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A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is a degree that has multiple career and educational paths including working in law enforcement, legal professions, and post-graduate legal studies. It’s an interdisciplinary degree that draws from areas such as law, philosophy, economics, and history. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree means that there are a variety of concentrations and electives offered by schools around the country. Students have the option to take legal studies bachelor degree programs in subject areas that interest them as a career field. The opportunity to find a legal studies degree program that has classes that fits personal interests can help a student find a career that suits them best.

Those who have an associate’s degree in criminal justice can also benefit from transferring into a legal studies bachelor’s degree program. Graduates from criminal justice associate’s degree programs frequently go on to employment in various areas of law enforcement and related legal fields. Earning a legal studies bachelor’s degree aids in acquisition of valuable knowledge that helps the student improve their career trajectory and gain access to promotions sooner than they would without an advanced degree.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Legal Studies Bachelor Degree Programs

For the Bachelor’s Degree Center ranking of the best bachelor’s degree in legal studies programs, editors focused on reputable, accredited institutions known for quality. We have ranked programs according to current IPEDS and Niche data, including tuition rate, salary potential, and reputation.

1. Auburn University

Auburn University offers a BA in Criminal Justice with an academic concentration in Legal Studies that is recognized as an American Bar Association-approved (ABA) program. This Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies requires 120 baccalaureate semester hours. Featured classes for this legal studies bachelor degree program include legal writing, law office management, technology in law, and a legal research seminar, to name a few. Graduates of Auburn’s legal studies program possess skills that include client or witness interviewing, delving deep into legal research, and the drafting of a multitude of legal documents, pleadings, and correspondence, among others.

Founded as an all-male institution of higher education in the 1850s, Auburn University is the state’s flagship land-grant school, with very high research activity. In addition, Auburn University (is a space and sea-grant school with more than 30,250 postgraduate and undergraduate students studying online and, on the school’s, rural campus.

What We Like: Auburn University holds the distinction of being the first land-grant school in the state of Alabama.

Degree: BA in Criminal Justice – Legal Studies

2. Montclair State University

Montclair State University offers a BS in Justice Studies with three academic concentrations. Available emphases for Montclair State University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program include an international justice concentration, a justice systems concentration, and a paralegal studies concentration. Core coursework for Montclair State University’s legal studies bachelor degree program includes perspectives on justice studies, theoretical issues in justice studies and research methods, in justice studies, plus an internship, to name a few.

Established more than a century ago (1908), Montclair State University is the Garden State’s second-largest institution of higher learning, with more than 21,050 students each year. Montclair State University’s campus covers more than 250 acres is located less than one hour from downtown Manhattan.

What We Like: Montclair State University was initially developed as a teacher’s training school and still is known for its quality education degrees.

Degree: BS in Justice Studies – 3 concentrations

3. National University

National University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that is ranked as the number one Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program in the greater San Diego area. This ABA-approved legal studies bachelor degree program from National University can be completed online or on-campus. Upper division coursework for National University’s legal studies degree includes the art of negotiation, comparative international law, alternative dispute resolution, the fundamentals of negotiation, the fundamentals of mediation, and ethics & neutrality, to name a few.

National University operates as a nonprofit higher learning institution with a student enrollment that nears 24,000 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year. Founded in the early 1970s, National University maintains a satellite campus in Nevada and multiple campuses throughout the Golden State.

What We Like: National University was primarily developed to serve working learners and adult students.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

4. St John’s University

St John’s University offers a BS in Legal Studies that is recognized as one of NYC leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs. St John’s University’s degree candidates enrolled in the legal studies bachelor degree program must finish a minimum of 120 semester credits, of which 39 credits must be from the legal studies curriculum. Featured coursework for this academic baccalaureate degree includes legal research & writing, civil litigation practice, and legal ethics, plus an internship, to name a few.

St John’s University was founded in the 1870s by the Vincentian Catholic Church. St John’s University serves more than 21,000 students each year from its multiple campuses across New York and internationally.

What We Like: Notable alumni include a New York governor, New York City Police Commissioner, the Chairman of the United States SEC, as well as many other influential politicians.

Degree: BS in Legal Studies

5. University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a BA in Paralegal that requires 120 to 124 baccalaureate credits to meet the University of Southern Mississippi standards. In addition, this legal studies bachelor degree program from the University of Southern Mississippi includes an internship of 3 to 9 credits. This Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program offers two tracks – a pre-law track and a paralegal track that leads to employment. Classes for USM’s bachelor’s degree in legal studies include American Government, legal drafting, ethics, and the business legal environment, to name a few.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) was chartered as a teacher’s college in 1910 and now is a sea and space grant school. This research university is home to more than 14,550 students attending classes online and on the multiple campuses of the University of Southern Mississippi.

What We Like: The University of Southern Mississippi offers nearly 200 academic and diploma programs from the university’s four schools/colleges.

Degree: BA in Paralegal

6. University of La Verne

The University of La Verne offers a BS in Legal Studies program that is approved by the ABA. The University of La Verne’s legal studies bachelor degree program’s major curriculum must include a total of 46 credit units. The coursework for this Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program includes advanced research and writing, tors & contracts, litigation 1 & 2, American legal studies, ethics, plus a senior project and paralegal internship, among others.

The University of La Verne operates multiple campuses and facilities in the greater LA area that is home to more than 7,900 students each year. Founded as Lordsburg College in 1891 by the Church of Brethren, the first classes were held in a former hotel.

What We Like: The University of La Verne is comprised of four colleges that offer programs in business/public management, arts/science, education, and law.

Degree: Legal Studies Major

7. Ball State University

Ball State University offers a BA or a BS in Legal Studies program that offers degree candidates two academic legal studies track – public law or business. Ball State University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program prepares students for a rewarding career as a contract administrator, court administrator, paralegal, legislative liaisons, or paralegals, to name a few. This legal studies bachelor degree program from Ball State University includes coursework in the principles of estate planning, family law, legal research and writing, and administrative law, plus an internship.

Ball State University is a multi-campus public institution of higher education that was founded more than 100 years ago in 1918. The school maintains a main campus in Muncie and branch campuses in Indianapolis and Fishers, Indiana.

What We Like: Ball State University’s initiatives in environmental sustainability have become a fundamental part of the school’s strategic vision.

Degree: BA or BS in Legal Studies

8. Winona State University

Winona State University offers a BS in Legal Studies that is recognized among the leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in the nation by bachelorsdegreecenter.com. In addition, Winona State University’s legal studies bachelor degree program offers three tracks – a professional option, a law & society option, and the 3+3 dual master’s degree. Featured cases include constitution law, criminal procedure, administrative law, and legal research & writing, plus an internship in legal studies.

Founded in the 1850s as a state-run normal school for teachers, Winona State University now operates as a multiple-campus university with campuses that serve approximately 8,750 students.

What We Like: Winona State University has partnered with many sister schools throughout the world in Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea, among many others.

Degree: BS in Legal Studies

9. Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University offers two of Minnesota’s leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs with its Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) program or a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Legal Studies. Grand Valley State University’s legal studies bachelor degree program is ABA-approved. The difference between the BA and BS legal Studies degree is that the BA requires a language proficiency, whereas the BS degree requires statistical work. Sample classes include legal thought, civil litigation, commercial law, and property & probate law.

Founded as a state college in the 1960s, Grand Valley State University (GV) now operates multiple campuses in Michigan as well as internationally in Holland. This public university is home to nearly 24,100 postgraduate and undergraduate students online and on the university’s campuses.

What We Like: Grand Valley State University’s athletes play as Lakers and have won 20 national championships in several sports.

Degree: BA or BS in Legal Studies

10. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University offers a BA in Law in Society that requires Quinnipiac degree candidates to complete 120 to 126 baccalaureate credits to graduate. Quinnipiac University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program’s core requirements includes civil procedures, constitution law, and the American Legal System, plus an internship. Graduates of Quinnipiac University’s legal studies bachelor degree program find rewarding careers in the court system, government relations, policy developers, legal consultants, or paralegals, to name a few.

Quinnipiac University operates as a private institution that was founded by a business professor in 1929. The school operates three campuses that serve approximately 10,000 students each year.

What We Like: Quinnipiac University is home to a nation-renowned polling institute that is often cited by major news stations across North American & Europe.

Degree: BA in Law in Society

11. Ursuline College

Ursuline College offers a BA in Legal Studies that is one of the most innovative Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in Ohio and beyond. Students enrolled in Ursuline College’s ABA approved legal studies bachelor degree program must complete core coursework in legal ethics, civil procedure, evidence & discovery, advanced legal technology, business organizations, introduction to legal studies, and legal research/writing, plus a professional development seminar, to name a few.

Founded as a liberal art college by the Ursuline Sisters in 1871 for women, Ursuline College is located closer to Cleveland but also near Akron. More than 1,150 students attended classes online and on the college’s campus.

What We Like: Ursuline College is recognized to be one of the country’s oldest higher learning institutions for women.

Degree: BA in Legal Studies

12. Lewis University

Lewis University offers an ABA-approved BA in Legal Studies, considered as one of Illinois’s leading legal studies bachelor degree programs. Lewis University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies 128 credit degree program includes core classes in legal research and analysis, the fundamentals of litigation for paralegals, ethics, interviewing/investigation for paralegals, business law, taxation for paralegals, civil liberties, court systems & probation, and criminology, plus a capstone project in legal studies.

Founded by the Christian Brothers and the Chicago Archdiocese in the 1930s, Lewis University now serves more than 4,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Lewis University is comprised of six colleges that offer more than 100 academic and diploma programs – mostly to adult learners.

What We Like: Lewis University’s notable alumni hail from diverse fields from government/law to sports, medicine/science, and arts & culture, among others.

Degree: BA in Legal Studies

13. University of Toledo

The University of Toledo offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that is one of Toledo’s best legal studies bachelor degree programs. In addition, UT’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies 120-credit degree program’s curriculum includes the law of business associations, family law, law practice management, civil procedure, real estate law, practice/procedure in administrative law, and estate/probate administration, plus an internship. The University of Toledo’s bachelor’s degree in legal studies is approved by the American Bar Association.

The University of Toledo was established as a school of the arts and trades in the 1870s and evolved to a manual training school before gaining university status in 1914. The University of Toledo’s campus is the northernmost of the member schools of Ohio’s university system.

What We Like: The University of Toledo is organized into nineteen colleges, including UT online.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

14. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago offers a BA in Paralegal Studies that is among the leading legal studies bachelor degree completion programs, requiring applicants to hold an associate’s degree for candidacy. The required classes for Loyola University Chicago’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program include advanced topics in American Law, legal research, legal ethics, civil litigation, and law office computer applications, among others. The total credits required for LU’s baccalaureate degree in legal studies is 120, delivered in eight-week sessions.

Loyola University Chicago was established in the 1870s as St. Ignatius College and operates with an affiliation to the Catholic (Jesuit) Church. Loyola University Chicago maintains several campuses, with the main campuses along Lake Michigan’s shores.

What We Like: Many Loyola University alumni have become CEOS of major corporations and influential politicians.

Degree: BA in Paralegal Studies

15. Madonna University

Madonna University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that study.com ranks among the top Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in the country. The coursework required to complete Madonna University’s legal studies bachelor degree program includes introduction to paralegal studies, alternative dispute resolution, special problems in law, legal research and writing, law office technology, law office management, and real estate law plus an internship, to name a few. This legal studies bachelor’s degree has been approved by the ABA for nearly four decades.

Established in the 1930s by the Felician Sisters, Madonna University now operates as one of the largest Franciscan schools in the nation. Madonna University’s campus covers more than 80 suburban acres and serves approximately 3,500 graduates each year.

What We Like: Madonna University is organized into these colleges/schools – business, graduate studies, arts/sciences, education/human development, and nursing/health.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

16. Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that has been ABA-approved for the past 25 years. Southern Illinois University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program requires these specialty coursework classes – family law, bankruptcy, civil procedure, wills, trust & estates, and law office technology, among others. Students enrolled in Southern Illinois University’s legal studies bachelor degree program have the option of a pre-law specialization. The credits required to complete this bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Southern Illinois University are 120.

Founded in the 1860s as a teacher’s training institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale now serves approximately 8,100 postgraduate and undergraduate each year from its college-town campus and online.

What We Like: Southern Illinois University maintains academic facilities in Edwardsville and Carbondale.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

17. NSU Florida

NSU in Florida offers a BS in Legal Studies that is one of South Florida’s leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs. NSU Florida’s legal studies bachelor degree program core curriculum includes comparative legal systems, legal research & trial advocacy, argument and debate, and comparative legal systems, to name a few. Elective classes from the philosophy classes include symbolic logic, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of law, among others.

Established in the 1960s as an advanced technology private school, NSU Florida now serves more than 20,450 students as a space-grant school. Nova Southeastern’s athletes play in the NCAA Division II as the Sharks.

What We Like: In addition to the main campus in Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University maintains campuses throughout Southern Florida in Dania and Miami Beach, plus a regional facility in Tampa Bay.

Degree: BS in Legal Studies

18. University of Alaska Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage offers a BA in Legal Studies that is recognized among the leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in Alaska. This legal studies bachelor degree program from the University of Alaska, Anchorage is approved by the ABA. Featured classes for the University of Alaska Anchorage’s bachelor’s degree in legal studies include writing communication skills, criminal law, legal ethics, civil procedure and pretrial practice, race, equal protection and the law, evidence investigations, and discovery, plus a legal studies internship, among others.

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) was established in the 1950s as a community college. The University of Alaska Anchorage maintains several campuses across the southcentral region of the state. More than 15,000 students attend classes online and on the University of Alaska Anchorage’s campuses.

What We Like: The University of Alaska Anchorage holds the distinction of being the state’s largest school and a Tree Campus USA.

Degree: BA in Legal Studies

19. College of Saint Mary

The College of Saint Mary offers a BA in Paralegal Studies that is recognized among the leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in Omaha and beyond. The college’s legal studies bachelor degree program is ABA-approved. Students enrolled in the College of Saint Mary’s baccalaureate degree in legal studies must complete classes that include legal research and writing, law office administration & technology, the legal environment, advanced business law, real estate law, and estates, trust, and tax law.

Founded in the 1920s, the College of Saint Mary operates as a private women’s higher learning institution with about 1,000 students attending classes on the Omaha campus and online.

What We Like: The College of Saint Mary’s campus in Omaha covers more than 80 acres. The school became a four-year accredited school in the late 1950s.

Degree: BA in Paralegal Studies

20. Stevenson University

Stevenson University offers a BS in Legal Studies that can be completed 100% online. Stevenson University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program is designed for working adults who graduate to find rewarding careers as a law librarian, compliance officer, paralegal, or legislative assistant, among others. Feature classes for SU’s legal studies bachelor degree program include business organizations law, civil litigation & pleading, contract law, torts, and legal research/writing, among others.

Stevenson University was founded in the 1940s as a junior college and now operates as a multiple-campus higher learning institution. The dual campus and online platform serve approximately 3,500 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year.

What We Like: the student enrollment of Stevenson University has more than doubled in the past two decades.

Degree: BS in Legal Studies

21. Daemen College

Daemen College offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that is Western New York’s only legal studies bachelor degree program. Students enrolled in Daemen College’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program are taught by the Socratic Method, which resembles a law education. Degree candidates enrolled in Daemen College’s paralegal studies degree program must complete introduction to legal skills for general practice, law for society, legal research and writing, contract law, litigation, and law office computer technology, to name a few.

Daemen College was founded in the 1940s as Rosary Hill College for women by the Sisters of St. Francis. The college’s suburban campus is home to more than 3,000 students vying for nearly 3 dozen academic programs.

What We Like: Daemen College applies a competency-based curriculum that allows students to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

22. Hilbert College

Hilbert College offers a BS in Legal Studies that is among New York’s leading legal studies bachelor degree programs. This Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program from Hilbert College is completed in four years or eight semesters. Required classes for this legal studies degree include legal research, introduction to law and legal ethics, civil litigation, income tax theory and practice, and financial accounting, to name a few. Hilbert College’s legal studies degree is recognized to be the longest-running program in NY’s western region.

Hilbert College is a private Roman Catholic college in the 1950s and named to honor Mother Colette Hilbert. Hilbert College’s Hamburg 60 -acre campus is home to about 750 students each year.

What We Like: Hilbert College plays Division III as the Hawks in fifteen varsity sports.

Degree: BS in Legal Studies

23. Widener University

Widener University offers a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies that is one of the leading Pennsylvania legal studies bachelor degree programs with ABA approval. Widener University’s Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree program offers degree candidates several concentrations in criminal law, litigation, corporate law, health law, intellectual property, and estate administration law. Widener University’s legal studies bachelor’s degree requires students to finish a minimum of 120 semester units.

Established as a boy’s academy in the 1820s, Widener University became a military college prior to being designated as a university. Two centuries later, Widener University now serves more than 5,350 students online and on the school’s campuses in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

What We Like: Widener has nearly 60,000 living alumni, from senators to diplomats, judges, and professional athletes, among others.

Degree: Bachelor’s in Legal Studies

24. Bay Path University

Bay Path University offers two of New England’s leading Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs with BPU’s Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) program or a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Legal Studies with ABA approval. Graduates of Bay Path University’s legal studies bachelor degree program find rewarding careers as a court reporter, a mediator, a paralegal, or a legal assistant, among others. Transfer credits are possible if the eligible credits are earned from another ABA-approved institution of higher education.

Bay Path University was founded as a Bay Pay Institute in the 1890s. The university offers coeducation master’s programs, but only women can attend their undergraduate programs. The university’s total student enrollment is approximately 3,300 postgraduate and undergraduate students every year.

What We Like: Bay Path University is one of the member higher learning institutions that comprise the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield.

Degree: BA or BS in Legal Studies

25. Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies, recognized to be among the best Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies degree programs in Michigan. Foundational classes for Eastern Michigan University’s legal studies bachelor degree program include social problem, introduction to the legal system, law office administration & technology, transactional law, probate, estates & wills, and civil litigation, investigation, and procedure, for a total of 124 baccalaureate credit units.

Eastern Michigan University is a space-grant school in the southeastern portion of Michigan in the late-1840s. In addition, Eastern Michigan University operates as a space-grant school with a student enrollment that nears 21,000 students, studying online and on Eastern Michigan University’s various academic facilities and campuses.

What We Like: Eastern Michigan University is comprised of eight colleges/schools offering programs in arts/sciences, education, graduate studies, business, health, technology, and honors college.

Degree: BS in Paralegal Studies

Why Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies?

Paralegals, or students who plan to become a paralegal, should strongly consider earning their bachelor’s degree in legal studies as it enhances their paralegal training. An associate’s degree in paralegal studies provides an excellent educational foundation for becoming a paralegal, but a majority of graduates start in entry-level positions. Earning a bachelor of legal studies degree gives a student more time and choice to further their studies in an area of the law that appeals to them, and concentrate in areas of the law that have certification exams to prove competency.

How Do I Choose a Legal Studies Program?

The best colleges for legal studies is one that suits your needs the best. Instead of applying to colleges that have a legal studies program on the basis of recommendations or reputation, look for a college that has a legal studies program that offers classes that align with your interests. The nature of a legal studies bachelor degree program changes from school to school, and many have online options to help you attend a school with a curriculum that offers classes you want to take.

Not sure about the validity of a legal studies bachelor’s degree program? You can consult with school counselors and professionals into the field in order to determine the curriculum that is the most suitable for your chosen career pathway. The best legal studies universities are ones that have a program that’s been in existence for at least a decade, has accreditation, and a proven track record of getting graduates into satisfying careers. These aspects demonstrate that the degree program is of excellent quality, the curriculum is effective, and students earn an education that provides more than the necessary theoretical and actual information they need to be effective in their careers.

When it comes to educators, the best schools for legal studies are ones that hire professionals who have decades of experience working in the field and can parlay that experience into teaching. The legal studies field is one that covers everything from paralegal studies to law enforcement and draws upon different disciplines for an advanced education. The field of law in general is one filled with nuance and isn’t as rigid as it looks from the outside. The best legal studies colleges understand this and make it a point to hire educators who can teach from a book and provide insight into what the work is like, what to expect from co-workers, and what kind of people they’ll be interacting with as they move through their career.

Is ABA Approval Important?

Yes, ABA approval for legal studies programs is important. ABA-approved legal studies programs are ones that meet the educational standards of the American Bar Association and is widely recognized and accepted by employers. However, when looking at a legal studies program, you’ll find that some schools call their paralegal program a legal studies program instead. Make sure that the program you’re interested in attending has the coursework you’re interested in pursuing prior to applying.

The ABA does not directly approve legal educations outside of lawyer and paralegal programs. Instead, legal studies programs are recognized by the ABA through a process known as acquiescence. That means a legal studies bachelor’s degree program is affirmed by the ABA and meets their standards, but doesn’t receive direct approval.

Most legal studies bachelor degree programs receive accreditation through regional institutional accrediting agencies. If you’re unsure about accreditation from a regional body, you can learn more from the school you’re interested in attending or visit the website of the agency for more information.

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