You may find a lot of advantages to earning an accelerated legal studies degree. First, there are the advantages of getting a legal studies degree at all, regardless of the speed at which you earn it.
A legal studies degree can help you move your career forward. If you want to go to law school after you earn your bachelor’s degree, then a legal studies program can help you gain the foundation you’ll need. If you want to become a paralegal, then a legal studies degree can help you get to know the legal system before you start your career.
And then there are the benefits that come from earning an accelerated degree. Now, it’s important to note that with an accelerated degree, you’ll be doing just as much coursework as you would do with a regular degree. You’ll just finish that coursework in a shorter amount of time. This gives you an increased course load, so if you’re looking for a fast legal studies degree, make sure you keep that in mind.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Legal Studies Degree
The editors at Bachelor’s Degree Center have researched accredited, legitimate colleges and universities offering students a faster track to a legal studies degree. We rank programs according to student satisfaction, graduate salary, and cost, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. Purdue University Global
Purdue Global has a BS in Legal Studies and Services. This accelerated legal studies degree lets students choose a concentration in paralegal studies. The program has multiple start dates and other ways for students to add flexibility to their education. Courses prepare students to work in law firms, businesses, healthcare institutions, and much more. They cover the foundational principles of the US legal system, as well as research skills and practical applications.
Purdue University’s Global Campus offers the same Purdue education from a distance. The Global Campus comes with a lot of benefits for working adults. For example, undergraduate students can take a three-week introductory period to decide if Purdue is right for them. Purdue Global offers strong academics and guidance to help students meet their career goals. Its transfer policy includes previous coursework, professional work, and military experience.
What We Like: 93% of first-year students at Purdue Global ranked their experience as “excellent” or “good.”
Degree: BS in Legal Support and Services
2. Peirce College
The accelerated legal studies degree from Peirce College is approved by the American Bar Association. It’s 100% online, and students can transfer up to 90 credits. The program teaches the professional, academic, and research skills that students will need for success in the legal field. That includes strong analytics skills, communication skills, and a firm understanding of legal ethics. Students can also embed certain certifications into their degree, increasing their employability.
Peirce College started as a way to help Civil War soldiers transition into civilian business life. Today, Peirce College still focuses on working adults, so faculty members have a solid understanding of what nontraditional students need. Peirce is the only college in Pennsylvania that focuses specifically on adult learning. The school helps learners on their career paths. Students can apply up to 102 transfer credits to their Peirce degree programs.
What We Like: Peirce College is a recognized Minority Serving Institution (MSI).
Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies
3. University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an accelerated legal studies degree. This program provides a firm background of legal knowledge, including theory and practice. Students learn what they need to know to succeed in either the workplace or graduate school. Courses teach how to conduct research and identify appropriate sources. They also instill day-to-day legal skills as well as critical thinking, communication, and ethics.
UMGC is dedicated to making learning affordable and flexible. At the same time, it never sacrifices academic quality. Through UMGC, students can gain a solid footing to make their career dreams come to life. They also benefit from additional services, like a lifetime access to UMGC’s career resources. Plus, digital course materials come at no costs, so students can save money on textbooks. Overall, UMGC was build with working adults in mind, so it’s a good place for working adults to find success.
What We Like: UMGC has been ranked as one of the most innovative campuses in the northern region.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
4. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University’s BS in Paralegal Science can make a great choice for those who want an accelerated legal studies degree. The program covers the knowledge that students will need to become skilled paralegals and make an impact on the job. Students learn a blend of liberal arts knowledge and specific law knowledge. This knowledge can help students perform well in the workforce. Faculty members recognize that paralegal work is very important to the US legal system, and they teach from a place that respects the profession.
Eastern Kentucky University has been offering online degree programs since 2006. It has more than 50 online programs for busy learners. Online students get the same education as students who learn on the main EKU campus. That education includes empowerment for the future. EKU is committed to providing accessible and affordable education, both online and on campus.
What We Like: EKU Online was ranked as one of the most innovative online colleges.
Degree: BS in Paralegal Science
5. Liberty University
Liberty University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies. This accelerated legal studies degree program is designed for students who are passionate about justice. The program helps students take a practical role in the justice system. Students get an education that puts them on the fast track to a fulfilling career. They gain a deep understanding of how the legal system works. They also learn important skills such as communication, research, organization, and much more.
Liberty University is one of the top sources for Christian higher education in the United States. This school has a long history of distance education, and it has a highly-ranked online platform. Students enjoy both affordability and flexibility at Liberty. They can complete their assignments on their own schedules, which leaves room for work and other responsibilities. Liberty Online also provides a high-quality education, so students can enjoy several benefits at once.
What We Like: Liberty University is one of the top colleges in Virginia.
Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies
6. Regent University
Regent University’s paralegal studies program makes a good choice for those who want an accelerated legal studies degree. It helps students cultivate a worthwhile career through legal knowledge, and it focuses specifically on the paralegal side of things. Students learn skills to help people and keep law offices running as they should. They learn how to foster communication between attorneys and clients, research case files, and use relevant technology. They also learn about multiple areas of legal practice, such as marriage and family, contracts, and others.
Regent University is a private Christian university with the goal to change the world. It has great academics, of course, but Regent also offers more than that. For example, this school fosters leadership skills in its students, and it helps learners find and fulfill their purpose. Regent University is driven by the values of “excellence, innovation, and integrity,” and faculty members infuse these values into their classes and assignments.
What We Like: Regent University is ranked among the top national universities, according to rankings from US News and World Report.
Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies
7. Post University
Post University has an accelerated legal studies degree. This program recognizes that paralegals play a key role in the justice system, and it helps students to take on that role effectively. Students learn about the day-to-day tasks of working in a law office. They also learn overarching skills like leadership and communication. This legal studies program uses a well-rounded catalog of courses, covering both theory and practice. Students can prepare to enter the workforce immediately or go to grad school.
Post University is a for-profit university dedicated to solid academics and personalized student support. It performs well in online learning. A large portion of students learn either fully online or with a hybrid model. Students work with a team of advisors who help them with their career path. They can personalize their degree to meet individual career and academic needs. The teachers at Post have practical experience in the fields that they teach.
What We Like: Post University is a military-friendly school.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
8. Hodges University
Hodges University’s BS in Legal Studies can make a great choice for students who want an accelerated legal studies degree program. Students can use this program to prepare for a career in a complex and evolving justice system. The program is built both for future paralegals and for those who want to go to law school. Courses cover a foundation of core legal knowledge for both paralegals and attorneys. Students learn key skills that they’ll need on the job.
Hodges University is a small, private university. It makes a solid choice for those who prefer limited class sizes. Because the school is small, students get a lot of personalized attention. Teachers are dedicated to their work and committed to helping students succeed. Hodges performs especially well in online education. Many students take their classes exclusively online. Many others mix online courses with on-campus courses for a hybrid learning experience.
What We Like: Military Times has ranked Hodges as one of the best universities for veterans.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
9. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers a BS in criminal justice with a concentration in human services and advocacy. This degree is more specific than others, but it can make a great choice for students who want an accelerated legal studies degree. The program supplies an understanding of crime. Students learn how to apply that understanding to the justice system. Courses cover things like child welfare, family service, and similar topics. These courses can be especially helpful for those who want to go into family law. Students grow their advocacy skills to help people connect with the services they need.
SNHU is a private university. Though it does have over 3,000 on-campus students, the vast majority of SNHU students learn online. This school has been recognized for its online education platform. It also grows and evolves to fit the needs of contemporary students. Faculty members understand that students’ needs change over time. That’s one reason why SNHU ranks so highly for innovation.
What We Like: The USDLA awarded SNHU with the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology.
Degree: BS in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies and Advocacy
10. Berkeley College
Berkeley College’s accelerated legal studies degree is available both online and on campus. The program is designed to help people start careers in the legal assistance field. It’s also designed to support those who eventually want to earn a law degree. No matter which career students ultimately choose, this program covers a broad range of legal knowledge. Students learn how to perform effective research, use relevant technologies, and other important on-the-job skills.
Berkeley College is a private, for-profit school that has earned several awards and recognitions. It’s a career-focused college that teaches the practical skills students will need on the job. Berkeley values diversity and flexibility, with a particular focus on serving adult learners. This school focuses on the skills that students need most. The curriculum is based on what the latest employers are looking for.
What We Like: Berkeley College is ranked highly for social mobility.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
What are the Advantages of an Accelerated Legal Studies Degree?
While pursuing the fastest legal studies degree may give you a packed schedule in the short term, in the long term, that schedule can pay off. The most obvious perk is that when you finish your degree faster, you can start your job search faster. If your schedule has a major opening right now, then you might take advantage of that opening by earning your degree.
You may also save some money while earning an accelerated degree. You may pay the same amount in overall tuition, but you can save money on the little things. You might make fewer trips to campus, for example, which can help you save gas money.
What If I Don’t Want a Full Bachelor’s Degree?
Depending on what you want to do with your career, you may not need a full degree. Obviously, if you want to become an attorney, then you’ll need a bachelor’s degree so you can eventually get your law degree. For paralegals, however, a bachelor’s degree isn’t always required. Many paralegals enter the field with an associate’s degree, which can be earned at a community college and takes about half the time to earn as a bachelor’s degree.
You have other options, too, like earning an online legal studies certificates. Certificates, like full degrees, are offered by colleges and universities. They teach the legal basics you’ll need to start a paralegal career or something similar.
If you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree in another area, or if you have a legal studies degree but want to enhance your skills, then you might consider earning a graduate certificate in legal studies online. There are lots of options when it comes to this kind of legal studies certificate online.
By earning a certificate in legal studies online, you can take your knowledge to a new level without taking classes that don’t relate to legal studies. While the liberal arts can absolutely help you gain some well-rounded knowledge, a certificate may simply provide a better fit for your needs. If that’s the case, you can still start a fulfilling career without earning a full degree.
Is Legal Studies a Good Career Path?
Absolutely. You can find a lot of possible careers in legal studies. The most obvious legal studies career is an attorney career, but that’s not your only option.
Other legal studies careers include paralegals. Paralegals, also called legal assistants, work for attorneys. They help attorneys with the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a law office. They maintain communication between the client and the attorney, research legal cases, keep files organized, and more. Paralegals need a fair amount of legal knowledge, and a legal studies degree can help them gain the knowledge they need.
Some people who look into legal studies degree careers ultimately go into law enforcement. The best way to enforce the law is to know what the law entails. With a legal studies degree background, law enforcement workers can gain a deeper understanding of the law and the structures that hold it up.
Those aren’t the only possible careers with a legal studies degree. In lots of careers, you can become an asset by understanding how the law works. If you start you own business, for example, you can make sure that you run that business within the bounds of the law.
Many of these careers are growing steadily, so having a bachelor’s degree in legal studies can really pay off in the long term. And if you ultimately switch career paths, you can still use the knowledge that you gained for your degree. Skills like communication, effective research, and legal understanding can apply across virtually any career path.