Learning the Legal System with a Legal Studies Degree

Online bachelor's degrees in legal studies give learners foundational knowledge about the legal system in the United States. These programs are perfect for anyone interested in law enforcement, criminal justice, or legal careers. Students can work while earning their degrees online.

Although graduates cannot practice law as attorneys, they do have the skills to thrive as paralegals, law enforcement officers, court clerks, and mediators. Institutions that offer undergraduate legal studies degrees online are often some of the best pre-law schools, as these degrees help applicants stand out on law school applications.

Featured Legal Studies Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Legal Studies Programs

#1

University of Central Florida

School Information
Location Orlando, Florida
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida enables online learning across 47 online degree programs. Undergraduate students can choose from 19 online bachelor's programs. Students seeking competitive, customizable study relevant to the legal field will find the school's online bachelor's in legal studies to be an attractive option. Students in the legal studies program can complete classes at their own pace, with the option for part-time enrollment.

Throughout their coursework, students gain industry-relevant knowledge through general and advanced classes. Throughout their studies, learners gain knowledge and skills applicable to the legal field. Enrollees can work with their academic advisor to customize their degree through electives, minors, and concentrations.

A bachelor's degree enables graduates to access higher-paying jobs and more employment opportunities. The college notes a median salary of $39,900 for graduates six years after finishing their studies. Typically, undergraduate students pay $11,617 in tuition and fees each year. Students hoping to gain admission to the legal studies program should connect with the legal studies department to discuss admission requirements and application materials.

University of Central Florida at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 41,097

Total Online Programs: 47

Online Bachelor's Programs: 19

Admission Rate: 44%

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#2

University of California, Berkeley

School Information
Location Berkeley, California
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 93%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students looking for a flexible bachelor's level education should consider the University of California, Berkeley. A leader in online education, the public institution also offers fully online bachelor's degrees. Of these, the bachelor's in legal studies stands out as a competitive option for students interested in the legal field.

Students can modify their coursework to suit their interests and accommodate their schedule. Majors work with academic advisors to select classes that match their goals. Enrollees can also choose electives and pursue other educational opportunities relevant to their career goals.

Undergraduate students typically pay $41,196 in tuition. Distance learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs and other forms of aid. On average, degree-seekers are awarded $19,323 in financial aid.

University of California, Berkeley at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 2,342

Total Online Programs: 2

Admission Rate: 16%

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#3

University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Information
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public, four-year college offering a variety of competitive bachelor's programs. The institution boasts an online bachelor's in legal studies program supporting distance learners.

The legal studies program supports flexible study for learners from all walks of life. Students complete general and advanced coursework, with the opportunity to modify the curriculum. Enrollees can choose electives and minors to supplement their learning.

Undergraduate tuition at the school averages $36,333. The accredited institution connects students with internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships. Learners can expect to be awarded $9,754 in financial aid, on average.

University of Wisconsin-Madison at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 8,064

Total Online Programs: 4

Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Admission Rate: 54%

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#4

California University of Pennsylvania

School Information
Location California, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

California University of Pennsylvania supports 4,367 distance learners across 52 fully online programs. Undergraduate students can choose from nine online bachelor's programs. The bachelor of arts in legal studies is an attractive option for students seeking to advance in the legal field. The legal studies program allows for full- and part-time enrollment, making it a flexible choice for working professionals and busy students.

During the legal studies program, students complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the legal field. Enrollees also attend general education classes to gain a well-rounded education. Enrollees can customize their studies by working with their academic advisor to choose electives, minors, and degree concentrations.

With a bachelor's degree, graduates can increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The institution reports that graduates six years out from their degree earn a median salary of $35,100. When preparing for the cost of education, students should know that the average cost of tuition and fees after aid is $18,264. Prospective students can meet with the financial aid office to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements.

California University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 4,367

Total Online Programs: 52

Online Bachelor's Programs: 9

Admission Rate: 97%

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#5

SUNY Canton

School Information
Location Canton, New York
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners seeking competitive online study in law should consider SUNY Canton's online bachelor's degree in legal studies. Located in New York State, the college supports distancing learning across 12 remote bachelor's programs. The BS in legal studies is an attractive option for students seeking to advance in the legal field.

Law students can modify their coursework to suit their interests and accommodate their schedule. Learners work with their academic advisor to ensure their studies suit their academic and professional goals. Enrollees can modify coursework, choose electives, and pursue other educational opportunities relevant to their career goals.

