Are you interested in the law and justice system? Love a good courtroom drama? We’ve ranked the Best Legal Studies degrees just for you!
Whether you love to watch marathons of Law & Order or you simply love the idea of studying law and criminal justice, a degree in legal studies may be perfect for you. If you love research, fact-finding, and bringing the truth to light, you’re already off to a great start.
Individuals who pursue careers in legal studies must be highly organized, great communicators, and avid learners. Paralegals and legal assistants work hard to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting important documents.
What kind of Legal Studies degree should you get?
With the rise of degree offerings in legal studies, it can be difficult to decide which program is best for you. Should you attend online or on-campus? Should you choose a concentration? Now that you’ve made the decision to earn a degree in legal studies, plenty of other decisions will follow. Luckily, we’re here to help!
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
How much money do people make with a degree in Legal Studies?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Paralegals and Legal Assistants is around $50,000 per year. Not a bad salary to fight for justice! And your salary will only increase with the more education and experience you have. Plus, you can pursue a number of different careers with a degree in legal studies and your salary will ultimately depend on your chosen path.
The BLS projects a growth of 15 percent in legal jobs from now till 2026. In fact, formally trained paralegals who possess strong computer and database management skills will have the best job prospects moving forward.
What can you do with a degree in Legal Studies?
Earning a degree in legal studies will open up many doors for graduates. Many folks who pursue a legal studies degree as an undergraduate will go on to complete a law degree. However, many others will go on to become legislative assistants, compliance officers, law enforcement officers, paralegals, and even real estate agents! You may also wish to become a social worker, probation officer, or a lawyer. All of these careers can be achieved by starting with a legal studies degree!
What are the best degrees in Legal Studies?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 best degrees in legal studies with you and your needs in mind. Here’s how we did it:
First, we located the best programs in the country by taking an objective look at the best schools in the country as measured by reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we looked at the bottom line – how much does it cost?
We combined these factors to reach our College Choice Score, which determined where each school fits into the big scheme of things. The end result is a list of schools that not only represent the best legal studies education you can get and a good return on investment but also one that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!
Overlooking the San Francisco Bay, UC Berkeley has 14 schools and colleges – many of which earn top rankings year after year. In fact, this public research university has been ranked the Top Public University in all of the United States. Now, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies through the university’s College of Letters and Science.
This program is not specifically designed for those preparing for law school. It does not offer a minor or provide paralegal training either. Required courses may include:
Law & Culture
Law & Markets
Law, Rights, and Social Change
The Supreme Court and Public Policy
American Legal and Constitutional History
Undergraduate Legal Studies students are strongly encouraged to enroll in one seminar course. However, eligible students may also enroll in the Honors Program for their capstone experience.
The University of California Berkeley is home to the Annual Legal Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. Past conferences have included a variety of noteworthy speakers and interesting topics. Interested participants can learn anything from how school tax credits are really being used to how Uber and Lyft drivers negotiate the ambiguity of their employment status. The annual conference is sponsored by the Berkeley Law and the Legal Studies department.
Founded in 1851, Northwestern is a leading university located in Evanston, IL. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business is ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. With elite faculty members including Guggenheim Fellows and MacArthur Fellowship Recipients, students are sure to learn from the best. Now, the school’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences offers a comprehensive Legal Studies program for interested students.
For those looking to major in legal studies, you will need to complete 12 courses. Requirements may include:
Law and Society
Law and Economics
Advanced Research Seminar
Legal Studies Research Methods
Students may also choose to pursue legal studies as an adjunct major. The adjunct major requires three core courses and eight approved electives, including one from each of the five categories of electives: Theory/Philosophy, Global/Comparative Perspectives, Institutions/ Organizations/Economics, Law and Inequality, and Legal Argument/Communications.
Students and alumni of this program have been awarded Fulbright grants to study in Denmark, Romania, Poland, and Greece. Graduates have also gone on to work at the Consumer Financial Protection Board, the ACLU of Colorado, the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, and at a variety of consulting firms. Some have even pursued advanced degrees at UC Berkeley’s Law School Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, Harvard University Law School, Yale University Law School, and more!
