Online Legal Studies Graduate Degrees with Program Overviews

Learn about online graduate degrees with legal studies courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Online legal studies graduate degree programs typically lead to a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree. These programs aren't intended for lawyers, nor do they prepare students for professional legal practice. Instead, they are designed for professionals in the criminal and juvenile justice, healthcare and human services industries.

Legal studies online graduate degree programs use course management systems and online communication tools to present material and facilitate student interaction. Several programs use video conferencing and streaming video for real-time lectures and classes for the required classes, while electives can be done on the students own time. MLS programs can often be completed totally online with no campus-based components.

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Master of Legal Studies

Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree, but it typically does not need to be in any particular field. Schools may require applicants to provide resumes, graduate test scores and recommendation letters. Some programs require students to have previously earned college credit in an American legal system course or have professional experience in the field; otherwise, online students may have to take a prerequisite class to meet this requirement.

Program Information and Requirements

MLS programs place heavy emphasis on writing skills, analytical thinking and research. Core classes include studies in politics and religion, environmental law and American policy. Students can often specialize in an area of interest by choosing certain electives. Completion of the master's degree program is often dependent on a final research capstone project.

List of Common Course Topics

Online elective courses may cover areas such as the following:

  • Legal processes
  • Legal systems
  • Administrative law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Healthcare law
  • Law and media
  • Commerce law

Students can complete a Master of Legal Studies program with fully online coursework via video conferencing and course management systems. These students normally complete a final research capstone project to earn their degree.

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