United States-based attorneys and professionals who have earned their Juris Doctor (JD) degree are sometimes in need of further education in a specialized area (such as child law, human rights, or real estate). Internationally trained attorneys, on the other hand, need training in American law practices if they desire to take the Bar Exam and practice law in the U.S. For these reasons, the online Master of Laws (LLM) degree is one of the most popular online master’s degree programs that individuals currently pursue. Often taking only a year to complete online, the LLM degree is a quick path for lawyers to focus in a specific area.
If you are an individual who has not obtained a JD (and does not want to practice law) but needs to know more about certain legal proceedings and laws, there’s no need to feel left out. Several law degree programs are available online to help familiarize students with what they need to know about the law without making them pursue a full JD. Master of Legal Studies, Master of Law, Master of Jurisprudence–these are some of the degrees available for non-lawyers to gain specialized knowledge in order to help them perform their jobs with more understanding of how the law works. Whether you’re a practicing attorney, an attorney who was educated outside of the United States, or a professional whose career would be enhanced by better understanding the law, read on to find some of the best schools offering online law degree programs.
Quick Links to Our Top 10
- University of Arizona
- Seton Hall University
- University of Southern California
- Georgetown University
- New York University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Arizona State University
- Emory University
- University of Arkansas
- Tulane University
- Online LLM in General Law Studies
- Online LLM in Logistics & Transportation
- Online LLM in International Legal Studies
- Online LLM in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law
- Online LLM in Security and Data Privacy
- Online Master in Education Law
- Online LLM in Human Rights
- Online LLM in American Legal Studies
- Online Master of Science in Law
- Online LLM in Real Property Development
- Online LLM in Advocacy
- Online LLM in Elder Law
- Online LLM in Health Law
- Online LLM in U.S. Law
- Online LLM in Risk Management
- Online LLM in Wealth Management
- Online Juris Master in Taxation
- Online Master of Environmental Law and Policy
- Online Master of Energy Regulation and Law
- Online Master in Indigenous Peoples Law
- Online LLM in Taxation
- Online Master in Energy and Natural Resources
- Online Juris Master in Taxation
- Online Master of Arts
- Online Master of Laws
- Online Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law
- Online LLM in Agricultural and Food Law
- Online LLM
- Online Master of Studies in Law in Taxation
- Online Executive LLM in Taxation
- Online Executive Master of Studies in Law in Taxation
- Online LLM in Securities & Financial Regulation
- Online Master of Studies in Law
- Online General Master of Laws
- Online Master of Legal Studies
- Online Master of Science in Jurisprudence
Methodology: Utilizing publicly available sources like U.S. News and World Report, the American Bar Association, and the websites of schools that offer online Master of Law, Master of Jurisprudence, Master of Legal Studies, etc. degrees, we recognized several common factors that brought 50 online graduate law programs to the forefront of our research. Using those recognized factors, we developed a point system to then rank the programs. Programs receiving the same point value were ranked with the lower out-of-state tuition per credit hour as the tie-breaker. The criteria for the ranking can be found below, and were equally weighted.
- Degree customization– number of degrees offered online and dedicated specialization availability
- Program flexibility– the extent to which the degree can be completed entirely online
- School reputation and commendation– being ranked or recognized by independent, reputable sources such as U.S. News and World Report
The passage of the Morrill Act of 1862, a federal Act that allowed for states (or territories) to secure funding for a state-sponsored university through the selling of federal lands, led to the establishment of the oldest institution of higher education in Arizona. Planning for the University of Arizona (UA or “Arizona”) began in 1885 and the school’s construction started in 1887. The students—all 32 of them—began class at the University located in Tucson, Arizona that first year in 1891, and now more than 43,000 students grace the halls (or internet for online programs) of the 380-acre main campus. There are nineteen schools and colleges that make up the school, and over 350 academic degree programs are offered. This public land-grant research university has a very high research designation from the Carnegie Foundation, and regional accreditation is granted by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law provides a General Master of Laws degree program that can be completed online (through UA Online) and in which students can form their own concentration by selecting electives from a wide range of options. The 24-unit LLM degree can be completed in two years on a part-time basis. Also offering an entirely online Master of Legal Studies degree, the College of Law makes available ten concentration options in addition to the general MLS. The concentrations cover many legal areas and range from Compliance and Legal Risk Management to Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy to International Economic Law and Policy. The 30-unit program offers comprehensive coursework for non-lawyers with classes such as “American Common Law System” and “Legal Analysis, Writing & Research.” All UA Online students are well supported through their assigned Student Academic Success Specialist, who is “dedicated to making sure online students have everything they need to succeed.” ABA approved
Catholic Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley (he would go on to be Archbishop of Baltimore) founded Seton Hall College—which would become Seton Hall University—in 1856 in Madison, New Jersey and named the school after his aunt, the first American-born saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. The school began with only five students at its beginning but grew to 60 students by the end of that first year. Moving to the current location of South Orange, New Jersey in 1860, the main campus now encompasses nearly 60 acres and satellite campuses sit in Newark, Clifton, and Nutley, New Jersey. Eleven schools and colleges serve the current student body of over 10,000 students, and over 90 academic degree programs are offered. This private, Roman Catholic university is the oldest diocesan institution of higher education in the nation and is also designated as a sea-grant institution. Seton Hall is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: Seton Hall Law provides both the LLM degree online for attorneys and the Master of Science in Jurisprudence (MSJ) degree online for non-attorneys. The MSJ program requires 31 credit hours and can be completed entirely online within two years. Offering five concentration options, students can specialize in focus areas such as Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law & Compliance and Health and Hospital Law. Seton Hall Law is well-known for academics in health law, having created the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance Manual, which was published by the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI). The LLM degree also offers an entirely online Health Law focus (as well as the entirely online LLM in Financial Services Compliance) requiring 24 credit hours of coursework such as “Compliance Issues for Healthcare Providers” and “The Law of Patient Care.” All health-focused degrees are offered through the School of Law’s Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy. ABA approved
A local judge in Los Angeles in the late 19th century, Robert Maclay Widney, advocated for a university and secured funding for it by recruiting the financial assistance of several prominent businessmen. The University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880 on more than 300 acres of donated land, and the Los Angeles institution welcomed 53 students and ten professors when the school doors first opened. Now the school enrolls more than 45,000 students in the over 200 academic degree programs provided through seventeen schools. The oldest institution of higher education in the state of California, USC is a private research university designated as both a sea- and a space-grant school. The school has a mission of contributing to the “development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit,” and regional accreditation comes from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: The online LLM degree at the USC Gould School of Law is a 21-unit program that can be completed in just three semesters. Available for both U.S.-trained and international attorneys, the program is the only one that offers a graduate certificate in Business Law alongside the degree. In addition, U.S.-based attorneys also have their choice of online certificates in Entertainment Law and Industry, Compliance, Financial Compliance, Health Care Compliance, and Human Resources Law Compliance. Also offered completely online and 21 units in length is the Master of Studies in Law degree program for the student who does not intend to become an attorney. Coursework includes an array of classes from which students can choose, like “Constitutional Law,” “Regulatory Compliance,” and “Legal Research.” The prestigious faculty members are “personally invested” in each student’s success and make themselves available for guidance and support. Additionally, specific online USC Law student resources are made available for prospective students to learn more about the program and USC Law. ABA approved
Future Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore John Carroll purchased 60 acres in 1789 to establish what would become the oldest Jesuit Catholic university in the United States. Georgetown University (Georgetown College at the time it was established) was located in the District of Columbia’s Georgetown area of the city, and in 1792 the first student enrollment totaled 40 students by the end of the academic year. Now over 18,500 students are enrolled in this private metropolitan research university and there are five campus locations (Main Campus, Medical Center, Law Center, School of Continuing Studies and the School of Foreign Service in Qatar). Nine schools provide the academic degree programs, and the Carnegie Foundation has classified Georgetown as having very high research activity. The Jesuit influence is seen in the school’s “commitment to spiritual inquiry, civic engagement, and religious and cultural pluralism,” and regional accreditation comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Law) provides a 24-credit hour LLM degree online as an Executive degree program. Two options, the LLM in Taxation degree and the exclusively-online LLM in Securities & Financial Regulation degree, offer online students the same Georgetown Law experience complete with respected faculty and rigorous academics, just with the added benefit of online convenience and flexibility. The Taxation LLM degree program in particular employs “professors who bring to the classroom their various experiences in the government, the private sector, academia, and the non-profit community” in order to provide “an exceptionally large and specialized array of tax courses.” Additionally, two specialty certificates are available online for the LLM in Taxation. Georgetown Law also offers the online Executive Master of Studies in Law in Taxation for non-lawyers, with three online specialty certificate options. The curriculum includes seminars such as “Advance Topics in Exempt Organizations” and classes like “International Tax Controversy.” ABA approved
Albert Gallatin (Security of the Treasury for two different administrations) was the founder of New York University (NYU) in 1831 as a “system of rational and practical education fitting for all and graciously opened to all.” The unique and progressive ideology behind the institution was at home in the metropolitan New York City, and its first year of existence saw more than 150 students enroll in classes. Almost 60,000 students now enroll at NYU, which is a member of the Association of American Universities. One of the largest institutions of higher education in the U.S., NYU is a private university with the mission of being a “a top quality international center of scholarship, teaching and research.” The institution is comprised of eighteen schools and colleges and two other degree-granting campuses, as well as multiple academic centers across the globe. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides NYU’s regional accreditation.
