The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is an online degree for professionals who can benefit from legal training but do not wish to practice as an attorney. Designed for non-lawyers, the MLS improves students' understanding of U.S. law and explores the relation between law and various disciplines. MLS students are typically inquisitive and ambitious people, who see value in participating in conversations about the law and are looking to learn as much as they can about legal procedure in the United States — not only to further their career, but also to gain valuable knowledge that can be used across a range of settings.

A comprehensive understanding of the legal system creates opportunities for growth in a variety of careers. Every profession works with legal procedure in some capacity — from risk management to government regulation — so it is important for professionals who work closely with the law to fully understand the U.S. legal system in order to become a leading legal expert in their chosen career field.

Candidates for an MLS include, but are not limited to:

  • Paralegals
  • Patent agents
  • Business executives
  • Health care professionals
  • Teachers and professors
  • Engineers
  • Government employees
  • Human resource professionals

Offered entirely online, @WashULaw's MLS allows students to earn their degree from anywhere in the world without putting their careers or personal commitments on hold. With the same rigorous curriculum as the Washington University School of Law's on-campus program , the online MLS focuses on the application of U.S. law across a broad spectrum of today's business topics. With a curriculum similar to a student's first year in law school, the MLS teaches students about the appropriate legal procedure with regard to contracts, legal writing, professional responsibility, intellectual property, business associations, negotiation, international business transactions, property and more. @WashULaw professors use the Socratic method to facilitate in-depth understanding of U.S. legal procedure. Students learn to think, debate and question like an attorney.

MLS students are taught by the Washington University's distinguished faculty; participate in an interactive, supportive learning environment; attend an optional in-person immersion experience in St. Louis; and are invited to attend the commencement ceremony in St. Louis upon completion of the program. Graduates of the online Master of Legal Studies program earn a degree from Washington University School of Law, ranked among the top 20 law schools by U.S. News and World Report. @WashULaw students also become members of the Washington University School of Law alumni network upon graduation — offering the opportunity to form professional relationships with some of the nation's best legal professionals.

Earning an MLS from @WashULaw offers professionals from a wide array of careers the opportunity to continue their professional work while expanding their legal knowledge with a master's degree from a prestigious law school. Students use the training and knowledge gained during their @WashULaw experience to take the next step in advancing their careers — without having to relocate or put their current jobs on hold.


MLS Online

Designed by Washington University School of Law faculty, the Master of Legal Studies (MLS) curriculum prepares students with fundamental knowledge of the U.S. legal system. Classes are taught using the interactive and discussion-based Socratic method, the most common and preferred method of instruction in U.S. law schools.

The program is 24 units and can be completed in as little as one year.

Required Courses

  1. Introduction to US Law
  2. Legal Writing

Elective Courses

  • Contracts
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Negotiation
  • Civil Procedure
  • Business Associations
  • Intellectual Property
  • Property
  • Constitutional Law
  • Employment Law
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • International Business Transactions
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Spring or Fall Immersion Course Electives
  • On-Campus Weekend Intensive Course Electives

Learn more about @WashULaw's immersive online learning format.

For a list of current online course offerings, please visit our Course Listings.