24 BEST BACHELOR’S DEGREES IN LEGAL STUDIES

If you have an interest in the legal field, then pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies could be the first step in an exciting career. This degree program can prepare you for many different career options, including becoming a paralegal, working as a legal assistant, and even going on to attend law school. 

Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies prepares you for well-paying careers; according to PayScale, graduates of this degree make an average salary of $60,000. Paralegals earn an average of $45,000 each year, while legal assistants make about $40,000 each year. The 24 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Legal Studies can help you to pursue this exciting career. 

Finding the right legal studies degree will partially depend on your career plans. If you’re completing this degree to become a paralegal, then you will want to look for a degree that is approved by the American Bar Association. You should also consider whether a program offers a specialization in the particular area of law that interests you. If you plan to go to law school, a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies may be a natural choice. While law schools do not require this degree for admission, the background and foundation information that this degree provides can leave you well-prepared for the challenges of law school. Many of these degree programs offer or require that students complete internships, which can provide valuable experience to prepare you for your career or further schooling. 

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one’s higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%) 
  • Academic Success (15%) 

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself! 

Here are the 24 best Bachelor’s Degrees in Legal Studies for 2020!
Rank School Location
1 University of California – Berkeley Berkeley, CA
2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
3 Ball State University Muncie, IN
4 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
5 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
6 Washburn University Topeka, KS
7 Gannon University Erie, PA
8 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
9 Dominican University River Forest, IL
10 Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL
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  1. University of California – Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California Berkeley's Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies is a liberal arts degree that is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the legal process. During this degree, students will learn about legal ideas and legal institutions to better understand how the law works. Students take courses in topics such as American legal history, philosophy of law, property law, and the criminal justice process. While this degree isn't specifically created to prepare students for law school, many students who intend to go to law school do select this major.

    Outstanding students in this program have the opportunity to join the Legal Studies Honors Program as seniors. Students enrolled in the Honors Program can conduct research on a topic of their interest and present their work at the Legal Studies Undergraduate Research Conference in the spring. Students who wish to apply to the Honors Program must have an overall UCB GPA of 3.5 or higher, and their Legal Studies Major GPA must also be at least 3.5.

  2. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Central Florida, undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. The BA requires students to take two semesters of a foreign language, while the BS requires only two years of foreign language studies at the high school level. Both programs are available entirely online, making them ideal for students who live off-campus or don't wish to relocate to campus for the school.

    The online BA and BS degrees in legal studies were recognized by the U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs and Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs for Veterans rankings. In addition to the BA and BS degrees, UCF offers a minor in legal studies as well as undergraduate certificates in Individual Liberties, Litigation and Advocacy, Spanish for the Legal World, and Urban Real Estate Development.

  3. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ball State University offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. While there are 1,000 paralegal education programs in the United States, the program at Ball State is one of less than 300 such programs that are approved by the American Bar Association. During this degree program, students take courses across many practice areas such as constitutional law, administrative law, business law, and civil and criminal litigation. Students must decide to focus on either Public Law or Business Law and will complete an internship working with attorneys and paralegals.

    These degrees are suitable for students considering attending law school, as they offer a comprehensive foundation in law. Legal Studies majors go on to hold many different careers, including working as investigators, attorneys, court clerks, and policy developers. The Department of Political Science gives out scholarships and awards to students in recognition of their academic success. In addition, program graduates go on to attend prestigious law schools, such as Michigan State, Indiana University, and Notre Dame.

  4. University of Pittsburgh
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. During this 120-credit-hour program, students will take courses such as Society and the Law, Freedom of Speech and the Press, Human Rights in World History, American Constitutional Law, and Deviance and Social Control. This program qualifies students to pursue graduate work in legal studies, business, law, and the administration of justice. Program graduates go on to work in many fields, such as social services, insurance, and social security.

    The University of Pittsburgh offers an internship guarantee; any students who take the university's Internship Prep Program and complete all related requirements are guaranteed to find placement in at least one internship or an experiential learning opportunity while an undergraduate. Students are also encouraged to explore the many study abroad opportunities available, including semester-long and one-, three-, or five-week programs.

