Online Master of Legal Studies from Pepperdine Law

Start Classes in May

Enhance Your Legal Skills to Advance in Your Field

Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program enables nonlawyers to develop superior legal expertise and credentials to advance within their chosen field. Students analyze and interpret legal concepts to make more informed decisions at work and enhance their professional credibility with their partners, clients, constituents, and employers. Students also have the option of choosing a concentration in human resources or dispute resolution, which offers courses through Pepperdine Law’s Straus Institute—top-ranked for dispute resolution by U.S. News & World Report.

Pepperdine Law is ABA accredited, and our accomplished, accessible faculty is committed to providing a professional learning experience both online and on campus.

Why Earn a Master of Legal Studies

The legal system affects nearly every industry in some way. Whether professionals want to improve their current job performance or move into a different field, they can enhance their knowledge of US law and important legal concepts with a degree in legal studies.

Through Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program, students gain a solid understanding of many fundamental areas of the law without having to become a practicing attorney. Unlike traditional JD programs, no LSAT scores are required to apply to Pepperdine’s online program, and the program can be completed in as few as 16 months.

To effectively analyze legal situations or perform law-related responsibilities, professionals need to know the right questions to ask and how to approach legal challenges. Employers value individuals who can apply complex legal reasoning to their tasks. Our Master of Legal Studies program provides students with the tools to think critically about the wide range of legal subjects covered in our curriculum.

Take the First Step

Enhancing your legal skills and your understanding of complex legal concepts can help advance your career. Request information today to learn more about Pepperdine’s online Master of Legal Studies program.

Take the First Step

Enhancing your legal skills and your understanding of complex legal concepts can help advance your career. Request information today to learn more about Pepperdine’s online Master of Legal Studies program.

Master of Legal Studies Curriculum

The Master of Legal Studies curriculum focuses on areas of law that touch nearly every industry, including legal research, litigation, regulatory compliance, negotiation, and torts. The program consists of 32 units and can be completed on a full-time basis in as few as 16 months or a part-time basis in 28 months.


Core Courses

Consisting of 18 units, the foundation and core courses provide students with a fundamental understanding of legal concepts and procedures. Courses include Contracts, Legal Writing, Civil Procedure and Litigation, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Law.

Elective Courses

Students in the program have the ability to customize their curriculum and explore specific areas of law by taking up to 12 general elective courses. These elective courses include Intellectual Property, Business Organizations, Health Law, and Education Law.


Students will have the chance to apply legal concepts in real-world situations during two in-person weekend residencies on Pepperdine’s campus in Malibu. During these residencies, students will network with their peers and faculty while completing a one-credit course and engaging in a variety of case studies and mock trials.

Dual Degree

After earning their MLS degree, students will have the opportunity to earn a Master of Dispute Resolution in less time and fewer units than our typical offering. The MDR degree will only require an additional 18–22 units, and will prepare students to artfully negotiate complex transactions and judiciously resolve conflicts between parties.

Learn more about earning a dual degree.

Optional Concentrations

As part of the MLS program, students have the opportunity to focus their degree by choosing a concentration in dispute resolution or human resources to achieve their particular needs.

Dispute Resolution

As the need for conflict resolution and negotiation skills increases, a formal background in dispute resolution is an optimal choice for many legal professionals. Students who choose this concentration hone their legal skills in arbitration and conflict medation. Courses are taught through Pepperdine Law’s Straus Institute, top-ranked for dispute resolution by U.S. News & World Report.

Human Resources

Students in this concentration gain a solid understanding of the legal system and employment law. Through specialized course work, students will strengthen their ability to accomplish daily responsibilities such as hiring and termination, non-competition and confidentiality agreements, and salary negotiation.

Learning Outcomes

The online Master of Legal Studies program prepares students to apply their legal knowledge to critical reasoning, written and oral communication, and professional skills. Upon completion of the legal studies program, graduates will:

  • Identify and interpret foundational legal concepts in the areas of substantive law, legal theory, and procedure.
  • Use legal analysis to examine and interpret cases, statutes, and regulations.
  • Define the scope of a legal research question, determine key concepts, and retrieve relevant information using simple search techniques.
  • Describe the fundamental structure and process for how the US legal system works, with emphasis specific to their area of interest.
  • Recognize basic and obvious ethical issues and grasp the complexities or interrelationships among them.

