Earning a Master's in Business Law Online

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Master's in business law online degrees come in two types: a master of laws degree, which advances legal professionals' skills in business settings, and a master of legal studies, which provides students and business professionals with beneficial legal knowledge and skills. A master of laws with a specialization in business provides attorneys and other legal professionals with the expertise they need to apply legal principles in organizational and business settings. Master's in jurisprudence programs that concentrate on labor, workplace, and employment law similarly benefit business professionals who want to advance their compliance, regulatory, and management skills.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that lawyers will experience 8% job growth by 2026. Practicing attorneys with a master of laws degree can focus on American or international business law, expanding their job prospects around the world while meeting the demands of an increasingly global marketplace. Top business executives should see a similar 8% growth by 2026. Business professionals who want to excel to the upper echelons of the corporate world and learn more about the legal aspects of their profession may benefit from a master's degree in legal studies and jurisprudence, especially one emphasizing business regulations, laws, and practice.

Student Profile: Who Earns an Online Master's Degree in Business Law?

Many master of laws degrees require students to have a juris doctorate in law, giving judges, lawyers, and recent law school graduates an opportunity to expand their knowledge and apply in-depth expertise in a business environment. Practicing attorneys who want to provide legal and regulatory guidance in corporate settings may benefit from a master's degree in business law by gaining the knowledge and tools they need to apply expertise to their field. Entrepreneurs, business professionals, and business students interested in law can also apply the information and expertise from a master of legal studies to their current and future career goals.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Business Law?

Pursuing Specialization

A master's degree in law with a business specialization gives attorneys, judges, international lawyers, and government officials the opportunity focus on law in corporate and civic contests. Coursework designed to provide students and working professionals with information to interact with the law, legal practices, and regulatory bodies increases their efficacy in daily business interactions. Specialization in American or international law also affords students and legal professionals an opportunity to take on global business matters.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Lawyers and legal students who specialize in business law at the graduate level develop expertise that applies to corporate and government practice. With increased knowledge of legal theory and practice as they relate to business, lawyers, legal professionals, and businesspersons, graduates can build their marketability and develop new opportunities for job growth. A master's in business law opens up opportunities for promotions, pay raises, and upper-level positions in the business, law, and government fields.

Online Learning Technology

An online master's degree in business law provides students with the communication tools, technological expertise, and research skills necessary to thrive in the legal and business fields. Coursework gives students hands-on experience with legal databases, law documentation, and regulatory resources to create well-trained business law experts. Online learning technologies also give students the opportunity to develop professional networks and make industry connections in the legal, government, and business fields.

Prerequisites for Online Business Law Programs

Applicants to master's in business law programs may need to complete prerequisites prior to admission. Work experience, previous coursework, and letters of recommendation attest to students' ability to excel in a program, while essays and interviews provide students with opportunities to convey their personal and professional goals.

    • Work Experience: Designed for legal professionals, a master's degree in laws with a business focus requires students to hold a domestic or international law degree. Legal studies and jurisprudence programs allow students to enter a master's program directly from their undergraduate program, but students with business and legal backgrounds benefit from advanced coursework and experiential training.
    • Exams and Test Scores: Business law programs that require students to hold law degrees do not require students to retake the LSAT. Programs that admit students with bachelor's degrees do not usually require GRE or LSAT scores, but individual programs may vary.
    • Coursework: Master of laws programs require students to have a JD or an international law degree. Master's of science in law and jurisprudence programs do not have coursework prerequisites, but students benefit from educational backgrounds in business and legal studies. Many schools require students to have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher.
    • Recommendations: Master's in laws, master of jurisprudence, and master's in legal studies programs may require letters of recommendation or references to apply. Letters should come from individuals who can attest to a student's work ethic, experience, and character.
    • Essays: Most graduate programs in business law require applicants to write a personal statement about their future goals. Essays should include information about educational and professional backgrounds, along with career aspirations. Students should also demonstrate proper writing and grammatical skills.
    • Interviews: Some programs hold interviews for applicants, but most do not. Students who are required to interview must present themselves and their careers to members of the faculty and graduate admissions officers for consideration.
    • International Students: International students who apply to master's in laws programs must supply evidence of a law degree equivalent to a JD. International applicants to all graduate programs focusing on business law must also demonstrate English-language proficiency.

