern University was established as a private institute of higher education in 1898 with a primary campus in Boston and multiple campuses across the country and Canada. More than 27,100 students attend classes at Northeastern each semester. US News recognizes Northeastern University as the best university for internships, while the Princeton Review ranks NE first in career services.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

4. University of Oklahoma – Norman

The College of Law at the University of Oklahoma offers one the best Master of Legal Studies online programs with an accelerated format designed specifically for working learners. The MLS program offered by UO Norman provides students with four academic tracks in Indigenous Peoples Law, Oil, Gas & Energy Law, International Business Law, and Healthcare Law. The American Bar Association approves the MLS programs offered by UO Norman’s College of Law. These MLS degree programs require the completion of 32 semester credits to meet program requirements.

The University of Oklahoma – Norman was found nearly two decades before Oklahoma became a state in 1890. UO Norman is the state’s flagship university with a student enrollment that exceeds 28,400 students. The University of Oklahoma – Norman operates fifteen colleges/schools offering more than 150 major degree programs. UO Norman is home to two prominent museums, the Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History of Oklahoma.

Program: Master of Legal Studies – 3 concentrations

5. Georgetown University

Georgetown University offers a Master of Studies in Law (MLS) with a specialty in Taxation that can be completed entirely online. This best Master of Legal Studies online program from Georgetown Law also offers students an option to earn a certificate in State & Local Taxation and International Taxation. Coursework for this MLS degree program Income Tax Accounting, Corporate Income Tax, Comparative Tax Law, Consolidated Returns, Ethics in Tax Law, Financial Derivatives Taxation, and intro to Federal Income Tax Research, among others.

Georgetown University is considered the oldest Catholic institution of higher education located in the nation. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University now operates ten colleges/schools that serve the school’s student body of undergraduate and graduate students of more than 18,900. Georgetown’s sailing team runs as a coed program that has one a world championship title.

Program: MSL in Taxation

6. Arizona State University

The Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law offers a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program that is available 100% online. ASU’s best Master of Legal Studies online program requires a degree candidate to complete ten classes for 30 semester credits. The MLS degree program from ASU allows students to customize the program with nine possible academic concentrations that include sports law, criminal law, contract management, conflict resolution, construction law, and intellectual property law, among others.

Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in 1885 as a public institution of higher learning. ASU maintains multiple campuses across the Phoenix metro area and regional learning centers throughout the state. The school’s student enrollment nears 90,000 students vying for degrees offered by the university’s 17 colleges/schools. For a 4th consecutive year, ASU has been recognized by US News among the most innovative universities in the nation.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

7. University of Southern California

The Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California offers a Master of Studies in Law that is available entirely online. This best Master of Legal Studies online program includes 21 semester units in coursework like Legal Research and Intro to Legal System, plus electives from the areas of US Law, Business Law, Entertainment Law, Financial Compliance, Human Resources Law, and Cybersecurity Law, among others.

USC is a university that is recognized as the oldest research institution of higher education in California. USC serves more than 48,100 students. USC’s law school is ranked among the top twenty in the United States. USC is considered the largest private employer in the greater LA area and the birthplace of the internet domain name system.

Program: Master of Studies in Law

8. University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas offers a Master of Studies in Law with a concentration in Ethics and Compliance that can be completed 100% online in less than two years. The University of St. Thomas’ MLS degree program is recognized among the nation’s best Master of Legal Studies online programs and is accredited by the AACSB business accreditation agency. Throughout UST’s online programs, students delve deep into white-collar crime, investigations, cybersecurity, and project management, among others. UST operates the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions.

The University of St. Thomas (UST) was established in 1885 as a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning. Nearly 10,100 students attend classes on campus and through the school’s distance learning platform. The University of St. Thomas is named for the patron saint of students Thomas Aquinas and the largest nonprofit university that operates privately.

Program: Master of Legal Studies – Ethics and Compliance

9. West Virginia University

West Virginia University offers one of the best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs in the nation. These MLS degrees from West Virginia University offer three academic emphases in the Justice System, Homeland Security, and Health Care. Degree candidates enrolled in WVU’s online MLS programs are required to complete 30 semester credits to meet the program’s requirements. Coursework includes Researching the Law, Dispute Resolution, the Judicial Legal Process, and Administrative Ethics, among others.

West Virginia University was founded in 1867. The university operates multiple campuses in the state and is also a land-grant and space-grant institution of higher education. The university’s campus in college-town Morganville is home more than 21,000 students, but the school as a total student enrollment that nears 30,000 students. The school’s forensic science programs are considered nationally recognized.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

10. University of Arizona

The James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona offers a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program, which is recognized among the country’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) degree programs. This one-year MLS degree from U of A offers students twelve online concentrations. These concentrations include Compliance and Risk Management, Criminal Law, Family Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights, Health Care Law, Intellectual Property, International Business, Indigenous People’s Law, Economics and Law, Tax Law and Mining Policy and Law.

