Many students hope to go into a law-related professional field. There are a wide array of degrees pursued by law-interested students who do not wish to be lawyers or go to law school. A few common degrees pursued by law-interested students are below.
Master’s of Public Policy (MPP)
The Masters of Public Policy (MPP) degree is the professional degree for analyzing, evaluating, and solving all aspects of policy. As analysts and managers, MPP graduates work with quantitative and qualitative data to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues.
Common MPP Career Paths:
Public policy analyst
Health program analyst
Nonprofit executive director
Government affairs director
Examples of MPP Programs:
Many schools around the country offer MPP programs. Below are just a few examples along with brief descriptions of the program from the school’s website.
University of Minnesota (Humphrey School): “The Humphrey School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program is one of the best in the country, attracting students who are committed to public service at the local, state, national, and international levels. The mission of the Master of Public Policy program is to prepare professionals with specialized skills and knowledge to advance the common good in a range of public policy issues and in management of organizations in a diverse world.”
University of Chicago (Harris School): “The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy blends our legacy of evidence-based policy research and analytical tools with real-world inquiry of current topics that challenge today’s leaders. We invite mid-career professionals interested in completing graduate school part-time in downtown Chicago to join us in making a measurable impact and bringing evidence-based policymaking to all sectors.”
University of California Berkeley (Goldman School): “The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is a two-year, full-time, in-person program that trains students on the practical and applied dimensions of policy-making and implementation. The program is designed to give students the tools for effective leadership in government, advocacy, and the non-profit and private sector. Graduates go on to engage society’s most complex issues, including poverty, education, racial inequality, criminal justice, and climate change.”
Master’s of Public Administration (MPA)
A master’s of public administration is a graduate-level, professional degree that typically includes elements of both business management and public policy. Leaders in this field advocate for sound public policies and oversee teams that develop and implement community services.
Common MPA Career Paths:
Labor relations specialist
Operations research analyst
Examples of MPA Programs:
Many schools around the country offer MPA programs. Below are just a few examples along with brief descriptions of the program from the school’s website.
University of Washington (Evans School): “The right graduate degree can be transformative. It can turn your desire to do good in the world into a career path grounded in making a real, life-changing impact. Whether you want to transition to a more mission-driven career, or you are ready to advance your career within the public and nonprofit sectors, the Evans School MPA program will uniquely equip you to improve public policy and lead change in public sector organizations.”
University of Oregon: “The master of public administration (MPA) program at the University of Oregon promotes evidence-based decision making and the efficient and ethical stewardship of societal and environmental resources by professionals in the public and nonprofit sectors. We support this purpose by training a diverse cohort of students from the U.S. and abroad to be effective administrators, analysts, and advocates in their communities.”
The Evergreen State College: “We designed our Master of Public Administration graduate program for busy adults—in fact, you can get your MPA in as little as two years while attending classes in the evening and on weekends. As a nationally ranked master’s college, we’ll provide you with a thorough and rigorous foundation in the core aspects of public administration.”
Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
Many schools around the country offer MLS programs. Below are just a few examples along with brief descriptions of the program from the school’s website.
Master of Legal Studies is a relatively new type of degree that is geared for people who need to understand the law more than an average lay-person but do not intend to become lawyers. Programs range from one to two years and are often offered on part-time basis for working professionals. Depending on where the degree is offered, it can be called a number of different things, including Master of Legal Studies, Master of Science of Law, Juris Master, or Master of Jurisprudence. MLS programs are not designed to train students to perform a specific job. Whereas a JD trains a student to be an attorney, and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) trains students to become doctors, an MLS can be put to use in a variety of ways
Common MLS Career Paths:
Human Resources Manager or Director
Senior Compliance Officer or Director
Senior Contract Negotiator
Senior Business Analyst
Associate Operations Director
Examples of MLS Programs:
University of Arizona (James E. Rogers College of Law): “University of Arizona Law’s Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is a one-year degree program pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. The MLS is designed to enhance the effectiveness of a broad spectrum of professionals whose work involves regulations, negotiations, or working with lawyers or legal issues.”
Seattle University School of Law: “Many professionals need to know how the law affects their business or industry. A keen understanding of regulations, contracts, policy, and other legal concepts will enable you to alert employers, clients, and customers to legal issues as they arise. A MLS better equips you to see and solve problems through a legal lens. Our MLS degree will help you gain these specialized legal skills and insight so you can position yourself for future leadership and management roles.”
University of Washington School of Law: “The Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) program is a 45-quarter credit program that can be completed in one, nine-month academic year or stretched out on a part-time schedule. Foundation courses include both tailored MJ courses and courses in which students are combined with JD and other graduate students.”