A legal studies degree can lead directly to a job as a paralegal, criminal investigator, or law enforcement officer. It can also be the first step to a career as a lawyer.
No matter where you plan to go in the legal profession, you need an outstanding bachelor’s program to help you get there. The schools on our list combine the flexibility and convenience of online learning with uncompromising academic excellence.
What kind of legal studies degree should you get?
When many people think of college, they still think of living in dorms and sitting in lecture halls. For generations, that’s been the model of higher education.
A traditional on-campus program is a terrific way to earn a bachelor’s degree – if you’ve recently graduated from high school. If you’re a returning student with some previous college credit, a mid-career professional looking to transition into a new field, or an adult with a family of your own, an online program may be a better fit.
Visit our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities for more top-tier options in distance education.
How much money do people make with a legal studies degree?
After graduation, you may choose to get a job right away. As a paralegal, you can expect a median pay of $50,410 per year, or approximately $24.24 per hour. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides more details on working as a paralegal.)
On the other hand, you may use a bachelor’s degree in legal studies as a springboard into law school. If you choose to continue onto a professional law degree and become a licensed attorney, your earning potential is much higher. The median pay for lawyers is $119,250 per year.
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies?
A baccalaureate degree in legal studies will open up a number of possible career paths.
While you’ll need years of additional schooling to become a practicing lawyer, you’ll be qualified for many roles in law-related fields as soon as you graduate with your bachelor’s degree. Here are some of the most common job titles for alumni of legal studies programs:
- Paralegal in a law firm, corporation, or governmental agency
- Court clerk
- Law enforcement officer
- Youth correctional officer
- Criminal investigator
What are the requirements for a degree in legal studies?
To be successful in a law-related career, you’ll need strong skills in communication, logic and reasoning, and analytical thinking. Students who show an aptitude in these areas will likely be the most successful in a legal studies program.
Be sure to look closely at the admissions requirements for the schools where you plan to apply. Many programs have a minimum GPA requirement, which could range from 2.0 all the way up to 3.25 and above for the most competitive programs. Some universities also require a minimum score on the ACT or the SAT.
What are the best online legal studies degrees?
To create our rankings, our data analysts look at factors such as student return on investment (as determined by tuition costs and early career salaries), institutional reputation, and student satisfaction.
Data is pulled from top-quality sources such as U.S. News & World Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and individual college websites. We also perform a metadata analysis using student review sites like Cappex and RateMyProfessor.
For this particular ranking, we examined Legal Studies programs as well as programs in closely related fields, such as Criminal Justice and Paralegal Studies.
Here are the results of our investigation. We hope this list of the best online legal studies degrees helps you take the next step in your academic career.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $24,794
Liberty University is a private, Christian university founded in 1971. The total student body numbers more than 110,000, including over 30,000 military students and almost 1,000 international students. While the main campus of Liberty is located in Lynchburg, VA, the university also offers an extensive array of fully online programs. These flexible online programs include bachelor’s degrees in Paralegal Studies, Criminal Justice, Pre-Law, and many other academic disciplines.
Through the Helms School of Government, students at Liberty can earn a fully online Bachelor of Science in Law and Policy: Pre-Law. This program will provide a foundation in public policy and law practice, presented through a biblical worldview. Graduates of the program will be prepared to sit for the Law School Admission Test. Core coursework will provide training in the following key areas:
- American Constitutional History and Law
- Criminal Law
- Legal Research and Writing
- Advanced Logic and Legal Reasoning
The courses for this degree are offered in an accelerated 8-week format. Eight start dates are available throughout the year. Liberty University offers a number of benefits to service members, veterans, military spouses, and Department of Defense employees, including tuition discounts and potential college credit for military training.
American Public University
College Choice Score: 96.21
Average Net Price: $11,470
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the bachelor’s degree programs at American Public University among the best nationwide for six consecutive years. A fully online university, APU provides unmatched flexibility: Classes start every month and are entirely asynchronous, meaning that students can log into class whenever their schedule allows. The Legal Studies program at APU prepares students to understand and analyze the processes and procedures of 21st-century legal practice.
This Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies program is designed for students who are preparing to attend law school. However, the degree is also suitable for students who plan to pursue careers as paralegals, law enforcement officers, investigators, or another role within the legal system. Students in this program will be required to take courses such as:
- Introduction to the Courts
- Civil Practice and Procedure
- Administrative Law and Policy
- Family Law
Students enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to customize their degree path with 24 credit-hours in legal studies elective courses. Available electives include Environmental Policy, Regulation, and Law; Cyberlaw and Privacy in a Digital Age; and Immigration Law and Policy. As of the 2018 academic year, the cost per credit-hour for this program is $270 (or $250 with a military grant).
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 95.90
Average Net Price: $15,533
As an emerging preeminent research university, the University of Central Florida has been ranked by both Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Forbes as a best-value school. At UCF, students can pursue more than 215 degree programs through 13 colleges. The College of Health and Public Affairs is home to 193 full-time faculty members and over 8,200 undergraduate students.
Presented by the College of Health and Public Affairs, the online Legal Studies program is available as either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. To earn the BA degree, students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Candidates for both the BS degree and the BA degree will be expected to take the following courses:
- Law and the Legal System
- Civil Practice and Procedure
- Property and Real Estate Law
- Professional Ethics and Liability
This program provides an array of specialization options, including Sports and Entertainment Law, Estates and Property Law, Comparative and International Law, and many more. The degree is also available through a general track for students who don’t wish to choose a specialization. High-achieving students may be eligible for the Honors program. Honors students will conduct research in an area of interest, then prepare and defend a written thesis.
College Choice Score: 95.49
Average Net Price: $18,219
Dominican University was named by U.S. News & World Report to nineteenth place among all master’s-level universities in the Midwest. Dominican was founded in 1901 in Sinsinawa, WI before moving to its current location in River Forest, IL, a few minutes away from downtown Chicago. After more than a century of growth and change, Dominican retains a strong commitment to career-enhancing education and Roman Catholic values. Legal Studies majors at Dominican can choose to take classes either online or on campus.
The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies allows students to choose concentrations in up to two areas. Numerous areas of concentration are available, including Disability Advocacy, Law and Social Justice, Sustainability Studies, and several more. Regardless of the concentration (or concentrations) that a student chooses, the following coursework will be required:
- The American Legal System
- Religion and the Law
- Law and Economics
- Philosophical Basis of the Law
Through this program, students can prepare for paralegal certification, law school, or graduate school in a related discipline. Dominican offers a traditional campus program leading to a BA in Criminology. On-campus students also have the option of a 6-year, dual-degree program leading to both a BA degree and a Juris Doctor degree.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 94.77
Average Net Price: $14,761
According to the New York Times, the University of Florida ranks sixth nationwide among universities doing the most to help low-income students get a college education. As a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, UF has facilities in all 67 counties in Florida. UF Online, the university’s distance learning division, offers undergraduate degrees in Environmental Management, Fire and Emergency Services, Criminology, and many other in-demand fields.
The online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology prepares students for careers as a court clerk, criminal investigator, youth correctional officer, and many other roles in the legal system. This program explores criminal justice systems and law from a multidisciplinary, liberal-arts perspective. Students will have the opportunity to customize their degree path with 18 credit-hours of criminology electives. All Criminology majors will complete these four core courses:
- Advanced Principles of Criminal Justice
- Research Methods in Criminology
- Criminological Theory
- Law and Society
To fulfill their elective requirements, students may take classes such as Media and Crime, Juvenile Justice, and Introduction to Law Enforcement. Students with a major in Criminology will be required to pass a department exit examination. This exam will cover critical topics such as crime, criminal justice, law and society, and criminological theory.
College Choice Score: 93.68
Average Net Price: $32,515
The community of Tulane University includes 8,400 undergraduate students and 5,100 graduate and professional students. Tulane is one of just 62 schools in North America to be selected for membership in the elite Association of American Universities, a consortium of top-ranked research institutions. The General Legal Studies degree at Tulane is ideal for students who plan to pursue law school, or who wish to move directly into a legal career in an administrative capacity.
