By James Mielke

Published on August 13, 2021

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Whether a student wants to pursue a career in business or a life practicing law, a bachelor's degree in legal studies offers them academic training that prepares them for both the workforce and graduate-level study. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that legal occupations will grow by 5% from 2019-2029 — faster than the average projected growth for all occupations. As a result, pursuing a legal studies degree can lead to many career options.

Legal studies coursework covers topics related to the law, history, and philosophy, and this interdisciplinary academic track prepares students with widely utilized skills like research and writing. Additionally, many programs allow students to select concentrations or electives in subjects that interest them, such as environmental law, criminal law, and business law. The broad curriculum and flexible nature of distance coursework combine to provide an accessible degree for many online learners.

The following guide introduces undergraduate legal studies programs and spotlights what students learn, available degree concentrations, and common careers for legal studies graduates. Keep reading to learn more about this popular undergraduate option.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Legal Studies?

A bachelor's degree in legal studies provides students with skills and knowledge applicable to many different careers.

A bachelor's degree in legal studies may appeal to students interested in a variety of law and law enforcement careers. The BLS projects that the number of positions for lawyers, paralegals, and mediators will expand from 2019-2029. As a result, a legal studies degree may open up many solid career opportunities.

Many bachelor's programs in legal studies utilize an interdisciplinary curriculum, helping degree-seekers hone the theoretical, technical, and problem-solving skills needed in areas as disparate as real estate and nonprofit management.

Legal studies careers often require additional education or training beyond a bachelor's degree. Law enforcement officials require specialized training, lawyers go to law school, and many business professionals complete an MBA. While a bachelor's in legal studies does provide widely applicable skills, keep in mind that many specialized careers require continuing education.

What Will I Learn in a Legal Studies Bachelor's Program?

The curriculum of an online bachelor's in legal studies helps develop the research, writing, and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in this field. In addition to general education coursework, students tackle classes pulled from criminal justice, history, and philosophy.

Standard courses for this degree include an introduction to criminal justice, American constitutional law, and conflict resolution and negotiation. Along with lecture-based classes, some programs may require a hands-on practicum experience in a related professional environment.

Concentrations

Business Law

Business-minded degree-seekers can complete additional specialized coursework in classes like employment law, intellectual property, and transactional law.

Paralegal

Students interested in the paralegal profession often tackle specialized coursework, covering topics such as law practice management, contemporary legal issues, and electronic discovery and legal technology.

Pre-Law

Designed for learners preparing for law school, a pre-law legal studies concentration focuses on practical skills like legal research. Students take foundational courses like American constitutional law and criminal law, and they usually focus on preparing for the LSAT.

Criminal Justice

A criminal justice specialization may appeal to students interested in law enforcement careers. Typical classes cover topics like introduction to criminal justice, criminal justice technology, and policing in the United States.

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

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, students who earn an online bachelor's degree in legal studies can go on to pursue a variety of potential careers. While this degree often leads to work as a paralegal or lawyer, graduates commonly enter fields like business and law enforcement. Additionally, students develop important research, writing, and critical thinking skills that can benefit them in virtually any field.

A bachelor's degree in legal studies is also a useful academic option for learners preparing for graduate school. Whether the goal is law school or an MBA program, students often have the curricular flexibility needed to tailor their degree towards their specific career goals.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continuing Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Legal Studies?

Annual earnings vary from career to career, but legal studies graduates tend to enter professions that pay relatively well. According to the BLS, paralegals, police officers, and court reporters all boast median earnings that range from $50,000-$70,000 per year — significantly higher than the median annual wage for all workers. Additionally, a worker's earning potential can expand significantly if they earn a law degree. For example, lawyers earn a median annual income of over $125,000.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Legal Studies Programs

Is a bachelor's in legal studies worth it?

It can be, yes. A bachelor's degree in legal studies provides students with hard and soft skills that can be applied to many fields and careers. This degree is also an excellent choice for students interested in careers in law, law enforcement, and many business-related roles.

How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in legal studies?

The cost of a bachelor's degree in legal studies depends largely on the school. Private institutions typically cost more than public schools. Furthermore, in-state tuition at public colleges and universities is usually the least expensive option. Scholarships and grants — as well as work-study programs — can reduce out-of-pocket expenses dramatically.

Is legal studies a good major for law school?

If a student is confident that a legal career is in their future, a bachelor's degree in legal studies can be a great choice. Additionally, some legal studies programs offer a pre-law concentration, preparing students for law school and the LSAT exam. Institutions with a law school sometimes offer a pipeline between undergraduate and law school programs.

What bachelor degree do most lawyers have?

Lawyers have undergraduate degrees in many different fields, although common majors are history, business, and political science. Students with solid research, writing, and critical thinking skills often excel in law school.

What's the difference between a bachelor's in legal studies and a law degree?

The most significant distinction is that a law degree is a graduate-level degree. Law schools require students to hold a bachelor's degree before they can enroll. A bachelor's degree in legal studies is often a practical way for an undergraduate to prepare for law school.

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