20 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Legal Studies 2020

| Staff

Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Legal issues affect the most prominent modern industries. The 20 Best Online Master’s in Legal Studies are designed to enrich students’ legal understanding to boost their credibility and capability in the workplace.

Best Online Badge

Laws and regulations are significant across numerous industries. A legal understanding can be invaluable in industries including but not limited to business, education, healthcare, human resources, and financial services. 

The following legal studies degrees are not suitable for those seeking to become practicing attorneys. Instead, they are designed for working professionals seeking convenient, relevant legal training for their existing careers. Online delivery allows students to study when and where they choose and to tailor their program to suit their personal and professional obligations.

Many of the programs listed below offer specialization and concentration areas so students can take courses most relevant to their careers and goals. An MLS degree may be an asset to those working in human resource management, for example. The treatment of employees in organizations should align with ethical regulations and employment laws, and legal concerns often arise in many workplaces.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources specialists earned an annual salary of $60,880 in 2018. However, a Legal Studies degree can enrich a wide range of positions and industries as they intersect with areas such as education law, health law, intellectual property, and taxation.

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Legal Studies

Rank School Location
1 Northeastern University Boston, MA
2 University of Oklahoma Norman, OK
3 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
5 Georgetown University Washington, DC
6 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
7 Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
8 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
9 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
10 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 20 Best Online Masters’ in Legal Studies for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20%
  • Continued Enrollment: 20%
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.

Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Here are the 20 Best Online Masters’ in Legal Studies for 2019 – 2020!

  1. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northeastern University offers GSH's top-ranked Master of Legal Studies. The online degree program is offered through the university's School of Law. The core MLS curriculum builds a broad, foundational understanding of U.S. law. Core courses include Data Regulation and Compliance, Law of Information and Records, and Negotiation and Advocacy. Students can then customize their plan of study through electives covering legal issues relating to specific industries. Elective offerings include Antidiscrimination Law, Regulation and Global Business Strategies, and Wages and Benefits. Students can choose to concentrate in Business Law, Health Law, or Human Resources Law. The degree can be completed on a full- or part-time basis within two years.

    Founded in 1898, Northeastern began as the Evening Institute for Younger Men in Boston's Huntington Avenue YMCA. Today, it is a private research university with a main campus that spreads through Boston's Back Bay, Fenway-Kenmore, Roxbury, and South End neighborhoods. The university also operates satellite campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; and Toronto, Canada. The university is noted for its cooperative education program and consistently ranks highly on The Princeton Review's list of "Best Schools for Internships." The university ranks in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. U.S. News & World Report ranks NU at No. 72 in Best Value Schools, No. 44 in National Universities, and No. 8 in Most Innovative Schools. The university's School of Law ranks at No. 64 for its graduate studies and No. 9 for graduate Health Care Law.

  2. University of Oklahoma
    Location

    Norman, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Oklahoma offers a Master of Legal Studies through its College of Law. The online degree program offers four focus areas: Healthcare Law; Indigenous Peoples Law; International Business Law; and Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. The 32- to 33-credit MLS curriculum is flexible, allowing students to study when and where they choose. It follows a cohort-based model with small class sizes, meaning students will move through the material at similar paces and receive personal attention. The accelerated degree program can be completed in 15 months.

    OU was established in 1890 as Normal Territorial University. It received its current name when Oklahoma gained statehood 17 years later. OU is the state's flagship university. In addition to its main campus in Norman, the school operates campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and one in Arezzo, Italy. The Norman campus is home to two prominent museums: the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The space-grant institution is classified in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. U.S. News & World Report ranks OU at No. 157 in National Universities and No. 80 in Top Public Schools.

  3. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    West Virginia University offers a Master of Legal Studies. The online degree program offers three areas of emphasis: healthcare, homeland security, and justice systems. It is ideal for working professionals in fields such as healthcare, immigration, and law enforcement. The 30-credit curriculum includes 10 required courses, including Administrative Ethics, Dispute Resolution Process, and Researching the Law. Students must also take two of three Legal Process courses: Administrative, Judicial, and Legislative. The curriculum culminates in a three-credit Research Capstone.