This private, Roman Catholic research university is located in Queens, NY. Home to mascot Johnny Thunderbird, as well as over 20,000 students, St. John’s University offers a variety of degree programs across its five undergraduate colleges. Now, through the College of Professional Studies, students can pursue a 126-credit Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies.
This program will prepare you for law school, graduate school or entry-level employment in a law-related field. Required courses may include:
An Introduction to Legal Studies
Legal Research and Writing
Legal Research and Writing II
Litigation Practice (Civil)
Students interested in pursuing advanced studies or attending law school are encouraged to partake in the Ronald H. Brown Law School Preparatory Program run by St. John’s Law School. The College of Professional Studies also has a combined BS and Juris Doctor program within the university’s School of Law.
Students in the Legal Studies Program have secured a number of impressive internships. These include positions in Federal and State Courts, in City, State and Federal politicians’ offices, in District Attorney’s Offices, at the Legal Aid Society, at Queens Volunteer Legal Services, at the St John’s University School of Law Securities Arbitration Clinic and in private law offices. The options are endless here!
Located in Coral Gables, FL, the University of Miami is a private research university that’s home to over 17,000 students. Not only is this university ideal for those who love the outdoors, with so many beautiful beaches nearby, it’s also perfect for those interested in the law. In fact, students can now pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major area of specialization in Legal Studies.
Students in this program must complete a total of 120 credit-hours. Required courses may include:
The Law of Risk
Critical Thinking and Persuasion for Business
Legal and Social Aspects of Business Regulation
Fundamentals of Business Technology and Innovation
This program is perfect for those looking to work in fields like risk management, compliance, human resources, marketing, finance and accounting, government, and more.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked the University of Miami among the Best National Universities and Best Value Schools in the nation. The university also tied for eighteenth for the Best Colleges for Veterans. Plus, UM is engaged in over $320 million in research and sponsored program expenditures annually. With a commitment to excellence, UM is a great choice.
This private, research university is located in New Orleans, LA. Home to mascot Riptide the Pelican and over 13,000 students, Tulane University offers a variety of degree options. Now, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in General Legal Studies with a certificate in Paralegal Studies. This program is offered through Tulane’s School of Professional Advancement.
This 120-credit program is ideal for those looking to advance in their existing careers or who wish to gain real-world legal experience before applying to law school. Required courses may include:
Computers in the Law Firm
The practicum requires a 100-hour law office internship as well. All courses in this program are taught by practicing attorneys and paralegals. Students can also choose to pursue an optional minor. This program is great for adults and working professionals; the course schedule includes evening and online options for those who need a bit more flexibility.
Tulane is consistently ranked among the top universities in the nation. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked Tulane fifteenth for Best Colleges for Veterans and twenty-fourth among the nation’s Most Innovative Schools. Tulane is also one of the Best National Universities and Best Value Schools. Undergraduate tuition is $433 per credit.
The University of Pittsburgh was founded in 1787 and is now home to nearly 35,000 students. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the university among it’s 25 Top Public Schools, as well as among its Best Colleges for Veterans. Now, interested students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies through its College of General Studies.
Students in this program must complete a total of 120 credit-hours. Required courses may include:
Law and Social Change
Law, Literature, and Cinema
Public Law and Moral Reasoning
Emerging Technologies and the Law
Emerging Issues in Legal and Social Policy
This degree program will prepare students for a variety of careers, including: banking, civil liberties organizations, credit-related agencies, legal research, public warfare, and more! Students may also pursue a minor in legal studies.
The University of Pittsburgh offers many opportunities for students to get hands-on experience outside of the classroom. From internships to study abroad experiences, College of General Studies students are encouraged to explore, innovate, and thrive. The college also offers online class options for those looking for a more affordable and flexible degree program.
Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nova Southeastern University is a research university that was originally established in 1964. Now, the university offers full-degree online programs with access to Nova’s Electronic Library and extensive online databases. If you’re interested in law school, politics, or public affairs, Nova Southeastern has an excellent program. Check out their Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies below.