How Much Can I Make with a Master's Degree in Business Law?

Business professionals pursuing a master's degree in business law develop the career marketability and experience they need to build earning potential. Compliance officers, for example, earn between $38,170 and $107,010 annually. Salaries for lawyers range between $57,430 and $178,480, with corporate and business expertise qualifying professionals for higher earning potential.

Traditional Careers for MBLs

Career Stats Description

Chief Compliance Officer

Median Pay: $112,486

Job Growth: 8%

These professionals take charge of financial operations. They also monitor the regulations and legality behind their company's financial and general business practices, including health inspections and tax records. This position is typically full-time and office-based.

Ideal for: Highly organized people able to clearly assess risk and develop risk management strategies.

Senior Accountant or Auditor

Median Pay: $69,350

Job Growth: 10%

These workers prepare and examine financial documents, and maintain financial operations according to industry best practices by monitoring accounting records and technologies. They assess expenses and costs, suggesting more efficient and effective financial processes, and often specialize in one aspect of accounting. They also prepare reports to present to managers and clients.

Ideal for: Independent, detail-oriented people who work well in office settings, financial teams, and advisory bodies.

Economist

Median Pay: $102,490

Job Growth: 6%

Economists research, collect, and study economic data to understand and assess financial trends, often analyzing problem-specific information to make informed economic recommendations. They present findings in written and oral form through academic articles; corporate reports; and charts, graphs, and tables.

Ideal for: Analytical, office-based individuals who work independently or collaborate with other economics and statisticians. These professionals may need to travel and present data at conferences or to specific clients.

Corporate Paralegal

Median Pay: $65,182

Job Growth: 15%

These paralegals assist corporate lawyers in preparing legal documents, often conducting research on previous law cases and legal regulations applicable to actions. They organize and coordinate law office activities, often using software to keep records and maintain schedules.

Ideal for: Individuals interested in business and law with analytical and critical-thinking skills. Candidates must work well both in teams and independently.

Non-Traditional Careers for MBLs

Career Stats Description

Political or Legislative Analyst

Median Pay: $115,110

Job Growth: 3%

Research and analyze political and legislative developments and trends, and forecast future changes. Analyze specific policies to anticipate new outcomes or develop and test theories about national or international politics and law.

Ideal for: Skilled communicators and analytical thinkers with the ability to stay current on policies and trends. These professionals work independently or collaborate with others.

Estate Planner

Median Pay: $90,640

Job Growth: 15%

Meet with and advise clients regarding their financial decisions to help them achieve personal economic goals, often monitoring clients' accounts to maximize their performance. Research investment opportunities and help clients plan for specific financial scenarios and needs.

Ideal for: Outgoing, analytical thinkers who often work in offices but may travel to meet with clients and offer financial guidance.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale, 2017-2018

Paying for an Online Master's in Business Law

Online master's in business law programs offer students a variety of degree schedules, giving students the opportunity to attend full or part time. Tuition per credit hour may cost less for full-time students who take more than a specified number of credit hours, while part-time students often pay more for their degrees in the long run. Students can also apply for financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, to pay for their studies. The Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) automatically assesses students' eligibility for federal and state loans, grants, and scholarships.

Tuition Timelines

Online master's in business law programs provide part-time and full-time curricula to learners, offering flexible and convenient programs. Working professionals enrolled in a part-time master's in business law program online may only need to take one or two classes at a time, while full-time students often enroll in more courses each term.

Part-Time Path

The John Marshall Law School's master of jurisprudence degree in employee benefits kicks off with a summer start date, at which point students completing an introductory course. Students then complete two courses per term over the subsequent four semesters. The two-year track, designed for part-time learners, can extend over as many as five years.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: The John Marshall Law School Master of Jurisprudence In Employee Benefits
Total Credits Required: 24
Summary: Tuition rates do not vary based on part- or full-time status, but full-time students are exempt from certain fees, lowering the cost of their overall degree. Tuition costs $33,480.

Full-Time Path

Full-time students pursuing a master of law in financial services compliance at Seton Hall learn the information they need to properly examine and apply law governing financial organizations to corporations and other businesses. Learners can complete the degree in as little as one year.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: Seton Hall Master of Law in Financial Services Compliance
Total Credits Required: 24
Summary: Students who complete Seton Hall's master of law degree can complete the 24-credit hour curriculum in one year. Tuition for two semesters totals $38,328.