Program Details: The prestigious NYU School of Law offers a 24-credit hour Executive LLM in Taxation degree program that, with careful planning, can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to be completed on a part-time basis—students usually finish the degree in three years but have up to five. The curriculum is as one would expect from NYU Law—rigorous and extensive, and some of the coursework can lead to Professional Certificates in Corporate Taxation, Estate Planning, or International Taxation. Executive LLM in Tax students can utilize the Career Services resource once they have earned enough credits—this is significant in that many employers search out NYU LLM graduates. A second degree is additionally available entirely online for students without a JD: NYU Law’s Master of Studies in Law in Taxation. This degree requires 24-30 credit hours and allows students up to five years to finish the program. Only one course is required (“Survey of Tax Procedure”), and students have their choice of many online classes to customize their degree. ABA approved
In 1853, two men led the call for an institution of higher education in St. Louis, Missouri. Wayman Crow, a local businessman, and his pastor William Greenleaf Eliot Jr. co-founded what would grow into Washington University in St. Louis. Originally established as an evening program, classes began in 1854. Within only three years the school had changed names twice—Washington University (after George Washington) was the chosen name (the “in St. Louis” portion was added in 1976 to differentiate it from other schools similarly named). By the end of the century the school had gained the St. Louis Medical College that in turn merged with Missouri Medical College. Currently seven academic schools make up the University for the more than 15,000 enrolled students, and Washington University has a mission “to discover and disseminate knowledge, and protect the freedom of inquiry through research, teaching and learning.” This private research university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The highly regarded Washington University School of Law provides an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree for professionals who do not possess a JD degree and an online LLM for international-trained attorneys. The coursework for the 24-credit hour MLS program is offered entirely online as an “immersive online learning experience” and can be completed in just a year. Students receive the same rigorous and celebrated educational experience as their on-campus peers with classes presented in the Socratic method, allowing for the dialogue to progress through critical thinking and engaged interaction. The classes are relevant, and MLS students may choose electives from classes such as “Professional Responsibility” and “Trial Advocacy.” The level of online student support that is specifically geared to law students is exceptional, and if they choose, @WashULaw students are welcome to attend the on-campus optional immersion weekends that are held twice each year (once in the Spring and once in the Fall). ABA approved
Established in 1855 as the Territorial Normal School, Arizona State University (ASU) has grown into a comprehensive university with a charter mission of “advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” Originally a school to train teachers, the forerunner of ASU initially enrolled 33 students when classes began in 1886 on the 20-acre campus in Tempe, Arizona. Now five campuses and multiple extension centers are spread across the Phoenix Metropolitan Area to cater to the over 80,000 currently enrolled students. Main campus still resides in Tempe, and sixteen schools and colleges provide 350 academic degree programs. ASU is a public metropolitan research university with the highest level of research activity as designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and ASU’s regional accreditation is granted through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University provides an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program for professionals who need to gain “a general understanding of U.S. law and how decisions are made within the U.S. legal structure” without obtaining a JD. The 30-credit hour program does not require the LSAT, GRE or GMAT for admission, and offers five emphasis areas to customize the degree. Students can focus on Corporate and Health Care Compliance, Criminal Law, Human Resource & Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Sports Law & Business, or Sustainability Law. Beyond these predetermined focus areas, if there is an area that is not represented in the curriculum, ASU Law will implement a new law course that is not currently offered “if at least ten students commit to taking the course.” ASU Law graduates can participate in the Law for Life program, in which alumni can take advantage of additional law degrees at a fraction of the normal cost. ABA approved
#8. Emory University
Emory College was founded in 1836 in Oxford, Georgia by the Methodist Episcopal Church (which would later become the United Methodist Church) and named after the Methodist Bishop John Emory, a young man who had passed away the year before. The school did not thrive in the small town of Oxford, so in the early 20th century Emory took advantage of the offer by Coca-Cola co-founder Asa Candler to finance a move to Atlanta. In 1915 the school relocated to the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia and gained university status and now enrolls more than 15,000 students in eleven schools and colleges. Having a high level of research activity, as recognized by the Carnegie Foundation, Emory is a private institution with a mission “to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.” Regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The newly-online LLM program at Emory University School of Law is a 24-credit hour program with two customization options: the Business Law and Regulation concentration and the Health Care Law, Policy, and Regulation concentration. The LLM degree program joins the currently online Juris Master (JM) program. Students can also choose to concentrate in Business Law and Regulation or Health Care Law, Policy, and Regulation online with the JM degree, and the 30 credit hours are provided as an eighteen-month, sequential program with asynchronous coursework. Required classes for both specializations include “Introduction to the American Legal System,” “Analysis, Research, and Communication for Non-Lawyers,” and “Contract Law,” and the remaining classes are specific to each concentration. Both the online LLM and the online JM require three three-day on-campus residencies. Information sessions are held for prospective students of the JM program, and admitted students are quickly integrated into the Emory Law community with resources, services and support. ABA approved
The University of Arkansas was founded as the Arkansas Industrial University in 1871 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A land-grant university created to participate in the benefits of the Morrill Act of 1862, the first classes were held for eight enrolled students in 1872. Campus was located on a former farm, and classes were held in a barn. By 1899 the school had outgrown its original industry focus, and students advocated for a name change: University of Arkansas (“U of A”). Currently over 27,000 students are enrolled in this public state institution of higher education, and U of A is the flagship of the University of Arkansas System. A doctoral research university with more than 200 academic degree programs, U of A is a space-grant designated school (in addition to still being a land-grant school) with five colleges and six schools and regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The online LLM in Agricultural and Food Law degree program at the University of Arkansas School of Law is an advanced law degree program with over 30 years of innovation and experience. The 24-credit hour program focuses on the “important area of law, connecting lawyers to our food system, from farm to plate” with classes such as “Business Human Rights & Corporate Responsibility,” “The Right to Food,” “Agricultural Biotechnology,” and “Farmed Animal Welfare Law & Policy.” All coursework is constructed under the guidance of the UA Global Campus, and this pioneering program has been at the forefront of “agricultural and food law education, research, and outreach” for more than 30 years by producing the first “specialized journal devoted to food law and policy issues” and participating in multiple food and agriculture initiatives. Financial assistance in the form of several scholarships is also available in this already-affordable program. ABA approved
#10. Tulane University
Tulane University’s predecessor, the Medical College of Louisiana, was founded in 1834 by seven physicians to combat the diseases running rampant in the international port city of New Orleans, Louisiana. By 1847 the institution became public as it merged with the University of Louisiana, and it transitioned again in 1884 when businessman Paul Tulane offered a gift of over a million dollars to further develop the school. Renamed Tulane University is his honor, the school now serves over 13,500 students as a highly regarded private research university. Ten academic schools and colleges offer programs on the 110-acre main campus and other satellite campuses with a mission to “create, communicate and conserve knowledge in order to enrich the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to think, to learn and to act and lead with integrity and wisdom.” Tulane is granted regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: The well-established Tulane University Law School provides human resource professionals with an online Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law (MJ-LEL) to help them better navigate the complex human resources laws and learn to communicate more effectively with legal professionals. The 30-credit hour program requires courses such as “Employment Law,” “Negotiating Skills,” and “Social Media Issues in the Workplace,” and all online students are required to attend one on-campus Immersion weekend at the beginning of the program. A final Capstone course culminates the degree, and students are assigned to groups to both incorporate what they individually have learned as well as gain collaborative experience. Students learn from faculty experts in the field who are well-known authorities on labor and employment law issues, such as the program’s director who authored the universally recognized textbook “The Law of Employment Discrimination, Foundation Press, 10th edition, 2015.” An employment law blog is provided to offer resources and the latest research to online students. ABA approved
#11. Hofstra University
Hofstra University was established as an extension of New York University in 1935 in the village of Hempstead in Long Island, New York. Known at that time as “Nassau College – Hofstra Memorial of New York University at Hempstead, Long Island,” the non-sectarian commuter school offered day and evening classes to nearly 800 male and female students in its first academic year. The school separated from NYU in 1939 as Hofstra College, and the name was changed again to Hofstra University when university status was achieved in 1963. Campus currently encompasses nearly 250 acres, and ten schools and colleges offer almost 300 academic degree programs to the over 11,000 enrolled students—both residential and online distance learners. The largest private institution of higher education in Long Island, Hofstra houses more than 25 institutes and centers. Regional accreditation is provided to Hofstra by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra is home to the 100% online Master of Laws or Master of Arts in Health Law and Policy degree program. Requiring just 25 credits for the LLM degree and 30 for the MA, students can graduate in eighteen months, and with no LSAT or GRE requirement for admission and three start dates a year, students can begin the program at their convenience. Coursework for both programs cover important topics such as “Medicare and Medicaid Law” and “Bioethics and the Law” (the MA program is for students who do not have a JD and requires two additional courses: “Introduction to the American Legal System” and “Health Law”). In addition to specific resources, students receive the direct benefit of the distinguished and extensive Hofstra Law faculty who actively engage in the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy helping to shape the course of the health of the world through advocacy and programs. ABA approved
