If you want to gain a deeper understanding of how the legal system works and its impact on human resources, real estate, finance, health care and other aspects of business and life, you may be interested in pursuing a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree. These programs introduce students to many of the same foundational legal concepts, theories and principles as first-year law school students. At the same time, MLS programs also usually place a greater emphasis on how to use legal analysis, tools and processes to solve real-world problems as they pertain to a student’s career field.
While exact coursework may differ by program and concentration, MLS degree programs usually have the same learning outcomes—or at least share common elements. Before we look at the topics you may be exposed to in an MLS program, it might be helpful to consider the knowledge and skills you will be able to demonstrate after you earn your degree.
Consider the following learning outcomes from a few MLS programs around the country.
|West Virginia University – MLS Learning Outcomes
|According to West Virginia University, upon successful completion of the program, MLS graduates will be:
|Albany Law School – MLS Learning Outcomes|
|According to Albany Law School, upon successful completion of the program, MLS graduates will be able to demonstrate:
|Trinity Law School – MLS Learning Outcomes
|According to Trinity Law School, upon successful completion of the program, MLS graduates will be able to:
Many MLS programs are structured and designed to mirror the experiences of first-year law school students. Through a combination of foundational law courses, electives and residencies, MLS programs broaden students’ understanding of how the law interacts with various fields of expertise, including business, healthcare, education and advocacy. Consider the following sample schedule from Northeastern University:
|Northeastern University – MLS Curriculum*
*As of 08/2018 (curriculum is subject to change)
|Core Courses||Complete at least four of the following:
|Specialization Elective Courses||Complete three or four of the following:
If you wish to learn more about the laws, regulations and legal procedures that specifically impact your career field, you may be able to concentrate in a particular area of legal studies. MLS concentrations may prepare you to better understand the social, political and economic impacts of the law in your field (or in a field you would like to work in). Some of the MLS concentrations that may be available include:
- International Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Sports Law
- Environmental Law
- Healthcare Law
- Private, State and Federal Compliance
- Mediation and Arbitration
If you’re a working professional, you can earn a master’s degree in legal studies without putting your life on hold thanks to the growing number of online MLS programs. Online learning can be more flexible and convenient than attending an on-campus program. And because the curriculum is accessible anywhere with an internet connection, you can enroll in almost any online MLS program around the country instead of being limited to a program offered near you—assuming schools in your area offer any such program.
Online MLS Degree Programs
Compare online MLS degree programs and find the one that best suits your needs.