Top Best Bachelor’s in Legal Studies Programs

Are you eyeing a future steeped in justice, advocacy, and the intricacies of the law? Earning a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies could be your launchpad. But with a plethora of programs out there, choosing the right fit can feel overwhelming. Fear not, future lawyers! This guide unveils the top-ranked Bachelor’s in Legal Studies programs, empowering you to make an informed decision and chart your legal path with confidence.

 

Best Legal Studies Programs

What Can I Do With a Legal Studies Degree?

A legal studies program offers various career paths, preparing students for law school or entry-level law-related professions. This interdisciplinary field combines subjects like sociology, criminology, history, political science, and philosophy. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies can expect law school preparation, internships, and job opportunities as mediators, court reporters, file clerks, paralegals, or legal assistants. Many entry-level positions require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. A legal studies degree demonstrates dedication to law, potentially giving graduates an advantage in non-lawyer legal roles. Students can also consider pursuing a law degree after gaining experience.

What Are the Requirements for a Legal Studies Program?

Legal studies programs typically require 120 credits and take four years to complete. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma, competitive GPA, and satisfactory test scores. Additional requirements may include a personal essay and recommendation letters. To graduate, students must fulfill all degree requirements and maintain a minimum GPA. Some programs may have additional requirements, such as a senior capstone, internship, or honors thesis. Prospective students should consult an advisor for specific program needs.

Courses in a Legal Studies Program

Legal studies degree programs aim to provide students with an understanding of law and the legal system in the United States. Students learn the abilities needed to support the functioning of this system. Through required courses, students gain knowledge of legal procedures and research skills necessary to find specific information related to legal cases, laws, or topics.

Some programs let students customize their elective courses to focus on a particular area of concentration. For example, students interested in criminal justice may take courses about criminal law, crime and society, and criminology.

The list below gives an overview of courses found in many legal studies programs, though not all programs offer these exact courses. This is a representative sample of typical courses.

Best Bachelor’s in Legal Studies Programs

 

Orlando, FL

Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

The University of Central Florida provides a bachelor’s degree program in legal studies to prepare students for law school or other legal professions. The faculty have law degrees from American Bar Association-approved law schools and experience practicing law. Students can pursue either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in legal studies, both offered on-campus and fully online.

The 120-credit legal studies program takes four years to finish. Students must take 33 credits in the major at UCF while maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA. Core courses include topics like the legal system, legal research, and writing. Electives cover tort law, criminal law, trial advocacy, law and emotion, and law and human behavior. Students also complete a capstone or internship.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED and satisfactory test scores.

UCF has regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

Keiser University offers a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, tailored for students aiming for careers in law or law-related domains. This program equips students with essential skills for working in law offices and highlights the influence of law on various fields. The 120-credit legal studies degree typically takes 3-4 years to complete. Coursework includes subjects like criminal law, contracts, civil litigation, torts, and family law. Keiser provides a Law Office Management concentration, preparing students for paralegal and law office manager roles.

To apply, candidates need to verify their high school graduation or GED completion. They can transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions, provided they achieved a “C” grade or higher in those courses. Students must complete the final 25% of their degree at Keiser University. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

3 University of South Florida

Tampa, FL

Bachelor’s with a Pre-Law track

The University of South Florida permits students of all undergraduate majors to take part in the pre-law program through the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies. The pre-law program does not provide a major, minor, or certificate. Rather, it consists of law-related courses that supplement any major for students planning to attend law school. Students have access to workshops, career counseling, LSAT prep, and help with law school applications.

The pre-law program does not mandate a set number of credits. Instead, students take law-related courses in subjects like law, politics, criminology, communication, and philosophy. Such courses cover topics including international and constitutional law, crime and justice in America, and legal writing. Pre-law advisors assist students with any questions about law school.

USF applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. The average admitted student’s GPA is between 4.1 and 4.4.

USF has regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

4 University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Bachelor of Arts in Law

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Arts in Law, focusing on foundational law concepts that enable students to develop logically sound arguments. This program provides a fast-track option, the 3+3 program, allowing qualified students to commence law school after their junior year. The university delivers the course both in-person and entirely online.

The 120-credit degree consists of 39 major credits and takes 3-4 years to complete. The curriculum includes core courses on subjects like the U.S. national government, procedural law, torts and contracts, and constitutional and administrative laws.

To be admitted as a first-year student, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They should be in their graduating class’s top 25% with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

The University of Arizona holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

 

5 Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Bachelor’s in Legal Studies

All undergrads at Northwestern University are eligible to enroll in the legal studies program. Because enrollment limitations for the competitive program are frequently exceeded, students are required to apply to the major. Students usually apply during their sophomore or junior year, with the application period opening in the winter quarter.

Twelve courses are needed for a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, comprising four required core courses and eight electives. Law and society, legal studies research methodologies, and two advanced research seminars are among the core courses. Students create a thesis as well as plan and carry out a unique socio-legal research project in the research seminars. A maximum of 25 students per seminar is allowed in order to provide individualized attention from instructors and teaching assistants.

A written sample and a current unofficial transcript are required of applicants. While grades in legal studies courses and allied fields are taken into consideration, the legal studies program does not have a minimum GPA requirement.

The Higher Learning Commission has granted Northwestern University regional accreditation.