In 1818, when Alabama was still a territory, U.S. Congress was lobbied to designate a township for the region in order to allow the state-to-be to establish a university. Founded in 1820, The University of the State of Alabama was located in Tuscaloosa, and eleven years later the first enrolled students—all 52 of them—would arrive for class. The Civil War devastated the school in the 1860s, and the institution had to reorganize to continue in any fashion. By 1872 the school was reopened as The University of Alabama (Alabama, “Bama,” or UA), and now is the flagship institution in the University of Alabama System. The oldest public institution in the state, UA has thirteen academic divisions that offer programs to the over 38,000 students. With designation as both a sea- and a space-grant institution, this research university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The University of Alabama’s distance education system (“Bama By Distance”) offers two LLM degree focus areas completely online through the School of Law. Students can choose from the Business Transactions track or the Taxation track: both require 24 credit hours of synchronous coursework in a cohort format. Beginning each August, each concentration has a set of required courses (such as “Tax Research” and “Advance Business Entities”) and electives from which students can choose. Non-lawyers can also pursue a degree entirely online through Bama By Distance; the online Juris Master in Taxation program allows “accountants, business students, and CPAs the opportunity to obtain an advanced tax degree without having to pursue the JD.” The 30-credit hour, two-year program is also presented in a cohort format beginning in August, and students start with an online orientation (as does the online LLM student) and progress through required courses such as “Capital Transactions” and “Civil Tax Procedure.” ABA approved
#13. Boston University
The Boston University of today was comprised of several other institutions and a complex history. The Newbury Bible Institute was begun by Boston delegates of the United Methodist Church in 1839 in Newbury, Vermont. Reorganized with a new charter as the Boston Theological Institute in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867, the school then merged in 1871 with a new Boston University that had been organized in 1869 by three of the trustees of the original Theological Institute. Consolidating the multiple locations on a fifteen-acre plot in the late 1800s on the banks of the Charles River, Boston University (BU) now has seventeen schools and colleges that offer academic programs to over 33,00 students. Classified as having very high doctoral research by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, BU is a private coeducational nonsectarian institution of higher education with regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: The Boston University School of Law offers two online LLM programs for “experienced practitioners who are unable to attend traditional, nine-month residential programs.” The 20-credit hour Executive LLM in International Business Law provides online coursework with one required two-week residential experience. The “intensive” session is held in either Boston or Budapest, Hungary (students can choose which to attend), and students generally make the most of their time by taking two courses and one colloquium. Three concentrations are available completely online for the Executive LLM in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance, International Environmental and Energy Law, or International Taxation, but students can take electives from within any of the concentrations if they choose a broader education. For students who prefer an entirely online program, BU offers the 24-credit hour LLM in Taxation degree. Multiple concentrations and emphasis areas are available, and the curriculum is varied with many course options. Individual academic advisement and professional development resources are made available to all online LLM students. ABA approved
The Oklahoma Territory passed a bill at the end of 1890 to establish several institutions of higher education. One of the institutions would be a state university—the town of Norman offered more than 400 acres to be used as the university’s campus. Named the Norman Territorial University, classes began in 1892 and were held downtown as the campus was being constructed. Alongside of the construction of many buildings on campus, the first president of the school, David Ross Boyd, developed a “tree project” by having hundreds of trees planted to create a pleasing aesthetic for the campus site. When the Territory became the state of Oklahoma in 1907, the school was renamed the University of Oklahoma (OU). A public research institution, OU is a land- and space-grant designated school as well as the flagship university of the state. Over 31,000 students are enrolled at OU, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The OU College of Law provides two online LL.M. degrees (one in Energy and Natural Resources and one in Indigenous Peoples Law) and three distinctive Master of Legal Studies programs—students can pursue an MLS in Oil, Gas and Energy Law, an MLS in Indigenous Peoples Law, or an MLS in Healthcare Law. The flexibility and accessibility of the programs allow working professionals to earn the degree of their choice in just fifteen months, and three start dates a year adds even more convenience. The programs range from 32 to 33 credit hours, and are either entirely online (MLS in Indigenous Peoples Law as well as the MLS in Healthcare Law) or primarily online with a one-week on-campus residency (MLS in Oil, Gas and Energy Law). The unique degrees all boast specialized coursework, with classes ranging from “Introduction to Petroleum Engineering and Geo-Sciences” to “Religion, Culture, and Indian Law” to “Professional Relationships in Health Care Enterprises.” In addition to the online law programs, OU Law was the first U.S.-based law school to implement a Digital Initiative. ABA approved
Wake Forest University began as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute in Wake Forest, North Carolina in 1834. The school to train Baptist pastors and lay leaders was located on a 615-acre plantation purchased by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, and it required manual labor as part of the requirements. This aspect was short-lived; the school ceased requiring labor and was renamed Wake Forest College in 1838. The school began moving to its current location in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the 1940s because of financial support of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and the private research university now located on 340 acres was completely relocated by 1956 and became a university in 1967. Six colleges and schools (Undergraduate College, Graduate School, School of Business, School of Divinity, School of Law, and School of Medicine) provide academic degree programs to the over 8,000 currently enrolled students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regionally accredits Wake Forest.
Program Details: Three start dates and a completely online, asynchronous Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree curriculum provides students with the renowned Wake Forest University School of Law experience in a flexible, and convenient format. Students have up to four years to complete the 30-credit hour program but can finish in just 21 months. Three dedicated tracks allow professionals to focus on their individual academic goals. Students can choose from Business Law & Compliance, Health Law & Policy, or Human Resources, and all students participate core coursework classes such as “Business Law and Literacy,” “Legal Foundations,” and “Private Law.” Elective selections vary slightly between concentrations, but include common class offerings such as “Managing Talent and Preventing Discrimination,” “Detecting Wrongdoing with Investigations, Monitoring, and Audits,” and “Cybersecurity.” The faculty and staff are specifically trained in online education and are “readily available to you as an MSL student, providing hands on assistance, from wherever you are located.” ABA approved
#16. Drexel University
Anthony Drexel was a renowned banker and philanthropist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1800s. He specifically wanted to establish a school that would be coeducational in order to provide and prepare “each new generation of students for productive professional and civic lives while also focusing our collective expertise on solving society’s greatest problems.” Established as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in 1891 with classes beginning the following year, the school now serves more than 26,000 graduate and undergraduate students with almost 200 academic degree programs. Main campus is located in University City (a neighborhood of Philadelphia), and fifteen schools and colleges comprise this private research institution of higher education. Additional campus sites are located across Philadelphia, and a Center for Graduate Studies resides in Sacramento, California. Regional accreditation for Drexel University (renamed as such in 1970) comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: Drexel University provides an interdisciplinary online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program through the Thomas R. Kline School of Law and in partnership with the School of Education, the Close School of Entrepreneurship, and the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Offering eight concentration areas, the 30-credit hour program provides students with instruction on “how laws and regulations work and how to properly conduct business” in many different areas. Core coursework includes classes such as “Ethics and Professional Standards,” “Risk Assessment and Management,” and “Compliance Skills: Auditing, Investigation & Reporting,” and all students complete a final MLS Masters Capstone. Students can opt to choose from a wide array of electives or focus on a predetermined concentration (or two) in such areas as Criminal Law, Higher Education Compliance, Cybersecurity and Information Privacy, or NCAA Compliance and Sports Law. Three start dates a year and the ability to pursue the degree full or part-time assures flexibility and convenience, and prospective students can attend virtual open house sessions for more information. ABA approved
#17. Vermont Law School
Established in South Royalton, Vermont with a unique purpose in 1972, Vermont Law School has a mission to “educate students in a diverse community that fosters personal growth and that enables them to attain outstanding professional skills and high ethical values with which to serve as lawyers and environmental and other professionals in an increasingly technological and interdependent global society.” Classes began the following year for 113 students, and membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) was obtained in 1981. Several specialty institutes, centers and programs enhance the School, most notably the Environmental Law Center. A private, accredited law school, Vermont Law School sits on 13 rural acres and serves nearly 700 currently enrolled students with several graduate law degree programs either on campus or through online programs. Vermont Law School has been continuously regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1980.
