Online Legal Studies & Law Graduate Degree Programs
Several graduate schools and online law schools might offer online legal studies and law graduate degree programs. Some of these online post graduate legal studies graduate programs may be designed for individuals who hold a strong interest in the law but have no intention to become attorneys. Other online law degree programs may be designed for current lawyers seeking knowledge in specialist areas such as international law or public policy.
What are Online Legal Studies & Law Degree Programs?Online legal studies and law graduate degree programs offer postgraduate education in the law and law-related fields to both lawyers and non-lawyers. There are essentially three types of online legal studies and law graduate programs:
- Online law degree programs such as the Juris doctor, may be designed to prepare aspiring lawyers to take their state Bar exams.
- Master of Science and PhD in legal studies programs and law may be designed to provide comprehensive knowledge, leadership skills and ‘best’ practices to graduate students and working professionals (e.g. law enforcement and other fields).
- Online law degree programs such as the LLM degrees that might function as specialized knowledge for current attorneys who might want to expand or focus their law career in a specific direction.
DID YOU KNOW? When surveyed about their education, 34% of Law Professors reported having a Professional degree, 54% indicated they had a Doctoral degree and 11% responded they had a Masters degree.[i]
Online Law School or Online Graduate School?Online law schools are specifically devoted to legal education. Online graduate schools may be traditional grad schools with online legal studies and law graduate programs or institutions completely devoted to distance education. Think about what your academic and vocational goals are and let those preferences inform your search. Choose a subject specialty from our menu bar, then refine by Masters, Doctorate and graduate certificate. ‘Specialty’ is a term that might refer to a very focused program such as;
- Online Environmental Law graduate programs
- Online Health Care Law graduate programs
- Online Intellectual Property Law graduate programs
- Online International Law graduate programs
- Online JD/Law programs
- Online LLM’s – Masters of Law
- Online Taxation Law graduate programs
Online Legal Studies and Law Masters ProgramsOnline Legal studies and law graduate degree programs might include Master of Science (MSL), Masters in Legal Studies, and Master of Laws (LLM) degree programs. These are postgraduate degrees, and equal in that they do not help graduates fulfill the requirements to practice law. Prospective students typically must have earned a Bachelors degree and fulfilled other program and school specific admissions requirements.
About the Online LLM DegreeAn online LLM degree is typically a one-year full-time program (although program lengths might vary). Law students and adult professionals might pursue a Master of Laws online to gain expertise in a specialized are of law – taxation law, or international law, for example.
Online Legal Studies and Law Doctorate Degree ProgramsAt the doctorate level, online legal studies and law degree graduate programs include both the PhD and the Juris Doctorate (JD) degree. Some PhD Law programs may be designed for JD graduates, but they are not practice doctorates as much as prepare graduates to pursue potential career paths that might include legal scholars or postsecondary law or criminal justice teachers[ii]
About the Online JD DegreeAn online JD degree is an abbreviated term for the Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. Law schools award the JD degree and it is considered a graduate-level entry professional degree in law. Typically, a three-year course of study (full-time), prospective lawyers might consider completing a Juris Doctor at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association[iii].
Online Legal Studies and Law Graduate Degree Programs: Potential FormatOne important thing to know going into a search for online legal studies or law graduate degree programs is that each school might have its own way of formatting their courses, dealing with student issues or structuring their programs. That said, distance learning may be a convenient option for professionals seeking an advanced law or criminal justice education with minimal disruption and commute time. Some of the potential formatting options for online legal studies graduate degree programs might include;
- Some online legal studies programs may offer part-time and/or full time degree options which might translate into a manageable workload;
- Online students may be paired with a faculty member in some programs where a one-to-one learning model is used;
- Some online law degree programs may have 100% online coursework with no residency requirements. Students may be able to study on their own timetable if deadlines are respected;
- There may be an online law library for research and resource material and/or agreements with a local library in your community;
- Some online legal studies graduate programs might offer monthly course starts;
- Some programs may be designed and delivered by the same faculty who teach the on-campus program or a program may be specifically designed for web-based education
- Online learning management systems may make use of synchronous (live-streaming) and/or asynchronous (pre-recorded) course materials
- Digital tools might include online chat rooms and group discussion boards, emails, interactive learning tools, videoconferencing, MP3 recordings
Potential Career Paths for Law GraduatesWhether you are interested in potentially advancing a law-related career without taking the Bar exams in your state or you specifically want to work towards the law education needed to practice law (pass the Bar exams), there are a variety of potential career paths that law graduates might choose to pursue. These might include;
- Postsecondary law teachers
- Postsecondary criminal justice and law enforcement teachers
- Compliance officers
- Human Resources Managers
- Policy analyst
Find Accredited Online Legal Studies Graduate ProgramsStudents interested in online law schools or a Juris Doctor might consider an ABA-accredited law school where curricula and faculty meet certain standards which may be important vis a vis state Bar exam.[iii] Other universities with online legal studies and law graduate degree programs may be regionally accredited such as by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Take the Next StepBrowse sponsored listings for online legal studies and law graduate degree programs using our on-page navigation to choose your specialty and degree level. Then submit a ‘request info’ form to get more details from prospective graduate schools and online law schools. Take the next step in your law and legal studies education today!
Purdue University Global
Saint Leo University
Loyola University Chicago
Liberty University Online
University of Cincinnati