Legal Studies

Online Master of Arts in Legal Studies (MA)

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$0 Transfer Credit Evaluation

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No GRE/GMAT Required

About our Master of Legal Studies Online Program

Build upon your existing knowledge of law, legal doctrine, and legal concepts with a master's degree in legal studies from American Public University.

The interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Legal Studies is designed for law-related professionals looking to increase their legal insight. Through this dynamic program, you'll explore legal terminology, practices, and values, as you develop a working knowledge of local, state, and federal laws and procedures. To prepare you for the rigor of your legal responsibilities, our master’s degree program will challenge you to develop sound legal research and communication skills.

American Public University is part of American Public University System (APUS), which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Commission accredits degree-granting institutions nationwide and is also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

NOTE: Although some states do not require a Juris Doctor for bar entry, this program does not prepare you for the practice of law or admission to the bar of any state based solely on completion of this program. Completion of American Public University’s Master of Legal Studies online program does not qualify an individual to sit for the bar exam in any state.

What You Will Do in our Legal Studies Program

  1. Integrate legal research and writing skills into a variety of communications
  2. Facilitate the creation of new solutions to complex societal legal issues through critical thinking and analysis 
  3. Design innovative legal solutions with technology

View Program Outcome Assessment Results

Degree at a Glance

Number of Credits
36
Cost Per Credit
$425 | $250*
$382.50**
Courses Start Monthly
Online
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Program Requirements Printable Catalog Version

Must take all courses for this section.

Course ID: 2578

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This course is an advanced theory and practice of criminal law in the United States. The history, scope, and nature of criminal law will be discussed. This course will analyze the general nature of crime, constitutional limits on crime, and general principals of criminal liability. Topics include: legal language and machinery, parties to crime, classification of offenses, act and intent, capacity to commit crime, and various defenses. Primary emphasis will be the common law and modern statutory criminal codes. Students are provided knowledge of the building blocks of criminal law to include elements of crimes and defenses to criminal charges. The role of the police, criminal courts, and attorneys in the administration of the criminal justice system will be discussed in detail. The course will teach the student how to analyze and brief criminal cases, and identify and discuss criminal issues. An overview of the criminal process and rules of evidence will be provided. This course focuses on the fundamental principles, concepts, and development of criminal law and the constitutional provisions which govern it. The course further discusses the relationship of the individual to the state and includes an examination of the general framework of criminal law as a means of social control.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/24 - 10/04/24 10/07/24 - 12/01/24 Fall 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 2579

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This course addresses the specific constitutional rights, including the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments as those that have a direct impact on the defendant and prosecution in the judicial process. The course will review issues of the pre-arrest stage to post conviction remedies, as well as the procedural laws in the criminal justice process and their limits. The parameters of these limits will be analyzed by studying various court decisions.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 4053

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Part one of this graduate level two-part intensive legal writing program is designed to develop students’ research and writing skills. Students will learn and practice the skills necessary for identifying, locating, and using legal resources, including primary sources of administrative, statutory, and case law; secondary authority; and research reference tools, to include computer research tools, commonly used in the practice of law. Students will also explore the process of legal analysis, incorporating the results of their legal research into correspondence, case briefs, legal memoranda, and motions.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 4054

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Part two of a two-part graduate level intensive legal writing program is designed to develop students’ research and writing skills. Students will further develop their research, legal analytical, and writing, with emphasis on logical reasoning and clear, concise, and convincing writing. Students will complete several legal writing assignments, which will synthesize research, analytical, and technical writing skills. (Prerequisite: LSTD504 Methods of Legal Research and Writing I)
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 4050

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This graduate course is an introduction to real property concepts. The course surveys present and future estates in land, ownership, and concurrent ownership. Leasehold interests, gifts and bequests, covenants and servitudes, conveyancing, various land use restrictions, and eminent domain are also considered.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 4051

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This graduate course is designed to introduce students to the concepts and sources of contract law. This course evaluates the various components of a legally binding agreement or promise and surveys the major issues affecting such enforceable agreements. Students will examine what constitutes breach of contract and the remedies available. The role of contracts in the commercial arena and in society will also be analyzed.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 4052