Program Details: Three distinct 30-credit hour LLM degrees and three 30-credit hour Masters degrees are offered online at Vermont Law School—all can be completed in as little as one year. The three LLM degrees (Energy Law, Environmental Law and Food and Agriculture Law) are for students already possessing a JD degree. The Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) (through the Institute for Energy and the Environment), the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), and the Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP) (through the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems) are available for both attorneys and non-attorneys alike. These innovative and unique programs offer online coursework as well as an invitation to the comprehensive Summer Session Program. With “faculty from VLS and other schools, international law scholars, leaders of non-profit advocacy groups, and private practitioners,” the multidisciplinary instruction and interaction provides insight and the opportunity for community-building during this two-week residential event. ABA approved
#18. Texas A&M University
The state of Texas established its first public university in 1871 to benefit from the Morrill Act of 1862. Texas A&M University (Texas A&M) was founded as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas on donated land in Brazos County—over 2,400 acres—and classes began in 1876. Located in the town of College Station, Texas, the main campus of Texas A&M University (as the school has been named since 1963) has more than doubled and there is an additional campus location in Galveston. A public research university with land-, sea-, and space-grant designation, Texas A&M is part of the Texas A&M University System and has the largest student body in the state and the nation with more than 66,000 students. Nineteen schools and colleges provide almost 400 academic degree programs, and regional accreditation is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The Texas A&M University School of Law provides two LLM degree programs exclusively online: the LLM in Wealth Management and the LLM in Risk Management. Both degree programs are 24 credit hours and open to both U.S.-trained or international students and can be completed in just one year. Both the Wealth Management and Risk Management degrees are offered also as 30-credit hour Masters of Jurisprudence (MJur) degrees for non-lawyers, and the curriculum for both are identical, just with the addition of the “Intro to U.S. Law” for the students who do not possess JDs. Students gain the immense benefit of learning from a faculty that includes Professor William Byrnes, who was the pioneer that developed the very first online LLM degree provided by an ABA approved school. For prospective students, online webinars hosted by the Professor discuss the innovation behind Texas A&M’s online graduate law programs, and a myriad of resources and student support services are provided. ABA approved
One of the largest and oldest institutions of higher education in the state of Florida, Florida State University (FSU) has a history that dates back to the 1851 establishment of the West Florida Seminary. The Seminary merged with the Tallahassee Female Academy in 1858 to become a coeducational university. After the Civil War, the progressive-for-its-time school was divided into three schools segregated by sex and color. The school for Caucasian women was called Florida State College for Women, but much student activism over many decades finally led the school to be the institution known as FSU today. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, FSU is a public research university with space- and sea-grant designation and very high research activity (as determined by the Carnegie Foundation) and is part of the State University of Florida System. Nineteen schools and colleges serve nearly 42,000 students, and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: The College of Law at Florida State University provides an entirely online Juris Master (JM) degree program for professionals who need to enhance their knowledge of legal procedures and regulations without becoming an attorney. The 30-credit hour program offers three concentrations to customize the degree: Financial Regulation and Compliance, Health Care Regulation, and Legal Risk Management and HR Compliance. All three concentrations share the same core curriculum, with required classes such as “Introduction to Legal Studies and Research,” “Legislation and Regulation,” and “Regulatory Compliance.” Students can begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer and generally complete the degree in five semesters on a part-time basis. All incoming students interact with the Academic Dean in a required advisement session to set up the course load for the upcoming first semester, and all on-campus resources and online research databases are made available to online JM students for support. ABA approved
Established in Fairfax, Virginia in 1949, George Mason University was begun as an extension campus for the University of Virginia. Called the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia at the time, the name was changed to George Mason College of the University of Virginia in 1957 to honor the founding father. Becoming an independent institution of higher education in 1972, George Mason University (known as “Mason”) now has four campus locations throughout the state and one in Songdo, South Korea known as Mason Korea. Ten schools and colleges are housed within Mason, and the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has classified the school as having the highest level of research activity. Almost 36,000 students are enrolled at this public institution—the largest in the state—and regional accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Providing an LLM in Global Antitrust Law & Economics for both U.S.-trained and internationally-trained attorneys, and an LLM in U.S. Law for international attorneys, George Mason University’s renowned Scalia Law School is open to lawyers around the globe. The LLM in Antitrust Law & Economics requires 24 credit hours for students with a JD from a law school within the United States; international law students must complete 26 credit hours. All students have up to three years to finish the program, and required classes cover topics like “Economics for Lawyers” and “Global Antitrust Law” (students with a JD from a law school outside of the United States also take the required “Introduction to United States Law”). Students choose thirteen credit hours of electives, and the class selections includes courses such as “European Union Competition Law” and “Consumer Protection Law.” An optional Practical Skills Track adds an additional two required credits of a Supervised Externship. Additionally, the Global Antitrust Institute (GAI) provides many opportunities to enhance a student’s academic experience. ABA approved
#21. Widener University
Originally located in Wilmington, Delaware, the school that would become Widener University moved to Chester, Pennsylvania in 1862. It was a prep school for young men established in 1821 and known as The Bullock School for Boys, and once in Pennsylvania it became the Pennsylvania Military College (PMC). In 1966 the school admitted women as part of a non-military program and was renamed PMC College. Just six years later the school ceased to be a military school and was renamed Widener College. By 1979 the school was a full university, and now over 6,500 students are currently enrolled in programs within Widener’s eight academic schools. Main campus is still in Chester, Pennsylvania, and there are additional campuses in both Pennsylvania and Delaware, including the Delaware Law School. A private coeducational institution of higher education, Widener is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Details: A General LLM degree with two online-only concentrations await students of Widener University’s Delaware Law School. The Health Law Regulatory Analysis & Compliance concentration is ideal for practicing lawyers who desire to grow their “skills and experience in the health care field with a specialized focus on regulatory compliance.” The Corporate Law Regulatory Analysis & Compliance concentration positions attorneys to “respond effectively to new and complex regulatory demands” in the field. Open to attorneys from the United States or those who were internationally-trained, both programs require 24 semester hours to graduate, and students can complete the degree in one to two years (but have as many as four years if needed to finish the program). Several online Master of Jurisprudence degrees are also available to non-attorneys. Degrees include the 29-credit hour MJ in Health Law, the 29-credit MJ in Corporate and Business Law, and a dual 48-credit hour MBA/MJ in Corporate and Business Law. A 15-credit graduate Certificate in corporate or healthcare compliance is also available. ABA approved. Accredited by the Compliance Certification Board.
#22. Samford University
Howard College, the predecessor to Samford University, was incorporated in 1841 by the Alabama Baptist State Convention. Classes began for nine male students in 1842, and the curriculum focused on a classical education. Initially located in Marion, Alabama, the school moved first to East Lake before landing on its current site in 1957. A nearly 250-acre campus in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood, Alabama serves as the home of Samford, and the school gained the name Samford University in 1965. Ten schools and colleges provide 30 academic degree programs and more than 150 majors and minors to over 5,500 currently enrolled students, and the Baptist affiliation of this private coeducational university guides a mission to “nurture persons in their development of intellect, creativity, faith and personhood.” Samford University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Cumberland School of Law at Samford University provides two fully online degree programs with multiple concentration options. The 30-credit hour LLM degree and the 36-credit hour Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree program can both be completed in just two years, and regardless of degree, students can choose between four predetermined concentrations: Financial Services Regulatory Compliance, Health Law and Policy, Higher Education Law and Compliance, and Legal Project Management. Dependent upon the concentration, there are core courses for all LLM students (“Principles of Business Law” and “Intro to Public Policy: Legislations & Regulation” for example); the MSL degree generally requires one to two additional core courses. Professors at Samford’s Cumberland School of Law have a wide range of experience in the field and “have the passion for sharing it” with their students through coursework and guidance. The extensive Lucille Stewart Beeson Law Library also provides resources for online students. ABA approved
