Master of Legal Studies Courses: Sampling the Curriculum

Master of Legal Studies Courses: Sampling the Curriculum

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.

What Will You Learn in an MLS Program?

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:

  • Prepared to articulate and differentiate between the law, the courts, other legal institutions and legal actors and to define their impact on society
  • Identify sources of law
  • Develop research plans and conduct legal research
  • Prepare for and assist with civil and criminal litigation
  • Understand policymaking and rulemaking, develop and implement strategies and plans to affect policymaking and rulemaking
Albany Law School – MLS Learning Outcomes
According to Albany Law School, upon successful completion of the program, MLS graduates will be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of fundamental substantive and procedural law as it relates to the student’s chosen area of concentration
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing and orally
  • Basic research, analysis, reasoning and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to exercise proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and to the legal system
​Trinity Law School – MLS Learning Outcomes
According to Trinity Law School, upon successful completion of the program, MLS graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the law in areas applicable to a wide range of business and management positions.
  • Apply the law as a tool for effective and ethical decision‐making.
  • Identify and formulate the legal issues and theories that impact their professional career.
  • Effectively interact with attorneys regarding the application of legal solutions to business and ministry challenges.
  • Recognize and resolve ethical issues by applying knowledge of secular law and biblical principles to content area topics.

MLS Curriculum

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)

Foundation Courses
  • LS 6101 – Introduction to Legal Studies 1: Law and Legal Reasoning (3 units)
  • 6102 – Introduction to Legal Studies 2 (3 units)
Core Courses Complete at least four of the following:

  • LS 6110 – Law of Information and Records (3 units)
  • LS 6120 – Law and Strategy (3 units)
  • LS 6130 – Negotiation and Advocacy (3 units)
  • LS 6140 – Data Regulation and Compliance (3 units)
  • LS 6150 – Law and Organizational Management (3 units)
Specialization Elective Courses Complete three or four of the following:

  • LS 6160 – Regulation and Global Business Strategies (3 units)
  • LS 6170 – Financial Transactions (3 units)
  • LS 6180 – Health Law Survey (3 units)
  • LS 6181 – Healthcare Regulation and Compliance (3 units)
  • LS 6182 – Patient Records, Privacy, and Security (3 units)
  • LS 6210 – Special Topics in Employee Rights and Employer Obligations (3 units)
  • LS 6211 – Antidiscrimination Law (3 units)
  • LS 6212 – Wages and Benefits (3 units)
  • LS 6230 – Intellectual Property Survey (3 units)

MLS Concentrations

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

Earn Your MLS Degree Online

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.

Compare MLS Degrees