At a Glance

  • Three starts per year, in the spring, summer, and fall. The upcoming start date is September 2, 2024.
  • Submit your free application for Fall 2024 by August 12, 2024.
  • Total program tuition: $54,600*
  • The program can be completed in under two years.

Visit our admissions page for more details about application materials and deadlines.

* Tuition subject to change.

What You Stand To Gain

  • Gain broad knowledge of the U.S. legal system in under two years
  • Prepare for career opportunities navigating legal issues in industries that face regulatory and compliance pressures
  • Learn from expert faculty at a top-20 law school with a network of over 9,400 professionals around the globe
  • Take flexible online courses and participate in live sessions with peer and faculty interaction
  • No GRE or minimum GPA required for admission

Online Master of Legal Studies

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To learn more about the online Master of Legal Studies and download a brochure, please fill out this form. You can also reach an admissions advisor directly by calling 844-723-9010 (toll-free).

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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 Lightcast™ report showed a significant increase in demand for legal skills over the previous five years and projected further growth of nearly 6 percent through 2024. A law degree is necessary to practice law, but it 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:

  • Analyze and interpret law-related problems
  • Navigate regulatory compliance
  • Build business acumen
  • Identify areas of risk
  • Collaborate effectively with counsel
  • Locate and evaluate legal texts


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.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Acquire practical knowledge in the theories, history, and application of American law.
  • Deepen your understanding of the structure of the U.S. legal system and the sources of legal rules.
  • Expand your ability to evaluate legal authority and analysis.

Visit Curriculum Page

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“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.”

Christopher Serkin
Christopher Serkin
Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law

Master of Legal Studies Careers

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:

  • Arbitrator
  • Compliance officer
  • Contracts manager
  • Corporate executive
  • Human resources manager
  • Paralegal
  • Policy analyst
  • Probation officer
  • Real estate professional
  • Social worker

Visit Careers Page

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Juris Doctorate Versus Master of Legal Studies

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.

Student Support Services

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.

Visit Student Support Services Page

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