Professionals from a variety of backgrounds may be drawn to an online phd in law. The penultimate degree is typically designed for students looking to develop their skills in legal research and policy, better understand how institutions formulate and execute policy, and advance in management. It also enables students to focus on a thesis in a law topic of their choosing. Students in law Ph.D. programs might come from backgrounds in government agencies, non-profit management, homeland security and defense, healthcare, and higher education administration.
Why a Ph.D.?
Graduates of bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in law or a related field, such as public policy, political science, or government may be drawn to an online PhD degree in law. This degree can lead to professional advancement, such as to upper management levels in higher education, government, or consulting positions. A Ph.D. may also be required for certain careers, such as in academia; as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, postsecondary teachers commonly must have a Ph.D.
Getting Into a Ph.D. Program
Requires for admission vary from school to school. But here’s what you can generally expect:
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited program
- Statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
- Professional resume
Inside a Law Ph.D. Program
The length of an online Ph.D. program in law will vary from school to school. Some accelerated programs may be as short as two years, while others may take upwards of five years to complete. Core courses typically cover a broad spectrum of the field, such as foundations of business law, human rights law, international business, public law, judicial process, antitrust policies, civil rights law, and industrial organization. Ph.D. candidates would also take courses specific to their area of study and expertise.
In online programs, students are typically able to complete their courses entirely online, though some may demand that they meet regularly in person. After completing their core curriculum, students work on a dissertation in an area of their choosing. This paper must be of publishable quality, and students must defend it before a dissertation committee to graduate.
What’s Next for Law Ph.D. Degree Holders?
Once they complete their Ph.D., students are highly respected experts and specialists in their field of study. What happens post-graduation will largely depend on their field, as well as the student’s career goals and professional experience up until that point. Those seeking professorships at a college or university may go into teaching and conducting research in their specialty. Others may look to advance to upper-level-management and executive positions within the government, consulting, law, or higher education. Still others may seek research positions for government, non-profits, or corporations.