10 Best Master of Legal Studies Programs

October 30, 2023 | Admin

Master of Legal Studies

Selecting the ideal Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program can be a significant step toward achieving your career goals. An MLS degree offers various advantages that can be tailored to your specific interests. By choosing the right program, you’ll have the opportunity to concentrate on your desired areas of study while gaining the skills you need to transition into the career you’ve always wanted.

Rank School Location
1Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Conner College of LawTempe, Arizona
2University of Arizona LawTucson, Arizona
3Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
4UCLA LawLos Angeles, California
5University of Oklahoma College of LawNorman, Oklahoma

Importance of Choosing the Best Master of Legal Studies Program

When looking at a masters of legal studies program, you will need to consider all of the different options you have and how it will best meet your needs. You will want to consider options such as a master’s degree in business law or choose from any of the different types of law degrees

Knowing what you want to pursue as well as the field you want to pursue will help you to choose from the best master of legal studies programs to best meet your needs. There are options, and you need to find what provides for your needs with factors such as cost, scheduling, location, and if you can do the work remotely. All of these and other factors will influence your decision in regards to where you will attend school. Look at the types of law degrees the programs offer as well as whether they offer a master’s degree in business law.

Typical Master of Legal Studies Jobs

An MLS is a graduate law degree for those who want to study law but not practice it. It is an excellent choice for those who desire to dig into legal matters for reasons other than becoming an attorney. You may want to know what you can do with a master’s degree in legal studies. Those with a Master of Legal Studies typically work in the following areas: 

Corporate Sector

There are careers to consider in the corporate sector that you can use your master’s of legal studies degree. Some options are as follows.

Compliance Officer

A compliance officer works to make sure that the company they are working for is following all government regulations in regard to contracts, licensing, permits, and other items. They will be responsible for performing periodic inspections to make sure that all aspects of the company are in line and following all items that are not the responsibility of another department.

Contract Manager

A contract manager has the responsibility of writing, reviewing, and enforcing contracts for a company. They will make sure that the contract is enforceable and that all aspects of the contract are legal.

Corporate Paralegal

A corporate paralegal will assist the organization’s legal representative. The purpose of this position is to perform research, provide documents, and fact check, among other duties, to aid in the legal arm of a company to aid in compliance as well as with issues that may arise.

Human Resource Manager

The human resource manager will be in charge of a number of aspects of a company. Duties include handling items such as payroll, employee safety, and benefits for employees, as well as the completion of all required paperwork for any type of employee issues. Making sure company policies are enforced properly and helping employees as well as management understand procedures for how to handle specific situations.

Government and Public Policy

When using your degree from the best master of legal studies programs in government and public policy, you can find a number of avenues to pursue. Consider some of these careers.

Legislative Assistant

A legislative assistant is someone who will work in the office of a higher-ranking official on the government level. They will aid in doing research as well as writing items such as press releases or providing information for legislators to use. 

Public Policy Analyst

A public policy analyst will aid in the political arena by performing research. This position provides information to see what public perception is on proposed legislation as well as to provide research as to how these proposed changes may affect the people that are in the represented area.

Community Affairs Specialist

A community affairs specialist may work as a person who is determined to see how possible policy changes would affect a community. They may also do research and perform programs to help educate and inform a community of possible changes or to promote different aspects of the goings-on in a community.


There are a number of different career possibilities to consider upon completion of a masters of legal studies program in the healthcare field. There are many opportunities and places to seek employment in this field.

Healthcare Compliance Specialist

A healthcare compliance specialist holds the role of ensuring that what is happening in the facility follows all of the outlined rules and regulations. These rules include those of the facility as well as those set down by their governing body. This healthcare compliance specialist works to maintain that all policies and procedures are followed and enforced.

Health Policy Analyst

A health policy analyst holds the position of overseeing and reviewing all health policies for the organization. This may include items such as how insurance is billed to the treatment of patients in the facility. Other responsibilities may include how policies are enforced as well as how they are to be interpreted.

Non-Profit Sector

When considering master of legal studies jobs in the non-profit sector after completing one of the best master of legal studies programs, you may want to consider one of the following.

Grant Writer

In the position of grant writer, you may be working individually or with others to write proposals requesting funds for a number of different projects. Whether it is to provide money for a community-building project or for research to determine how different things may benefit the community. 

Program Manager

As a program manager, you may be responsible for a number of different things. This could mean running a specific portion of a non-profit entity or being in charge of a group of individuals who are at a non-profit. Performing duties such as creating schedules or determining the distribution of funding may also be responsibilities.

An MLS does not qualify you to practice law, and it is not required for the jobs mentioned here. However, it can make you a more attractive candidate for jobs you want and potentially increase your pay. Additionally, you will not need as much training in the field as those who do not carry the degree.


Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law

  • Tempe, Arizona

The Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law– also known as ASU Law- was founded in 1965 in Phoenix, Arizona. It has been an impressive, affordable institution from its inception. It is the highest-ranked law school in the state, ranked at the 7th best public law school in the country, and the 24th highest of all law schools in the United States.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $543 and up depending on the program
Number of Available Specializations: 13
Visit School Website

University of Arizona Law

  • Tucson, Arizona
University of Arizona Law sign and college students

The University of Arizona Law was founded in 1915 in Tucson, AZ, and is considered one of the country’s top law schools. Though the school provides an excellent education- both online and on-campus- it remains one of the most affordable choices. Additionally, thanks to the year-round sunny days, mountain ranges, bike paths, and more, the University of Arizona Law is a favorite among students who love being outdoors.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 units
Tuition Per Unit: $650
Number of Available Specializations: 11
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Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel founded Drexel University in 1891. Located in Philadelphia, Drexel began as an institute of the arts, sciences, and industry. At that time, it did not grant degrees but rather provided knowledge and skills for work. Since that time, Drexel has expanded to 15 colleges and a wide range of degree programs.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 credits
Tuition Per Unit: Online- $1,250
Number of Available Specializations: 8
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  • Los Angeles, California
UCLA School of Law Master of Legal Studies graphic with college students

UCLA Law was founded in 1949 with the goal of creating the first public law school in Southern California. The school continued its forward-thinking by creating the Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) Program to serve professionals who may not want to become lawyers, but do want to advance in the private, nonprofit or government sectors. The M.L.S. degree is designed for those looking to enhance their skill set and connections by obtaining an advance degree from the #1 Public University in American and the #1 Law School in Southern California.

School Overview

Program Length: 26 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $2,227
Number of Available Specializations: 8
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University of Oklahoma College of Law

  • Norman, Oklahoma

In 1909, the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law was founded, though it did not get its permanent home for another six years. Thanks to the students lobbying, the state-funded the construction of what is known as the Law Barn. Now, the school has a much larger facility but still keeps its enrollment small. OU Law students enjoy targeted attention and a state-of-the-art campus.

School Overview

Program Length: 32 credits
Tuition Per Unit: Residents- $524, Non-residents- $918.50
Number of Available Specializations: 4
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Northeastern University School of Law

  • Boston, Massachusetts

In 1898, the Boston, Massachusetts YMCA founded Northeastern University School of Law as a night school. Over the years, other campuses were opened in Providence and Springfield. By 1969, Northeastern was accredited by the American Bar Association and has been providing quality legal education ever since.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 core units
Tuition Per Unit: Online- $1,094
Number of Available Specializations: 4
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Washington University School of Law

  • St. Louis, Missouri

The Washington University School of Law– also known as WashULaw- was originally founded in 1843 as Saint Louis University School of Law. It officially changed names in 1867. Since that time, it has made a name for itself in many areas. It is constantly ranked as one of the top 20 universities and top 20 law schools in the country. It’s also considered one of the top schools in the quality of life category for its students.

School Overview

Program Length: 24 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $2,357
Number of Available Specializations: 5
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West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, West Virginia

West Virginia University (WVU) was once the Agricultural College of West Virginia. It was established as a small college in 1867 but has grown to an ongoing 30,000 students across all campuses. WVU has graduated 25 Rhodes Scholars and many other highly successful alumni. Students can choose from more than 350 degree programs for a very affordable price.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $633
Number of Available Specializations: 3
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Seattle University School of Law

  • Seattle, Washington

Seattle University School of Law was founded in 1972 as the University of Puget Sound School of Law. Its first-class consisted of 427 students and fewer than ten full-time staff members, a diverse mix of races and genders. In 1994, Seattle University acquired the school and changed its name, but its welcoming spirit has remained.

School Overview

Program Length: 30 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $1,126
Number of Available Specializations: 4
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Pepperdine University School of Law

  • Malibu, California

Pepperdine University School of Law got its start in 1969 in Malibu, California. It has since spread around the world with campuses in Los Angeles, D.C., and London. They also provide classes that can be completed online. It’s a private school with small enrollment numbers, so it can focus more attention on its students.

School Overview

Program Length: 32 credits
Tuition Per Unit: $2,180
Number of Available Specializations: 3
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Is A Legal Studies Degree Worth It?

Considering the time and investment required to earn a Master of Legal Studies degree, future employment goals, and compensation should be a part of the conversation when deciding if it is worth obtaining.

An MLS degree can open up a broader range of jobs that require applicants to have a master’s degree. It can be particularly beneficial for those seeking a position in human resources, social work, law, or healthcare. An MLS can also help job candidates stand out when recruiters and hiring managers are reviewing large numbers of applicants.

Average earnings for professionals who hold a master’s degree are nearly 20% higher compared to those for workers with a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports that workers with graduate degrees have the lowest unemployment rates among workers of all education levels.

Our Ranking Methodology

We ranked the Master of Legal Studies programs listed here by three important criteria:

  • The number of credits necessary to complete it.
  • The cost of tuition per credit.
  • The number of specializations that the school has to offer.

Each school was given a rating for each category. We then took an average of the school’s three ratings to determine an overall rank. 

For more programs, check out our legal studies degree page.

We strive to provide accurate information for each program we list. If you notice any inaccuracies in your school’s information, please let us know. 

If you have any questions or need further assistance in choosing a program, please reach out to us. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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