Best 10 Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

A Master of Legal Studies (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. Those with a Master of Legal Studies typically work as: 

  • Human resources
  • Medical and health services
  • Compliance officers
  • Lawyer’s assistant
  • Paralegal
  • A police officer or detective
  • Arbitrator or mediator

While those are a few typical jobs, an MLS can be useful in any industry, including:

  • Social work
  • Politics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business 
  • Education
  • Finance and more

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 that do not carry the degree. 

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

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. 

Program Length: 30 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $543 and up depending on the program

Number of Available Specializations: 13

2. University of Arizona Law

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.

Program Length: 30 units

Tuition Per Unit: $650

Number of Available Specializations: 11

3. Drexel University

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. 

Program Length: 30 credits

Tuition Per Unit: Online- $1,250

Number of Available Specializations: 8

4. UCLA Law

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 through admitting and hiring minorities even in its early stages. In fact, the first graduating class consisted of five women- a relatively high number at the time. Its graduates have had high success rates in obtaining desirable employment within the first ten months of graduation.

Program Length: 26 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $2,227

Number of Available Specializations: 8

5. University of Oklahoma College of Law

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.

Program Length: 32 credits

Tuition Per Unit: Residents- $524, Non-residents- $918.50

Number of Available Specializations: 4

6. Northeastern University School of Law

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. 

Program Length: 30 core units

Tuition Per Unit: Online- $1,094 

Number of Available Specializations: 4

7. Washington University School of Law

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. 

Program Length: 24 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $2,357

Number of Available Specializations: 5

8. West Virginia University

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.

Program Length: 30 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $633

Number of Available Specializations: 3

9. Seattle University School of Law

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. 

Program Length: 30 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $1,126

Number of Available Specializations: 4

10. Pepperdine University School of Law

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. 

Program Length: 32 credits

Tuition Per Unit: $2,180

Number of Available Specializations: 3

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. 

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.

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