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This graduate course will focus on the fundamental principles, concepts, and development of tort and personal injury law, while combining theoretical and practical applications of such principles and concepts. The course presents an overview of the substantive law governing compensation for injuries to property and to the person. Specific areas of study include negligence and defenses to negligence; products liability and strict liability; negligent infliction of emotional distress; injury to property; tort immunities and tort investigations. Students will examine the analytical process used both to understand court opinions and hypothetical problems in this area of the law. The course highlights the public policy objectives and social forces behind the development of tort and personal injury legislation.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 3850

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This course provides the student with a theoretical foundation in Constitutional law. The Constitution divides power. In particular, it apportions authority along three main dimensions: between the state and federal governments; among the branches of the federal government; and between, on the one hand, all levels of government and, on the other hand, individuals. The vast majority of live constitutional questions concern a conflict along one or more of these axes. Students will study issues of policy, principle, philosophy, and constitutional implications by focusing on construction and application. This graduate course will explore advanced principles, doctrines and controversies regarding the structure of and division of powers in American government. Specific topics include judicial review, jurisdiction, standing to sue, federalism, federal and state powers and immunities, the separation of powers among the branches of the federal government, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Choose 6 credit hours from this section.

Course ID: 2739

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This course examines the area of business law and applies it to the business environment. Traditional topics covered include: the legal environment of business, contract law, property, sales contracts, commercial paper, agency law, ethics and the regulatory environment. The course also examines the issue of the global economy from the view that the largest companies dominate in the creation of jobs and technological innovation.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/24 - 10/04/24 10/07/24 - 12/01/24 Fall 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 3909

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A survey of the legal structure that defines and regulates the nonprofit sector and an examination of fundamental governance issues in nonprofit corporations. The focus of the course is on the board of directors (trustees) and the executive director and their fiduciary responsibilities established both by law and by the moral imperatives from actions on behalf of the public interest.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 2829

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This course identifies the public law, regulation, and associated policy that facilitates and in some cases restricts emergency management planning, recovery, and relief. Topics include national, state, and local issues and examples of public law. The course also covers issues associated with intergovernmental (fire, police, EMS, emergency management, military, etc.) action in emergencies as such action relates to regulation or public law.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 4356

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This course will focus on the issue of ownership of certain types of intellectual property on the internet, which has become a critical issue with different technological platforms, digital tools, and apps becoming so prevalent in our schools and culture. In this course, online, face-to-face, and hybrid educators will learn about the different types of potential copyright infringement, fair use, and privacy aspects for students, exploring the implication for course development and instruction.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 2816

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This course explores legal, ethical, and political issues related to PreK-12 U.S. education. Topics include NCLB/ESSA, district liability, rights of students and teachers, and issues related to employment and technology. Emphasis is given to federal and state statutes and case law affecting due process, liability, equal protection, and the rights of teachers and students in order to better understand risks and possible strategies to reduce those risks. Ethical and political contextual aspects are explored in relation to public education decision and policy making at the classroom and school levels. (Prerequisite: EDUC503)
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 2747

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This course is a study of the major legal, regulatory, and policy framework that encompasses environmental programs and projects in the United States and with international political, commercial, and non-governmental institutions. The primary learning approach used in this course will be case studies.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/24 - 10/04/24 10/07/24 - 12/01/24 Fall 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 2686

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This course is a conceptual and functional analysis of the legal framework and principles of employment law. Issues are addressed from a managerial perspective so that students have an opportunity to develop their business decision-making skills, (via employment law scenarios), as they relate to the evaluation of legal ramifications affecting a variety of workplace situations. Topics include the agency-employment relationship; discrimination under Civil Rights Act Title VII and other federal laws based on race/color, gender, age, national origin, religion, pregnancy, and sexual orientation; diversity, affirmative action, and bona fide occupational qualifications; employer negligence in hiring; criminal checks and credit screenings; physical fitness, ethics, and personality tests for employment purposes; vicarious liability, sexual harassment, and workplace violence; challenges with organized labor/unions under the National Labor Relations Act; working standards including pay, hours, age requirements, etc. set by the Fair Labor Standards Act and state equivalents; and challenges arising from the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/24 - 10/04/24 10/07/24 - 12/01/24 Fall 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 2581

