Online Master of Legal Studies – Criminal Law Emphasis

Earning a Master of Legal Studies with an emphasis in criminal law means building competencies related to law enforcement agencies, as well as the rights of suspects and convicted people. You’ll also develop expertise related to the social goals of the penal system and variations in laws between jurisdictions. With this unique degree, you can compete for many criminal justice roles.

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Quick facts

Next start date:

Next start date: 01/09/2023


Total classes:

Total classes: 10

Weeks per class:

Weeks per class: 7.5

Total credit hours:

Total credit hours: 30

Degree questions, answered.

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What is criminal law?

Criminal law involves the definition of criminal offenses, the processes through which accused individuals are charged and brought before the court, punishments and avenues for rehabilitation. The criminal justice system is the collection of government agencies and departments, such as law enforcement and the courts, that carry out duties related to criminal law.

Criminal law programs are most often associated with attorneys who practice in this space. However, specialized knowledge of this area can be valuable to professionals, including law enforcement officers, court clerks and social workers. Through the study of criminal law, you’ll learn about the myriad of agencies charged with enforcing various laws, the rights of suspected or convicted people, societal goals that may be achieved via offenders’ punishments and how laws vary in different states and countries.

Attend our upcoming webinar to learn more about our Master of Legal Studies degree programs. Sign up.

What is an MLS with an emphasis in criminal law?

 

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) with an emphasis in criminal law degree comprises two foundational curriculum offerings:

  1. The Master of Legal Studies, a degree designed for students who wish to better understand the law but not practice as an attorney.
  2. The criminal law emphasis, which features a course list focused on topics like evidence, criminal procedure, post-conviction processes and more.

By earning this criminal law degree emphasis, you’ll develop a nuanced understanding and deep knowledge of the theories and practices used in the criminal justice system.

What industries hire graduates with a criminal law degree emphasis?

 

While criminal law is a specialization within a broader field, its widespread impact on society leads to various positions related to its theory and practice. While common employers include the many agencies and groups associated with the criminal justice system, additional opportunities may exist in the private and nonprofit sectors. If you currently serve in or wish to compete for roles related to enforcement, corrections, court administration or similar positions, earning a criminal law degree can set you apart from other candidates.

What is a degree emphasis? Is it the same as a concentration?

 

A degree program’s emphasis is similar to a concentration, but there are key differences.

  • A concentration is a formalized selection of courses within a major. A concentration requires a minimum of 15 credit hours of which at least nine credit hours must be upper division. The concentration’s name will not appear on your ASU diploma, but it will be noted on your transcripts.
  • An emphasis is a selected topic area defined within the major. It’s typically 9-12 credit hours, and an emphasis doesn’t need to be officially declared. The emphasis will not be stated on your ASU degree or transcripts.

Will my legal studies master's degree say 'online'?

No, Arizona State University’s diplomas don’t specify whether you earn your degree online or in person. All diplomas and transcripts simply say “Arizona State University.” That’s because ASU Online students learn from the same faculty and receive the same course content as in-person students receive.

Please note your diploma will state the degree you earn: Master of Legal Studies. Your emphasis in criminal law will not appear on your diploma or transcripts.

Criminal law degree emphasis courses

In the criminal law program emphasis, you’ll begin by developing a foundation in the legal system and the elements of legal reasoning. This is a shared starting point across the MLS program and all of its areas of emphasis. You’ll then focus on aspects of the legal system directly relevant to criminal law. Featured courses include:


Core course

U.S. Law and Legal Analysis


Elective

Advanced Topics in Criminal Law


Elective

Constitution Law


Elective

Criminal Law


Elective

Criminal Procedure


Elective

Evidence


Elective

Fundamentals of Contract Law


Elective

Tort Law


What can I do with a criminal law degree emphasis?

Completing an MLS with an emphasis in criminal law program can make you a more desirable candidate in areas such as local, state and federal law enforcement, the corrections system, probation and social work. A strong grasp of criminal law may position you for growth in your current career or support starting a new one. Career examples include:

Bailiff

Chief of police

Corrections officer

County clerk

Court clerk

FBI agent

Justice of the peace

Police captain

Police officer

Experienced educators in criminal law

The faculty members in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law have more than 300 combined years of experience. Hailing from across the country, they’re nationally recognized for their wealth of knowledge. The College of Law’s world-class faculty members provide comprehensive legal education in popular focus areas and address legal challenges on a global scale.

Experienced educators in criminal law

The faculty members in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law have more than 300 combined years of experience. Hailing from across the country, they’re nationally recognized for their wealth of knowledge. The College of Law’s world-class faculty members provide comprehensive legal education in popular focus areas and address legal challenges on a global scale.

Criminal law degree emphasis admission requirements

Applicants to the Master of Legal Studies program must fulfill the requirements of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

U.S.-educated applicants can apply through our FastApp process, which streamlines the application process and may allow for an offer of conditional admission to the MLS program while the applicant continues to submit any additional requested documentation. Find more information about the FastApp process here.

FastApp process

Application requirements

Additional admission information

A leading college for all legal scholars

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU is one of the top schools in the nation. The college provides personalized and practical legal education. Offering more than 250 unique courses, students have the opportunity to tailor their educational experiences to meet their unique interests. Our bar passage achievements and peer-reviewed U.S. News and World Report rankings highlight our dedication to preparing students for success.

#1


in Arizona for bar passage.

Top 25


Bar Passage & JD Advantage Jobs, according to the American Bar Association.

Top 10


Public Law Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Top 25


Best Law Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

Financial aid can reduce out-of-pocket costs, resulting in less financial stress and increased academic confidence. Learn more.

Tuition calculator

Our tuition calculator can help you estimate full-time tuition fees for this program without financial aid. Keep in mind: More than 80% of our students receive financial aid.

Financial aid can reduce out-of-pocket costs, resulting in less financial stress and increased academic confidence. Learn more.

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