 

6 University of Memphis

Memphis, TN

Bachelor’s in Legal Studies

The University of Memphis provides legal studies students with the skills to work in legal support roles or pursue further legal education. The University of Memphis has an accelerated program where students can earn a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years. The legal studies bachelor’s degree is offered fully online by the university.

The 120-credit legal studies bachelor’s degree includes 30 core credits in legal studies and takes 3-4 years to complete. The curriculum focuses on legal theory and application, research, law-related technology, and professional communication abilities. Core courses cover topics like legal ethics, contracts, commercial law, torts, and civil procedure.

All University of Memphis students complete a senior thesis or project in their final semester. For this project, students analyze a case file, conduct independent legal research, and draft a full trial brief.

The University of Memphis has regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

Longmeadow, MA

BS/BA in Legal Studies

Students who possess a strong foundation in legal communication, leadership, technology, and ethics are eligible to enroll in Bay Path University’s legal studies program. Graduates of the curriculum are prepared for jobs in law, graduate school, or legal practice. Graduates are eligible to apply for the advanced paralegal studies credential, which is recognized by the American Bar Association.

Bay Path offers a 3+3 curriculum in collaboration with the Western New England School of Law. After completing their junior year at Bay Path, students who meet the program’s requirements start their first year of law school at Western New England.

The 120-credit legal studies degree is earned over three to four years. Courses covered by students include tort law, business law, criminal process, and concepts of litigation. An internship is required of students as part of the program.

For admission requirements, prospective students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, like a General Education Development certificate. In the 2021 application cycle, applicants can provide unofficial transcripts and self-reported grades. Bay Path University has regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

 

8 University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

Bachelor of Arts in Law

The University at Buffalo has a bachelor of arts degree in law for students who want careers that require solid knowledge of the law. The program prepares students to continue their legal education in law school or other related graduate programs. Graduates qualify for careers supporting lawyers, such as paralegals and trial consultants. The University at Buffalo also offers an accelerated program to earn a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor degree.

The 120-credit bachelor’s degree includes 42 credits specifically in the law major and takes 3-4 years to complete. Core courses cover common law, public law, legal reasoning, legal research methods, and contract law. During their degree, students can participate in supervised undergraduate teaching and independent studies.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED. Competitive applicants have at least a 2.0 GPA and have completed two legal studies courses with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

The University at Buffalo has regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

9 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA

Bachelor’s in Legal Studies

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, focusing on the interplay between law, politics, and society. The program ensures a high interaction level with faculty members and peers, as most classes have a limit of 25 students. Graduates often proceed to law school or enter careers in court administration, law enforcement, or education.

The legal studies bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits and typically takes four years to complete. Students can specialize in areas such as comparative and international law, conflict resolution, constitutional law, and law and social justice. They also have the opportunity to participate in internships with courts, district attorney offices, private law firms, and public interest groups.

Applicants must fill out the common application and submit an essay. UMass Amherst follows a test-optional policy until Spring 2023.

The university is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

 

10 Wichita State University

Wichita, KS

Bachelor’s in Pre-Law

Wichita State University provides a pre-law program that offers a comprehensive liberal arts education along with courses that develop an understanding of the law. Since the program doesn’t award its own degree, students can major in any subject of their choice. Pre-law advisors guide students in selecting courses that help them acquire the necessary skills for law school, such as quantitative research and statistical techniques, communication skills, and logical reasoning.

A bachelor’s degree in a pre-law track requires 120 credits and usually takes four years to complete. Students may take courses like criminal law, courts and the judicial system, philosophy of law, and public law. They also benefit from internship opportunities and a cooperative education program, which offer practical, hands-on experience.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Candidates require a minimum 2.25 GPA and satisfactory test scores.

Wichita State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Why Choose A Legal Studies Degree Program?

Choosing a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies can offer several advantages, depending on your career aspirations and goals. Here are some key reasons why it might be the right path for you:

For aspiring lawyers:

  • Preparation for Law School: Develop critical thinking, analytical skills, and legal research expertise, crucial for excelling on the LSAT and succeeding in law school.
  • Strong Foundation: Gain a comprehensive understanding of legal principles, systems, and institutions, providing a solid base for further legal studies.
  • Competitive Edge: Stand out in the competitive law school application pool with a dedicated legal studies background.

For diverse legal careers:

  • Non-Lawyer Options: Explore a range of legal support roles like paralegal, legal assistant, or compliance specialist, without requiring a JD.
  • Transferable Skills: Equip yourself with valuable skills like communication, research, problem-solving, and critical writing, applicable in various legal and non-legal fields.
  • Career Flexibility: Open doors to diverse legal fields such as government agencies, corporations, non-profits, or legal advocacy organizations.

General benefits:

  • Intellectual Stimulation: Delve into the fascinating world of law, exploring complex legal issues and engaging in critical analysis.
  • Personal Growth: Develop strong research, analytical, and communication skills, valuable for personal and professional development.
  • Increased Earning Potential: Legal professions generally offer good earning potential, even in non-lawyer roles.

However, it’s important to consider your specific goals and interests. If you’re unsure whether a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies aligns with your career aspirations, it’s always helpful to research specific careers, talk to professionals in the field, and explore alternative paths.

Remember, choosing a major is a personal decision. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and select the option that best fits your unique aspirations and strengths.

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