Accelerated Path

Tulane University offers a 30-credit hour master of jurisprudence degree in labor and employment law to business, human resources, and employee management professionals who want to gain expertise in hiring practices, benefit principles, and employee relations. By taking 18 credit hours at a time, accelerated students can complete the degree in under two years. Students participate in one immersive event in New Orleans, in addition to online coursework.

Real-Life Example:

School Name: Tulane University Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law
Total Credits Required: 30
Summary: Tulane University's master's degree in labor and employment law includes 30 credit hours and one mandatory immersion event. Students must pay for their own travel, accommodation, and expenses for the event. Tuition per credit hour remains consistent for full- and part-time students at $1,100, but is subject to change at the start of each academic year.

Subject-Specific Financial Aid, Grants & Scholarships

Master's in business law students can apply for federal and state financial aid through the FAFSA, and may also qualify for degree-specific grants and scholarships. Schools, departments, government agencies, and professional organizations offer legal students financial assistance based on need and program specialization.

What to Expect from a Master's Level Online Business Law Program

Students typically complete a master's level business law degree in under two years. Degrees designed for legal professionals assume legal expertise and build upon a JD with advanced business knowledge. Master of jurisprudence and master of science degrees in legal studies, intended for nonlegal professionals, offer business professionals the opportunity to advance their current positions by studying specific legal principles as they apply to employment, labor, human resources, and management. Students also study federal, state, and local regulations in finance and accounting to build expertise on informed business decision-making and analysis.

Major Milestones

  1. Capstone Coursework

    Providing students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge they acquired through their program, a master's degree in law capstone course requires students to demonstrate their skills in research, analysis, and writing. Students conduct quantitative and/or qualitative research relating to a problem, plan, or strategy in business law, and produce a written report on their research.

  2. Final Project

    A final project brings students together to use their knowledge and skills to create a practical document related to business law. This may entail developing a business plan with direct application of business laws and regulations, personnel contracts, collective bargaining agreements, or human resource and employment policies.

  3. Thesis Preparation

    Master's in business law programs provide students with coursework in thesis preparation and thesis writing during their final two semesters. The first course, often intended to provide students with training in research methods, serves as a prerequisite for the subsequent class. The second class involves data collection, analysis, and writing or presentation of findings. Thesis courses may involve a group project, as well.

  4. Elective Coursework

    After acquiring the fundamentals of business law, students advance to more increasingly detailed material. Once students have completed their core coursework in business law, they may take classes in specialized interest areas.

  5. Portfolio

    Programs that require students to develop business plans, write policies, produce legal documents related to business, and combine legal and business principles may have students compile those productions at the end of their degree. Students present their portfolios to departmental faculty, and can use them to demonstrate expertise to future employers and colleagues.

Coursework

Graduate-level business law degrees vary in coursework requirements, but several classes remain consistent across the curriculum. Students study the fundamentals of business and law, and integrate the information when needed.

Regulatory Analysis and Compliance

Coursework in regulatory analysis and compliance trains learners to use business-related laws, policies, and regulations ethically and effectively. In-depth study of legal principles as they apply to business practices provides students with practical experience that applies to the real world.

Employee Benefits and Labor Relations Law

Classes in employee benefits and labor relations train human resource professionals, business managers, and legal professionals to understand the intricacies of employee rights, employer responsibilities, and the regulations that apply to both. Coursework may include information on labor unions, collective bargaining, and arbitration.

Legal Analysis

Legal analysis classes train students to read and analyze documents by providing information on legal and business jargon, terminology, and field-specific language. Learners study the laws, policies, rules, and agreements that apply to business scenarios.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Coursework on mergers and acquisitions provides lawyers and business professionals with details on navigating the legal, financial, and organizational aspects of corporate and business exchanges. Large-scale and small-scale mergers, purchases, and sales of business entities receive attention through a regulatory and legislative lense.

Legal Research and Writing in Business

Business professionals and lawyers learn to conduct business-specific research, and write for both business and legal audiences. Students learn qualitative and quantitative analysis, along with when to apply each and how to analyze data in order to prepare written reports and oral presentations.

