These days, getting an online Law degree can be a wise choice if you want to start a new career, but you are struggling with a busy schedule or you can’t afford to quit your job. If you’re aiming to practice law in the U.K. or in the U.S., there are a few things you should know about what the degree entails and how universities offer law degrees.
These aspects will help you choose the right distance learning programme in Law, a choice the fits your style of learning, your life situation and your career ambitions.
Great universities and colleges offering online Law degrees
Several universities in the U.S. and the U.K. offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law. Here are some universities that have a variety of programmes in Law, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies:
- Walden University
- University of Essex Online
- De Montfort University
- The Open University UK
- The University of Law
Online law degrees in the UK
Up until this year, students in the UK could undertake a B.A. in Law or an L.L.B. or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) as their undergraduate or Bachelor’s education. These courses cover topics in various legal subject areas:
- Public Law
- European Union Law
- Criminal Law
After you'd complete your Bachelor’s or GDL, you'd need to take a Legal Practice Course (LPC), or a one-year Bar Professional Training Course (depending on whether the student wishes to be a solicitor or a barrister).
The new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)
From September 2021 onwards, the SQE is the new way to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. Here's what you need to know:
- it will test both legal knowledge and legal skills
- every applicant will have to meet the same standards
- it will cost between 3,000 and 4,500 GBP (current estimations)
- if you enrol in an LLB or GDL before September 2021, you can still qualify as a solicitor by taking the previous path, but with 2032 as a deadline
- you can apply with a degree in any subject, but having a Law diploma offers an obvious advantage
- you still need to develop relevant work experience over a period of time
Learn more about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
Online law degrees in the USA
In the U.S., Law degrees are treated as professional graduate degrees, aka as a J.D. (Juris Doctor). This normally enables you to qualify for passing the bar exam.
However, not all online J.D. degrees make you eligible for the bar exam. In fact:
- only some American states allow online J.D. graduates to take the bar exam, and the guidelines can be quite strict
- other states require at least one year of Law studies at an accredited school + a few years of (online) apprenticeship
- for certain jurisdictions, you need to pass a separate examination
As for undergraduate education, U.S. students are not required to study Law, and, in fact, there are not often options to do so.
Some options that you do have for a Law-related Bachelor’s in the US are Criminal Justice or Law studies. However, most students will enter a J.D. programme after majoring in Social Sciences subjects.
Online Law degree costs
Several online Law degree programmes offer cheaper prices, because online education allows universities to cut down on some of their own expenses. However, because they have to pay for their online domain and digital resources, students are still expected to pay a comparable tuition rate.
Be sure to take a look at the cost of each programme you apply for, and find out whether it is a worthwhile investment. You can also find several scholarship options that can help you fund your online degree programme.
Career prospects after graduating an online Law degree
Even though a law degree often seems like it will be an immediate and direct path to a lucrative career, this is not always the case. Not all online law degree programmes will lead directly to a high-paying legal career.
Look into statistics measuring how many students have managed to find their career immediately after completing their online law degree. Use this information to determine whether you will actually be able to get into the job that you want.
Online Law degree accreditation
Accreditation is a huge factor in how you ought to separate good online programmes from bad online programmes. If you’re hoping that your online law degree will lead you to a good career and will be recognized throughout the law community, you will have to make sure that the school is accredited.
What does 'accredited' mean? It means the institution has been authorised by a regional or national authority of education and credentials. This ensures that your degree will be looked upon with respect, rather than with scepticism.
Find the best Law degree to study online!
A law degree isn’t the easiest study course, regardless if you do it online or on campus. But it is also a degree that provides a lot of job security. As a law graduate, you can be a useful asset not only in a lawyer or judge position. You can find jobs with numerous companies, NGOs and institutions.
Connect with why you want to study Law and find a programme that fits your ‘why’ the best and will support you in reaching your goals!