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  • Online Master of Legal Studies

    Photo and testimonial from Tariq Rashad

    Given today’s complex regulatory environment, the demand is mounting for professionals in just about every industry who understand the intricacies of legal compliance. That’s why Drexel University Kline School of Law's online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is designed to maximize your career potential and add value to your organization.

    The online Master of Legal Studies program provides you with a solid working knowledge of the law – without having to earn a law degree. You’ll graduate with essential knowledge in compliance, legal research and analysis, risk management, ethics, and professional standards. You can select a general Master of Legal Studies or choose from eight specialized concentrations in areas where regulatory compliance is increasingly critical to success.

    What is Legal Studies?

    A program in legal studies is not the same as pursuing a JD. Rather, a degree in legal studies is concerned specifically with how laws and regulations work and how to properly conduct business within them, focusing on courses like risk assessment, compliance, and ethics. Legal studies programs are interdisciplinary, and at Drexel you can tailor much of your curriculum to reflect your specific needs and interests.

    Master of Legal Studies Concentration Areas

    You may complete a general Master of Legal Studies or choose a concentration in one or two of the following areas:

    • Criminal Law - Prepares you to work within the intricate regulatory environment of today’s criminal justice system, by furnishing you with a solid grounding in criminal law and the rules of criminal procedure. Graduate Certificate also available.
    • Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Compliance - Learn how to effectively protect against data exposure and liability, manage data breaches, and comply with the data and privacy regulations businesses deal with on a daily basis. For both technical and non-technical professionals. Graduate Certificate is also available. 
    • Financial Regulatory Compliance - Affords an exceptionally detailed study of the financial industry’s complex regulatory structure and compliance requirements, preparing you for in-demand, money-managing positions in both large and small financial institutions. Graduate Certificate is also available.
    • Health Care Compliance - Offers a solid working knowledge of the rules and regulations that govern the healthcare industry – such as HIPPA and the ACA – while giving you the necessary tools to ensure that your organization complies with state and federal regulatory requirements. Graduate Certificate also available.
    • Higher Education Compliance - Prepares you to understand the laws that regulate institutions and protect students, through an exhaustive study of the legal landscape in higher education with respect to such important issues as FERPA, financial aid, campus safety, risk management and accreditation. Graduate Certificate also available.
    • Human Resources Compliance - Provides the expert knowledge and skills you need to deal effectively with critical legal compliance issues that HR professionals encounter every day – from employee hiring and termination to employer/employee relationship management as well as negotiation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Graduate Certificate also available.
    • NCAA Compliance and Sports Law - Combines a foundational understanding of law and risk management with additional coursework designed to build your compliance proficiency in NCAA regulations that govern the rules of the game – from recruitment and ethical conduct, to eligibility, special benefits and financial aid. Graduate Certificate also available.
    • Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Regulatory Compliance - Enhances your knowledge of the legal, regulatory, and ethical frameworks surrounding pharmaceutical and medical device research, development, sales, marketing, and related information privacy and compliance issues. Graduate Certificate also available.

    Master of Legal Studies Program Features

    • Designed specifically for non-lawyers who need a solid understanding of the laws and legal systems that regulate their industry, this program offers specialized skills and expertise that will set you apart from the crowd in your chosen career field.
    • You'll study with faculty from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law – a nationally recognized cadre of enthusiastic scholars and experienced practitioners, who not only publish their work in prestigious law journals, but are also often asked to weigh in publicly on important legal issues that affect us all.
    • The program also partners with faculty from other Drexel schools (the School of Education and the College of Nursing and Health Professions) to provide interdisciplinary industry perspectives and know-how.
    • You’ll learn in a highly interactive environment with peers and professors who are deeply engaged and responsive to your questions and concerns.
    • The online format enables you to learn on your own schedule, with the option of taking classes either part-time or full-time.
    • Utilize the Kline Graduate Programs Virtual Career Office which is dedicated to helping you reach your career goals via access to job postings, a virtual career classroom, and one-on-one coaching with faculty and alumni

    Upcoming Webinar

    Archived Webinars

    The Drexel Difference

    Learn more about what makes our MLS program unique and what students appreciate most about their experience in the program.

