Most Affordable Online Master’s in Legal Studies Programs 2021

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Graduate-level training in legal studies prepares individuals for careers in compliance, regulation, and legal services. Learners can specialize in areas such as corporate law, contract law, and healthcare law. While lawyers must hold a JD degree, a master’s in legal studies qualifies holders to work as arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.

The list below ranks the most affordable online master’s in legal studies programs for 2021. Prospective students can use the rankings to identify a program that fits their budget and career goals. This page also introduces common courses and scholarships for legal studies students.

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Top Affordable Online Master’s in Legal Studies Programs

Thinking of using a Master's in Legal Studies?

  • What can you do with a master's in legal studies?

    Master’s in legal studies programs prepare students for careers as compliance officers, arbitrators, and human resources managers. Learners receive specialized legal training.

  • How many years is a master's degree in law?

    A master’s degree in law typically takes 1-2 years to earn. Master’s students in the field can specialize in areas such as corporate compliance, intellectual property law, and human resources law.

  • Can you practice law with a master's in legal studies?

    No, a master’s degree in law or legal studies does not meet the requirements to practice law. Aspiring attorneys must earn a JD degree and pass the bar exam.

  • Can I earn a master's in law without a law degree?

    Graduate students can earn a master’s degree in legal studies instead of a JD degree. A legal studies master’s degree provides legal training for careers that do not require a JD.

Why Get a Degree in Legal Studies?

Students earning a master’s in legal studies receive advanced training in the field. Several other personal and professional benefits often accompany a master’s in legal studies, including specialization options and increased earning potential.

While earning a master’s degree in legal studies, graduate students specialize their training. Learners take courses in an area such as conflict resolution, corporate compliance, healthcare law, or contract management. These specializations prepare students for specific legal careers.
Most online legal studies programs emphasize flexibility. Many schools deliver online courses asynchronously, allowing students to arrange coursework around their work schedule and other responsibilities.
Career Advancement
Graduate-level training can help professionals secure specialized roles in the legal field. Master’s degree-holders often become compliance officers, regulatory affairs managers, and human resources managers.
Online learning can make graduate studies more accessible. Degree-seekers can enroll in specialized programs in any state without relocating.
Increase Earning Potential
Advanced education tends to correlate with higher salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a master’s degree earn a median weekly salary about $250 higher than bachelor’s degree-holders.

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Courses in Legal Studies

Master’s in legal studies programs train learners to analyze laws and regulations, apply analyses in business contexts, and draft legal documents. Master’s students take courses in the U.S. legal system, federal regulations, and legal research. They also study contract law, compliance, and criminal law.

Many programs offer elective options such as human resources law, intellectual property law, and sustainability. These courses help students earning a legal studies master’s degree prepare for specialized career paths. While curricula vary by program, many master’s in legal studies programs include the following courses.

Students in this class learn about the American legal system, including the relationship between the government and the law. Topics include the court system, civil rights, constitutional law, and the appellate courts. The course provides foundational knowledge that prepares degree-seekers for advanced law classes.

This course helps learners strengthen their analytical, research, and writing skills. Degree-seekers explore case laws, statutes, administrative rulings, and legal analyses. Students prepare to analyze cases and rulings, evaluate statutes, and interpret administrative rulings. Learners also develop legal-writing skills by creating opinions and case briefs. Coursework emphasizes computerized research skills and proper legal citations.

Contract law governs public and private entities in multiple sectors. Master’s students in this course explore the role of contracts in creating binding agreements. The class covers topics such as damages for breaching contracts and restitution. Graduates can use skills gained during this course to create contracts and analyze proposed contracts.

This course examines the federal regulatory system and its relationship to various administrative agencies and the legal system. Students learn about the limits on administrative authority, routes for redress, and state administrative agencies. Learners strengthen their analytical skills by reviewing regulations and their applications.

Employment law regulates the hiring process and the relationship between employers and employees. This class explores the legal and regulatory context for hiring and firing employees, wage and hour laws, and workplace discrimination protections. Aspiring human resources professionals can benefit from this class.

Certifications and Licensure for Legal Studies

Graduates of master’s in legal studies programs can pursue professional certification to stand out in the job market. For example, individuals pursuing compliance-related careers often earn the certified compliance and ethics professional credential. Fraud examiners and financial examiners can also benefit from specialized certifications. Most professional certifications require candidates to pass an exam.

Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional

Professionals with experience in compliance and regulations can pursue this credential. Applicants must meet work experience requirements and pass an examination. The Compliance Certification Board also sets education requirements, which candidates may fulfill through legal studies coursework. The certification remains valid for two years.

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Certified Fraud Examiner

This certification demonstrates experience and academic training in fraud detection and anti-fraud activities. Applicants must hold membership with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and pass an examination on financial transactions, fraud schemes, the law, investigation, and fraud detection. Certified professionals complete 20 hours of continuing education annually.

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Certified Financial Examiner

Experienced financial examiners who possess at least three credits of management training can obtain this credential. Candidates also need at least three years of experience in insurance department examination. Candidates must pass a four-part examination on enterprise risk management, financial analysis, and examination methods. Certified professionals complete continuing education credits to qualify for renewal every three years.

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Scholarships for Legal Studies Students

Students pursuing a legal studies degree can qualify for several scholarship opportunities. Professional associations, private foundations, and specialized organizations award scholarships to support legal studies degree-seekers. In addition to scholarships reserved for students earning a master’s degree in legal studies, learners can apply for general awards based on their state and background.

  • Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Graduate students pursuing a degree related to wilderness or conservation, including a related master’s in legal studies degree, can qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must attend an accredited institution and demonstrate a strong academic record.

    Amount: $15,000

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  • AALL Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The American Association of Law Libraries awards this scholarship to prospective law librarians and library school graduates pursuing a law-related degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, and AALL members receive preference.

    Amount: Varies

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  • John R. Johnson Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: LexisNexis offers this scholarship in honor of former director of the law library section John R. Johnson. The award supports learners attending accredited law schools. Applicants must aspire to a career in the legal information field.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Legal Studies Programs 2021

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