  5. University of West Florida
    Location

    Pensacola, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of West Florida's Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies is particularly well-suited for students who wish to attend law school or who hope to work as a paralegal or office administrator in the legal profession. During this program, students acquire valuable skills for these career options, such as persuasive writing, oral advocacy, and ethical awareness. Small class sizes and talented faculty ensure students receive a quality education, and program participants can participate in internships, join student organizations, and conduct research.

    The Legal Studies Program hosts several annual events. The program hosts a panel of legal professionals and alumni each Fall who speak about their careers and meet students interested in the legal field. In the Spring, the program hosts a UWF Spring Law School Forum where attendees can learn about and get advice on applying to law schools. Additional events include a trip to the Supreme Court, law school tours, an LSAT prep course, and an Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament.

  6. Washburn University
    Location

    Topeka, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Washburn University's Bachelor of Legal Studies is a four-year 120-hour program. Students must earn a grade of a "C" or better in their university and general education requirements. During this program, students will take courses such as Legal Research, Personal Injury Law, Family Law, Philosophy of Law, and Technology & Society.

    Washburn University consists of five different schools, including the School of Law. The university charges per-credit tuition, and students from Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, or Texas also pay the reduced Kansas in-state student tuition. At Washburn, students can choose from over 200 courses, and with 71% of full-time faculty holding a doctorate or terminal degree, students receive a quality education from highly-qualified faculty. Over 1,000 students participate in internships each year, and some majors require students to complete internships to graduate.

  7. Gannon University
    Location

    Erie, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students at Gannon University can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies. This degree prepares students to pursue law and related jobs, paralegal positions, or law school. During the program, students receive training and job placement assistance and also have the opportunity to participate in internships. The curriculum focuses on legal specialty courses that offer skills training, equipping students with the skills that many employers value.

    Gannon University, a Catholic, Diocesan university, was founded in 1925. More than 3,200 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students attend the university. Gannon University offers a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio to facilitate plenty of student support, and students can also choose to participate in the university's more than 140 clubs and organizations. Gannon students are awarded over $37 million in financial aid each year, and the university offers 22 different varsity sports teams.

  8. Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Nova Southeastern University, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a pre-law or international law track focus. This interdisciplinary major includes a focus on communication, history, philosophy, political science, and literature, giving students a comprehensive understanding of the law. Program graduates are prepared to hold careers in politics, business, trade, public affairs, and public service, and while many graduates go on to law school, other graduates pursue programs in nonprofit operations, politics, management, and more.

    Students who wish to diversify their skills may select legal studies, history, international law, philosophy, or other minors. If students plan to pursue a master's or doctoral degree that's related to the field, NSU's Dual Admission Program can help them to prepare for that advanced degree. With the Dual Admission Program, undergraduates enrolled at NSU's College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences can receive early acceptance into one of NSU's graduate and professional degree programs.

  9. Dominican University
    Location

    River Forest, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Dominican University's Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies is an accelerated interdisciplinary major. Students can choose up to two concentrations in fields such as paralegal studies, social justice, and disability advocacy, or students can even design their concentrations. Advisors help students to tailor their program to focus on their professional goals, and students learn valuable skills such as how to research issues, analyze data, write, and solve real-world problems.

    One of the defining features of this degree program is that it can be taken entirely online, in the classroom, or a combination of delivery methods. The program is designed with the scheduling flexibility needs of the working professional in mind. Students can transfer college credit toward the degree and can earn credit for the skills they've already gained through life experiences, allowing them to progress through the degree more rapidly. The program is delivered in an accelerated eight-week year-round format so that students can complete the program in approximately 20 months.

  10. Florida Gulf Coast University
    Location

    Fort Myers, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Florida Gulf Coast University, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies that prepares them for law school or to pursue careers in law-related professions, such as legal assisting or as a paralegal. Throughout the program, students develop critical thinking and writing and research skills that are valuable in nearly any profession. By taking elective courses, students can focus on particular topics such as wills, real estate, family law, and trusts and estates.

    This program is available both on-campus and in a distance learning format online, and students complete internships that allow students to combine theory and practice in a real-world setting. Students who wish to take the Certified Legal Assistant's Exam will be well-prepared by this program. Program graduates have also gone on to pursue law school and employment in law firms, government offices, and private businesses.

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