    An Accredited Online Legal Studies Program

    Both the Thomas R. Kline School of Law Master of Legal Studies – Health Care Compliance Concentration and Graduate Certificate in Health Care Compliance programs are accredited by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB)®. Many employers are now requiring CCB certification for compliance related positions.

    The CCB offers certification in the following areas:

    • Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)®
    • Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC)®
    • Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC)®
    • Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)®
    • Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional International (CCEP-I)®

    Compliance Certification Board (CCB Exam Eligibility) badge

    CCB Exam Eligibility
    Completion of the Kline School of Law's Master of Legal Studies or Graduate Certificate in Health Care Compliance programs with a GPA of 3.0 or higher fulfills the professional work experience and continuing education units (CEU) requirements within applicable eligibility time frames per candidate handbook, allowing you to be eligible to sit for a CCB exam. Learn more about the CCB.

    Other Accreditations

    • The Thomas R. Kline School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association
    • Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

    Kline School of Law Rankings

    Drexel’s Kline School of Law was ranked a Tier 1 law school by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). This ranking places the school in the top three percent of ABA-accredited law schools when it comes to privacy law curriculum.

    The School of Law was also rated 23rd in the Nation for Health Care Law by US News and World Report (2019).

    Is a Master Of Legal Studies Worth It?

    Earning a Master of Legal Studies has many benefits. In the video below, Dan Filler, Dean of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, shares six reasons why you should enroll in a Master of Legal Studies program.

    What can you do with a Master in Legal Studies?

    A degree in legal studies isn’t confined to those working in a law firm, nor to those who work specifically in compliance. A Master of Legal Studies can support professionals in a wide array of fields, ensuring that you’re up-to-date with the laws and regulations that are most relevant to your industry. A few common fields that require the expertise learned from this degree are health care, finance, IT, higher education, and law enforcement. Regardless of the field, the degree is appropriate for anyone responsible for making sure their business or organization can navigate the relevant legal systems.

    How much can you earn with a Master of Legal Studies?

    Salaries for graduates of a legal studies program can vary greatly depending on their field and position. There really is no "typical" salary or career title for this type of program, because the degree can be applied so widely. However, these are just a few of the careers that can be supported by a Master of Legal Studies.

    Professional Role

    Median Salary*

    Compliance Manager


    Compliance Officer


    Financial Analyst


    Financial Manager


    Human Resources Manager


    Information Security Analyst


    Medical and Health Services Manager


    Network and Computer Systems Administrator


    Nurse Practitioner


    Postsecondary Education Administrator


    Paralegal/Legal Assistant


    Police Officer


    Probation Officer


    Registered Nurse


    *2016 figures via Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net

    Master of Legal Studies vs. Political Science Degree

    A Master of Legal Studies is a much more specialized degree than a program in political science. Political science programs deal with policy, government, and history, and though the curriculum certainly includes law-related courses, this isn’t the main focus. A Master of Legal Studies program, on the other hand, is an in-depth, specialized study of the legal system as it applies to a number of different industries. A Master of Legal Studies concerns laws and regulations and how to remain compliant to them, without covering the additional topics one would find in a political science program.

    Non-Matriculated Option

    Interested in applying as a non-matriculated student? Select "Non-Matriculated – School of Law (Online)" as your program of interest on the online application. Official transcripts and a resume are required. Non-matriculated students are not eligible for financial aid.

    Online Legal Studies Faculty Insights

    • Learn more about our distinguished faculty as they share thoughts on both the Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Compliance concentration and the industry as a whole.
    • Paul Flanagan, Kline School of Law’s Assistant Professor of Law, shares his story of being one of the first chief compliance officers in the country on Drexel’s 10,000 Hours Podcast.

    Drexel's 10,000 Hours Podcast: The Roger Federer of Compliance

    How do you go from being a nationally ranked tennis player to being a pioneer in the compliance field? Just ask Paul Flanagan, who started out hitting hundreds of backhands a day and ended up being one of the first chief compliance officers in the country. (But his proudest moment is still the time he beat his older sister in tennis.)