The Bachelor of Arts in General Legal Studies from Tulane incorporates the requirements for a certificate in Paralegal Studies. This program has held approval from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Paralegals since 1981, making it the region’s oldest ABA-approved program. Coursework for this degree-plus-certificate program may include:
- Computers in the Law Firm
- Business and Corporate Practice
- Legal Interviewing and Investigation
- Social Security Disability Law
Coursework for this program is available online as well as through in-person evening classes. At least four courses will need to be taken either in-person or through synchronous (real-time) transmission. Regardless of the format, all classes are taught by practicing attorneys and paralegals. The practicum course in this program incorporates a 100-hour internship in a law office.
College Choice Score: 93.37
Average Net Price: $6,349
Bellevue University is a nonprofit institution focused on providing highly accessible, career-focused education. The university’s main campus is in Bellevue, NE, while additional campuses are located in three more states (Washington, Iowa, and Idaho). Fully online degree programs are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The dynamic Legal Studies program integrates coursework in law and a broad array of related fields, such as political science, public administration, economics, and management.
Students can choose to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies fully online or through face-to-face classes. The curriculum for this degree features 36 credit-hours of general education coursework, 51 credit-hours of elective coursework, and 40 credit-hours within the Legal Studies major. Classes within the 40-credit core include:
- The American Criminal and Civil Legal Systems
- Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Law
- Judicial and Administrative Practices: Civil and Criminal Procedure
- Legal Applications for Contemporary American Business and Social Organizations
This program provides students with the opportunity to visit government offices, experience shareholder or corporate board meetings, attend legislative sessions, and engage with other real-world applications of law. For the 2018-2019 academic year, the cost for this degree is $415 per credit-hour. This rate is the same for both online and on-campus courses.
Purdue University Global
College Choice Score: 91.67
Average Net Price: $18,462
Designed to serve the unique needs of working adults, the degree programs of Purdue University Global are flexible, innovative, and industry-relevant. As part of the esteemed Purdue University system, Purdue Global offers top-tier academic programs taught by nationally renowned faculty members. According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Purdue Global is one of the nation’s largest providers of online legal studies programs by number of degrees conferred.
Purdue Global’s Bachelor of Science in Legal Support and Services will prepare graduates to work in law firms, corporations, insurance firms, consulting firms, and health care institutions. Students will have regular opportunities to participate in live seminars, discussions boards, and one-on-one interactions with faculty members. This degree path includes required courses such as:
- Introduction to American Jurisprudence
- Advanced Legal Research and Writing
- Business Law
- Ethics and the Legal Environment
The Legal Support and Services program offers an optional concentration in Paralegal Studies. This concentration features coursework in litigation, criminal law, and administrative law. While earning their bachelor’s degree, students in the Legal Support and Services program can simultaneously work toward a Master of Public Administration, Master of Science in Legal Studies, Master of Science in Human Services, or Master of Science in Psychology.
College Choice Score: 89.59
Average Net Price: $8,325
Peirce College has been a pioneer in distance learning since the days of dial-up. The college was first founded in 1865 to offer practical education for returning soldiers after the Civil War. More than 130 years later, Peirce offered its first fully online degree in 2000. Today, the college continues its tradition of accessible, career-centric education with an outstanding Legal Studies in Business program.
The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies in Business is a degree completion program. It is intended for students who have already earned at least 45 college credits. Coursework for this degree is available on the Philadelphia campus, fully online, or through a combination of both formats. Students pursuing this degree will take courses such as:
- Legal Research for Legal Studies in Business Majors
- Accounting for Non-Financial Managers
- Human Resource Management
- Applied Management Concepts
Students may transfer up to 90 credits from another accredited institution toward their Peirce degree. Graduates of the Legal Studies in Business program may go on to law school, or directly into careers in regulation, compliance, research analytics, and corporate practice. Peirce also offers a BS in Criminal Justice as well as a BS in Paralegal Studies. This is the only American Bar Association-approved bachelor’s paralegal degree program in the Philadelphia area.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 88.92
Average Net Price: $12,981
Times Higher Education ranks Arizona State University among the top 1 percent of the most prestigious universities in the world. ASU confers more than 20,000 degrees annually, adding to a network of 500,000 alumni all over the world. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU has a student body of 20,000 and offers 89 undergraduate majors, including a highly acclaimed program in Justice Studies.
