The 10 Best Online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science (J.S.D.) Degrees in 2023

Lawyers play huge roles in modern society, and as such this profession is well-regarded. A law degree is a huge milestone in anyone’s career. It is also not something you jump straight into after high school. People invest significant resources and finances before they even get to start on a law degree.

Others might already be caught up in a steady career by the time they decide to pursue law and they end up not having the time to spend, or they may not want to move to a new city even if they can pass admissions into their choice university. This is why taking the online option is attractive for many, and some universities are starting to answer this need.

The Lowdown 
Unlike other disciplines, Law has had a relatively smaller population of practitioners. Proportionally there are fewer law schools and even fewer still who offer an online equivalent of their on-campus Juris Doctor programs, the most advanced law degree. Online programs typically take three to four years to finish.

If you want to explore other law-related academics, many universities also offer Master in Legal Studies/Master of Laws/Juris Master programs, with some of these designed for non-lawyers. Others opt to earn the online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science or the Doctor of Juridical Science.

Use These Quick Links to Navigate the Best Online Graduate Schools:

Methodology

To determine the best law school offering an online JD, you don’t only need to check the minimum admission requirements; you also have to ensure that the law school is accredited before you enroll.

Our list of the best online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science JD mentions the factors that should be considered in your decision to pursue this program. Each doctoral program on our list has these outstanding features:

  • It may be offered as a 100% online program but most often delivered as a hybrid program, and awarded as an Online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science (J.S.D.) degree to graduates,
  • A rigorous curriculum consisting of the most in-depth coursework for Doctor of Law/Judicial Science, and producing the best graduates that are qualified for top-level positions such as law program director, assistant dean, law professor, and more,
  • A research-focused program that sharpens students’ skills in research and writing, so they produce scholarly work of excellent publication quality, 
  • Develops the interpersonal attributes of a Law professional with the highest academic achievement, including effective communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving,
  • Maintains Student Help Centers for online/hybrid/on-campus Online JD students, assisting graduates in navigating their careers and exploring networking opportunities,
  • Utilizes easy-to-use Learning Management Systems with 24/7 access to technical assistance,
  • Instructed by highly regarded faculty and teaching staff who have significantly contributed to the field,
  • Provides Financial Aid assistance options,
  • Properly accredited by academic organizations,
  • Affiliated with associations advancing Law or Legal Studies as a discipline.

Please visit our Methodology page for an overview of our online doctorate program selection process.


10 Online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science Degree Programs

Purdue University, Concord Law School

Purdue University - Concord Law School
Online Juris Doctor

Purdue offers the first fully online JD through its Los Angeles-based Concord Law School and contains a wide range of elective courses.

  • The 4 Year program consists of 92 credit hours and has 3 start dates per year.
  • The program’s varied elective courses include cybersecurity law, employment discrimination, contract drafting, virtual law practice, immigration, education, health, and patent law.
  • Purdue Concord also offers an Executive Juris Doctor online program for those not seeking legal practice but would benefit from having legal education.

What’s unique about Purdue University, Concord Law School Online JD Program:

Purdue Concord Law School is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California. Graduates can sit for the California State Bar Exam.


St. Mary’s University

St. Mary’s University - School of Law
Online Juris Doctor

St. Mary’s University, an ABA-accredited school, offers its just-launched online Juris Doctor under its School of Law and starts in the Fall semester.

  • St. Mary’s online JD is a limited enrollment part-time program (capped to 25 students to maintain learning quality)
  • The program takes about 4 years to complete and has a minimum of 90 credit hours. Students must have a GPA of 2.3 to graduate, whereupon they can sit for the Texas Bar Exam.

What’s unique about St. Mary’s University’s Online JD Program:

The program contains a wide range of courses you can choose from that deal with State, National, and International Law.

St. Mary’s is the first fully online JD Program accredited by the ABA.


Abraham Lincoln University

Abraham Lincoln University
Online Juris Doctor

Established in 1996, Abraham Lincoln University offers one of the oldest online law schools in CA and nationwide, with affordable tuition rates.

  • The degree program has 140 credits total and takes at least 4 years to complete.
  • The LSAT is not a requirement. ALU has its own equivalent assessment that is part of the admissions process.
  • Students in the program get access to various services including the Westlaw Law Library, as well as student and career support.
  • The ALU is registered with the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California, and is accredited by DEAC or the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

What’s unique about Abraham Lincoln University’s Online JD Program:

ALU has low tuition rates of $10,100 per year, lower than most ABA-approved law schools.


Trinity International University, Trinity Law School

Trinity International University - Trinity Law School
Online Juris Doctor

Trinity offers an online JD that has a Christian service-oriented dimension. The program can be completed online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format.

  • The program has 90 credit units in total (74 core, 16 units of elective courses)
  • Full-time students can finish in 3 years, while part-time & Flex Track students take 4 years.
  • The degree’s material is a mix of independently-completed coursework & live sessions.
  • An LSAT score of 145 or higher is required for admission.

What’s Unique about the Trinity Law School’s Online JD Program:

Trinity’s On Course is its exclusive program aimed at Bar Exam preparation and starts on a student’s first day of classes.

Being a Christian Law School, Trinity’s curriculum offers an added spiritual/biblical perspective to legal practice.


Liberty University

Liberty University - Online
Doctor of Law of Policy

While this degree does not lead to you a Juris Doctor degree, Liberty University’s Doctor of Law and Policy is a related advanced degree that is nevertheless worth exploring. It is offered under the university’s School of Law.

  • This 60-credit-hour program has an average completion time of 3 years.
  • Courses in the curriculum include law subjects, public policy lawyering, and statesmanship.
  • Liberty University is accredited by the SACSCOC or Southern Association of Schools & Colleges Commission on Colleges. 