Pepperdine Law Admissions

Classes start in January, May, and September. Pepperdine Law’s admissions committee reviews applications on a rolling basis. Students who apply to the online Master of Legal Studies program by the cohort priority deadline will receive an earlier decision and an application fee waiver. Please contact an admissions counselor before submitting in order to receive the waiver.


Program Start Dates and Application Deadlines
Classes Begin Early Decision Deadline Priority Deadline Final Deadline
May 2020 Friday, January 31, 2020 Friday, February 14, 2020 Friday, March 13, 2020
September 2020 TBD Friday, June 19, 2020 Friday, July 17, 2020

Application Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required for admission. Pepperdine Law does not require GMAT, GRE, or LSAT scores.

Candidates must submit the following materials to be considered for admission:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Video interview

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students in the Master of Legal Studies program have a variety of financial resources that may be available to them, including employer financial assistance, loan programs, and scholarships. Tuition is charged per unit hour for a total of 32 units.

Get Started Today

Learn more about Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program and how it can equip you with the legal skills needed to advance in your role.

Get Started Today

Learn more about Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program and how it can equip you with the legal skills needed to advance in your role.

Online Master of Legal Studies Class Profile

Our Master of Legal Studies program includes students with diverse backgrounds, professional experiences, and viewpoints. These various perspectives improve the classroom experience by creating more nuanced discussion and debate. Explore the class profile of the current students in Pepperdine Law’s online Master of Legal Studies program.

Average Age
21 - 73
Age Range
Average Years of Work
Experience Prior to Enrolling
Students with an
Advanced Degree
Military Students
  • 35% White/Caucasian
  • 18% Black/African American
  • 4% Asian
  • 6% Other
  • 1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander
  • 6% Two or more races
  • 28% Choose not to disclose
  • 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native

Circle graph shows the percentage breakdown of race. 35% White/Caucasian, 18% Black/African American, 4% Asian, 6% Other, 1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 6% Two or more races, 28% Choose not to disclose, 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native.

This information reflects data collected from online MLS students in the August 2017 to May 2018 cohorts with a 100% response rate.

1 21% Prefer Not to Answer/Other Gender

Choosing the Right Graduate Degree for Your Goals

When considering a graduate degree, it is important for professionals to think not just about the credentials behind their names but also the skills that will closely align with their goals. Earning an MLS can have similar benefits to earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Juris Doctor (JD), but the MLS degree offers a focused curriculum that prepares students with knowledge of relevant legal concepts that can be used in a variety of roles and industries.

Learn more about the differences between earning an MLS, MBA, or JD:


Compare the requirements, learning outcomes, and career opportunities of earning an MBA vs. MLS degree.

JD vs. MLS

Explore the differences of expanding your knowledge of the legal system and becoming a lawyer by comparing a JD vs. MLS degree.

Career Opportunities with a Master of Legal Studies Degree

Pepperdine Law students come from various backgrounds and work in diverse industries, and a Master of Legal Studies can help them more effectively perform their law-related responsibilities. With a Master of Legal Studies, professionals in many fields can improve their ability to interpret legal concepts and better understand the law as it relates to their job. These roles may include:

Legal Consultantswho advise on contracts and compliance

Paralegalswho research and draft legal documents

Administratorswho navigate complex healthcare laws

Politicianswho work to shape public policy

Consultantswho serve lawyers and law firms

HR Professionalswho handle compliance with workplace policies

The Online Experience

The online Master of Legal Studies program combines self-paced weekly course work with live online classes hosted using the interactive Zoom video-conferencing platform, creating a truly engaging classroom experience. The convenience of our online learning environment allows students to build new legal skills while continuing to work.

Pepperdine Law's online Master of Legal Studies program is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Pepperdine Law’s Master of Legal Studies distance education degree program has been granted acquiescence by the American Bar Association.