Michigan State University started out as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan in 1855. The goal was to provide an agricultural education through academics and science-based study, and classes began for the 63 male students in 1857. Located in East Lansing, Michigan, the school served as the model for all future land-grant schools designed under the Morrill Act of 1862. Benefiting retroactively from the Act, the school became coeducational and expanded its program beyond just agriculture by 1870. Going through several name changes, the school officially became Michigan State University (MSU) in 1964, and now over 50,000 students are enrolled in seventeen degree-granting colleges. There are more than 200 academic programs offered, and Michigan State is a sea-grant designated school in addition to being a land-grant school. MSU has an alumni network of over half a million, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The Michigan State University College of Law provides both an LLM and an MJ in Global Food Law entirely online for professionals who want to “succeed in a constantly changing market.” The LLM degree requires 24 credit hours whereas the MJ requires 26 credits (students without a JD must take the additional two-credit “Foundations of Law and Legal Research” class), and both can be completed in three years if pursued at a relaxed part-time pace. The curriculum requires three core courses, and the remaining credits are chosen, with the assistance of advisors, from a wide range of elective courses such as “Halal Food: An Introduction to Islamic Laws and Ethics,” “Biotechnology Law and Food Products,” and “Wine, Beer and Spirits Laws and Regulations.” Ideal for attorneys and professionals in the food industry, the Global Food Law program appeals to a wide range of student backgrounds and goals. ABA approved
The Evening Institute for Young Men began offering evening academics at the Huntington Avenue YMCA in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 1898. This would be the beginning of the private research university now known as Northeastern University (NU). The Institute was voted via a bill through the Massachusetts Legislature to incorporate as Northeastern College in 1916, and now over 25,000 students are currently enrolled in more than 300 academic degree programs in the nine schools and colleges of the University (having gained university status in 1923). There are satellite graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, and San Jose, California, and one hallmark of NU is the cooperative education (co-op) program in which over 3,000 worldwide partners provide valuable experiential learning experiences to students. Designated as having the highest level of research activity, NU has regional accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program at Northeastern School of Law is provided entirely online either full or part-time. The degree was designed for non-lawyers who wish to “use the law as a means to achieve goals in environments where law is too often seen as an obstacle,” and it can be completed in two years. Requiring 30 credit hours to graduate, students engage in core coursework covering topics like “Law of Information and Records” and “Data Regulation and Compliance,” and all students have the choice of following a general track or pursuing a concentration in Health Law, Business Law, or Human Resources Law. Both an advising team and a career coach are on hand to help assist online students with both their academic and career goals, and prospective students can glimpse an example of what the online MLS program is like through an online informational video detailing the degree. ABA approved
Loyola University Chicago was established as the St. Ignatius College in 1870 in Chicago, Illinois by the Jesuits. The institution of higher education was one of the financial boons of the growing city, thanks to the location very near the city center. Renamed Loyola University Chicago (LUC) in 1909, the school soon began relocating to the flagship campus location: the Lake Shore Campus. Five additional campuses are located throughout Chicago, as well as one in Rome. There are eleven schools and colleges providing more than 200 academic degree programs to the 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and Loyola is the largest Catholic university in the nation. A private research institution, LUC is “for those who wish to seek new knowledge in the service of humanity . . . as members of a diverse learning community that values freedom of inquiry, the pursuit of truth and care for others” and has regional accreditation for the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The School of Law at Loyola provides both an online LLM in Business Law and LLM in Health Law (made available through the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy) requiring 24 credit hours each, which can be completed in a year if pursued full-time or two years part-time. Two on-campus residencies, called Education Immersion Weekends (EIWs), provide students an opportunity to “reinforce learning objectives, provide a venue for networking, and foster communication among students, alumni, and faculty.” Coursework for each degree includes required courses, a master’s thesis, and elective credits (depending upon the degree the choices range from “Contract Drafting” to “European Union Privacy Law” to “Transactional Skills” to “Law and Bioethics”). Also online, three MJ programs are available for non-lawyers: MJ in Business Law and Compliance, MJ in Children’s Law & Policy, and MJ in Health Law. All three MJ degrees also require 24 credit hours and participation in the EIWs. Like the Children’s Law & Policy degree made available through Loyola’s “nationally-recognized Civitas ChildLaw Center,” each degree provides many resources and enhancements for online graduate law students. ABA approved
#26. Stetson University
Stetson University was established in 1883 as DeLand Academy. Henry Addison DeLand was the founder, but the school would change names several times before becoming Stetson University in 1889. John B. Stetson, the famous hatmaker who created the cowboy hat, was a major contributor to the school, so it was officially named John B. Stetson University. The main campus is 175 acres and located in DeLand, Florida, and three other campus sites are in Celebration, Tampa, and Gulfport. Just under 80 academic degree programs are offered to the over 4,300 students, and over 100 student organizations and clubs are provided. Four schools and colleges (College of Arts & Sciences, College of Law, School of Business Administration, and the School of Music) are housed within Stetson, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges grants regional accreditation.
Program Details: Offering several Master of Jurisprudence and LLM degrees either completely online or mostly online with a residency or several on-campus requirements, Stetson University College of Law provides specializations to enhance the careers of both attorneys and non-attorneys. A 30-credit hour, entirely online MJur in Healthcare Compliance is an interdisciplinary program with the benefit of partnerships with the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Bay Pines VA Healthcare, and Adventist Systems in Florida. Also entirely online, the MJur in Aging, Law and Policy is a 25-credit hour program that provides online students access to an extensive online library replete with resources on Aging Law and Policy. The two online LLM degree programs both require brief on-campus residencies to enhance the academic experience. The 25-credit hour LLM in Elder Law has a Special Needs Trust conference three-day experience built into the curriculum, and the LLM in Advocacy is an award-winning hybrid distance learning program designed to produce “exceptional advocates who stand head and shoulders above their peers.” ABA approved
#27. Villanova University
The Order of Saint Augustine established Villanova University as Augustinian College of Villanova in Villanova, Pennsylvania in 1842. Named after Saint Thomas of Villanova, the school was initially for male students but became fully coeducational in 1953. A Roman Catholic Augustinian institution of higher education, Villanova is the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania and is comprised of six schools and colleges (the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law) offering more than 100 academic degree programs to 10,000 students. The 260-acre campus houses a school that is “grounded in the wisdom of the Catholic intellectual tradition and advances a deeper understanding of the relationship between faith and reason,” and this private university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Program Details: Villanova presents an entirely online LLM in Taxation through both the AACSB-accredited Villanova School of Business and the Charles Widger School of Law. The 24-credit hour program can be completed in as little as eighteen months, and requires core courses such as “Survey of Tax,” “Partnership Taxation,” and “Professional Responsibilities in Tax and Research & Writing.” Students select three electives from choices like “Charitable Gift Planning,” “Taxation of Corporate Acquisitions and Reorganizations,” and “Advanced Topics in Employee Benefits.” All coursework is taught by a team of faculty who are leading academics and expert practitioners in the field, and three graduate certificates are available to offer students the opportunity to specialize the degree: State and Local Tax, Estate Planning, and Employee Benefits. In addition to the “distinguished and supportive learning community” that Villanova cultivates for its online students, various articles, webinars and infographics are also provided as resources to enhance the LLM student’s education. ABA approved
#28. University of Miami
The University of Miami (UM) was established in Corals Gable, Florida in 1925. Nearly 650 students enrolled in classes the following year, and the school’s first president, Dr. Bowman F. Ashe, provided the guidance the school needed to survive a hurricane, the Great Depression, and a World War. Rapid growth and development followed the hardships the school first encountered, and now more than 17,000 students are currently enrolled in this private research university. Over 330 academic degree programs are provided by the twelve schools and colleges of UM, and the 239-acre main campus sits just below the city of Miami. Additional campuses are located in and around Miami, and research is infused throughout the school. Having the highest research activity, as designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, this nonsectarian school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The Robert Traurig-Greenberg Traurig LLM in Real Property Development (RPD) is the LLM degree program offered online at the University of Miami School of Law. A 30-credit hour program that takes as little as two years to complete (although students have up to five years if needed), there are two on-campus requirements (Orientation and the first weekend of the Financial Analysis of Real Estate Transactions class). These ten day residencies allow distance education students the chance to “feel part of the community of students in the RPS Program” and get to know the RPD faculty and on-campus students. Courses include relevant topics such as “Environmental Regulation of Real Property,” “Land Security and Finance,” and “Basic Condominium, Cooperative and Planned Unit Development.” Specialized support is offered through the Miami Law School Career Development Office, where online LLM students have access to the highly-trained advisors and support staff who are “dedicated to helping each student achieve his or her career goal.” ABA approved
Founded by John Evans (namesake of Evanston, Illinois) and eight other prominent businessmen, attorneys, and Methodist clergymen, Northwestern University began as an idea during a meeting in 1850 to bring a school to the Northwest Territory. The charter for the school was granted the following year, and by 1853 Evans had purchase nearly 400 acres on the banks of Lake Michigan, and both the school and the city of Evanston came into being. Classes began in 1855 for the male students (women would be granted admission in 1869). Twelve schools and colleges provide more than 250 academic degree programs to over 21,000 coeducational students, and the main campus in Evanston is joined by additional campus locations in Chicago, San Francisco, and Education City, Doha, Qatar. A private research institution formerly affiliated with the Methodist Church (now nonsectarian), Northwestern has been continually regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913.
