Graduate in front of courthouse

Legal Studies

Master of Legal Studies

Enhance your professional knowledge and effectiveness in the growing areas of regulation, compliance, law, human resources, law enforcement and related fields.


The College of Law’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree is a 30-unit program that provides a strong legal foundation. In addition to general legal studies, you may concentrate in:

  • Compliance and Legal Risk Management
  • International Economic Law and Policy
  • Intellectual Property
  • Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Mining Law and Policy
  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Tax Law and Policy
  • Criminal Law and Policy
  • Family and Juvenile Law

If you want to work with and understand laws and regulations (without needing a law license), or wish to advance your career and development prospects by obtaining legal and critical-thinking skills, the MLS degree is the perfect fit. 

If you already have a JD or have earned a qualifying law degree from outside of the US, you may consider pursuing the online LL.M. degree.

To apply for the online MLS program, you must file an application directly with the University of Arizona's College of Law.

Apply now or go to the College of Law website to learn more about the application process.

Career Level: Graduate
Degree: Master of Legal Studies
College: College of Law

Cost & Eligibility

Per Unit Cost: $650
*Residents of some U.S. Territories may not be eligible. Please see our Eligibility & State Authorization page for more information.

MLS students take focused courses designed to provide the legal knowledge and skills applicable to a broad range of law-related careers. Foundational courses include:

LAW 501: Procedure - This course explores the legal process and procedures followed in our systems of civil and criminal justice.  Topics include the components of due process, the adversarial system, stages of a case, and the roles of attorneys, judges, prosecutors, and professional ethics, and the core elements of civil and criminal procedure.

LAW 502A: The American Common Law System - This is one of two courses conveying what is distinctive about the common law approach as a legal methodology and as a reflection and commentary on the history and politics of the American experience, from the early colonial period to the 21st century world of globalized commerce, human rights concerns and environmental and social justice. The course examines the history and sources of the common law, common law modes of legal rhetoric, argument, and communication skills and transformation and adaptation of the common law achieved through social justice and law reform movements.  The weekly discussion sections focus on the development of legal writing, research and critical reasoning skills necessary to solve legal problems, particularly in the context of predictive written communications to various audiences.  The American Common Law System I topics focus primarily on Contract Law and Tort Law in the American legal system.

LAW 502B: The American Common Law System II - In addition to the innovative and immersive approach described in American Common Law I, this course focuses primarily on Property Law and its intersections with Torts and Contract Law in the contemporary American legal system.

LAW 504: American Public Law - Broadly speaking, public law is concerned with the organization of government and the relationship between the government and its citizens. In the United States, the foundation of public law is the Constitution, but that document merely provides a framework, which later legislatures, presidents, and courts have filled in over time. This course introduces students to the law that has emerged from those efforts and the distinctive modes of argument lawyers and judges employ in shaping that law for the future. Subjects covered include the constitutional law of federalism; executive power, including presidential war powers and the role of administrative agencies; and civil liberties, with particular emphasis on the freedom of speech.

LAW 507: Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research - This course teaches Masters of Legal Studies students how to find legal authorities relevant to legal problems; how to analyze a legal issue using facts and law; and how to communicate legal analysis logically and concisely.  This course consists of research exercises; writing exercises, including letters and legal memoranda; and more complex research and writing assignments.  Students work in groups and individually to learn the fundamentals of good writing and editing skills.

In addition, students may choose from a significant array of concentrations and elective courses. For example, elective courses include:

Law 557: Employment Law - Employment Law introduces students to the major legal concepts underlying employment in the United States at both the federal and state levels. The course will provide an overview of the different employer/employee relationships, employment torts, privacy rights, discrimination laws, and federal compensation laws. Students will focus on the basics of legal reasoning in the employment context, prevention of legal risk, and solid professional practice. 

Law 614B: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance - This course provides an introduction to the laws governing governance, risk management, and compliance ("GRC"). "Governance" is the process by which decisions related to risk management and compliance are made within an organization. the process by which an organization polices its own conduct to ensure that it conforms to applicable laws and regulations, as well as internal standards. "Risk management" is the process by which risk is identified, analyzed, and treated by an organization. "Compliance" is the process by which an organization polices its own conduct to ensure that it conform to applicable laws and regulations, as well as internal standards.

Law 572: Criminal Procedure - This course examines the legal procedures governing the investigation and arrest phases of criminal cases, guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The tensions between public safety, national security, and privacy rights are also examined, in addition to current issues and cases.

Student taking a UA Online course


Earning your Master of Legal Studies in Legal Studies will build core skills, including:

  • critical thinking
  • general and specialized knowledge of the US legal system
  • legal analysis
  • negotiating
  • research
  • written and oral communication

University of Arizona Law Master of Legal Studies graduates work in insurance, employee benefits, procurement, contracts administration, compliance, business analysis, public policy, law enforcement, law office support services and many other fields. Alumni have obtained positions with governmental agencies, business organizations, social service providers, educational institutions, nonprofits and international NGOs. Jobs held by recent University of Arizona Master of Legal Studies graduates include:

  • legislative and regulatory affairs analysts
  • adoptions case manager
  • anti-money laundering/bank secrecy act analyst
  • change manager
  • commercial real estate broker
  • community outreach associate
  • compliance analyst
  • contract administrator
  • court administrator
  • environmental policy development manager
  • export control analyst
  • financial aid advisor
  • financial advisor
  • financial crime consultant
  • hipaa officer
  • human resources officer
  • insurance broker
  • probation officer
  • legal analyst
  • legal assistant
  • news director
  • ngo program officer
  • paralegal
  • quality assurance manager
  • risk manager
  • teacher
  • tribal advocate
  • tribal operations specialist, bureau of indian affairs