Master of Legal Studies


The MLS is a degree program designed to build greater public understanding of the law and the United States legal system. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge and skills gained to perform their jobs more effectively and to provide private and public organizations the benefit of enhanced experience. It is a graduate program of study designed for professionals practicing in areas such as human relations, criminal justice, juvenile justice, journalism, social work, court administration, national security, probation and law enforcement, or regulatory agencies. It is neither a law degree nor a paralegal program.

The program offers three areas of emphasis: healthcare, justice systems, and homeland security.

The healthcare area of emphasis is designed for those working in the healthcare industry. The courses in healthcare law, long-term care regulation and elder law provide the knowledge to ensure that state and federal regulatory requirements are being met.

The justice system area of emphasis is designed for members of the law enforcement community and any employment where the position is dictated by criminal law and more. Courses such as criminal law, judicial legal process, and punishment and corrections give the student the knowledge needed for career advancement.

The homeland security area of emphasis is designed for professionals working in the areas of emergency response coordination, law enforcement, transportation security, and immigration. Courses such as homeland security, immigration law, and military justice provide the knowledge needed for career advancement.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. A cumulative minimum GPA of 2.75, with a preferred GPA of 3.0. The MLS program will accept the results of GRE, GMAT or LSAT standardized graduate-level tests. Test scores may be waived based on GPA, previous work experience or completed graduate credit. See Admissions tab for more information.


West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.



Courses Required


Total Credit Hours

Course Formats

  • Online Courses

Estimated Tuition and Fees

The Master of Legal Studies requires 30 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit hour is $631.

Residents and Non-Residents
Estimated Tuition Based on Credit Hours
Credit Hours Cost
1 $631
3 $1,893
6 $3,786
9 $5,679

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827.

Next Start Date: January 13, 2020    Apply Now


What can you do with a Master of Legal Studies?

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Legal Studies M.L.S. degree may be prepared for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.

Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Projected Growth: 15% or higher *Bright Outlook

Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook

Correctional Officer

Projected Growth: 2-4% Median Salary: $42,820

Probation Officer

Projected Growth: 2-4% Median Salary: $50,160

Police & Sheriff’s Patrol Officers

Projected Growth: 5-8% Median Salary: $59,680

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Projected Growth: 2-4% Median Salary: $66,540

Criminal Investigators & Special Agents

Projected Growth: -1-1% Median Salary: $78,120

Education Administrator, Postsecondary

Projected Growth: 9-13% Median Salary: $90,760

Medical & Health Service Managers

Projected Growth: 14% Median Salary: $96, 540

Compliance Manager

Projected Growth: 5-9%

Private Investigator

Projected Growth: 10-14% *Bright Outlook

Social Worker

Projected Growth: 5-9%

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