Program Details: The online Master of Science in Law (MSL) is offered as a part-time program for STEM professionals through the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. The 28-credit hour program curriculum is comprised of eight required core courses (such as “Business Formation & Structure,” “Contract Law & Design,” and “Research in Law, Business & Technology”). The remaining courses are chosen from electives, which are grouped into focus areas in intellectual property and patent design, business law and entrepreneurship, and regulatory analysis and strategy. Students can choose their electives according to their academic goals and concentrate in one area, or choose a wide selection of elective topics, with classes running the gamut from “Intro to Accounting & Financial Statements” to “Healthcare Law and Policy” to “Quantitative Reasoning in the Law.” A two-week online orientation kicks the program off, and students participate in a one-week on-campus residency called “Power Week” in the spring. ABA approved
#30. Regent University
Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson as the Christian Broadcasting Network University in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1977. A conservative evangelical spokesman, Robertson wanted a university that would groom “capable men and women for the challenge of representing Christ in their professions.” In 1978 classes began for 70 students—the campus was not yet completed, so classes were held in rented space nearby. Becoming Regent University in 1990 to promote the idea that students of the institution were the regents of Christ to the world, nearly 9,000 students are currently enrolled in this private Christian university. Eight schools provide over 125 academic degree programs, and Regent’s mission is to serve as a “center of Christian thought and action to provide excellent education through a biblical perspective and global context equipping Christian leaders to change the world.” Regional accreditation is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Two LLM specializations and a Master of Art in Law degree are the online offerings of the Regent University School of Law. Both the LLM in American Legal Studies and the LLM in Human Rights are offered both online and on-campus and require 30 credit hours to graduate. One shared course between the specializations— “Foundations of Law”—is then followed by courses such as “Foundations of Legal Thought” and “American Legal System & Writing” in the American Legal Studies focus and “International Children’s Rights” and “Religion in the Workplace” in the Human Rights focus. The exclusively online MA in Law degree also requires 30 credit hours and offers many concentration options, just a few of the focus areas include Alternative Dispute Resolution, General Legal Studies, and Wealth Management & Financial Planning. Regent’s School of Law is also home to multiple centers, initiatives, and student organizations, which provide both support and an enhanced academic experience. ABA approved
Originally established in 1964 as the Nova University of Advanced Technology in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a private research university serving over 20,000 currently enrolled students. Conceived of as a graduate-level institution of higher education, NSU offered advanced degrees in physical and social science initially to the first enrollment of seventeen students. Moving to its current location on a former Navy landing field in Davie, Florida, NSU merged with the Southeastern University of the Health Sciences in 1994 and was officially renamed Nova Southeastern University. More than 150 academic degree programs are offered through NSU’s sixteen schools and colleges located on the 315-acre main campus in Davie, and this private research university has additional campuses located throughout Florida and in Puerto Rico. Designated as having high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law provides four distinct Master of Science in Law degree programs, none of which require the GRE or LSAT for admission. Students can complete all degrees (the Master’s in Education Law, Master’s in Employment Law, Master’s in Health Law, or Master’s in Law and Policy) entirely online in less than two years, and within each degree students have their choice of multiple concentration options. Each program is comprised of eight required classes, twelve to fourteen credits of electives, and a four-credit Capstone project. Additionally, as of the summer of 2018 a new online LLM degree program can be completed in one to two years as an entirely online, on-campus or hybrid program. Students in the new LLM program will have the opportunity to concentrate on focus areas in Business and Entrepreneurial Counseling, Health Law, Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, and Technology Law, International Law, and Litigation and Dispute Resolution. ABA approved
The Thomas M. Cooley Law school was founded in 1972 by a collection of attorneys and judges, most notably the Honorable Thomas E. Brennan. Named for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas M. Cooley, the institution is “dedicated to teaching students the knowledge, skills, and ethics needed to succeed in both the law and its practice and to be valuable members of society.” In 2014, the Law School formed an affiliation with Western Michigan University to become Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (WMU-Cooley). Though affiliated with Western Michigan University, WMU-Cooley is its own independent academic institution. The main campus for this private non-profit law school is in Lansing, Michigan; additional campus sites are located in the Michigan cities of Grand Rapids and Auburn Hills, and in Tampa, Florida. Nearly 1,300 students are currently enrolled in several law degree programs, and WMU-Cooley has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 2001.
Program Details: Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (WMU-Cooley) provides multiple LLM degrees completely online: Intellectual Property Law, Taxation, Corporate Law & Finance, Insurance Law, and Homeland and National Security Law. The programs all “combine theory and practice, while emphasizing professionalism and ethics” in the required 24 credits, and students can earn the degree on a full-time basis in less than two years (but have up to three years if desired). All classes are presented in the evenings and weekends and are streamed live online to allow students to interact in real time. The LLM faculty members also serve as mentor and have experience in the areas in which they lead: the Director of the LLM in Homeland and National Security Law program is a retired Brigadier General and once served in the Pentagon as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance. ABA approved
#33. University of Tulsa
Beginning as the Henry Kendall College in 1894, the University of Tulsa can trace its roots even further back to the Presbyterian School for Indian Girls, which was founded in 1882 in Muskogee, Indian Territory. The School was rechartered as the College, and classes began in the fall of 1894. The school did not thrive, and community leaders in Tulsa successfully put in a bid for the school to move. In 1907, the small college moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma (this was also the year Oklahoma gained statehood). By 1920, a new charter for the University of Tulsa (TU) was put into place, and now this private doctoral research institution of higher education serves nearly 4,500 students with 130 academic degree programs through six schools and colleges. Proud of its core values of “excellence in scholarship, dedication to free inquiry, integrity of character, and commitment to humanity,” TU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Two specialized online Master of Jurisprudence degree programs are provided through the University of Tulsa College of Law. The Master of Jurisprudence in Energy Law (MJEL) and the Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law (MJIL) are both offered full or part-time, and can be completed within one and a half to two years. The 24-credit hour MJEL degree program was the first of its kind when introduced in 2013, and it is housed within the Sustainable Energy & Resources Law (SERL) program at TU College of Law. Classes are immersive and comprehensive, covering topics like “Water Rights & Water Law,” “Natural Resources Law,” and “Regulation of Energy Markets.” The 24-credit hour MJIL program is highly praised by current and past students, and offers professionals “unparalleled focus on the protection of Indian sovereignty” with a comprehensive curriculum focusing on “Indian Property Rights,” “Tribal Government,” and “Introduction to the Federal Legal and Administrative Systems.” ABA approved
#34. Albany Law School
New York attorneys Amos Dean, Ira Harris, and Amasa Parker felt that the current manner of legal education was lacking in the mid-1800s in the United States. Founding Albany Law School in the capital of New York in 1851, the three lawyers established the first independent law school in the nation and the oldest in the state. Located in Albany on a 54-acre campus (along with several other colleges), the law school became affiliated with the University at Albany in 2015. More than 400 students are enrolled in this private, independent institution with a mission to be a “nationally recognized center of learning and teaching for students, faculty, alumni, the bench and bar, other professions, and local, state, national, and global communities while retaining its historic ties to the state and the region.” Albany Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
Program Details: The LLM in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law degree program at Albany Law School is an entirely online degree that can be completed in one to two years. Offered in partnership with the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), the program was created for attorneys who want to understand the legal complexities of cybersecurity and data privacy, and coursework for the 24-credit hour program includes required courses such as “Technology, Privacy and the Law,” “Healthcare Compliance,” “Cyber War, Intelligence & National Security,” and “Electronic Discovery.” Taught by “professors and practitioners with unique expertise in information security, data privacy, cybercrime, and intellectual property,” the curriculum is both rigorous and cutting-edge. A brand-new Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Center conducts research and offers trainings, resources and workshops to the students and professional community. ABA approved
In 1899 The John Marshall Law school was founded in Chicago, Illinois and named for the famed U.S Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Offering several juris doctor and master’s degree programs, John Marshall boasts a mission that honors “a tradition of diversity, innovation, access and opportunity, and consistently provides an education that combines the understanding of both the theory and the practice of law.” Almost 2,000 students are currently enrolled in John Marshall’s on-campus programs (located in the historic area of Chicago known as The Loop) or online programs, and the school offers several specialized centers and clinics. Regional accreditation is provided by the Higher Learning Commission, and John Marshall is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.
Program Details: The John Marshall Law School offers multiple online LLM and Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) degree programs through their renowned Centers (the Center for Intellectual Property, Information & Privacy Law, the Center for Tax Law & Employee Benefits, and the Center for Real Estate Law). Employee Benefits (the only ABA-approved LLM program in the country), Estate Planning, Intellectual Property Law, and Real Estate Law. Additionally, online courses are offered for LLM students in International Business & Trade Law and both LLM and MJ students in Information Technology and Privacy Law. All programs require 24 credit hours and can be completed in one to two years. The JMLS faculty members are numerous and proficient in their specific field, and the result of the specialized coursework they lead allows students to “gain a deeper understanding in a legal field too complex to be mastered in a JD program.” ABA approved
Chartered in 1869 as a land-grant university, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was established just two years into Nebraska’s statehood in the growing capital city of Lincoln. The first few years were harsh for the nascent campus—sun-dried brick and wood that constructed the early academic buildings crumbled and locusts unrelentingly ate most vegetation—but academically the school thrived. The school was progressive from the beginning; it was intentionally coeducational and did not discriminate against students in regards to color or nationality. Now this public research institution of higher education is the flagship university as the oldest in the state and the largest in the University of Nebraska System. Three campuses cover over 2,800 acres, and more than 25,000 students are enrolled in the academic degree programs offered through UNL’s nine schools and colleges. Regional accreditation for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is granted through the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: Offered as a six semester, part-time hybrid program with some on-campus requirements, Nebraska College of Law’s LLM in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law degree is a unique program like no other in the country. The exacting program is extremely competitive—no more than eight students are admitted each year to assure all students receive the support they need to be successful in the rigorous demands of the program. It requires 24 credit hours, three quarters of which are completed online in a synchronous format. A three-credit hour course (“Researching Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law”) and a UNL Space, Cyber, and Telecom Law conference or seminar must be attended on campus. Other course requirements include classes such as “National Security Space Law,” “Domestic Telecommunications Law & Regional Cybersecurity,” and “International Cyber Security: Mischief, Crime and Warfare.” In addition to the individualized support the program offers, all UNL and College of Law student services are available to online students. ABA approved
#37. Liberty University
Liberty University, established as the Lynchburg Baptist College by Reverend Jerry Falwell and his congregation in 1971, is a private Christian institution of higher education. Falwell, a conservative evangelist, had a vision in the latter part of the 20th century of extending his reach over “the moral and ethical course of America” by founding a university. Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, the school became a full university in 1985 and began offering distance education that same year. Liberty has grown to be the largest and most prolific Christian university internationally with over 110,000 online students and 15,000 residential students. There are seventeen academic schools and colleges, which provide over 600 degree programs, many online through the distance education component known as LU Online. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has been providing Liberty with its regional accreditation continuously since 1980.
