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Professionals with legal knowledge can guide organizations as they navigate regulations and address risks, making invaluable contributions in fields such as compliance, human resources, real estate, technology, and finance. A 2022 report from Lightcast™ showed that demand for legal skills increased significantly over the previous five years and projected further growth of nearly 6 percent through 2024. A law degree is necessary to practice law but is more than most professionals need if their goal is to interact with lawyers and the legal system with sophistication and confidence.
The online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program from Vanderbilt Law School provides non-lawyers with a deeper understanding of American law and legal systems. Created from the ground up by Vanderbilt’s top ranked law school faculty, the MLS curriculum emphasizes both foundational legal principles and insights into areas of law that are most relevant to working professionals.
Vanderbilt’s MLS provides you with the knowledge and skills to recognize and navigate legal issues. MLS students develop the vocabulary to improve communication with lawyers and the analytical tools to evaluate legal complexity. For example, students learn about contracts, employment law, regulations, property rights, torts and the structure of the legal system, among other core topics.
Join Vanderbilt Law School’s online MLS and study how to:
The online MLS program can be completed in less than two years, part-time. Classes are taken one at a time, and most class content is available for asynchronous learning. You will connect with classmates through biweekly class sessions and discussion boards. During the program, you will also have the option to complete a short course at our campus in Nashville, giving you the chance to network with faculty and peers.
“As we’ve developed this online degree program, we have invested heavily in understanding the gold standard of online education and recognize that online classes should not be simply videotaped versions of in-person classes. In fact, they should be intentionally designed from the ground up to be interactive and responsive, integrating readings, videos, quizzes, and discussion posts. All the classes in the curriculum follow this pedagogical approach.”
Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law
Vanderbilt Law School’s online MLS develops specialized knowledge so professionals better understand and evaluate law-related problems, and know when to seek the advice of counsel. With this background, MLS graduates may advance their careers by navigating regulatory compliance and facilitating interactions between businesses and the legal system.
An MLS degree is applicable to a variety of careers that engage with the law, including:
A Juris Doctorate (JD) and a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) are both valuable degrees, but used for entirely different professional outcomes. A JD prepares you to pass a bar exam and practice law. An MLS degree instead gives professionals who do not plan to practice law a robust introduction to the legal system. This curriculum connects non-lawyers with the expertise of top legal scholars, delving into legal questions about the rights and obligations of individuals as well as businesses.
As an online learner at Vanderbilt, you have access to a curated set of student services provided by our on-campus partners to support your academic success and well-being, including career services, library services, the Writing Studio, Student Care Network, and more.
Learn more about how you are anchored in success at Vanderbilt Law School.