The University of Arizona is a research institution of higher education that was established in 1885 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The university’s urban campus in Tucson covers more than 350 acres and is home to nearly 46,000 students vying for academic degree programs from the university’s seventeen colleges/schools. The U of A is the only university in the state to be a member elected to the Association of American Universities.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

11. American University

American University’s Washington College of Law offers one of the country’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs that is available 100% online. AU’s MLS degree program offers five MLS academic tracks – a general track, a healthcare compliance track, a cybersecurity track, a business track, or a technology track. Several of AU’s MLS concentrations are recognized among the nation’s top programs by US News and World Report. Foundational coursework includes Regulation and Compliance, Negotiations and Communication, Compliance Drafting, and Introduction to Law and Courts, among others.

A Congressional Act established American University in 1893. As a space-grant university, American University’s urban campus serves more than 14,100 students. AU maintains an ongoing affiliation with the Methodist Church and is organized into eight colleges/schools. American University includes many prominent politicians, journalists, and ambassadors among its elite alumni.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

12. Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University offers one of the nation’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs with three academic tracks from which students can choose. These academic concentrations include Human Resources, Health Law and Policy, and Business Law and Compliance. This MLS degree program from Wake Forest University can be completed in about 21 months as a full-time student and upwards of four years as a part-time student. Wake Forest University offers three starting dates throughout the year – January, May, and August.

Wake Forest University is a research institution of higher learning that was established in 1834. Although historically a Baptist university, Wake Forest now operates as a nonsectarian school. The school operates several campuses with a total student population that exceeds 8,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Notable alumni of Wake Forest includes world-renowned author Maya Angelou, and athletes Arnold Palmer and Brian Piccolo.

Program: Master of Studies in Law

13. New York University

New York University offers one of the country’s most innovative and best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs. In fact, NYU Law’s MSL in Taxation is recognized as the best MSL degree in the nation since the early 1990s. NYU’s MLS degree program requires the completion of 30 semester credits to meet the program’s requirements. Coursework for this graduate degree in taxation includes corporate tax, taxation of property transactions, tax policy, international tax, multi-state tax, and partnership tax, among others.

New York University is a research institute of higher education located in the iconic Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. The school was established in 1831 and is organized into 25 colleges and schools that serve nearly 52,000 students. Among the elite alumni of NYU are supreme court justices, five governors, and more than 25 Pulitzer prize winners.

Program: MSL in Taxation

14. Samford University

Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law offers a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree program that students can complete in only two years. Samford University’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) program is designed for nonlawyers and offers four concentrations in legal operations, higher education law, financial regulatory compliance, and healthcare law, plus an option to customize the MLS degree to meet the student’s career objectives. Students enrolled in Samford University’s MLS degree must complete 34 credit units to meet the program’s academic requirements.

Samford University (SU) was established in 1841 and is affiliated with the Christian Church. More than 5,500 students attend classes at Samford University, which offers more than 160-degree programs. During the civil war, Samford University was converted and used as a military hospital by the confederate government. Samford University holds the distinction as being the 89th oldest university in the United States.

Program: Master of Studies in Law

15. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law offers a Master of Legal Studies that does not require the submission of an LSAT or GRE score when applying for admission. This best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) program includes coursework in criminal law, constitutional law, procedure and litigation, contracts, and legal writing, among others. Pepperdine University also offers a dual degree with a Master of Dispute Resolution that can be earned with only an additional 18-22 semester credits.

Pepperdine University is a research institution of higher learning that operates several campuses across Southern California as well as international campuses in Italy, Germany, and China, among other countries. Founded in 1937 and affiliated with the Church of Christ, Pepperdine University’s suburban campus is home to more than 7,700 students. The school of law at Pepperdine ranks among the top fifty law schools in the nation.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

16. Seton Hall University

Seton Hall University offers a Master of Science in Jurisprudence that is recognized among the best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs on the east coast of the US. This MLS degree for nonlawyers offers a variety of concentrations in Pharmaceutical Law and Compliance, Hospital Law, Financial Compliance, Cybersecurity and Law, and Intellectual Property law. Seton Hall University’s MLS degree program requires the completion of 31 semester credits to meet program requirements.

Seton Hall University was established in 1856 as a private institution of higher education and named for the Catholic Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. More than 10,000 students attend classes on the school’s suburban campus less than an hour from downtown Manhattan. Seton Hall University is well known for its successful men’s basketball program, which has made more than a dozen NCAA tournament appearances.

