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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Legal Studies

Majors Overview March 8, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in legal studies and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Legal Studies

Schools offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) as well as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Legal Studies. Students enrolled in these programs complete coursework that discusses ways of creating laws and the ways in which society is governed by laws.

Coursework is predominantly historical and theoretical and covers the evolution of laws over the years, adjusting to technological, political, and social changes in society. Students also learn about how the U.S. legal system functions and the ways in which it affects the country’s governments, businesses, and economics. A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is used by many to prepare for law school.

Education Requirements

Incoming students are required to have writing and critical thinking skills, in addition to a strong grasp of philosophy and history. Those who have taken advanced high school courses in economics, history, composition, and English literature would particularly benefit.

Coursework

Coursework covers ideas that give shape to laws. Some schools allow specialization in a specific aspect of the legal field. These aspects may include the American judicial system, human rights, or legal philosophy. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Civil rights law
•Legal research and statistics
•Civil law
•Legal history
•Economics and the law
•Public policy
•Criminal law theory
•Constitutional law theory
•Comparative law

Career Choices

While graduates of the bachelor’s degree program in legal studies often opt for continuing education, many may also choose to enter the workforce by seeking jobs in the public or private sector or in law firms. Commonly chosen career options include:

•Legal research assistant
•Paralegal
•Legal administrative assistant

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth of 17% has been predicted for paralegals and legal assistants over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $46,990 (BLS). Electronic shopping houses and software publishers were the employers that paid the highest salaries to paralegals and legal assistants.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program in legal studies may opt for continuing education to enter law school and earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.). It takes three years to complete such program, which would enable students to practice law. They gain a keen understanding of laws and their application with respect to civil rights, families, civil disputes, tax, commercial transactions, and criminal activity.

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