Program Details: Offering a Juris Master (JM) degree for non-lawyers and an LLM degree program entirely online, Liberty University School of Law allows students to “tailor the level of legal education” to suit their needs. The JM degree program requires 30 credit hours and provides two concentrations to customize the academic experience: International Legal Studies or American Legal Studies. Both concentration options allow students to select electives, with offerings such as “Law & Economics,” “Criminal Law,” and “Torts Law” for the American concentration and “International Public Law” and “International Human Rights Law” for the International concentration. The LLM in International Legal Studies degree is conferred by Liberty University School of Law and is a 24-credit hour program with coursework such as “International Trade Law,” “The Law of Armed Conflict,” and “Jurisprudence/Legal History.” Online student support is offered through the University, and students have a variety of services and resources from which to choose. ABA approved
Florida Coastal School of Law (Coastal Law) was founded in 1996 with the intent of providing a different kind of law school. The mission claims a dedication to “a commitment to professional preparation, educational experience, service to underserved communities, and accountability of the faculty for market-leading student outcomes.” Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Coastal Law is a for-profit institution specializing in law degrees. Over 600 students are currently enrolled.
Program Details: Holding the distinction of offering the first completely online LLM degree program in United States Law for international lawyers, Florida Coastal School of Law recently added online LLM degrees in Logistics & Transportation and General Law Studies. The 24-credit hour LLM in Logistics & Transportation (the first of its kind in the nation) provides asynchronous coursework that covers topics like global risk compliance, maritime law, aviation liability and litigation, and labor relations. The 26-credit hour LLM in General Law Studie offers concentrations in International Law, Logistics & Transportation, Business and Transactional Practice, and U.S.Law Practice. The faculty members are knowledgeable and accessible to students, offering guidance as well as rigorous coursework. Additionally, the school’s LLM Administrative team hosts live, interactive virtual events for students, professors, and members of the FCSL community to foster a sense of camaraderie and give students the opportunity to socialize with their classmates and instructors. ABA approved, but currently out of compliance
Western New England University began as the Springfield Division of Northeastern College (known as Springfield-Northeastern) in 1919 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The evening classes held at the local YMCA grew into an independent institution of higher education, first Western New England College in 1951 and finally Western New England University (WNE) in 2011. A private university, WNE is comprised of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering, School of Law, and College of Pharmacy. The 215-acre campus is located in the suburbs of Springfield, and nearly 4,000 students are enrolled both residentially and online. Dedicated to “an unwavering focus on and attention to each student’s academic and personal development, including learning outside the classroom,” WNE is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: The School of Law at WNE provides the sole online LLM in Elder Law and Estate Planning degree program in the nation through live and interactive coursework. The 24-credit hour program focuses on the “practical aspects of drafting estate plans, administering the settlement of estates, and representing elderly clients and families” with required classes such as “Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes” and “Fiduciary Administration,” and all students complete a final project in which they design a complex planning need and implement the appropriate documents. The faculty members are all experts in the field of elder law and estate planning, and online students are fully immersed in the courses through microphone headsets and real-time participation. LLM Online Information Sessions are provided for prospective students to learn more about the program and the unique interactive delivery format. Additionally, the Law Library offers a wealth of online resources and materials to assist the online student with their studies. ABA approved
Thanks to the foresight of the Touro family during colonial times, endowments put in place many years ago have led to the funding of many Jewish-sponsored institutions of higher education. In 1970, Dr. Bernard Lander established the Touro College and University System in New York. As part of the Touro College and University System, Touro Law Center was founded in 1980. Renamed the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1986 to honor Judge Jacob Fuchsberg (a litigator who was known for serving as an associate justice of the New York State Court of Appeals in the 1970s and 80s), the school moved to its current location of Central Islip, New York in 2007. Now over 500 students are currently enrolled in several different law programs, and with 48 full-time faculty employed, enjoy a faculty to student ratio of sixteen to one. A member of the Association of American Law Schools, Touro Law is accredited by the American Bar Association.
Program Details: Touro Law has pioneered the first online LLM in Aging and Longevity degree as a 24-credit hour, totally online asynchronous program. Students complete three required core courses (“Core Issues in Aging and Longevity Law,” “Estate Planning or Financial Planning for Aging and Incapacity,” and “Ethical Issues in Representing Aging Clients and Their Family Members”) and an Independent Writing Project. Twelve credits are devoted to electives, and students can select from classes such as “The Guardianship Quality Initiative: How to Humanely and competently Litigate Guardianship Matters Geriatric Medicine for Lawyers,” “How Older Persons Access and Pay for Healthcare,” and “Familial Relationships, Responsibilities, and Ambiguities.” Students can begin the program in the fall, spring or summer terms, and enroll full or part-time, and online LLM students have full access to the Gould Law Library’s resources and research materials. ABA approved
#41. American University
American University (AU) was founded in 1893 by John Fletcher Hurst, a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC). A Congressional charter established the school in the country’s capital, and the school progressively admitted women and students of color before other schools. The first year 28 students enrolled, and the school embodied the spirit of the youthful United States. Now over 13,000 students are currently enrolled, and all 50 states are represented. Eight schools and colleges provide over 160 academic degree programs, and this private, coeducational doctoral-level research university is still located in a neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Still strongly affiliated with the United Methodist Church, American University is recognized as an institution of higher education by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Started as a way “to serve the public interest and build the nation,” AU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
Program Details: The American University Washington College of Law’s Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law provides a hybrid LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law degree program for both U.S.-based and international attorneys. With both on-campus and online coursework, the 24-credit hour program requires two three-week summer residencies in which students can choose from seminars in topics like “The Rights of Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Groups” and “International Humanitarian Law.” The program can be completed in eighteen months to two years, and during that time students have the opportunity to learn from “over 40 world renowned experts, including human rights and humanitarian law experts coming from academia, international tribunals, civil society organizations, and international organizations.” With the goal of promoting “practical approaches to human rights and humanitarian law,” the LLM degree through the Academy empowers professionals to become advocates and attorneys who can transform the state of international human rights. ABA approved
Established in 1978, California Southern University (CalSouthern) started as the Southern California University for Professional Studies. The school was founded by Dr. Donald Hecht, who had started a career as an engineer but decided he wanted to follow a different path. Having to commute over 40 miles to earn his master’s and doctoral degree, Dr. Hecht wanted to provide an easier path for professional students. Focusing on distance learning, the institution developed a model of one-to-one faculty mentoring, and by 2007 the entire school had transitioned to online-only programs. The name was changed at this time, and a new location for the campus was sought in Costa Mesa, California. Over 30 academic degree programs are offered exclusively online through the School of Behavioral Sciences, School of Business, School of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, School of Nursing and School of Law. CalSouthern is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Details: Both the Master of Science in Law and the LLM programs at CalSouthern are completely online through the School of Law (which is a member of the International Association of Law Schools). The LLM degree program requires students to possess a JD and complete 24 credit hours to graduate. Focus areas are available in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Commerce and Global Trade (CGT). The core curriculum for each area is comprised of twelve credits—with topics like “Negotiations, Theory and Practice” and “Group Leadership, Process and Facilitation” for the ADR program and “International Business Law” and “Uniform Commercial Code” for the CGT program. The “innovative, versatile” 36-credit hour MSL program can be completed in as little as eighteen months or up to four years. Seven core classes make up a large portion of the program requirements, and topics covered include “American Legal Process,” “Criminal Law,” and “Legal Ethics.” A comprehensive list of additional resources is provided for prospective students with information on the programs and the online atmosphere of CalSouthern.
In 1969 the Western State University College of Law opened a branch campus in San Diego, California. The San Diego campus offered evening JD classes on a part-time basis for working professional. As the program grew, the school moved to a larger campus in 1983 and became independent in 1995 with the new name Thomas Jefferson School of Law. With a mission to provide “an outstanding legal education for a nationally-based, diverse student body in a collegial and supportive environment with attention to newly emerging areas of law, particularly those related to technological development, globalization and the quest for social justice,” and over 900 students are currently enrolled in various JD, LLM, and JSM degree programs.
Program Details: Three different concentrations are offered through both LLM and Master of Science of Law (JSM) degree programs exclusively online at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Students can choose from Taxation, Financial Services and Wealth Management, and Financial Compliance and Risk Management. The LLM degree requires 24 units and the MSL degree 30 units; the program can be completed at an accelerated pace within a year, but students are encouraged to complete it at their own pace. Coursework is offered asynchronously for convenience and flexibility, and class topics cover a wide range of subjects depending on the concentration chosen (“Civil Tax Procedure,” “High Net Worth Client Planning,” and “Securities Law and Compliance” for example). Six start dates a year are offered and there is no LSAT or GRE requirement for admission. ABA approved (on probation as of November 2017 but working to rectify)
George Pepperdine College was established in 1937 by its namesake in order to create an institution of higher education that would allow for a place of academics in which faith would also be nurtured. Pepperdine was the founder of the Western Auto Supply Company and a devout Christian, and he opened the school in Los Angeles, California to 167 enrolled students the first year. The school moved to Malibu and changed the official name to Pepperdine University, and now this private research university has five schools that offer over 70 degree programs to the more than 7,500 students currently enrolled. Affiliated with the Churches of Christ and promoting its mission of being “a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership,” the Western Association of Schools and Colleges grants Pepperdine with regional accreditation.