Program: Master of Science in Jurisprudence

17. Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Mitchell Hamline School of Law offers a Master’s degree in the Study of Law (MSL) that can be completed in under 1.5 years completely online. Coursework for this best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) program includes Foundations in Law, Regulation in America, Legal Writing, Civil Litigation Procedure, and Transaction & Contracts in Business, to name a few. The program requires degree candidates to complete a total of 34 credit units, which includes a culminating capstone project in the study of law.

Mitchell Hamline School of Law is an ABA approved institution of higher learning dedicated to legal education. The school serves more than 300 students each year. Mitchell Hamline School of Law holds the distinction of offering the most comprehensive list of practical externships than any other school located in the US Midwest.

Program: Master in the Study of Law

18. Drexel University

Drexel University’s Kline School of Law offers a Master of Legal Studies that has been ranked second best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) program by Onlinemasters.com. The MLS program from Drexel University offers degree candidates a variety of academic concentrations, which include Sports Law, Cybersecurity, Healthcare Compliance, Higher Ed, Criminal Law, Human Resources, and Financial Compliance. Drexel’s School of Law is ranked among the top 3% ABA accredited law schools in the nation.

Drexel University was established as a research institution of higher education in 1891. Drexel’s urban campus in the City of Brotherly Love is home to more than 23,900 students. Drexel University is well-known for its cooperative education program, which allows students to earn up to 18 months of paid work. Drexel University’s mission is to teach practical education with applied hands-on experiences.

Program: Master of Legal Studies

19. University of Illinois at Springfield

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers one of Illinois’ best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs that available 100% online. Coursework for the online MLS degree program from the University of Illinois includes legal research, public advocacy, theories of justice, politics and law, plus a legal studies thesis. Degree candidates can opt for an applied internship to earn up to four elective credits towards the program’s requirements. The total semester credits required to graduate is 36 hours.

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a public institution of higher learning that was established in 1969. The university’s rural campus in Springfield serves more than 5,300 students. UIS became a member school of the University of Illinois system in the mid 1990s. UIS was originally created by the state’s general assembly as Sangamon State University.

Program: MA in Legal Studies

20. Nova Southeastern University

Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University offers a Master of Science in Law that is considered among Florida’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs available. Nova’s MLS degree programs offer students a choice of four academic concentrations in Law & Policy, Education Law, Employment Law, and Health Law. The MLS degree from Nova is accredited by the American Bar Association.

Nova Southeastern University (Nova) was established as a private institution of higher learning in 1964. Nova operates multiple campuses in Florida (and one in Puerto Rico) in addition to the main campus in Fort Lauderdale. The university’s campus was once a naval landing field but now is home to more than 20,300 students. Nova is a recognized high research school by the Carnegie Foundation.

Program: Master of Science in Law

21. Regent University

Regent University offers an online MA in Law that is considered among the state’s best Master of Legal Studies (MLS) programs that is available entirely online. This 30-semester credit online MLS degree offers fourteen concentration from which degree candidates can select. Among these academic tracks are criminal justice, immigration law, business, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance, to name a few. The Princeton Review recognizes the quality of the law faculty at Regent among the top five in the nation. Classes include legislation and regulation and foundation of legal thought, among others.

Regent University was established in 1977 as the Christian Broadcasting Network University. This private institution of higher learning serves more than 8,400 students on its 50+ acre suburban campus in Virginia Beach. The Regent School of Law has won several moot court competitions administered by the American Bar Association.

Program: MA in Law

22. Webster University

Webster University offers an MA in Legal Studies that requires degree candidates to complete 39 credits to meet the program’s requirements. Coursework for one of Missouri’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs includes Legal Ethics for Professionals, Criminal Actions, Computerized Legal Research, Jurisprudence, Advanced Topics in Law, plus a writing/research culminating project. This Master of Legal Studies program from Webster is designed for working professionals who require a more in-depth knowledge of the law, as nonlawyers.

Webster University was established as a private, nonprofit institution of higher learning in 1915. The university’s campus in St. Louis’ suburbs serves about 9.800 students each year, with a worldwide alumnus nearing 200,000. Webster University was one of the first Catholic women’s schools that were situated west of the Mississippi River.

Program: MA in Legal Studies

23. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University offers one of Florida’s best Master of Legal Studies online (MLS) programs with its Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Legal Studies that can be completed 100% online. The curriculum for Saint Leo University’s MS in Criminal Justice degree is specifically developed for administrators within the criminal justice system. Core coursework for the graduate degree in criminal justice includes public policymaking, ethical issues in criminal justice administration, fundamentals of civil litigation and criminal advocacy and judicial procedure, among others.