Offered through the university’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, this degree program requires 48 credit-hours within the major. Required courses may include:
Argument and Debate
Environmental Law and Policy
Legal Research and Trial Advocacy
American Government and Politics
You’ll also get to pursue one of the following tracks if you want: a pre-law track or an international law track. Interested students may also wish to complete an internship in legal studies. Internships typically include a 10-20 hour-per-week field or work experience for at least 16 weeks.
U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked Nova Southeastern University as one of the best National Colleges in the United States. The school’s most popular majors include Health Professions, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology. Pre-law students can participate in a free annual seminar which can increase chances for acceptance into law school.
The University of Central Florida is a large public research university located in Orlando, FL. A relatively young and innovative institution, the school offers a plethora of highly regarded programs. Among these, the College of Health and Public Affairs is home to both a BS and a BA in Legal Studies. These degrees are offered through UCF’s Department of Legal Studies.
Students who have completed two years of high school qualify for the BS degree, while students who have completed one year of foreign language in college qualify for the BA. Required courses may include:
Law and Culture
History of American Law
Business Law in Sport and Entertainment
Legal Environment in Hospitality and Tourism
Legal Studies students may also choose from one of the following concentrations: Law and Policy, Advocacy, Law and Business, Law and Technology, Family Matters, or International. All full-time Legal Studies faculty members are attorneys and available for law school advising for interested students.
U.S. News and World Report has included UCF on its ranking of the country’s Most Innovative Schools, as well as the country’s Top Public Schools. The University of Central Florida is also known for its affordable degree options. In fact, the tuition for this program is just $212 per credit-hour. However, out-of-state students must pay a $510 non-resident fee. UCF offers a variety of scholarship opportunities as well.
Located in Pensacola, FL, the University of West Florida is home to mascot Argie the Argonaut and over 10,000 students. Founded in 1963, UWF is home to many traditions and over 150 student clubs and organizations. Now, UWF’s College of Education and Professional Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies. The degree requires the completion of 120 credit-hours.
The legal studies major is very popular among pre-law students at UWF. Required courses may include:
Law and Society
Survey of American Law
Legal Research and Writing
The Legal System and Ethics
Constitutional Law for the Legal Professional
Students in this program will enjoy small class sizes and high-quality faculty. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for research, internships, and participating in related student organizations. Plus, the program offers an annual panel of practicing professionals to help advise students interested in a career in the legal profession.
Additional events in this program include: a trip to the Supreme Court, law school tours,
Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, and an LSAT Prep Course. Past undergraduates have scored internships with the Clerk of Court, First Judicial Circuit, Court Administration, First Judicial Circuit, Florida Department of Children and Families, and more!
With over 30 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees, 1 doctoral program, and over 1600 online majors, the University of Illinois at Springfield is abuzz with academic pursuit. In fact, U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked this university as one of the best Regional Universities in the Midwest. Now, students can obtain a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in in Legal Studies through the university’s Department of Legal Studies.
This degree program requires each student to take a minimum of three hours of internship. Other requirements may include:
Law and Society
History of American Law
Legal Research And Citation
The American Constitution and Civil Liberties
American Constitution: Government Powers and Institutions
It is possible to pursue a double-major with this program. In fact, many legal studies majors also pursue a major in political science.
Springfield’s Legal Studies Department has been in existence for over 30 years. With small class sizes, as well as the option to take classes both on-campus and online, this department emphasizes practical application and real-world experiences. Alumni of this program have gone on to be: attorneys, legislative staff, lobbyists, state agency directors, university administrators, FBI agents, and more!
This public university is located in Muncie, IN; a city with a population of just over 69,000. Ball State is home to nearly 22,000 students and offers eight academic colleges and top-of-the-line research facilities for students to take advantage of. Interested in the law and public policy? Ball State’s Department of Political Science now offers a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies.
Students in this program must complete an internship, working with practicing attorneys and paralegals. You must also choose from one of two concentrations: business law or public law. Required courses may include:
Law and Economics
American Constitutional Law
Advanced Legal Research and Writing
Advanced Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Four out of every five Ball State students receive some type of financial aid. Many graduates also receive partial or full scholarships to go on to law school. Past alumni have gone on to attend Indiana University, Notre Dame, and the University of Dayton, to name a few.
