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Master of Legal Studies, MLS

What is a Master of Legal Studies degree?

Earning a Master of Legal Studies from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University offers students the chance to enhance their careers – or start a new one – with flexibility. Learn the law without becoming a lawyer from the comfort of home or in person at the Beus Center for Law and Society in Phoenix, AZ. Choose from over a dozen unique emphases to find the right fit. MLS graduates start their own companies, move up in their current careers or discover a new passion for the legal field. 

ASU Law wants you to find the path that’s right for you, whether you’re looking for a full-time or part-time program, or if you want to take classes in-person or online. Not requiring an entrance exam allows for a lower barrier to entry so you can get the education you want the way you want it. That flexibility even allows for you to do concurrent degrees with other programs at the university.  

Many of the Master of Legal Studies emphases are accredited by or in alignment with affiliated professional organizations, including the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Compliance Certification Board (CCB). 

This accreditation provides graduates of the Master of Legal Studies program the ability to enhance their credibility with organizations, peers and strengthen the credibility of their compliance programs they develop, implement and maintain.

Four logos in order from left to right: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SSCE), Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), and Compliance Certificate Board (CCB)

Quick facts

Next start date: August 22, 2024 (Fall 2024)

Total classes: 10

Weeks per class: 7.5

Total credit hours: 30

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How can a Master of Legal Studies degree help you?

If you want to understand legal principles and apply them to your field of interest without actually becoming a lawyer, the Master of Legal Studies is for you. The MLS program is a flexible 30 credit program, for those interested in learning about the law or whose work intersects with the law. 

An MLS degree from ASU Law can open a student up to new professional opportunities or simply enhance the career they already have. The coursework in the degree program gives students a strong legal foundation while choosing an emphasis allows them to choose the right path for their interests. MLS graduates often go on to get promotions, start their own businesses or simply walk away with added knowledge to assist them in the workplace or in life.

We offer both full and part-time programs with in-person and online options. Our FastApp process fast-tracks your application and only take 10 minutes.  A traditional LSAT exam is not required, and both of our programs feature world-renowned faculty and innovative courses to hone your skills. 

Applicable to nearly all career paths, ranging from Corporate and Healthcare Compliance, Criminal Law, Business Law and everything in between, you will gain a competitive edge in your career to add value to your place of employment.

The College of Law also offers concurrent degrees with W.P. Carey School of Business (six programs), Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the School of Sustainability. 

Why ASU Law?

ASU Law is a highly-ranked and highly respected public law school dedicated to educating the next generation of legal professionals. In honor of its namesake, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, ASU Law graduates are prepared to shape the legal field, both in and out of the courtroom.

The highest-ranked law school in Arizona and the No. 15 public law school in the U.S., ASU Law is proven to train skilled lawyers and leaders. The school abides by the ASU charter and is measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes. That philosophy is integrated into everything ASU Law does. 

Career Services

Master of Legal Studies graduates go on to start their own companies, move up in their existing careers or find a passion for the law. In every case, knowledge of the legal field enhances their professional life and shapes their way of thinking. 

Career Services at ASU Law can help students identify goals, find employment opportunities and help students pursue their passions. The Career Services team offers hands-on interview preparation, resume reviews and the guidance job seekers need as they enter the workforce. That resource is available to students the moment they start their ASU Law journey and lasts long after graduation. 

Learn more

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Can I get my Master of Legal Studies degree online?

Earn a master’s degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law on your own time from anywhere in the world. Gain access to the same highly-credentialed faculty and coursework you would gain in person, but tailored to you and your needs. Online students have support from student services and a world-class digital education program to lean on to ensure success in and out of the classroom.

Learn more

Master of Legal Studies degree emphases

Why should you select an emphasis?

As a student of ASU Law, you have the opportunity to customize your degree to your area of interest. Take advantage of popular emphases listed below to fit your interests and career goals. Learn master legal principles in a variety of fields and be well-prepared to thrive within an evolving legal landscape across a variety of industries. If you are interested in online emphases, visit our online degrees page for more information. 

International students

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is one of the country’s preeminent law schools, with a wide range of focus areas and unique experiences. We offer a 30 credit, one-year Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program for people who want to expand their knowledge of the U.S. legal system and business environment. No prior legal training is needed. ASU Law’s world-class faculty provide students with unparalleled opportunities to gain insights and practical skills needed to address legal challenges on a global scale. Spend a year with us to improve your English, network with future lawyers, and develop the knowledge and skills you need to help you succeed, no matter where your future leads you.


Amber Montz

Amber Montz, Master of Legal Studies

"Allow yourself to reach your goals at the pace best suited to your many commitments. We often balance competing priorities between our studies, work and families. It is important to maintain perspective and find time for self care to ensure your well-being. It is not a race to the finish of a degree; it is the process of learning and integration into your other identities that will ultimately yield the greatest results.

"Professor Sandra Erickson was my first professor in the MLS program and one of my last with a new advanced course she developed. These courses provided opportunities for growth and substantive feedback that improved my critical thinking and reasoning skills from beginning to end. I see her guidance and mentorship at the bookends of my wonderful experience at ASU Law."

Read Amber's story

 Professor Sandra Ortland Erickson dressed in black regalia sitting at the ASU Law Fall Convocation Ceremony.

Faculty overview

The MLS program was faculty-approved as a ground-only program in 2006. Professor Sandra Ortland Erickson joined ASU Law as Director of the Master of Legal Studies program in 2009 when there were under 20 students. Professor Erickson built much of the infrastructure of the fledgling program, including designing and teaching SDO 501 US. Law and Legal Analysis. Now, as a faculty member, she teaches Legal Writing and Research and Contract Structure and Review for Professionals. Prior to joining the College of Law, Professor Erickson practiced law for ten years mainly at the top-ranked international law firm of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, litigating class action, environmental, and regulatory compliance cases. Professor Erickson is licensed to practice in Arizona and Washington, D.C. She brings her real-world experience and enthusiasm for teaching law to all her classes in 2020, she received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the graduating class.

Learn more about our world-class faculty.