In August of 2013, the Appalachian School of Law began offering a new advanced degree. The Master’s in Legal Studies (MLS) degree serves students who:
- Are interested in being trained in the law for professional development;
- Want a birds-eye view of what legal studies is like without committing yet to the rigors of the entire law school experience;
- Seek the possibility of receiving special admissions consideration to the JD program by successfully completing the MLS degree (perhaps because they have a lower GPA or LSAT score); or
- Work in a field that is law-related, heavily regulated, or is benefited by specialized legal knowledge, like:
- human resources,
- contract marketing and/or analysis,
- general management, and
- similar fields.
A student can complete the Master’s degree in one year, but may take up to three years to complete the thirty-one (31) credit hours required for graduation.
Students take courses side-by-side with JD students, but the faculty assesses MLS students against the efforts of their fellow MLS classmates (and not their JD counterparts).
Additionally, the program is flexible enough to allow students to take several courses in areas of interest, such as natural resources, workers’ compensation, and environmental law. Indeed, if the student desires, s/he can take an additional one or two accelerated courses and also receive a concentration Certificate in Natural Resources and Energy Law and Regulation or Human Resources and Management Law and Regulation without extending the degree program beyond one academic year.