    Student Testimonials

    Photo and testimonial from Nadine Dunbar

    Photo and testimonial from Brenna Haddad

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    Required Core Curriculum Courses  
    LSTU 500S Introduction to the Legal System


    LSTU 501S Compliance Skills: Auditing, Investigation & Reporting


    LSTU 502S Ethics and Professional Standards


    LSTU 503S Legal Research and Analysis


    LSTU 507S Risk Assessment and Management


    LSTU 540S MLS Masters Capstone

    3.0 - 4.0

    Electives or Concentration  
    Complete LSTU/LAW electives or any combination of electives & concentrations 

    11.0 - 12.0

    Total Credits



    Criminal Law Concentration  
    LAW 558S Criminal Law


    LAW 670S Criminal Procedure: Investigations


    LSTU 530S Corrections Law


    LAW/LSTU Elective


    Total Credits



    Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Concentration  
    LSTU 515S Information Privacy Law


    LSTU 517S The Law and Strategies Surrounding Cybersecurity


    LAW 770S European Union Data Privacy and Protection




    Total Credits



    Financial Regulatory Compliance Concentration  
    LAW 700S Business Organizations


    Choose three:


    LAW 734S Legal Regulation of Investment Advisers  
    LAW 735S Legal Regulation of Investment Companies  
    LAW 736S Broker/Dealer Regulation  
    LAW 737S Banking Law  
    Total Credit


    Health Care Compliance Concentration  
    LSTU 504S Health Care Rules and Regulations


    LSTU 505S Health Care Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management


    LSTU 506S Patients and Privacy: HIPAA and Related Regulations


    LAW/LSTU Elective


    Total Credits



    Higher Education Compliance Concentration  
    LSED 532S Legal Landscape of Student Rights and Campus Safety


    LSED 533S Institutional Compliance: Aid and Accreditation


    LSED 534S Higher Education Institutions: Financial Rules and Regulations


    LAW/LSTU Elective


    Total Credits



    Human Resources Compliance Concentration  
    LSTU 520S Legal Issues in Employee Hiring and Termination


    LSTU 521S Human Resources Compliance: Managing the Employer/Employee Relationship


    LSTU 522S Human Resources in Practice: Negotiation, Mediation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution


    LAW/LSTU Elective


    Total Credits



    NCAA Compliance and Sports Law Concentration  
    LSTU 510S NCAA Governance Process


    LSTU 511S NCAA Rules I and Infractions Cases


    LSTU 512S NCAA Rules II and Enforcement Process


    LAW/LSTU Elective


    Total Credits



    Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Regulatory Compliance Concentration  
    Select four:  
    LAW 770S European Union Data Privacy and Protection


    LAW 785S Legal Regulation of Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Research and Development


    LAW 787S Legal Regulation of Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Sales and Marketing Practices


    LAW 792S Food and Drug Law


    LSTU 506S Patients and Privacy: HIPAA and Related Regulations  
    LSTU 515S Information Privacy Law  
    LSTU 517S The Law and Strategies Surrounding Cybersecurity  
    LSTU 539S Compliance Communications  
    Total Credits


    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • GPA of at least 3.0
      • If you don't meet this requirement you're still encouraged to apply and your file will be reviewed on an individual basis

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • One letter of recommendation (professional or academic)
      • Letter should speak to your performance and accomplishments, and attest to your ability to succeed within the program
      • The department may request a second letter of recommendation
    • Essay of approximately 500 words
      • Can be a personal statement outlining personal and/or professional goals you hope to achieve through the program
    • Resume
      • Quality and quantity of professional experience will be evaluated
    • Standardized test score reports (GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT) can be submitted, but are not required
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2021-2022 is $1275 per credit.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • These rates apply only to fully online courses. Hybrid or on-campus courses may have different rates.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.


    Academic Calendar

    2021-2022 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Fall 2021

    August 23, 2021

    December 17, 2021

    Spring 2022

    January 10, 2022

    May 6, 2022

    Summer 2022

    May 23, 2022

    August 7, 2022

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