Many people don’t realize that practicing as an attorney is not the only reason to study law. In fact, there are a significant number of jobs that require legal expertise outside of being an attorney—including business, education, health care, and human resources.
Driven by the needs of these fields, a degree program has emerged for those that wish to pursue a career in a field that intersects with the law without getting a Juris Doctor (J.D.). This degree program is called a Master’s in Legal Studies or MLS degree, and it can generally be completed in 12-18 months.
In the past, MLS programs were comprised of a curriculum and approach that closely mirrored the first year of a J.D. program. Recently, however, there is an increasing number of MLS online degree programs that generally afford students the opportunity to more closely tailor their legal studies around their specific field of interest.
For example, the MLS degree online offered by The Colleges of Law at Santa Barbara & Ventura is entirely online. The core MLS online classes equip students with a strong foundation in substantive legal areas, as well as practical skills that support effective communication in legal contexts. In elective and capstone courses, however, students can pursue subjects related to their own professional interests.
While careers can vary significantly, here are three exciting fields that you could enter with an MLS online degree.
Federal regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are responsible for enforcing the laws and policies passed by the government across a variety of different industries. A Master’s in Legal Studies enables individuals with an interest in a particular industry to help enforce or navigate the relevant laws and regulations in that area.
The term “protective services” defines any type of job or career that involves an individual advocating for the rights and privileges of a disadvantaged or vulnerable population—such as veterans or people with disabilities. Individuals who have received an MLS online degree have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of disenfranchised or underrepresented groups—ensuring that they receive fair treatment under the law.
The criminal justice system goes far beyond police officers, judges, and attorneys: It is a broad and extensive system of interlocking agencies that are responsible for the effective enforcement of the law. Including administrators, analysts, clerks, and directors—anyone working in the criminal justice system would benefit from the level of legal expertise that can be acquired through an MLS degree online program.