The 25 Best Online Bachelors in Legal Studies Degree Programs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that law assistant and paralegal jobs are expected to grow 17% through 2022, several percentage points faster than the average rate. While nothing beats on-the-job experience, legal professionals know that without at least a general understanding of law practice and procedure most employees never catch up with the rapid pace of law offices, or the complex and occasionally convoluted legalese assistants have to process on a day-to-day basis.
Featured Online Legal Studies Degree Programs
A bachelor’s in Legal Studies provides students with the necessary practical skill-set and educational fundamentals to face any of the typical law office challenges head-on. Nonetheless, not all graduates necessarily go straight into law. The degree is handy enough to land graduates in a wide range of fields, from healthcare, banking, and government, to a host of corporate areas. Many students go on to law school. Here’s our list of the top 25 online legal studies degree programs.
1. American Public University
American Public University offers both a BS and BA in Legal Studies, which totals 121 credit hours with the general education requirement. However many students – in fact, 50% – transfer credits in to accelerate their coursework. Most Legal Studies bachelor’s candidates are working professionals that work toward their degree according to their own schedules. As such, APU allows for coursework flexibility and students to self-pace. In addition to the fundamentals of law, students learn legal research methodology and and effective writing by examining applicable case law. For those interested, the online school also offers relevant associate’s and master’s degrees, as well as a Paralegal Studies certificate. At more than 55,000 enrolled students – 79% of which are undergraduates – American Public University is one of the largest online universities in the country.
- Tuition per credit is $270.
2. Dominican University
Dominican University’s BS in Legal Studies consists of 42 major credits out of the 120 total undergraduate credit hours required. The major curriculum breaks down as 21 core credit and 21 elective credits, allowing students to tailor their studies. In addition, Dominican also offers 7 concentrations to choose from: Sustainability Studies, Public Administration, Paralegal Studies, Law & Social Justice, Labor Relations, Disability Advocacy, and Criminal Justice. There are also credit transfer opportunities for eligible students, which accelerate coursework. An accelerated BLS track option graduates students in just two years. In addition, a general core-excluding bachelor’s program also exists for students who have already earned a BA or BS; in this case, only 10 courses are required: an adult learning seminar, 7 core legal studies courses, and 2 electives. Note Dominican is a Catholic university, so curriculums typically include religious studies.
- Tuition per credit is $425.
3. Liberty University
Liberty University offers a BS in Paralegal Studies consisting of 45 major credits out of the required 120 undergraduate hours. Core classes include Foundations of Law, Legal Research & Writing, Civil Practice, Real Estate Transactions & Property, and Corporate & Business Organization Law, among others. Students also take 15 credits of electives in order to specialize their degrees. In particular, Liberty emphasizes developing the practical skill-sets students will need in the workplace. Thanks to a generous credit transfer program of up to 90 credits, eligible students with prior academic work or real-world work experience may accelerate coursework. Note that for interested students Liberty also offers relevant associate’s, master’s, and certificate programs in the field. Liberty is a Christian university, and religious studies factor into the general education requirement.
- Tuition per credit is $375.
4 (tied). Baker College
Baker College offers a number of relevant degrees: an associate’s in Criminal Justice, bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, bachelor’s in Legal Studies, and a Paralegal associate’s. The BS in Legal Studies consists of 109 major credits out of the 172 total for undergraduates. Among the core classes include Law Office Technology and Ethics, Torts, Contract Law, Family Law, Elder Law, and Administrative Law, among many others. Three elective courses are also taken in order to give the student a customized degree plan. While the curriculum provides students with an academic base in theory, Baker understands students’ professional needs and therefore stresses practical in-office skills and actionable knowledge. In order to acclimate students to online learning, a three-week long introductory seminar is required to orient students to the online learning environment.
- Tuition per credit is $240.
4 (tied). Kaplan University
Kaplan University’s BS in Legal Studies includes a standard and advanced start track. The former is designed for students without a previous bachelor’s and no prior academic or work experience in the field and consists of 88 major credits and 180 total undergraduate credits. The advanced start curriculum is aimed at students with bachelor’s degrees who are either looking to advance in their paralegal careers or get into the profession. The standard core major includes classes on Legal Ethics, Law and Society, Legal Philosophy, and others. It also requires a two levels of electives and a culminating capstone. With new programs beginning once a month, Kaplan offers its students unparalleled scheduling flexibility and is therefore particularly popular for part-time students, working professionals, and others with very restrictive schedules.
- Tuition per credit is $371.
6. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a a concentration in Legal Studies and Advocacy. The program consists of a 51-credit major sequence, and the total undergraduate credit requirement is 120. Among the major core courses include American Politics, Judicial Administration, Criminal Law, Forensic Psychology, and International Criminal Justice, among others. Students also must complete a Criminal Justice capstone. SNHU’s program is one of the more broad-based curriculums on our list, preparing students for a wide variety of career opportunities and providing a solid foundation of both theory and practice to take with them upon graduation. Note also that active duty military may apply for tuition assistance and their spouses can be eligible to receive a 30% tuition discount.