ASU’s Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies prepares students to create meaningful change through law, policy, and social justice. This program highlights five key areas: citizenship, migration, and human rights; globalization, sustainability, and economic justice; law, policy, and social change; media, technology, and culture; and social identities and communities. Specific course titles for this degree may include:
- Research in Justice Studies
- Inequality, Economy, and Justice
- Statistical Analysis for Justice Studies
- Social Protest, Conflict, and Change
Each class in the online Justice Studies program lasts seven and a half weeks. This degree program prepares graduates to pursue careers in human welfare and social work, law enforcement, advocacy, and other fields within the legal system. The National Science Foundation ranks ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences among the top 20 nationwide for humanities research.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
College Choice Score: 88.77
Average Net Price: $18,348
As a national research university, the University of Massachusetts Lowell serves a diverse community of over 17,000 students. UMass Lowell is a comprehensive institution, offering more than 100 undergraduate majors, 40 master’s degree programs, and 30 doctoral degree programs. Presented by the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Bachelor of Liberal Arts is an ideal program for students seeking an interdisciplinary undergraduate experience.
Candidates for the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree will choose two concentrations to customize their degree path. Concentrations are available in Art History, Economics, English, Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Legal Studies. Students will take six courses from a number of approved options within each of their two concentrations. For the Legal Studies concentration, available coursework includes:
- Corporate and Property Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Women and the Law
- Legal Aspects of Cyberspace
Many of the courses in the Legal Studies concentration will provide the necessary foundation for graduate-level law school coursework. The Bachelor of Liberal Arts program is available fully online or through a combination of online and face-to-face courses. Online students at UMass Lowell have access to a number of excellent support services, including 24/7 technical support.
College Choice Score: 87.97
Average Net Price: $16,804
Founded in 1826, Mississippi College is the state’s oldest institution of higher learning. The college is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and offers faith-based undergraduate education in more than 80 fields of study. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mississippi College at #12 among the Best Value Schools in the South. Home to a highly respected law school, MC offers an ideal launch pad for aspiring legal assistants.
The esteemed Department of History and Political Science at Mississippi College presents an online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies. This program will prepare graduates to work in a number of settings, including private law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments. Required coursework for this degree includes:
- Legal Research and Bibliography
- Real Property Law
- Wills and Estates
- Critical Thinking and the Law
Students in this program will have the opportunity to complete an internship. During the internship, students will develop their skills under the supervision of practicing attorneys. Alumni of the Paralegal Studies program have secured positions in the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the US Navy, and many other local and national organizations. MC also offers fully online programs leading to a BS in Loss Prevention and a BS in Homeland Security.
College Choice Score: 87.09
Average Net Price: $18,067
Serving more than 14,000 students, Rowan University is considered by U.S. News & World Report to be among the best public universities in the North. Although its main campus is located in Glassboro, NJ, Rowan reaches students all over the nation with its extensive distance learning programs. At the undergraduate level, online programs are available in highly marketable fields such as Construction Management, Psychology, and Law and Justice.
The online Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice is a degree completion program featuring 60 credit-hours. Students will need to have completed their lower-division coursework before beginning this program. The degree path is designed to be completed in four to five consecutive semesters of full-time study. The curriculum features required courses such as:
- Law and Human Rights
- Introduction to Juvenile Justice
- Theories of Crime and Criminality
- Sentencing and the Rights of the Convicted
A traditional on-campus program leading to a BA in Law and Justice is also available. With approximately 500 enrolled students, the Department of Law and Justice Studies is the largest department in Rowan’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Rowan also offers an MA in Criminal Justice through a fully online program.
College Choice Score: 87.05
Average Net Price: $24,377
Offering nearly 100 academic programs, Hampton University is a private university with a rich heritage as a progressive institution. As one of the top historically black universities in the nation, Hampton serves a tightly knit community of 4,600 students. The Paralegal program at Hampton is designed to combine a broad foundation in the liberal arts with specialized, practical training through legal coursework.