Undergraduate students pay approximately $13,534 in tuition. Distance learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs and other forms of aid. The school averages financial aid award packages of $9,262 per student.

SUNY Canton at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 2,072

Total Online Programs: 18

Online Bachelor's Programs: 12

Admission Rate: 85%

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Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Legal Studies Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online legal studies degree programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation.

What Is Legal Studies?

The legal system is complex and requires many types of professionals. Legal studies degrees give students foundational knowledge of the many parts of the U.S. legal system. Students learn about policy-making, law enforcement, civil law, and legal ethics.

The legal system is complex and requires many types of professionals.

The legal studies major represents an intersection of social sciences, criminology, economics, and political science. This broad curriculum prepares graduates to fill many positions in the legal field, all of which have tangible impacts on the community. These professionals can work for governments, nonprofit organizations, or private law firms. PayScale reports that graduates with these degrees earn an average of $60,000 annually.

Because the legal field is so widespread, some schools offer specialization or certification options for legal studies students. These options allow students to understand a particular area of law and get noticed when they apply for work in those fields.

What Is a Bachelor's in Legal Studies?

As with most bachelor's programs, earning a bachelor's degree in law requires students to complete core courses across several disciplines in addition to classes in the major. While schools design their own curricula, learners who choose the legal studies major often take courses in legal ethics, constitutional law, legal writing, and negotiation.

Some universities offer concentrations or specializations like paralegal studies, pre-law, business law, and law office management. These concentrations build on skills in foundational legal courses to better prepare graduates for specific career paths. For example, learners who choose business law specializations may take courses in employment and transactional law. These courses prepare them to work in the legal departments of major corporations.

Some legal studies degrees require candidates to complete capstone courses in which they use their newfound skills to complete major projects.

How Long Does a Bachelor's in Legal Studies Take?

Typically, a student must complete 120 credits to earn a bachelor's degree in law or legal studies. For a full-time student, this process takes four years. However, many factors can impact how long it takes a learner to finish these programs.

Many online legal studies programs use accelerated terms that last four, six, or eight weeks. This schedule allows students to take just one course at a time and graduate quickly. Candidates with previous college experience may be able to transfer their credits and earn their degrees in less time than new students.

What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Legal Studies Degree?

Earning a bachelor's in legal studies is the first step to becoming a licensed attorney. After graduating with undergraduate law degrees, students may enroll in law programs, earn their Juris doctorates, pass bar exams, and become practicing attorneys. After gaining plenty of experience, some attorneys become judges.

While lawyers and judges are some of the most visible legal professionals, the field includes many other positions, including entry-level jobs. Paralegals provide research and writing support for licensed attorneys, and a bachelor's in legal studies can help graduates qualify for these positions. Some programs prepare learners to sit for paralegal certification exams, which help them stand out as applicants for paralegal positions.

Graduates can find employment opportunities in many other organizations, including law enforcement agencies, courtrooms, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Below are some positions that legal studies majors commonly fill after graduation.

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Bachelor's in Legal Studies Jobs

The most common positions for legal studies graduates include paralegal, mediator, and court reporter. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for these professions is projected to grow at above-average rates between 2018 and 2028.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Legal assistants and paralegals support attorneys in a variety of ways. Depending on the scope of the position and the needs of the supervising lawyers, these professionals might investigate case facts, research laws related to a case, and maintain files. The BLS reports the following median salary and employment outlook for paralegals and legal assistants.

Median Annual Salary

$50,940

Projected Growth Rate

12%

Legal assistants and paralegals who work for the federal government, finance organizations, or insurance companies earn above-average salaries.

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

These professionals carry out negotiations between two or more parties who are in legal disputes. They resolve issues by helping parties find mutual ground and come to an agreement without going to trial. They may specialize in divorce, custody disputes, civil lawsuits, or employment issues. The BLS reports stable growth in this sector.

Median Annual Salary

$62,270

Projected Growth Rate

8%

Court Reporters

These legal professionals provide word-for-word transcriptions of courtroom proceedings. They sit in courtrooms during trials, administrative hearings, and depositions, recording what happens on the record. Having bachelor's degrees in legal studies gives court reporters the understanding of terminology and proceedings that they need to perform well. Court reporters also need excellent typing and listening skills.

Median Annual Salary

$57,150

Projected Growth Rate

7%

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