Ball State has earned top rankings from U.S. News and World Report each of the six years the publication has ranked online programs. Current rankings include sixteenth Best Online MBA and ninth Best Online Graduate Education programs for veterans. Ball State has also been ranked for their excellent online bachelor’s degrees and graduate nursing program.
This private not-for-profit university is located in La Verne, CA and has a total enrollment just shy of 5,000. The university is home to four colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business & Public Management, and the LaFetra College of Education. Now, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies at La Verne.
This legal studies program is approved by the American Bar Association. Bachelor’s students must complete 128 semester-units. Degree requirements may include:
Nine core courses and three elective courses
Students older than 25 may apply through Adult Accelerated Programs at La Verne
All legal studies courses are taught in the evening and classes meet once per week. Students will have access to the University of La Verne College of Law Library, as well as the university’s Wilson Library. Prospective students may also be interested in La Verne’s Certificate in Paralegal Studies.
La Verne students with the bachelor’s degree will meet the California definition of a paralegal upon graduating. Not only that, but the university offers many resources to assist with job placement. An online job board is available to all students and graduates. Plus, the university offers cover letter writing assistance, as well as mock interviews to prepare graduates.
Founded in 1848, UW-Madison is the oldest and largest public university in the state of Wisconsin. UW-Madison’s College of Letters and Science now offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies. The degree is offered through the university’s Center for Law, Society, and Justice.
The curriculum in this legal studies program is designed around five main themes:
Processes of Legal Order and Disorder
Law and Social Forces
Law and Culture
Law and Theory
Students must complete a total of 120 credit-hours, including at least 11 courses within the major. Rather than working on a thesis, undergraduate students can opt to take two additional courses from the five theme groups instead. A thesis in legal studies requires much preparation, so be sure to make your decision in advance.
UW Madison graduates will be well-versed in the dynamics of legal ideas and ideologies, as well as the relevance of law within the humanities and social sciences. The university was ranked the tenth Best Public College by U.S. News and World Report. It’s no wonder so many folks choose UW Madison for their studies.
Webster is a private, nonprofit university that was founded in 1915. Located in Webster Groves, MO, Webster also has campuses across Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as many online programs. This international university is now home to one of the best legal studies programs in the nation. Check out their bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies below.
Offered through Webster’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Legal Studies, this program introduces both theoretical and practical aspects of law. Students must complete a minimum of 128 credit-hours. Required courses may include:
Corporations and Business Organizations
Methods of Legal Research and Writing
Advanced Paralegal Procedures
Computerized Legal Research
With campuses abroad and more than 80 student clubs and organizations, there are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved outside of the classroom as well. In fact, preparing students for global citizenship is one of the most important values of this university.
Webster University was ranked fifteenth in Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report. The university also ranked well among the nation’s Best Regional Universities in the Midwest, as well as the Best Value Schools.
Gannon University is a private, Catholic institution founded in 1925 and is located Erie, PA. Home to mascot Drake the Golden Knight, as well as just over 3,000 students, Gannon offers over 50 areas of study. Interested in the law and public policy? Check out Gannon’s comprehensive legal studies/paralegal program.
This unique program is made up of a liberal core with a strong basis of legal specialty courses. Required courses may include:
Public Records Research and Title Abstracts
Legal Research and Writing
Computers in the Law
An internship is also required of all legal studies/paralegal students. You will experience the work of a paralegal or attorney in settings that include: banks, corporations, courts, law firms, real estate offices, etc. Your internship will provide you with the skills and confidence necessary to succeed after graduation.
Gannon University is consistently ranked among the top schools in the nation. In fact, U.S. News and World Report named Gannon the tenth Best Value School, as well as the forty-eighth Best Regional University in the North. With small class sizes and over 75 campus clubs, it’s no wonder so many students choose Gannon.
This private university is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL and is home to over 16,000 students. U.S. News and World Report named Keiser one of the Best Regional Universities in the South, as well as one of the Best Value Schools in the nation. Now, interested students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies.
This program will prepare graduates for a career in a law-related field, as well as the pursuit of a law degree. Students must earn 120 credit-hours to receive their degree. Required courses may include:
Law Office Technology
Advanced Civil Litigation
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Legal Interviewing and Investigation
In addition, all students must also complete a three-credit Legal Studies Capstone Project.