Requirements to Practice

Before pursuing a career in business law, students should possess a law degree, plus graduate-level coursework. Master of laws programs, master's degrees in jurisprudence and legal studies, and certificate programs in business law may conclude with comprehensive exams. Students may also use their portfolio, project, or research content to demonstrate their competencies and seek out career opportunities. Students who want to continue on to law school from a jurisprudence or legal studies degree may take the LSAT. Likewise, many of these degrees provide direct paths to MBA programs.

Some master of law degrees prepare students for state bar exams, while many others train them for career and field-specific licensure. For example, many states require contractors to demonstrate business law competencies to obtain licensure. International students who complete a master's degree in law, jurisprudence, or legal studies may be prepared to take the U.S. bar exam.

    • State Bar Exams: To practice law in any state, individuals must pass a bar exam. Each state has its own bar exam requirements and restrictions, but a master's degree in jurisprudence, legal studies, or laws may help prepare students for these exams. Students should check their state's requirements for more information.
    • State Contractor License: To receive a contractor's license in many states, individuals must pass an exam on related business practices and legal guidelines. Students studying business law can apply their studies to contracting, building, and zoning, and policies related to the industry, to prepare for a licensing exam.
    • Law School Admission Test: Students who want to continue on to law school must take an LSAT for admission. A master's degree in laws, jurisprudence, or legal studies can provide them with essential knowledge as they prepare for the exam.
    • Credit Union Compliance Expert Certification: Students in banking, finance, and accounting can prepare for CUCE certification as they pursue a master's degree in business law. CUCE certification verifies a compliance professional's expertise on the latest regulations and applicable information related to credit union business.

Professional Organizations & Resources

Membership to professional organizations provide numerous benefits to students, recent graduates, and established business law professionals. Associations and organizations give members access to publications, newsletters, and industry-specific updates, while also establishing networks of like-minded individuals. Career guidance, mentoring, and job boards offer members opportunities for professional advancement. Annual conferences, online discussion forums, and communication resources bring together law scholars, researchers, and practitioners for collaboration and idea-sharing exchanges.

  • American Bar Association: As the world's largest organization of legal professionals, the ABA provides resources, continuing education, networking, and advocacy opportunities for law students, justice workers, practicing attorneys, and individuals interested in law.
  • Association of Corporate Counsel: The ACC promotes the professional and business interests of corporate lawyers and legal professionals through education, networking, and advocacy initiatives. The ACC also offers resources, including practice-specific compliance guides, policy materials, and research information, to corporate legal professionals. Members also have access to the ACC's directory.
  • International Bar Association: The IBA has a corporate law section that supports, informs, and connects corporate legal professionals from around the world. Dedicated to promoting information exchange, independence in practice, and human rights initiatives, the IBA also provides members with access to conferences, electronic resources, and outreach opportunities.
  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations: The National Federation of Paralegal Associations brings together paralegals from around the country to advance the overall profession. Certifications, resources, networking opportunities, and updates on events and policies related to the paralegal industry provide members with an array of tools for career advancement.
  • Business Professionals of America: The BPA unites students pursuing careers in information technology, management, business law, and finance to promote student involvement in the industry. BPA resources include industry standard information, professional certifications, service awards and opportunities, and continuing education information.
  • ABA Resources for Lawyers: The ABA provides general resources to guide individuals in their legal practice, including career centers, job boards, ethics guidelines, and legal profession statistics. Students and legal professionals can access content about various subsets of legal practice, including government and policy law.
  • ABA Business Law Section: The business law section on the ABA website includes archived videos, publications, and research for business law professionals. It also features webinars, conference and event news, and information on initiatives and awards.
  • Bloomberg Law: Bloomberg Law offers practicing attorneys access to legal databases, directories, and materials. With updates from lawyers and legal professionals from around the country, Bloomberg provides current information on corporate law, policy changes, and recent rulings.
  • HG.org: HG.org brings together legal resources from across the country to inform business law professionals regarding state and federal guidelines, organizations, and publications. The comprehensive collection of materials at HG.org includes content related to specific subsets of business law, including securities and exchange regulations, tax forms, and transactional examples.
  • United States Department of Labor: The United States Department of Labor website includes a collection of employment law resources to assist legal professionals, business owners, and workers. The website also offers advocacy and adviser contact information.