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!

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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.

Top 10 Best Legal Studies Degrees

Rank School Location
1 University of California Berkeley Berkeley, CA
2 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
3 St. John's University Queens, NY
4 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
5 Tulane University New Orleans, LA
6 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
7 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
8 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
9 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
10 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL

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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!

If you’re considering an online education, we’ve got you covered. In fact, College Choice has ranked the Best Online Legal Studies Degrees for your convenience.

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!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of California Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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.

  2. Northwestern University
    Location

    Evanston, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    For those looking to major in legal studies, you will need to complete 12 courses. Requirements may include:

    • Law and Society
    • Law and Economics
    • International Finance
    • 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.

    Notables

    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!

  3. St. John's University
    Location

    Queens, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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)
    • Legal Ethics

    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.

    Notables

    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!

  4. University of Miami
    Location

    Coral Gables, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    Students in this program must complete a total of 120 credit-hours. Required courses may include:

    • Corporate Law
    • 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.

    Notables

    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.

  5. Tulane University
    Location

    New Orleans, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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
    • Paralegal Practicum
    • Legal Research
    • Legal Writing
    • Litigation

    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.

    Notables

    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.

  6. University of Pittsburgh
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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.

  7. Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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:

    • International Law
    • 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.

    Notables

    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.

  8. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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:

    • Space Law
    • 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.

    Notables

    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.

  9. The University of West Florida
    Location

    Pensacola, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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!

  10. University of Illinois at Springfield
    Location

    Springfield, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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.

    Notables

    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!

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