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The course is designed to introduce students to the concepts and sources of international law that evaluate the various components, processes, and functions of the international legal process and consider how international law impacts the laws within the United States. Additionally, the current state of the international legal order is reviewed with legal opinions regarding major philosophies, components and current practices and problems of the field of international law.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 4284

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This graduate course focuses on the procedural and substantive law surrounding immigration. Emphasis is given to legal changes enacted in the field since September 11, 2001, as well as current events. It provides students with the background, processes, and tools necessary for a working knowledge of immigration issues. Important topics such as immigrant status, citizenship, refugees, and asylum seekers will be explored. Students will analyze immigration law and policy.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 4489

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This course is provides an understanding of the structure of homeland security law and policy. This course will familiarize students with the extensive and complex legal codes that come under the heading of Homeland Security. The course will cover statutes, policy papers, presidential directives, and other documents related to homeland security allowing for an in-depth examination of the foundations of homeland security. The course will provide the student with important legal guidance allowing the student to accurately interpret, understand, and apply homeland security law and policy. The course provides a detailed overview of the subject of homeland security and includes definitions of homeland security, terrorism, the related law, and its development. The course discusses homeland security in other countries as well i.e. Europe, China, Japan.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 4490

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This course focuses on the ways that law, ethics and cybersecurity overlap and intersect. Besides laws related to cybersecurity, the course examines laws related to intellectual property, civil litigation, criminal prosecutions, and privacy. This examination will provide the means to identify and analyze the policies reflected in those laws. Those policies could guide the creation of policies on a business-level, using qualitative risk assessment and planning. An exploration of ethics and cybersecurity, as well as of workplace ethics, will involve the use of an ethical framework.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 3551

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This course provides an introduction to the law and legal system as it applies to public administration and policy. It covers the interrelation of norms, moral codes and formal laws. The attempt to address social concerns with new laws and regulations has created increased pressure in the courts and legislative chambers. This course examines the sources, influences, operation and consequences of law and public policy formation, and analyzes public policy initiatives from political and legal aspects as to their intentions, achievable aims, and intended and unintended outcomes.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 3555

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This course introduces students to the role of the judiciary in American politics and policymaking and explores the questions asked and the methods employed by political scientists studying courts and the legal system. An equally important objective of this course is to familiarize students with the seminal works in judicial research, with particular emphasis on Supreme Court cases. Students will study the judicial process in the United States from a variety of perspectives in order to examine the role of law and courts in the larger political arena and social environment.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 5126

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This course is an introduction to sports-related legal issues and concepts. Its focus is on providing an overview of the major legal issues associated with sports, sports management, and the sports industry. Students will conduct research, read, and write on issues associated with the sports legal industry. Topics include but are not limited to discrimination, legislation, regulation and rights, competition, contract, labor, tort and trademark law, and administrative, antitrust and constitutional law.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 06/30/24 Spring 2024 Session I 8 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 07/28/24 Spring 2024 Session D 8 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 09/29/24 Summer 2024 Session I 8 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 10/27/24 Summer 2024 Session D 8 Week session
04/29/24 - 10/04/24 10/07/24 - 12/01/24 Fall 2024 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 3964

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This course examines space law from its origins at the commencement of space exploration to current day activities, including civilian, commercial and military/governmental issues/rulings. The Outer Space Treaty, Registration Convention, Rescue and Return Agreement, Liability Convention, and the Moon Treaty will be covered in detail, as will several other past, standing and pending legal works.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 08/25/24 Summer 2024 Session B 8 Week session
Select any courses that have not been used to fulfill major requirements. Credits applied toward a minor or certificate in an unrelated field may be used to fulfill elective credit for the major.

Must take all courses for this section.

Course ID: 4534

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This capstone legal analytical project (CLAP) is the final and ultimate experience for the Master of Legal Studies Program. It is intended to permit students to demonstrate their capacity to deeply research a narrow topic concerning a legal challenge to a segment of American society, as well as thoroughly analyze and succinctly yet thoroughly write about it. The students’ chief goal is to validate that they have mastered the three fundamental legal skills of research, analysis and writing. Prerequisite: All other courses must be completed before registering for this course.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/27/23 - 05/03/24 05/06/24 - 08/25/24 Spring 2024 Session K 16 Week session
12/25/23 - 05/31/24 06/03/24 - 09/22/24 Spring 2024 Session C 16 Week session
01/29/24 - 06/28/24 07/01/24 - 10/20/24 Summer 2024 Session A 16 Week session
02/26/24 - 08/02/24 08/05/24 - 11/24/24 Summer 2024 Session K 16 Week session
03/25/24 - 08/30/24 09/02/24 - 12/22/24 Summer 2024 Session C 16 Week session

What is a Master of Legal Studies?

