Legal studies programs provide you with a solid foundation in legal theory and practice, introducing you to various fields of law. They are designed for students who want to learn about the law but not actually practice law. Earning an online legal studies degree allows you to fit college coursework into your busy life. The flexibility of being able to work school into your life rather than having to mold your life around a fixed course schedule on a traditional campus makes earning a degree possible, even with a hectic work schedule and family responsibilities. If you would like to enhance your current legal career or change careers, learn more about getting your legal studies degree online.
Legal Studies Degree Level Requirements
Available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level, legal studies programs are multi-disciplinary and incorporate a liberal arts orientation. People encounter legal issues in nearly all professions, and legal studies degrees allow them to explore the relationships between the law and a variety of disciplines.
The admissions requirements for undergraduate programs in legal studies typically include a high school diploma or GED and SAT/ACT scores. Associate’s last two years, whereas bachelor’s degrees are usually completed in four years.
Master’s and doctoral degree programs in legal studies generally require applicants to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum required GPA, relevant work experience, letters of recommendation, and minimum required scores on the GRE, LSAT or GMAT. A master’s degree is one to two years beyond the bachelor’s degree and doctoral programs can take from three to five years to complete.
Curriculum of Legal Studies Degree Online
Legal studies programs equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research and produce legal information and documents. Students learn about the law and how the legal system works, as well as the role that attorneys and legal assistants play. They also learn about the organization, function, and processes of lawmaking institutions in the United States and develop ethical decision-making skills. Courses that students in legal studies programs may be required to take include the following:
- Legal writing
- Legal ethics
- Introduction to law
- Legal research & analysis
- Criminal law
- Bankruptcy law
- American legal history
- Psychology and the law
- Constitutional law
Students can tailor their studies based on their professional objectives. Specializations that students majoring in legal studies may pursue include public law, corporate law, environmental law, comparative law, commercial and transactional law, and litigation and advocacy.
Career Paths for Legal Studies Majors
An associate’s degree in legal studies may qualify you for paralegal positions in the corporate, private or government sectors. Associate’s degrees in legal studies also serve as a stepping-stone to bachelor’s degree programs and provide graduates with the professional and academic skills needed to pursue law-related careers, law school or graduate-level study in another field.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in legal studies lead to a variety of professional careers that require legal skills, while doctoral degrees in legal studies prepare graduates for jobs in research, policy analysis, and teaching. Potential jobs that legal studies majors may pursue include the following:
- Legal consultant
- Court administrator
- Court clerk
- Legal assistant
- Litigation analyst
- Policy developer
- Union representative
- Public service administrator
As employers try to increase the efficiency and reduce the costs of legal services, they are likely to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18% from 2010 to 2020. In 2012, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual wage of $46,990.
Understanding the law and the legal system is essential in many fields. Earning an online legal studies degree is an important first step for anyone who wants to pursue law-related jobs. Explore legal studies programs on our site today to enhance your chances of success in an existing or future career.