Program Details: Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree is a 32-unit program providing non-lawyer professionals with a “fundamental understanding of legal concepts and procedures.” Coursework focuses on a range of topics including Constitutional Law, Contracts, Employment Law, and Negotiation Theory and Practice. Students have the option of choosing a concentration in dispute resolution, with courses from Pepperdine Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute. The degree can be completed in as few as sixteen months full-time (part-time students can finish in as few as 28 months). Two on-campus weekend residencies provide experiential, hands-on courses such as “Law, the Legal System, and Society” and “Law in Practice” and the opportunity to “engage in critical discussions, role playing, and mock trials.” Individual attention is given through various law-specific career services and advisement resources in order to help each online student “succeed beyond the programs.” Three cohort start dates are offered each year, and live webinars provide information for prospective students. The program has been granted acquiescence the ABA
West Virginia University was founded in 1867 as the Agricultural College of West Virginia to participate in the benefits of the Morrill Act of 1862. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, the school was renamed West Virginia University (WVU) within the first year. Initially a school for men, by 1889 women were allowed to enroll. Now campuses and extension centers throughout the state contribute academics to the over 32,000 students enrolled school wide (nearly 29,000 students are enrolled at the Morgantown campus alone). Almost 200 academic degree programs are provided through the fifteen colleges and schools, and this public research institution (with the highest level of research as designated by the Carnegie Foundation) is the flagship of the state. In addition to its land-grant status, WVU is also a space-grant university, and the school commits to “creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education, healthcare and prosperity for all“ with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program at WVU is housed within the Public Administration Department of the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences. A 30-credit hour program available entirely online, the MLS provides ten courses that can be completed in just eighteen months. In addition to a general studies track, three emphasis areas are offered in Justice Systems, Homeland Security, and Health Care, and all students participate in the required core courses on subjects like “Law & the Legal System,” “Dispute Resolution Process,” and “Administrative Ethics.” A degree focused more on the administration side of the law in order to “build greater public understanding of the law and the United States legal system,” students gain a solid basis in the skills that will help them advance in their careers. As an WVU Online student, MLS students are provided with enrollment coaches, academic advisors, and other resources to help them be successful.
Within five years, two law schools began in California that would have similar visions. The Ventura College of Law opened in 1969 in Ventura, California to 36 eager students. In 1974, 30 miles down the road in Santa Barbara, California, the Santa Barbara College of Law began, and the two schools merged in 1978. The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (called the Colleges of Law for simplicity) have made a “commitment to open doors to individuals who possessed the passion, bravery, and intellectual rigor to pursue a legal degree, but felt that it was out of reach—whether because of a hectic work schedule, family obligations, socioeconomic status, or other circumstances.” Over 1,600 alumni are joined by a current enrollment of 200 students, and the Colleges of Law have regional accreditation provided through the Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
Program Details: The Colleges of Law offer an entirely online Masters of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program for professionals “who work—or aspire to work—in fields that routinely intersect with law.” A 30-credit hour program that can be completed in eighteen months on a part-time basis, required coursework covers topics like “Litigation and Its Alternatives,” “Research and Advocacy,” and “American Legal System,” and all students finish the degree by engaging in a Capstone course. Two concentrations are offered to online MLS students. The Frontiers in Law concentration explores privacy rights and legality with courses such as “Emerging Threats,” “Global Relationships,” and “Bio Legal Issues,” and the Regulatory Compliance/Legal Risk Management concentration focuses on class topics such as “Data Security & Breach,” “Liability, Risk, and Insurance,” and “Regulation and Compliance.” Both concentrations offer optional weekend residency experiences, and there is no LSAT or GRE requirement for admission. Both a resource page and a blog provide services and current research resources to MLS students.
A unique institution of higher education was established in 1991 to provide “career-relevant, distance education for a mobile population of military learners with unique needs.” Founded by a retired Marine Corps officer, American Military University (AMU) offered distance education programs and the administrative offices were initially located in Manassas, Virginia and then moved to Charles Town, West Virginia. In 2002 the institution was reformatted into the American Public University System (APUS) and the American Public University (APU) was established alongside AMU in order to provide the same educational standards and programs to a broader base of non-military students. A private, for-profit university system, AMU has a mission to present “high quality higher education with emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities” and provides over 200 academic degree programs to nearly 100,000 students enrolled online. The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits AMU.
Program Details: The American Military University School of Security & Global Studies houses the online Master of Arts in Legal Studies degree program. Students can transfer up to fifteen credits into this 36-credit hour program and complete it within two years. Monthly start dates allow students to begin classes such as “Legal & Ethical Issues in Management,” “Homeland Security and the Law,” and “Judicial Politics, Process, and Policy Making” at their convenience. Core courses cover the basics of “Methods of Legal Research and Writing,” “Constitutional Law,” and “Criminal Justice Process,” and a final Legal Studies Capstone culminates the degree. Championing online learning with many different programs, AMU provides the Richard G. Trefry Library as an online resource that houses “thousands of licensed article/scholarly journal databases, books and ebooks, and video collections.” Many other resources are also made available to online Legal Studies graduate students.
Sangamon State University (SSU) was established through the diligence of the Springfield Committee for Higher Education. Starting in 1960, the committee worked on bringing a university to Springfield, Illinois. In 1969 the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill approving the school, and classes began in 1970. In 1995, the University of Illinois acquired SSU and it was renamed the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). One of three universities in the University of Illinois System, UIS is the newest and a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Nearly 5,000 students currently are enrolled in almost 50 academic degree programs in the Colleges of Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Affairs and Administration. A public liberal arts university, UIS has a campus of nearly 750 acres in the state’s capital city, and regional accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: A Master of Arts in Legal Studies is offered entirely online through the Legal Studies Department housed within the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration. An interdisciplinary approach guides students who need to gain a “comprehensive understanding of the law” without the need to become an attorney. The unique “course of study in public law emphasizing law as a social phenomenon as well as a technical body of rules” provides 40 credit hours of coursework such as “Theories of Justice,” “Public Advocacy,” and seminars in “Politics and Law” and “Courts and Policymaking.” Sixteen credit hours of electives are built into the sequential curriculum, which also includes the student’s choice between a Graduate Seminar or a final Master Thesis. Student testimonials provide insight into the program and answer questions prospective students may have, and advisors are on hand once admitted students begin the academic journey to offer support and guidance.
#49. Hodges University
Hodges University was established in Naples, Florida in 1990 as International College but was renamed in 2007 when it gained university status and in honor of two supporters of the institution: Earl and Thelma Hodges. The mission of this private, coeducational not-for-profit university is to prepare “students to leverage higher learning in their personal, professional and civic endeavors.” Five schools (Fisher School of Technology, Johnson School of Business, Nichols School of Professional Studies, School of Health Sciences, and School of Liberal Studies) provide associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to the nearly 1,700 currently enrolled students. An additional campus location was opened in 1992 in Fort Myers, Florida, and many programs are offered online in both a traditional and accelerated format. Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Details: The Master of Science in Legal Studies (MSLS) degree program at Hodges University is offered online through the Nichols School of Professional Studies as a full or part-time program. Requiring 30-credit hours, students engage in “comprehensive courses on a variety of legal issues and matters” such as “Mediation, Arbitration and Conflict Resolution,” “Ethics and Law,” and “Employment and Human Resources;” all students complete the degree with a “Master of Legal Studies Capstone.” The entire program can be completed in a year if pursued full-time, and graduates can find advanced careers in both the corporate and the government sector. Benefiting professionals “who work with lawyers or other areas of the law, in government and other professional settings that require an understanding of the law,” the degree is comprehensive and prepares graduates with the “essential knowledge of the law and legal proceedings, but also helps students develop a high level of analytical and critical thinking skills.”
#50. Webster University
Webster University was initially founded as Loretto College in 1915. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, the school was opened as a Catholic women’s college by the Sisters of Loretto religious order. Only five students were enrolled the first year, but now more than 20,000 coeducational students make up the enrollment. The institution was renamed Webster University in 1983, and the main campus is situated in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves. Multiple branch campuses join the five schools and colleges that comprise Webster (The College of Arts & Sciences, the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, the School of Communications, and the School of Education), and the school has been governed by a lay Board of Directors ever since the nuns transferred ownership in 1967. A private nondenominational university, Webster is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Details: The 39-credit hour Master of Arts in Legal Studies degree program at Webster University is offered online through the College of Arts & Sciences. The curriculum “is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the legal environment” and includes such required classes as “Ethics for the Legal Professional,” “Anglo-American Legal History,” and “American Constitutional Law.” Students can choose an internship as an elective, and a final Research and Writing Project is required of all students. Additionally, students can earn a Certificate in Paralegal Studies alongside the degree if desired; many of the required courses are the same. A thriving Alumni Association serves as an added benefit after graduation. Offering career resources and a mentorship for current students program, the Association continues the assistance and resources initially offered through the University.