Constitutional Law Degrees: JD, Master's & Online Class Info

About this article
What will you learn in a constitutional law Juris Doctor (J.D.) or master's degree program? Read about J.D. and master's degree program requirements, the pros and cons of a J.D. and master's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Constitutional Law: Degrees at a Glance

Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree programs with a focus in constitutional law are designed for non-lawyers who work alongside lawyers or with the judicial system. J.D. programs with a concentration in constitutional law are designed for aspiring lawyers interested in practicing in the field of constitutional law.

Graduates of MSL programs typically work in the field of constitutional law in a non-legal capacity, such as a postsecondary criminal justice professor. Graduates of J.D. programs are eligible to practice law, including constitutional law, after passing a bar examination. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2011 there were about 14,600 postsecondary criminal justice teachers and 571,000 lawyers working in the nation.

Master of Studies in Law Juris Doctor
Who Is This Degree For? Non-lawyers interested in becoming experts in or advancing their careers in constitutional law Aspiring constitutional lawyers
Common Career Path (with approximate mean annual salary) Postsecondary criminal justice teacher ($66,000)* Lawyer ($130,000)*
Time to Completion 1 year, full-time 3 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Coursework
- Independent studies or clinical experiences
- Coursework
- Clinical experiences
- Judicial internships
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Online Availability None found at this time None found at this time

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Master of Studies in Law

Designed for non-lawyers who work with lawyers or in legal issues, these programs provide students with advanced knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the types of legal issues that can arise under the laws the document establishes. This allows students to understand the laws that pertain to their careers and any limitations those laws might pose.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Designed for non-attorneys, so you do not need to possess a J.D. to attend
  • Can lead to a career other than practicing law
  • Provides an education about the law and legal process without needing to attend law school

Cons

  • Does not prepare or allow you to practice constitutional law
  • May not increase employment opportunities or salary prospects
  • Degree might not be required to work in a non-lawyer capacity

Courses and Requirements

MSL in constitutional law programs typically require approximately two years of study. The curriculum of these programs includes international criminal law, immigration law, administrative law and disability discrimination. Other issues discussed might include the freedom of religion and speech.

Online Degree Options

Currently, these programs are not available online. Attending an in-person program allows you to interact with professors and other students while you learn about the American legal system and U.S. Constitution. This may lead to establishing relationships with lawyers or other individuals who may benefit your future career.

Stand Out with This Degree

Consider honing your writing skills to stand out with this degree. Being knowledgeable about the contents, production methods and common wording in legal documents may make it easier to understand them when they appear on your desk in the future.

Juris Doctor

Juris Doctor programs prepare individuals to take state bar exams, become licensed and work as attorneys. Completing a concentration in constitutional law provides students with in-depth knowledge of the field. This advanced knowledge may make it easier to find employment in the field of constitutional law upon graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Program prepares you to work as a lawyer
  • Completing a constitutional law concentration may impress law firms that focus on the field, which could make it possible to obtain employment with one of these firms after graduation
  • Possessing a J.D. with a concentration can help you stand out against other law school graduates possessing solely a J.D.

Cons

  • Requires three years of study
  • Graduation from law school does not guarantee a career as an attorney or the ability to practice constitutional law
  • Degree is not required to work as a non-lawyer

Courses and Requirements

First-year law students complete a curriculum of classes focusing on basic law subjects, such as constitutional, property, tort and criminal law. Second- and third-year law students take elective classes and complete judicial internships and clinical experiences.

Online Degree Options

Currently, online J.D. from accredited institutions are unavailable. Attending an on-campus program allows you to interact with your professors, some of whom may be practicing attorneys. Establishing relationships with licensed, practicing attorneys may increase the likelihood of finding employment after graduation.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider gaining experience working in the field of constitutional law during your studies. Having practical experience working in a constitutional law firm, clinic or having handled constitutional law-related issues during a clinical experience demonstrates that you not only possess classroom-provided knowledge about the field, but also understand the practical aspects of working in constitutional law.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
      • Master of Public Administration - Government and Policy
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Criminal Justice
      • Master: Management - Homeland Security
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Government - International Relations
      • Master of Arts in Government - Law and Public Policy
      • Master of Arts in Law - General Legal Studies
      • Master of Arts in Law - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Lewis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence & Crime Analysis Track
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • Master: Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Public Administration - Criminal Justice
  • Storrs, CT

    University of Connecticut

  • Carbondale, IL

    Southern Illinois University

Featured Schools

Grand Canyon University

  • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • Master of Public Administration - Government and Policy

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • M.S. - Criminal Justice
  • Master: Management - Homeland Security

Are you a US citizen?

Northcentral University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Government - International Relations
  • Master of Arts in Government - Law and Public Policy
  • Master of Arts in Law - General Legal Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

Lewis University

  • MS in Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Criminal Justice - Intelligence & Crime Analysis Track

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Legal Studies
  • Master: Criminal Justice

Which subject are you interested in?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Master of Public Administration - Criminal Justice

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