Saint Leo University was established by the order of Saint Benedict Catholic church in 1959. This institution of higher education is affiliated with the Holy Name Monastery and Roman Catholic Church. Saint Leo University is recognized as one of the first schools to administer distance learning to students. The school serves nearly 12,000 students. Saint Leo University holds the distinction as being the first Catholic institution of higher education in the Sunshine State.

Program: MS in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies

24. Hodges University

Hodges University offers one Florida’s best Master of Legal Studies online programs with its Juris Master (JM) degree program that was formerly called the Master of Legal Studies. This graduate legal studies program from Hodges University is designed to meet the needs of nonlawyers in both the for-profit & nonprofit sectors of the economy. Students graduate from Hodges University’s graduate degree in legal studies and use their educational background as a compliance officer, human resources management, or in business as an entrepreneur.

Hodges University was established as the international College in 1990. Hodges University operates two campuses in Florida in Naples and Fort Myers. Hodges University’s student enrollment exceeds 1,100 students vying for degrees offered through the university’s five colleges/schools. Hodges University services the students and working learners in southwest Florida, has conferred more than 10,000 degrees over the past three decades.

Program: MS in Legal Studies

25. Albany Law School

Albany Law School offers a trio of New York State’s best Master of Legal Studies online programs with academic tracks in healthcare law and compliance, financial compliance and risk management, and data privacy and cybersecurity. PreLaw Magazine recognizes Albany Law School among the top twenty most innovative law schools in the United States. These graduate degrees in legal studies can typically be completed in a little more than twelve months if studying full time. OnlineMasters.com ranks Albany Law School’s graduate degree in legal studies to be the program that offers degree candidates the most flexibility.

Albany Law School (ALS) is a private law school that was established in 1851 as Union University. As an ABA accredited private law school, the school serves about 375 students each year. The campus for Albany Law School is located near the Empire State’s highest courts and executive branches. ALS holds the distinction of being the oldest law school in the country that operates independently.

Program: MS in Legal Studies

Why Choose an ABA Approved Master of Legal Studies?

If you want to earn an online Juris Master degree, it’s best to enroll in a program from an ABA-approved online law school. When an online law school or online Master of Legal Studies degree program has been approved by the ABA or American Bar Association, it means that it has met specific standards that the organization deems necessary if the graduate expects to be successful. Both schools and degree programs are created to provide the necessary skills needed to be efficient in the practice of law. Graduates who go on to pass the Bar exam are able to move forward with confidence knowing they have received a degree from a school that has received approval from the American Bar Association.

The American Bar Association is one of the primary benchmarks when it comes to setting standards in the legal field and determining what skills and tools are most useful when it comes to developing legal degree programs. Whether the MLS degree program is online or taught in a classroom, having the ABA stamp of approval means that students who graduate will be able to work in the legal field in a wide variety of positions. They will also have the knowledge they need to advance as they continue to gain experience.

How Much Can I Make with a Master of Legal Studies?

A Master of Jurisprudence salary will range depending on your level of experience as well as your grades and the specific skills you have acquired. The basic rule of thumb, however, is that a graduate who has earned an online or traditional Master of Legal Studies degree can earn as much as $81,000 per year. This may also depend on where the graduate lives as well. Individuals who live in a much larger city may make a considerably higher wage compared to their counterpart who lives in a very rural area.

If a graduate has already been working in the legal field for several years and already has a large amount of experience, they may be able to negotiate a much higher salary for themselves once they have graduated with their online Masters of Legal Studies degree. When it comes to building a successful legal career, the experience that is gained through working in the field is the key to higher earnings, and the potential for advancement. In the end, it is up to the student to continue to pursue their education and always look for new opportunities.

Is a Master of Studies in Law the Same as a Master of Legal Studies?

While a Master’s degree in Law and a Master of Legal Studies are basically the same type of degree program, there is a subtle difference that should be noted. A Master’s degree in Law has been developed for lawyers and attorneys who are trying to continue their education. This type of degree reinforces much of what has already been learned by including more skills and a more in-depth level of knowledge.

A Master of Legal Studies, whether performed online or in a traditional classroom, is more suited for paralegals and other legal professionals who assist attorneys and lawyers in performing many different tasks. Students who graduate with a Master’s degree in Legal Studies can manage a legal office and perform many tasks that an attorney performs, such as recording depositions and creating legal documents. Paralegals often take the initiative and return to school to earn a Master’s degree in Law so that they can work side by side with attorneys. Others may even go so far as o sit for the Bar exam and become a partner in their firm.

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