    WVU was established in 1867 as an agricultural college. Today, it is a public research-intensive university. Along with its main campus in Morgantown, the university operates additional West Virginia campuses in Beckley, Charleston, and Keyser. A land- and space-grant institution, WVU is classified in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. The university is affiliated with the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute and is a leader in biometrics in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. News & World Report ranks WVU at No. 205 in National Universities and No. 112 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked at No. 100 in Best Law Schools at the graduate level.

  4. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois at Springfield offers a 40-credit Master of Arts in Legal Studies. Designed for working professionals, the degree program can be completed entirely online. Some online courses are taught in real-time through computer conferencing software, while others can be accessed at students' own convenience. It addresses the world of law within the framework of an interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. Core courses include Public Advocacy, a Seminar in Politics and Law, and Theories of Justice. Students must culminate the program by completing a graduate seminar or master's thesis. Students also have the option to complete up to four clinical education credits, which can be completed through internships in government agencies or other public interest groups.

    UIS became a part of the University of Illinois system in 1995. It is a liberal arts college and public land-grant university. The campus is located in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. It has been recognized by the Sloan Consortium for its excellence in online education. U.S. News & World Report ranks UIS at No. 55 in Best Value Schools, No. 50 in Regional Universities Midwest, and No. 9 in Top Public Schools.

  5. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Georgetown University offers a Master of Studies in Law in Taxation. The online degree program is offered through the Georgetown University Law Center, which has the largest tax curriculum of any school in the country. Georgetown students can also pursue an additional certificate in International Taxation or State and Local Taxation. All MSL in Taxation must take three courses: Corporate Income Tax Law, Income Tax Accounting, and Introduction to Federal Income Tax, Research & Writing. The Research & Writing course must be taken in real-time online through video conferencing. The curriculum totals 24 credits. It can be completed on a full-time basis within one academic year, or part-time within three years.

    Georgetown was founded by Jesuits in 1789 as Georgetown College. It has since grown into a private research university comprised of nine schools. It is the oldest Catholic-affiliated institution of higher education in the nation, though most of its students are not Catholic. Established in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the main campus sits on a hill overlooking the Potomac River and features Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Celebrated alumni include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgetown at No. 32 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 25 in Best Value Schools, and No. 22 in National Universities.

  6. Pepperdine University
    Location

    Malibu, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Pepperdine University offers a Master of Legal Studies through Pepperdine Law. The online degree program offers students the option to concentrate in dispute resolution or human resources. The 32-credit curriculum covers legal areas such as litigation, negotiation, regulatory compliance, research, and torts. Core courses include Constitutional Law, Contracts, and Legal Writing. Elective offerings include Business Organizations, Health Law, and Intellectual Property. Students will have the opportunity to engage in case studies and mock trials during two on-campus residencies.

    Pepperdine was founded in 1937 by Christian philanthropist and entrepreneur George Pepperdine. Originally a liberal arts college in Los Angeles, it is now a private research university in Malibu, California. The university operates multiple campuses in southern California, a center in Washington, D.C., and international campuses in six countries. The university is affiliated with the Churches of Christ. U.S. News & World Report ranks Pepperdine at No. 46 in National Universities and No. 39 in Best Value Schools. Pepperdine Law is ranked at No. 51 in Best Law Schools at the graduate level.

  7. Arizona State University
    Location

    Phoenix, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Arizona State University awards a Master of Legal Studies through its Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The online degree program offers five emphasis options: Corporate and Health Care Compliance, Criminal Law, HR & Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Sports Law & Business, and Sustainability Law. The 30-credit curriculum explores the intersections of law and the fields it influences, such as banking, engineering, entrepreneurship, sports, and sustainability. It consists of 10 total classes, each spanning seven and a half weeks. U.S. Law and Legal Analysis is a required course for all students.