Unlike a law degree, a master of legal studies degree is for professionals who are interested in gaining an advanced working knowledge of the law but aren't looking to become a lawyer themselves. Our Master of Arts in Legal Studies program covers topics such as:

  • Ethics 
  • Legal research  
  • Legal writing  
  • Legal regulations
  • Legal procedure
  • Legal systems

You may be surprised to discover the diversity of roles held by those with a degree in legal studies. The field includes a wide range of professions such as paralegals and legal assistants, as well as those in human resources, health care compliance, higher education compliance, operations, or other disciplines interfacing with lawyers regularly. 

law student

Advantages of our Master of Legal Studies

A Master of Arts in Legal Studies helps further your understanding of the law and its impact on various areas of life and work. Having a master of legal studies deepens your understanding of the legal system, legal doctrines, business law, and more. 

This knowledge can be advantageous, particularly for those involved in heavily regulated industries dealing with:

Financial regulatory compliance 
Healthcare privacy compliance
Intellectual property law
Cybersecurity and online privacy
Human resources and employment law

As a pioneer in online education, American Public University offers a highly engaging program with the added convenience of flexible coursework. Our program is ideal for working professionals, with online classes starting monthly. To keep college affordable, we also offer no-cost applications, many transfer credit opportunities, and no-cost transfer credit evaluations. 

We're also proud to share that American Public University is part of American Public University System, which ranks in the top 11% for return on investment.1

1Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report, Ranking 4,500 Colleges by ROI (2022), based on a 20-year return on investment, or net present value.

Evolution of the Legal Studies Field

Demand for paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 4 percent between 2022 and 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The responsibilities of some of these roles have expanded and evolved in recent years, offering challenging opportunities for non-lawyers. Notably, the American Bar Association updated its definition of paralegals to distinguish them from legal assistants, noting that paralegals “....perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Several fields are seeing an increased demand for legal knowledge. For example, as online data increases, there is a growing need for legal professionals as electronic discovery personnel who deal with digital evidence. The market research group Research and Markets estimates the worldwide e-discovery market will grow by more than $9.3M by 2027. Likewise, as health law continues to evolve, there is an associated need for regulatory affairs professionals in biotech and life sciences businesses.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed October 2023] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Practice of law is defined by state bar associations. Students must check with their respective state bar associations to learn more about attorney and non-lawyer legal professional licensing requirements. Note: American Public University is not a law school.

What to Expect in our Legal Studies Program

Our online master of legal studies program is built around you and your schedule. To complete weekly assignments, you can log into your classes at any time, allowing you to build legal knowledge at your convenience. 

You can explore the legal system through in-depth discussions with experienced faculty and fellow students, many of whom are working legal professionals. Peer-to-peer discussions are designed to widen your perspective by sharing diverse views on how the discipline of law is handled in different regions and sectors. 

Through these discussions, you'll expand your knowledge and legal skills on a vast array of topics, from criminal law to constitutional law as well as research and writing. Today's pressing legal issues are addressed in additional courses. Courses have covered areas such as:

  • Environmental law, policy, and regulation
  • Immigration law
  • Employment and human resources law
  • Law, ethics, and cybersecurity
  • Sports law
  • Space law

About Our Faculty

Our faculty brings real-world experience about the legal system, having served as judges, assistant attorneys general, legal advisors, and related roles. As attorneys and scholar practitioners, they are passionate about leading thoughtful discussions with students.

These discussions offer the foundation needed to understand a range of legal concepts—and open doors to helping people in need. According to The Justice Gap, a report by Legal Services Corporation, low-income people in America are particularly impacted by a lack of access to legal support. Our online master of legal studies affords you the opportunity to understand the law and potentially discover ways to improve access to justice for people who have traditionally been disenfranchised. For service-minded students interested in fair access to justice, faculty members bring ethical service and leadership insights to the legal discipline.