Keiser University is home to fourteen campuses, including an off-campus site within the State of Florida. Keiser also has off-campus sites in China and Nicaragua. Students here are also very community-driven; participation in acts of service through involvement with various constituencies is very common at Keiser.
Founded in 1910 and located in Hattiesburg, MS, the University of Southern Mississippi has a total enrollment of nearly 15,000. With students representing over 70 foreign countries and all regions of the United States, this school is abuzz with activity. For those interested in the law, USM is a great option. In fact, the university now offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies.
Offered through USM’s College of Arts and Letters, this legal studies program offers a choice from one of two concentrations: the Pre-Law track or the Legal Studies track. No matter your choice, required courses may include:
Commercial Skills for Paralegals
Special Problems in Legal Studies
Law Office Computing and Management
Title Searching and Loan Document Preparation
Though it’s not a requirement, many legal studies students participate in an internship during their undergraduate studies. The department also helps to connect current students and alumni with job opportunities within the field.
NFL quarterback Brett Favre is a notable Southern Miss alumni. In fact, football games are a big deal on campus, kicking off with Friday Night at the Fountain, a pep rally the night before each home game, and the Eagle Walk parade a few hours before each match. If sports aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Ole Miss has more than 280 student organizations for you to get involved in!
Dominican University was founded in 1901 as St. Clara College, a women’s college in Wisconsin. Today, the coeducational university offers both bachelor’s and master’s programs, as well as a PhD in library and information science. The university has an abundance of student organizations and study abroad opportunities. Interested in the law? Learn more about DU’s Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies program below!
This fully-online legal studies program is perfect for those looking for a more flexible degree program. In fact, this accelerated program can be completed full-time in just 20 months. Students may choose up to two of the following concentrations:
Law and Social Justice
Students in this program will benefit from small classes and personal attention from professors and advisors. Plus, you’ll be learning from folks with plenty of real-world experience.
Dominican is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top-tier Midwest university. It’s no wonder so many choose to enroll in their online programs. If you’ve never taken an online course, don’t worry. Each week, you’ll be expected to read about 100 pages, take a short online quiz, engage in online discussions with classmates and your instructor, and complete a written assignment. It’s convenient, affordable, challenging, and rewarding!
Founded in 1947, the University of Maryland – University College is one of the largest colleges on this list with a total enrollment of over 80,000 students. With more than 30 bachelor’s degrees and undergraduate certificates available, it’s no wonder so many choose to start their careers here. In fact, the university now offers a comprehensive online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies.
This 120-credit degree program tuition is just $294 per credit. Required courses may include:
Criminal Law and Procedures
Techniques of Legal Research
Graduates will be equipped to conduct legal analysis, write and draft legal documents, and perform research in the legal environment. There are also ample opportunities to learn outside of the classroom as well. The university has a Lambda Epsilon Chi chapter; it’s the national honor society founded by the American Association for Paralegal Education.
The University of Maryland offers more than 100 scholarships, financial aid, and interest-free monthly payment plans for those who qualify. The Completion Scholarship is one of the university’s featured scholarships that serves to help Maryland community college graduates reduce the in-state rate by $100 per credit.
Home to just over 4,000 students, Stevenson University is located in Pikesville, MD. Founded in 1947, the university now offers more than 30 undergraduate areas of study. U.S. News and World Report named Stevenson one of the Best Regional Universities in the North, as well as one of the Best Value Schools in the nation. Interested in the law? Check out Stevenson’s Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies.
This program is ideal for those hoping to pursue law school or a career as a paralegal. Required courses may include:
American Government: Political Institutions and Procedures
Civil Litigation and Pleading
Business Organizations Law
Law Office Technology
Estates and Trusts
All students must also complete an internship and a capstone to receive their degrees.
Stevenson University is home to the only ABA-approved bachelor’s degree paralegal program in Maryland. The university also offers a BS/MS option for those majoring in legal studies who also wish to work toward a master’s degree. Students may earn their master’s degree in as little as one year after their bachelor’s degree. There are also a variety of related minors that you may wish to pursue in conjunction with the legal studies major.