    ASU was established in 1885 as a teacher training school. It has since grown into one of the largest public universities in the United States in terms of student enrollment. It operates five campuses in the Phoenix metropolitan area, as well as learning centers throughout the state of Arizona. A significant portion of the student population is enrolled online. The space-grant university ranks highly for research efforts and is a Carnegie-classified top-tier research university. U.S. News & World Report ranks ASU at No. 115 in National Universities, No. 52 in Top Public Schools, and first nationally in Most Innovative Schools. The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ranks at No. 27 in Best Law Schools for its graduate-level studies.

  8. Webster University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Webster University offers an entirely online Master of Arts in Legal Studies through its College of Arts & Sciences. The 39-credit curriculum includes required courses in Anglo-American Legal History, Computerized Legal Research, Criminal Actions, Ethics for the Legal Professional, Jurisprudence, and more. All students must also complete a master's Research and Writing Projects. Students also have the option to complete a Legal Studies internship or pursue a concurrent certificate in paralegal studies.

    Webster University was founded in 1915 by the Sisters of Loretto as a Catholic women's college. Today, it is a private, independent, non-denominational university. It has a main campus in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The university also operates branch locations throughout the United States and international campuses in countries including Austria, Ghana, and Thailand. The university is noted for its chess team, which has won multiple state, national, and world championships. U.S. News & World Report ranks Webster at No. 56 in Best Value Schools and No. 23 in Regional Universities Midwest.

  9. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Drexel University awards a Master of Legal Studies through its Thomas R. Kline School of Law. Designed for working professionals, the online degree program builds a general understanding of the law that can be applied to almost any industry. Students may pursue a general legal studies degree or choose from eight concentrations, including criminal law, health care compliance, higher education compliance, and sports law. The curriculum covers areas such as compliance, ethics, legal research and analysis, professional standards, and risk management. Core courses include Compliance Skills, Ethics and Professional Standards, Legal Research and Analysis, and Risk Assessment and Management. The curriculum culminates in a capstone research project. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

    Drexel was founded in 1891 by financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel. It was originally an institute of art, science, and industry, and later an institute of technology, before becoming a private research university. The main campus is located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2015, Bloomberg Business ranked the university's Kline School of Law as the nation's second most underrated law school. Drexel has also been awarded for its excellence in online education and distance learning. U.S. News & World Report ranks Drexel at No. 102 in National Universities, No. 67 in Best Value Schools, and No. 13 in Most Innovative Schools. The Kline School of Law ranks at No. 100 in the nation for its graduate studies.

  10. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Southern California offers a Master of Studies in Law through its Gould School of Law. The degree program is designed for both experienced and entry-level non-lawyer professionals. It can be completed entirely online on a part-time basis. The 21-unit curriculum includes one required course, Introduction to the U.S. Legal System. Elective offerings include Dealmaking, Negotiation Skills, and Regulatory Compliance. Students can complete the degree in as few as 16 months. At no additional cost, students may choose to pursue an additional certificate in Business Law; Entertainment Law and Industry; Financial Compliance, Health Care Compliance, or Human Resources Law and Compliance.

    Founded in 1880, USC is the oldest private research university in the state of California. It is also the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles. A sea- and space-grant institution, USC is a member of the Association of American Universities. The university's technological innovations and advancements include antivirus software, DNA computing, and the Domain Name System. Located in Los Angeles' University Park district, the main campus includes features primarily Romanesque Revival architecture and a historic portion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. U.S. News & World Report ranks USC at No. 37 in Best Value Schools, No. 28 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 22 in National Universities. The Gould School of Law ranks at No. 17 in Best Law Schools at the graduate level.

Latest Posts

See All Posts
10 Best Master’s Degrees in Archaeology 2020

10 Best Master’s Degrees in Archaeology 2020

August 6, 2020   |   Staff

The field of archaeology uncovers the artifacts and materials that speak volumes about the human species and the societies we build. Studying these materials deepens human understanding of our cultural...

5 Best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology

5 Best Online Master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology

August 12, 2020   |   Staff

Child and Adolescent Psychology examines the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of children and adolescents. Master's degree programs in Child and Adolescent Psychology can equip students with significant insight into both the...

Advertisement GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.