Our Master of Arts in Legal Studies offers students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to explore various legal topics and subjects. The knowledge and experience gained from their coursework are designed to help students advance in their current professions or transition to new careers in various law-related fields. The Department's commitment to addressing access to justice highlights the significant unmet needs in many underserved communities, underscoring the importance of legal professionals and law-related experts.
James Barney
J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Legal Studies

Ways to Save When Earning Your Degree

We understand that many students are worried about the cost of higher education. At American Public University, we're breaking through barriers by keeping costs as affordable as possible. We are here to support you in accessing financial aid and tuition assistance in a number of ways.

  • Federal Student Aid: Access financial aid, grants, and loans accepted by American Public University.
  • Employer Benefits: Check with your employer's human resources department on the types of programs covered under their tuition assistance benefit. Some organizations have partnerships with American Public University, which can afford additional benefits. Ask your HR department whether they partner with our University.
  • Scholarships & Loans: Hundreds of organizations have provided scholarship opportunities for American Public University students.
  • Tuition Assistance for Military Personnel: Take advantage of low tuition rates to help limit costs beyond military tuition assistance. Contact us to request information about your eligibility for our Preferred Military Rate.
  • Veteran Benefits: Let us help you navigate educational benefits, such as GI Bill®, Top-Up, and Survivors & Dependent Benefits programs, offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

 

How to Save Time and Money Earning your Degree

Earn the credits you deserve for completed academic courses, work and volunteer experience, as well as demonstrated competency gained in a particular subject area. For master’s degree programs, we accept up to 15 credits towards transfer1. Contact an admissions representative to ask about a no-cost transfer credit review. This evaluation will help determine whether you have opportunities to earn credits that will transfer to American Public University.

1The University reserves the right to accept or deny credits according to policies outlined on our University website. Please see the University’s transfer credit policy webpage for complete information. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Earning this advanced degree helps demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to the field. Mastering the discipline can be valuable across a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, human resources, biotechnology/pharmaceutical/medical, financial, and other regulated businesses as well as government agencies. Gaining deep knowledge of legal principles and legal concepts helps prepare for interactions with attorneys and related professionals.  

While it is easy to confuse the two, they are not the same. Both are advanced degrees, but they serve different purposes. A law school degree is for individuals looking to practice law as an attorney. A master’s of legal studies degree is for anyone looking to increase their understanding of legal principles, but not looking to become a practicing attorney. 

American Public University is not a law school.

Depending on coursework completed, knowledge gained from a master of legal studies, also referred to as an MLS degree, can often be applied to many diverse needs such as:

  • Cybersecurity and information privacy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Human resources compliance
  • Healthcare compliance
  • Financial compliance

Courses Start Monthly

Next Courses Start May 6
Register by May 3

Admission Requirements

  • All APU master's degree/graduate certificate programs require a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA®).
  • Please read all graduate admission requirements before applying to this program and be prepared to submit the required documentation.
  • There is no fee to complete the APU admission application for this program. View steps to apply.

CHEA® is a registered trademark of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 

Materials Cost

Most courses in this program use Open Educational Resources (OER). These teaching, learning, and research materials are made available to you at no cost, meaning there are minimal book costs associated with earning this degree.

Technology fee: $85 per course

Need Help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions coach at 877-755-2787 or [email protected].

Quality Education Should Be Affordable

So you can focus on the opportunities ahead, without the financial burden of more expensive schools who are not as invested in your success. Learn more about paying for school.

Consumer Information

Disclosures

Maryland Residents learn more about costs, completion rates, median debt, and more.

 

1The University reserves the right to accept or deny credits according to policies outlined on our University website. Please see the University's transfer credit policy webpage for complete information.

*Cost Per Credit Hour

American Public University's Preferred Military Rate is $250 per credit hour for all undergraduate and master's-level courses. This rate is available to all U.S. active-duty servicemembers, National Guard members, Reservists, and military families, including parents, spouses, legal partners, siblings, and dependents.
See all military student benefits.

Cost of Attendance

Learn more about American Public University's cost components and full cost of attendance