Online Masters Degree in Legal Studies: Program Information

Research online master's degree programs in legal studies. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in legal studies are often available completely via distance learning. This means that in some programs, students may need to gain access to web conferencing equipment before enrolling.

In addition to a bachelor's degree, some programs expect applicants to have taken prerequisites in related fields like political science or government. Legal studies degree programs prepare graduates for careers in which knowledge of the legal system is required, such as human services, journalism, social work, and criminal justice; they do not prepare graduates to become lawyers.

Master's Degree in Legal Studies

An online master's degree program in legal studies provides graduates with an understanding of the inner workings of the legal system and the role law plays in American society. Lessons emphasize legal theory as well as the application of legal principles to political and social settings. Ample attention is also given to developing legal writing, research and analytical thinking skills. Areas of study include law and public policy, employment law, legal terminology, judicial administration, dispute resolution and criminal procedure.

Information and Requirements

Online master's degree programs in the field of legal studies usually comprise 36 credits and can be completed entirely through distance education. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. They may need to submit GRE scores and have completed previous coursework in areas such as American government.

Class materials are delivered via online course management systems such as Blackboard. Students can access online library materials and take part in chat sessions with peers and faculty through this portal. Computer software requirements commonly include an updated operating system (for example, Windows XP) and the latest version of Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Hardware requirements may include a sound card, microphone and speakers.

Course Topics

The online curriculum for a master's-level legal studies program provides professionals with a wide range of knowledge in areas such as public policy and criminal justice.

Criminal Law

This course examines previous court cases while discussing various types of crime. Topics include criminal defenses, evidentiary issues, criminal responsibility and interrogation.

Constitutional Law

Students explore the role the constitution plays in law enforcement and ensuring individual liberties. Areas of study include the Supreme Court, constitutionalism and national government.

Administrative Law

This course explores how administrative agencies are bound by legislature and the law. Students learn ethical issues, government regulations and the role of administrative agencies within civil service structures.

Career Information for Graduates

An online master's degree program in legal studies does not prepare graduates to work as a lawyer. Rather, it prepares them for employment in positions where knowledge of the legal system is needed. In fact, programs are often designed for mid-career professionals working in areas such as journalism, human services, social work and criminal justice. Additional employment opportunities might be found in healthcare administration, juvenile justice or court administration. Employment settings might include government agencies, the court system, educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

Professionals in fields such as social services and journalism who want to study law at an advanced level, but not practice as lawyers, can enroll in a master's degree program in legal studies. Students can expect to learn about different areas of law through online readings and class discussions.

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