Through Hampton Online, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies. This program is ideal both for students preparing to enter the paralegal field and for practicing paralegals to gain new credentials. Students will also be prepared to pursue law school after earning this degree. Required coursework for Paralegal Studies majors includes:
- Torts and Personal Injury
- Litigation and Trial Practice
- Wills, Trusts, and Estates
- Introduction to Administrative Law
All students in this program will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on legal internships, designed to develop the student’s skills and increase their employability. In addition to law firms, graduates may find work in governmental agencies, professional and trade associations, banks, real estate agencies, and other public and private organizations. Hampton also offers an online certificate in Paralegal Studies and an online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.
College Choice Score: 86.96
Average Net Price: $12,360
The academic programs at Brandman University are designed for maximum convenience and flexibility. With more than 25 campus locations throughout California and Washington, the university presents more than 80 career-centric degree options. Brandman’s Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies offers two tracks: the Paralegal Profession concentration and the Business Law concentration.
The Paralegal Profession concentration and the Business Law concentration each require 12 credit-hours in specialized courses. Students who don’t wish to pursue one of those concentrations can take 12 credit-hours in approved legal studies electives. Both concentrations share the same 45-credit-hour core. Coursework within the Legal Studies required core includes:
- White Collar Crime
- Legal Research and Writing
- Interviewing, Negotiation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Ethics in a Legal Environment
For students who choose not to pursue one of the established concentrations, electives are available in topics such as Victim Advocacy, Intercultural Communication, and Youth At Risk. While this degree is available fully online, students also have the option of enrolling in hybrid classes on more than 20 campuses. Undergraduate students at Brandman can also choose to earn a minor in Legal Studies. The minor requires 18 credit-hours. A BA in Criminal Justice is also available through hybrid and online formats.
College Choice Score: 83.77
Average Net Price: $26,328
As one of Florida’s largest independent universities, Keiser University has a student body of more than 20,000. Keiser maintains active advisory boards that are composed of faculty members, industry experts, and community leaders. These boards regularly review the curriculum and facilities of each degree program, ensuring that students will graduate ready to meet the current challenges of their industry. This is especially valuable to students who plan to work in the constantly evolving field of legal studies.
The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies prepares graduates both to work as legal assistants and to enter law school. This dynamic degree program can also prepare students for careers in law-related fields, such as business, government, and criminal justice. The degree requires a total of 120 credit-hours. Upper-division coursework for students in this program will include:
- Criminal Procedure
- Legal Interviewing and Investigation
- Advanced Civil Litigation
- Law Office Technology
Keiser offers a unique curriculum model for its degree programs. Each class lasts just four weeks. Students enroll in only one class at a time and take a final exam before moving onto the next class. Each year, the university awards almost $44 million in merit- and need-based scholarships to its students.
College Choice Score: 83.52
Average Net Price: $12,554
With campuses all over the state, Baker College is Michigan’s largest independent, not-for-profit college. Baker has a strong reputation for offering relevant, practical degree programs in business, health, human services, and technical fields. The college has been recognized by the Online Learning Consortium, the leading professional organization in digital learning, with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement. Baker’s acclaimed online programs include degrees in Psychology, Information Technology and Security, and Criminal Justice.
Baker’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice offers concentrations in Law Enforcement and in Criminal Justice Studies. Both concentrations are also available through online Associate of Applied Science programs. For the bachelor’s degree, the Criminal Justice program requires 120 credit-hours, including 78 credit-hours in major-specific courses and 12 credit-hours within the concentration. Coursework in the 78-credit-hour core includes:
- Drugs, Crime, and Society
- Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
- Evidence Collection and Procedures
- Organizational Leadership in Criminal Justice
The Law Enforcement concentration allows students to learn from veteran law officers. Graduates of this track will be certified police officers. The Criminal Justice Studies concentration prepares students for careers in correctional facilities, law enforcement, and federal, state, or local courts. On-campus students at Baker may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies.
