What Exactly is The Field Of Legal Studies?

Legal studies programs are offered to students who wish to earn a master’s degree studying law, but do not wish to become a lawyer. Typically, these programs last one year instead of the three years it takes to earn a J.D. But what exactly will you learn in this kind of program? And why would you want to earn this type of degree if you don’t intend to become a lawyer?

Master of Legal Studies Education

In a master of legal studies program, you’ll cover many of the same topics that you would cover in a traditional law school program, but in less in-depth terms. Some of the topics you could cover, depending on the college you attend, include legal writing, contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, property law, civil rights, family law, tax law, juvenile justice, corporate law, copyrights and trademarks, international law, environmental law, ethics, arbitration, and sentencing. This is just a small sampling of the classes that could be offered by your program. Typically, there are a few foundation courses that you’ll be required to take, and then you can tailor your education to fit your needs.

Legal Studies Career Options

If you graduate with a master’s degree in legal studies, you won’t be prepared to work as an attorney, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work in the world of law. Many paralegals earn this type of degree to be better prepared to work on cases, and you can also earn this type of degree if your field commonly intersects with the law so that you have a better base of knowledge about the law in your industry. For example, if you are working in real estate, you might want to earn a masters in legal studies and take classes on things like property law and taxes. Or, if you work in healthcare, you could earn a masters in legal studies and concentrate on classes covering things like insurance law and malpractice. This is also a great master’s degree program to consider if you want to work in government or politics, as being well-versed in constitutional law, the first amendment, and other related topics can come in handy.

Top Legal Studies Masters Degrees

A masters in legal studies degree is reserved for professionals who wish to study law without becoming attorneys. Topics covered within a master of legal studies program are often similar to the topics covered by a first year J.D. candidate, and may include constitutional law, civil procedure, and contracts. While J.D. programs typically last three years, many masters in legal studies programs last just one. Below are the top online colleges offering masters degrees in legal studies and closely related programs including Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement.