There are a few reasons why you should get your bachelor’s in legal studies degrees online. If you’re a paralegal with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or have earned a professional certificate in paralegal studies, you should get your bachelor’s in legal studies online in order to maintain your employment while pursuing an advanced degree.
Students who want to earn a bachelor’s in legal studies, but don’t have easy access to a school with a degree program that suits their needs can benefit from taking a bachelor’s in legal studies online. Another aspect of getting a bachelor’s degree in legal studies is the fact that an online program is the same, or synchronous, as the program offered on campus, ensuring that online and traditional students get the same quality of education.
There are practical reasons as to why you should get your bachelor’s in legal studies online, chief among them being the time you save not commuting to a campus. Another is the fact that you’re not tied to a school schedule to take a class as online classes are available 24/7, and you can learn at your own pace. That means you can stop the playback, take notes, write down your questions, and get in touch with the educator through accepted channels as you need. It’s true that you have to be a self-starter and motivated to choose bachelor’s in legal studies online programs, but the benefits are such that it’s worthwhile to make the effort.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Legal Studies Programs
To rank the best online bachelor of legal studies programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors feature only accredited, legitimate schools. Bachelor’s in legal studies programs are ranked by cost, potential salary, and student reviews, using IPEDS and Niche data.
1. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global offers a BS in Legal Support and Services with a paralegal academic concentration that is ranked among the best online bachelor’s in legal studies programs available in the market. Core courses for Purdue University Global‘s legal studies degree program includes business law, legal philosophy, alternative dispute resolution, administrative law, law office management, criminal justice, and ethics and the legal environment, to name a few. Online students must complete at least 180 quarter credits, which is equivalent to 120-semester units, to meet this legal studies degree’s graduation requirements.
Purdue University Global is the online division of Purdue University and is recognized as a public benefit corporation. The school was founded a few years ago in 2018, when Purdue purchased the for-profit higher learning institution Kaplan University.
What We Like: PUG operates several nonacademic service options in several states.
Degree: BS in Legal Support and Services
2. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers an online bachelor’s in Legal Studies that is recognized among Nebraska’s most innovative, affordable, and best online legal studies degree programs. Degree candidates attending Bellevue University’s legal studies degree have the option to take one class at a time or to navigate the program in an accelerated cohort. The curriculum for Bellevue University’s baccalaureate legal studies degree includes constitution law, liberty and emerging policy, theory & practice of law, professional responsibility and ethics in law, and legal application for contemporary businesses, among others.
Bellevue University operates as a private institution of higher education, having been founded in the mid-1960s as a college designed for adult learners. The Bellevue campus’s suburban acreage serves approximately 10,150 postgraduate and undergraduate students.
What We Like: Certain online bachelor degrees are considered among the best in the nation by US News & World.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
3. American Public University
American Public University offers a BS in Legal Studies that offers monthly start dates, delivered in 8 and 16-week terms. American Public University’s best online legal studies degree program mandates degree candidates to complete 120 online bachelor credits, with 48 related to the major and selected concentration. Sample classes include administrative law and policy, constitutional law, criminal law, criminal justice, sociology of the law, immigration law & policy, legal research and writing, civil practice & procedure, and ethics, to name a few.
American Public University operates as one of two schools owned by the publicly-owned American Public Education, Inc. APU’s student enrollment is approximately 46,550 students online. Founded in the early 1990s, APU now has more than 110,000 alumni living worldwide.
What We Like: The university is comprised of six academic colleges/schools offering online learning programs in arts/humanities, business, education, health sciences, STEM and security, political science, and global studies.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
4. Tulane University
Tulane University offers a BA in General Legal Studies that has been ABA-approved for more than four decades. Graduates of Tulane’s best online legal studies degree program enter the workforce as law office managers, court clerks, investigators, insurance adjusters, legal assistants, or paralegals, among others. Required classes for Tulane University’s baccalaureate degree in legal studies include an introduction to the legal system, litigation, legal technology, legal research, civil practice, and writing, plus a legal studies practicum, to name a few.
Tulane University (Tulane) was founded as a medical college in the 1830s. Tulane University now operates as a comprehensive institution of higher learning and space-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 14,000 postgraduate and undergraduate students. Tulane’s law school is highly respected as well.
What We Like: The alumni of Tulane University reads like a who’s-who of politicians, medical doctors, and Nobel laureates, among others.
Degree: BA in General Legal Studies
5. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona Rogers Law College offers a BA in Law that is available to both full and part-time legal studies students, 100% online. The University of Arizona’s best online legal studies degree program is the first of its kind and exclusive to UA. Featured coursework for this bachelor’s degree in legal studies includes the American national government, constitutional law, the American public law system, business law, international law, plus electives in family, employment, or insurance law, to name a few. In addition, legal studies majors can select from a number of internships – legal, congressional, and legislative – for those who want to pursue law school.
The University of Arizona is located in Tucson and operates as a land and space=grant institution of higher learning. Established before Arizona became a state (1885), UA now serves approximately 46,000 students each year online and on the school’s campus. UA’s law school offers more online bachelor degrees than any other.
What We Like: The main campus of the University of Arizona covers more than 375 acres and is modeled after the University of Virginia.
Degree: BA in Law
6. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers two of the country’s most innovative & best online bachelor’s in legal studies programs with its Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Legal Studies, as noted by US News. Each of these legal studies degrees from UCF requires students to finish at least 120-semester units. Graduates of this online legal studies degree from the University of Central Florida are prepared to pursue careers in the legal system as legal analysts, legal assistants, program specialists, contracts specialists, or paralegal, or even to go on to law school.
The University of Central Florida, located in central Florida’s Orlando area, operates as a public research school. The University of Central Florida was originally developed in the 1960s to help serve the nearby space-coast – Florida’s eastern seaboard that includes Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
What We Like: More than 70,000 students attend classes online and on-campus.
Degree: BA or BS in Legal Studies
7. University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a BS in Legal Studies that can be completed entirely online. This 120-credit best online legal studies degree program from the Global Campus allows for up to 90 credits to be transferred if eligible. The coursework for this bachelor’s degree in legal studies includes legal writing, introduction to law, techniques of legal research, torts, domestic relations, contract law, constitutional law, and advanced legal practices, to name a few. The school requires 48 of the 120 credits to be designated as upper-level coursework.
The University of Maryland Global Campus operates as the distance learning arm of UM. The global campus was originally known as University College and had been operating since the 1940s. More than 47,100 students attend online bachelor classes offered by the University of Maryland’s Global Campus.
What We Like: UM Global also operates several on-campus facilities in the greater BWI metro area and Maryland.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
8. Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University offers a BS in Legal Studies that requires degree candidates to complete a minimum of 120-semester units, all online. The required curriculum for Florida Gulf Coast University’s best online legal studies degree program includes professional ethics, contracts, legal research and writing, constitutional criminal procedure, introduction to law, the legal system, and legal research and writing, to name a few. This FGCU degree prepares students for several professional paralegal credentials, and a successful career with a law firm, by focusing on the essential skills required.
Florida Gulf Coast University is a space-grant institution of higher education that was founded in the early 1990s. At present, more than 14,000 students attend online bachelor classes offered by Florida Gulf Coast University’s six academic schools/colleges.
What We Like: FGCU offers diploma and degree programs in engineering, business, health/human services, education, honors, and arts/sciences.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
9. Herzing University
Herzing University offers a BS in Legal Studies that is among the best online legal studies degree programs in Wisconsin with ABA approval. Herzing University’s bachelor’s in a legal studies degree program can be completed in approximately three years. The featured classes for this Herzing University program include the digital firm and business communication, leadership and organizational behavior, administrative law, law office procedures, legal writing, comparative and international law, and quantitative literacy, plus ethics and paralegal professionalism, among others.
Herzing University was founded in the mid-1960s as a private college. The university maintains multiple campuses throughout the nation, offering online bachelor degrees in technology, business, healthcare, and nursing.
What We Like: The ten locations and campuses of Herzing University include Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Florida, and Minnesota.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
10. Dominican University
Dominican University offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies that offers students rolling start dates each year. This best online legal studies degree program offers transfer transfer-credit options (up to 90 of the 120 required, with community college transfer credits limited to 68) and accelerated degree opportunities to interested students. Core classes include business ethics, legal writing, conflict resolution, ethics in the contemporary world, self and society, communication theory & practice, and introduction to public speaking.
Dominican University operates as a Catholic higher learning institution that was originally founded as a female academic in the mid-1840s, becoming a college about six decades later. The school’s suburban location and online platform serve more than 2,900 students each year.
What We Like: Dominican University’s campus I located about ten miles from Chicago’s downtown.
Degree: BPS in Legal Studies
11. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers a BA in Criminal Justice that has an academic concentration in Pre-Law and Paralegal ranked Louisiana’s most innovative and best online legal studies degree programs. Northwestern State University’s legal studies baccalaureate major requires degree candidates to complete 21-semester units from within the concentration’s curriculum. Sample coursework for this degree from NSU includes criminalistics and forensic science, criminology, criminal law, foundations and punishment, community-based corrections, criminal justice research, and criminal justice ethics, to name a few. Graduates are prepared to go on to law school or pursue careers with private law firms.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana (Northwestern) is a member school of the state’s university system that was developed in the mid-1880s. The rural campus in Natchitoches and the university’s online platform serve more than 10,950 students each year.
What We Like: Northwestern State University was selected to be one of the first six schools that were invited to enter into NASA’s joint venture program.
Degree: BA in Criminal Justice – Pre-Law and Paralegal
12. Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago offers an ABA-approved BA in Paralegal Studies that is offered in eight-week terms, with full online program options. Loyola University Chicago’s best online legal studies degree program requires the completion of 120-credit units in classes that include advanced legal analysis, legal ethics, advanced topics in American Law, introduction to paralegal studies, and law office computer applications. Loyola offers a practice track in the legal studies program with classes in civil litigation, contract administration, and secured transactions & bankruptcy, among others.
Loyola University Chicago was chartered as St. Ignatius College in 1870. Loyola University Chicago now maintains many academic facilities that serve more than 17,050 postgraduate and undergraduate students each year.
What We Like: Loyola University Chicago has committed to developing campuses that are environmentally sustainable operations.
Degree: BA in Paralegal Studies
13. California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania offers a Bachelor of Jurisprudence degree program with a Legal Studies concentration that is among the nation’s best online legal studies degree programs, according to US News. Cal U’s legal studies degree is available 100% online and is designed for the specialized field and work performed by paralegals. Required core classes include legal research and writing legal documents, classical jurisprudence, law & ethics, estates & trusts, family law, criminal law for paralegals, and the paralegal profession, to name a few.
California University of Pennsylvania is a public higher learning that operates as a space-grant school and a member of the PASSHE. California University of Pennsylvania serves more than 7,150 students in the university’s various facilities.
What We Like: California University of Pennsylvania offers more than 150 graduate and undergraduate degree programs.
Degree: Bachelor of Jurisprudence: Legal Studies
14. Stevenson University
Stevenson University offers a BS in Legal Studies that is available 100% online. Stevenson University’s best online legal studies degree program has approval from the American Bar Association and is complete in four years. The featured coursework for this baccalaureate degree includes business organizations law, civil litigation, the American Government, estate & trusts, legal research & writing legal documents, contract law, property law, intellectual property law, and legal reasoning to name a few. Grads enter the workforce as paralegals, legislative assistants, compliance officers, and law librarians, among others.
Stevenson University was chartered more than seven decades in 1947 as Villa Julie College, a one-year school for women to learn to become secretaries. Stevenson University’s dual campuses are home to more than 2,650 students each year.
What We Like: Stevenson University offers nearly 100 academic degree and diploma programs.
Degree: BS in Legal Studies
15. Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College offers a BA in Paralegal Studies that was designed in partnership with the CBA – the Connecticut Bar Association. This best online legal studies degree from Charter Oak State College prepares graduates for rewarding work in the fields of real estate, law, insurance law, health care, environmental or public administration, to name a few. Classes for this bachelor’s degree include legal ethics and professional responsibilities, technology in law, business law, and civil procedures, among others.
Charter Oak State College (COSC) is an online school that was founded in the 1970s. Charter Oak is a member of Connecticut’s college and university system, with a campus in New Britain and online that serves more than 2,250 students.
What We Like: Charter Oak State College offers credit for prior learning and military training, etc.
Degree: BA in Paralegal Studies
Is a Legal Studies and Paralegal Bachelor’s the Same Thing?
A legal studies and paralegal bachelor’s are similar, but not always the same thing. Some schools call a bachelor’s in paralegal studies a legal studies degree in order to broaden the pool of potential students. The definition of paralegal is, according to the American Bar Association, someone who is qualified by education, training or work experience and is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, government agencies, or other entity and who performs substantive and specific work that a lawyer is responsible for. A legal studies program that offers advanced paralegal education is one that prepares students for work in one of the aforementioned areas of employment whereas a legal studies program offers a more theoretical education.
In contrast to the definition of a paralegal, a non-paralegal legal studies degree provides students with an education that familiarizes them with legal processes, institutions, and the ideas behind legal thought. It helps them understand core courses in the concepts and philosophy of law, the history of the American legal system, politics, the criminal justice system, criminal law, property law, advanced legal writing, and more. Some legal studies programs also engage the student in research methods, legal concepts, advocacy, sociology and law, how cultural forces shape the law, and legal systems around the country and the world.
Legal studies programs can vary greatly from school to school and to the point that the legal studies degree is a multidisciplinary degree that pulls from different educational disciplines instead of being representative of a degree that has a standardized curriculum. Prospective students of online programs in the legal field should pay attention to the program details and class offerings when comparing legal studies vs paralegal degree programs, especially if you want an advanced paralegal degree instead of a legal studies degree.
If you’re interested in going on to law school, you’ll be better prepared for a law degree by a legal studies program than a specific paralegal schooling. Successful careers in the legal field need the foundation of a legal professional degree, and will have a higher median annual salary.
It’s also great preparation for graduate school and advanced legal research. A business law concentration prepares graduates for law related fields in the corporate sector.
Request info from the program you’re interested in, especially prerequisite requirements and FAFSA. Will you need a capstone project? If they have FAQs on their website, trust them. Admission requirements vary widely from one school to another. Your general education, critical thinking, and everything else can have an impact.
What Can I Do with a Legal Studies Bachelor’s Degree?
The credit hours for a paralegal degree and legal studies degree will be very similar. However, if you want to pay back your financial aid, think about what kind of full-time job you’ll be searching for. Ultimately, your career goals are what matter. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows several career paths with a bachelor of science in legal studies, from human resources to the Supreme Court. What are you going to do?
The kind of legal studies jobs you can do with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies are not restricted to paralegal work even though legal studies degree programs are usually focused on paralegal studies. You can use the legal studies bachelor’s degree as your foundation for law school, or you can use it to earn a master’s degree in a related field that benefits from the legal education. Law enforcement officers may receive transition support into this new field.
Legal studies jobs are also found in government agencies, state and federal courts, civil legal systems, and corporate legal departments, as both require employees who can understand rules and regulations as well as write them in the case of government employment. Of course, you can always find legal studies jobs in the paralegal sector and work as a paralegal supervisor or in any one of the advanced paralegal positions with law firms, and even in law school. Legal studies can even help your career as a law enforcement officer.
Following is a list of careers in legal studies jobs that a graduate can qualify for with this degree:
- Court reporter
- Legal assistant
- Process server
- Jury consultant
- Law librarian
- Compliance officer
- Real estate agent
- Legal administrators
- Political science
- Law enforcement professionals
- Legal support services
- Court reporters
- Conflict resolution
These are some of the available positions that you can take on when asking “what can I do with a degree in legal studies,” but most certainly not the only ones. The fact that the legal studies degree has a multidisciplinary focus makes it easier to find a degree program that aligns with the types of legal professions and studies you’re seeking to pursue careers. It also provides better preparation for law school and is more like a law degree than a professional degree. Prospective students of online programs should consider carefully.