University of Maryland University College
College Choice Score: 81.71
Average Net Price: $12,483
The University of Maryland University College is a globally engaged institution and a member of the University System of Maryland. UMUC has regional locations throughout Maryland, DC, and Virginia, and more than 140 locations worldwide for military-affiliated students. Graduates of the Legal Studies program will be well-prepared to move on to law school or to jump directly into a career in legal advocacy, legal writing, and legal case review.
The curriculum for UMUC’s Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and leading scholars. This program will provide students with an understanding of the organization, function, and processes of law-making institutions. The Legal Studies program requires courses such as:
- Techniques of Legal Research
- Advanced Legal Writing
- Domestic Relations
- Criminal Law and Procedures
While all of the courses for this degree are available online, certain courses may also be available through a hybrid format. Students may transfer in up to 90 credit-hours from another institution toward this degree. UMUC also offers online bachelor’s degree programs in Criminal Justice and in Investigative Forensics. The Military Times placed UMUC at number one nationwide in a 2018 ranking of the Best Online and Nontraditional Schools.
Mississippi University for Women
College Choice Score: 81.30
Average Net Price: $10,018
Established in 1884, Mississippi University for Women was the first public college for women in the United States. The W has provided outstanding educational opportunities to both women and men for the past 30 years. The most popular undergraduate majors at MUW include Public Health Education, Psychology, and Business Administration.
At the W, students can earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Legal Administration. This is a 2+2 program, meaning that students will complete two years of study at a community college and then complete the last two years of their degree fully online. A minor in Legal Studies is also available through an online track. To earn the BAS in Legal Administration, students will complete courses such as:
- Legal Environment of Business
- Legal Bibliography and Research
- Statistical Analysis for Business
- Special Topics in Paralegal Studies
To pursue the BAS in Legal Administration, students should earn an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, Business Administration, General Studies, or another discipline that is applicable to the legal field. Students who choose a community college with distance learning options may be able to complete both their lower- and upper-division coursework 100 percent online.
California University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 81.23
Average Net Price: $17,819
Offering over 100 undergraduate majors and 50 graduate programs, California University of Pennsylvania is a comprehensive public university and a member institution of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The Princeton Review has ranked Cal U among the best schools in the Northeast for each of the past 13 years. The Legal Studies program exemplifies the world-class academics and high level of student support that the university is known for.
The program at Cal U leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence with a concentration in Legal Studies. This is a degree completion program and is intended for students who have earned at least 40 credit-hours, or who already hold an associate’s degree. This self-paced program can be completed in eight terms of full-time study. Students in this program may take classes such as:
- Constitutional Law for Paralegals
- Legal Research and Writing
- Litigation and Trial Evidence
- Law, Business, and the Workplace
Graduates of this program go on to careers as paralegals, legal assistants, court system support personnel, real estate practitioners, law enforcement professionals, and more. The online BA in Jurisprudence is also available with a concentration in Land Management. Cal U has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 81.17
Average Net Price: $34,984
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Southern New Hampshire University as the Most Innovative University in the North. SNHU has an on-campus student community of roughy 3,000. Another 90,000 students are enrolled in the university’s extensive online programs. The Criminal Justice program at SNHU offers a suite of specialization options, allowing students to tailor their degree path to their desired career.
The online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice is available with concentrations in Corrections, Criminology, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Human Services, Legal Studies and Advocacy, and Police Administration and Operations. The degree is also available through a general studies track. Degree candidates will have the opportunity to take courses such as:
- Leadership and Management in Criminal Justice Organizations
- Effective Patrol and Community Policing
- Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
- The Victim and the Justice System
There are six 8-week terms for this course throughout the year. This versatile degree can lead to careers in an array of fields, including law enforcement, corrections systems, and social and community service. The 2018 tuition rate for SNHU’s online degree programs is $320 per credit-hour. US service members and the spouses of those on active duty will receive a 30 percent tuition discount.