What’s Unique about Liberty University’s Online Doctor of Law and Policy Program:

The program features an in-depth education of law and its connection to public policy. It is an extension of legal practice and is ideal for people who currently work in law/public policy-related fields. 


Syracuse University

Syracuse University
Hybrid Juris Doctor (JDinteractive)

Syracuse University College of Law offers its Juris Doctor in a mostly-online format and is taught by world-class faculty.

  • Most of the program courses are fully online, a 50/50 blend of live & asynchronous material.
  • You are required to complete a number of short intensive residential classes and a clinical externship program prior to graduating.
  • You get access to student support services (tutoring, counseling, bar exam prep, etc).
  • Syracuse’s JDinteractive is an ABA-Approved law degree program.

What’s Unique about Syracuse University’s Hybrid JD Program:

Students have the unique option of taking an Online Joint JD/MBA degree, offered together with Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management.


University of Dayton

University of Dayton - School of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor

The University of Dayton’s Hybrid JD is a highly-regarded program that has one of the highest bar passage rates in Ohio.

  • Either the GRE or LSAT is considered upon admission.
  • The degree takes about 4 years to complete (11 terms over 3 years & 8 months).
  • The degree is delivered in an online-hybrid format consisting of live weekly online classes, interactive coursework, and 2-3 on-campus experiences per year.
  • The curriculum requires a semester-long, 192-hour externship.

The University of Dayton is ABA-Accredited.

What’s Unique about the University of Dayton’s Hybrid JD Program:

All online hybrid JD applicants are automatically considered for eligibility for Merit-Based Scholarships and Legal Opportunity Award scholarships.


The Colleges of Law

The Colleges of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor

The Colleges of Law offers a hybrid JD program that emphasizes access and aims for better representation of our societies’ diverse communities and clients.

  • The 84-credit program can be taken full-time or part-time and spans 32-40 months.
  • The program follows a 70% online, and 30% on-site content balance.
  • You are required to complete single 12-hour on-site intensives each month.
  • You will join a student body of diverse backgrounds, and be taught by locally connected highly capable faculty.

What’s Unique about The Colleges of Law’s Hybrid JD Program:

The Colleges of Law has very affordable tuition rates for its online JD, and active duty military servicemen, their dependents, and veterans can get an additional reduction.


University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire - Franklin Pierce School of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor (JD)
  • The UNH offers a unique hybrid JD that specializes in IP and technology law.
  • The part-time program has 85+ credit hours spanning 10 semesters (3.5 years).
  • The program is online with 1 or 2 brief 3-5 day in-person sessions per semester.
  • Online course material is a mix of synchronous & asynchronous content.
  • You get access to various student services and get the opportunity to participate in the UNH legal residency program in your final year.

What’s Unique about the UNH Hybrid JD Program:

The UNH Pierce is a powerhouse in IP Legal Education. The program is the only ABA-approved Hybrid JD with a focus on Intellectual Property, Technology, and Information Law.


Vermont Law & Graduate School

Vermont Law and Graduate School
Online Hybrid JD

Vermont Law offers a hybrid JD that has a unique set of specialization areas related to environmental law and is one of the country’s best environmental law institutions.

  • The program completion can take about 3+ years (10 semesters).
  • The degree program is offered part-time. It is mostly online, with 3 brief in-person residential sessions.
  • Course material consists of a mix of synchronous & asynchronous formats.
  • Choose from 4 unique specialization disciplines: Environmental Law, Food & Agriculture Law, Energy Law, and Restorative Justice, fields that are crucial and timely.
  • Vermont Law & Graduate School is accredited by the ABA.

What’s Unique about VLS’s Hybrid JD Program:

Vermont has the country’s most comprehensive environmental law program, in addition to its groundbreaking programs on food & agriculture law, energy law, and restorative justice.

Online Doctor of Law - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there prerequisites prior to law school admission?

A basic requirement is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. An LSAT or GRE score may also be required for admission, but universities vary on the specifics. While for some they might not be required, there are strongly encouraged.

How long does it take to complete a Juris Doctor degree? 

Including the core courses and elective courses offered along with the final capstone requirements, Juris Doctor programs typically take around 3 to 4 years to complete.

What can you expect in a Doctor of Law degree?

The Doctor of Law degree often involves understanding U.S. law and legal procedure. This knowledge can help you prepare to pursue independent research of cases, argue on behalf of clients, and prosecute or defend lawsuits.

It is also an excellent foundation for taking the state bar exam. In law school, you will often need to hone your oral examination and oral defense skills as these are integral to your future practice.

Unlike Juridical Sciences, considered the most advanced law degree, the Doctor of Law degree is not a research doctorate. Students are not required to submit a research proposal or pass a dissertation.

How much will students pay to attend law school?

Tuition rates vary between universities, but online/hybrid degrees range from at least $700-$1500 per credit hour, and degree programs typically range between 80-over 100 credit hours. For hybrid degrees with a number of required on-campus visits, travel costs also have to be taken into account.

It depends on the university and individual student eligibility, but universities typically offer financial aid and legal scholarship options, and some have further discounts for certain categories of students, such as members of the armed forces.


Summary Points

  • While traditional on-campus degrees remain the prevailing norm, the ever-present need for professionals to keep working while getting an education means more universities will likely start to offer online JD programs in the future. It is ideal for professionals pursuing top careers in the legal field.
  • Generally, hybrid degree programs are also an attractive option, since the in-person/on-campus component for most universities is very minimal, and online coursework takes up the bulk of the program, which means there is minimal disruption.

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