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Online Master of Legal Studies

Legal Knowledge for Professionals in Any Field

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To download a brochure with more information about the curriculum, admissions requirements, and tuition for the online Master of Legal Studies, please fill out the form. You can also get in touch with an admissions advisor directly by calling 844-723-9010 (toll-free).


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Program Benefits

Expand your knowledge of the legal system

Develop a nuanced understanding of U.S. laws and the ways they affect businesses, studying topics such as regulatory compliance, contracts, criminal justice, property rights, taxation, intellectual property, and employment law.

Advance your career in industries that face regulatory pressures

Explore how lawyers solve problems and make decisions so you’re prepared to navigate complex issues in fields like compliance, human resources, technology, real estate and finance.

Learn from world-class faculty

As a student at a top-20 law school, you’ll take classes from many of the same legal scholars, practitioners, and educators who teach on campus. All core MLS courses are designed and taught by Vanderbilt tenured or tenure-track faculty.

Online flexibility

This degree can be completed entirely online, with the majority of class sessions available for asynchronous viewing. Finish in under two years on a part-time schedule while working.

Live interactions and networking opportunities

In biweekly live sessions, you’ll connect with classmates and faculty. Students also have the option to come to campus for a short, in-person course conducted over the weekend and includes the chance to meet with a faculty member and fellow students.

Open to professionals from all backgrounds

This program welcomes students who have a wide variety of professional and educational experience with no requirements for test scores or a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Program Overview

Professionals in a wide range of industries must engage with legal questions as they navigate regulatory requirements while managing legal risk. Whether you work in compliance, human resources, technology, real estate, finance, or a variety of other fields, you’ll discover value in acquiring a thorough understanding of the legal system.

The online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program from Vanderbilt Law School is for individuals who are not seeking to become lawyers, but rather who want specialized knowledge to solve law-related problems, identify areas of risk, and collaborate effectively with counsel. As organizations seek global business opportunities, gather an unprecedented volume of data, and outsource critical functions, it’s vital for professionals to understand the legal implications of these decisions.

Online Master of Legal Studies students develop specialized skills by taking courses from the same world-class faculty of scholars and educators who teach on Vanderbilt’s campus. Benefit from the expertise of a law school consistently ranked among the top 20 in the nation as you:

  • 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.

Designed for working professionals, the online MLS degree can be completed in less than two years on a part-time schedule. With the majority of course content available for asynchronous viewing, you can fit graduate education into your busy schedule without missing opportunities to connect with your classmates through live biweekly sessions. Additionally, you will have the option to come to campus for a short course, which takes place primarily over the weekend and includes the chance to meet in person with a faculty member and fellow students.

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“As an MLS student, you will develop and hone a set of powerful skills, including critical thinking, oral and written communication, process design, and problem solving. You will also learn valuable information about the sources of law, the different types and fields of law, and the operation of legal institutions. Through the acquisition of these skills and knowledge, you will be poised to excel in any profession.”

Chris Guthrie
Chris Guthrie
Dean, Vanderbilt Law School
John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law

A Lightcast analysis of job listings showed a 73% increase in the demand for legal skills between 2017 and 2022 and projected continued growth through 2024.

Online Master of Legal Studies Program

Careers With a Master of Legal Studies

Organizations are changing how they address legal challenges, responding to advances in technology and the complexities of international business ventures. Consulting firm Gartner predicted that legal departments will spend approximately 12% of their in-house budgets on technology by 2025—triple the 2021 level—and that by 2024, these departments will replace a fifth of the generalist lawyers on their staff with non-lawyers who have technical and operational skills. In this landscape, professionals can advance their careers by overseeing regulatory compliance and facilitating interactions between businesses and the legal system.

An MLS degree is valuable for a variety of positions that engage with the law, such as:

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

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“We are committed to giving students information that is going to be useful for their future careers, but also helpful to themselves. We want the information that we deliver through an MLS program to make students better at their jobs and more valuable to their current and future employers.”

Jennifer Shinall
Jennifer Shinall
Professor of Law

About Vanderbilt Law School

Vanderbilt Law School has prepared students for exceptional careers throughout the United States and around the world for 145 years.

Located on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, Tennessee, the law school combines the advantages of a stimulating university community, a top-tier research faculty, award-winning teachers, and a vibrant student body.

Known for its rigorous academics in a collegial, supportive atmosphere, Vanderbilt Law School attracts students and faculty seeking a first-rate education within a nurturing community.

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a globally renowned research university in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university is dedicated to providing a collaborative atmosphere of discovery that drives positive change in the world.

Along with the Vanderbilt Law School, the university is home to nationally and internationally recognized graduate schools of management, education, medicine, nursing, and divinity, offering robust graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines.

Vanderbilt is committed to inclusive excellence, drawing the world’s brightest students, faculty, and distinguished visitors from across all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The university’s prominent alumni base includes Nobel Prize laureates, members of Congress, governors, ambassadors, judges, admirals, CEOs, university presidents, physicians, attorneys, and professional sports figures.

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Rankings for Vanderbilt University

  • Top 20 Best Law School U.S. News & World Report (2024)
  • Top 20 National Universities U.S. News & World Report (2024)
  • Top 10 Best Value Schools U.S. News & World Report (2024)
  • #5 Best Law School Professors Princeton Review (2023)