College Choice Score: 79.32
Average Net Price: $22,377
Founded by veterans and dedicated to serving the unique needs of adult learners, National University is the largest private nonprofit university in San Diego. In addition to traditional programs on its 20-plus campuses in California and Nevada, National has also offered online degrees for more than two decades. The university presents practical, rigorous programs in healthcare, business, education, engineering, homeland security, and law and criminal justice.
National University offers a fully online program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law Studies. The program focuses on developing students’ verbal, critical thinking, and analytical skills in preparation for a career in the legal profession. This degree requires the completion of 180 quarter units. Students will have the opportunity to take elective coursework such as:
- Administrative Law for Business
- Comparative International Law
- Issues in Conflict Management
- Ethics and Neutrality
Students will have the opportunity to complete a Law School Portfolio Project for upper-division credit. In this course, students will learn strategies for taking the LSAT and prepare their dossier and personal statement for law school applications. Degree candidates may also complete a Pre-Law Senior Project. This capstone writing course will require students to produce a research document equivalent to an appellate brief.
William Woods University
College Choice Score: 78.74
Average Net Price: $22,611
Located in Fulton, MO, William Woods University is a small, private institution enrolling approximately 1,100 undergraduate students. William Woods is ranked among the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The university’s Paralegal Studies program has been a leader in the field for more than 40 years.
The Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies provides students with a strong foundation in substantive and procedural law, legal research and writing, law-related technology skills, and legal interviewing and investigation. After graduation, students may work as a paralegal in governmental agencies, law firms, or corporate legal departments. Graduates will also be qualified to serve as a legal administrator for a business, deputy court clerk, and investigator for accreditation associations. Coursework for the degree may include:
- Electronic Legal Research
- Evidence and Fact Gathering
- Administrative and Federal Procedure
- Probate and Estate Planning
Applicants to this program must have graduated in the top 50 percent of their high school class with a GPA of 2.50 or above. A minimum ACT score of 19, or a minimum SAT score of 900, is also required. Students who do not meet these qualifications may be accepted on a provisional basis. This program maintains membership in the American Association for Paralegal Education.
College Choice Score: 77.26
Average Net Price: $23,337
Draughon’s Practical Business College was founded in Savannah, GA in 1899. After a century of evolution and growth, that school became South University in 2001. Today, South University is a multi-campus institution with an array of distance learning options. The university is still true to its original mission of providing practical, relevant education. Students at South University can pursue an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies.
The BS in Legal Studies is available at campus locations in Cleveland, Columbia, Montgomery, Savannah, Virginia Beach, and West Palm Beach. It is also available through primarily online coursework. Students will be required to take at least four legal specialty courses in a traditional face-to-face format. Coursework for the Legal Studies major may include:
- Computers in the Legal Office
- Advanced Legal Research and Writing
- Litigation Support Management
- Contract Law for Paralegals
This degree program features an in-person, 120-hour supervised paralegal externship. Students may complete this requirement in a number of settings, including a private legal office, government agency, real estate or title company, bank, or corporate legal department. For students who wish to pursue graduate study, South University offers a fully online Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
College Choice Score: 76.82
Average Net Price: $19,017
As a private, nonprofit institution, Hodges University serves a diverse community of approximately 2,000 students. Hodges has garnered a reputation as a top school for adult students with full-time jobs and family obligations. This commitment to nontraditional learners is evident though flexible evening classes and substantial distance learning options. These highly regarded online programs can lead to bachelor’s degrees in Cybersecurity and Forensics, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies.
Students may pursue the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies fully online, or on campus through traditional and accelerated classroom formats. Presented by the Nichols School of Professional Studies, this program emphasizes digital privacy issues and electronically stored information (eDiscovery and eLitigation). The curriculum for the program features 120 credit-hours, including 48 credit-hours within the Legal Studies major. Core coursework for this degree will include:
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Legal Reasoning and Strategies
- Data Privacy and Social Media
- Advanced Legal Research and Writing
After earning this degree, students may choose to begin a career as a court clerk, legal assistant, or paralegal. Graduates will also be qualified to apply for law school, or to pursue other graduate study in a law- or business-related discipline. Hodges offers a fully online undergraduate certificate in eDiscovery and eLitigation.