- Tuition per credit is $320.
7. Rowan University
Rowan University offers a BA in Law & Justice consisting of 60 major credits out of the required 120 undergraduate hours. Core classes in the Law & Justice major include Introduction To Corrections, Selected Topics in Criminal Justice, Law and Human Rights, Introduction to Juvenile Justice, Theories of Crime and Criminality, and a writing intensive seminar. Students select from 24 elective credits in order to tailor their degrees. Courses are delivered in 8-week formats, and the school’s accelerated track allows students to complete degrees in just 4-5 consecutive semesters, making it one of the quicker programs on our list. With an undergraduate enrollment of just over 15,000, Rowan has both the resources of a large university while also maintaining a relative flexibility and intimate learning environment for students to excel.
- Tuition per credit is $455.
8 (tied). University of Pittsburgh
One of the more prestigious schools on the list, the University of Pittsburgh’s bachelor’s in Legal Studies consists of a 30-credit major sequence out of 120 total undergraduate credits required. The program is also highly customizable, with just 6 core credits required. With their remaining electives, students build a tailored and specific study plan that fits into their professional needs and interests. Among the available electives are Public Law and Moral Reasoning, Lawyers and the Legal Profession, Law and Environment, Introduction to Civil Rights, Emerging Issues in Legal and Social Policy, an internship, and independent study. In addition, students also choose two electives outside the legal studies umbrella in order to further build a broad-based, interdisciplinary curriculum. For interested students, Pitt offers several certification programs, as well.
- Tuition per credit is $1,169.
8 (tied). American Military University
American Military University’s BS in Legal Studies is a 122-credit undergraduate track with a 42-credit major sequence. In addition, AMU also offers both a BS and BA in Criminal Justice, for those interested. Core classes in the Legal Studies major include Legal Research and Writing, Legal Ethics, Administrative Law and Policy, and others. Students also choose 18 legal studies electives and must complete a culminating senior seminar. With a generous transfer credit of up to 91 hours, students can accelerate their coursework. To guarantee the most up-to-date and pragmatic study plan, APU’s curriculum has been reviewed by an advisory council of industry experts. As part of American Public University’s umbrella of schools, AMU students enjoy all the benefits of large and well-resourced university, including a large alumni network to facilitate employment opportunities upon graduation.
- Tuition per credit is $270.
10 (tied). Hampton University
Hampton University offers a BA in Paralegal Studies, a 4-year program consisting of 122 total undergraduate hours. Core major courses include Law in Society, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Law Office Management, Torts and Personal Injury, and more. Hampton’s curriculum emphasizes a practical professional approach, teaching students the necessary skills to work in a law office, while also laying down a solid groundwork of liberal arts in order to provide a broad-based and interdisciplinary education. With an enrollment of just 5,000 students, Hampton students enjoy a small, nimble, intimate, and highly collaborative learning environment that students at larger universities often miss. All graduates are thoroughly prepared for office work or to pursue further studies at law school.
- Tuition per credit is $496.
10 (tied). California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania offers a BA in Jurisprudence with a Legal Studies concentration. Designed for students who have at least gained 40 prior undergraduate credits, the curriculum focuses on the history of jurisprudence, legal reasoning, legal research and writing, litigation, estates and trusts, criminal law, family law, business law, real estate law, administrative law, ethics and constitutional law. In addition to a solid core foundation, students choose electives to tailor their degrees to fit specific interests and needs for their prospective careers. CUP’s online environments are highly interactive and collaborative, providing students with the same level of educational rigor and instruction as on-campus classes. With entry points in the Fall, Spring, and Summer, students are afforded necessary scheduling flexibility.
- Tuition per credit is $496.
12. University of Florida
The University of Florida offers a BA Criminology & Law consisting of a 34-credit major sequence out of the 120-credit undergraduate requirement. The major curriculum breakdown is as follows: 4 core – Advanced Principles of Criminal Justice, Criminological Theory, Research Methods in Criminology, Law and Society – 1 law-driven course, and five criminology and law electives out of a selection of 18 credits. In addition, all students must complete and pass a comprehensive exit exam to exhibit proficiency and adequate knowledge of the subject matter. Though competitive, a transfer policy is available for eligible students wishing to accelerate their coursework. As one of the largest universities in the country, with nearly 50,000 enrolled students, UF online students have access to a large array of resources, including a robust and hands-on alumni network.
- Tuition per credit is $552.
13 (tied). Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary-of-the-woods College offers a bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies consisting of a 45-credit major sequence and 120 total undergraduate requirement. Core classes include Legal Research, Commercial Transactions, Civil Litigation, Theories of Liability, and a practicum. In addition, the program also offers several tracks of specialization in order to further tailor students’ degrees: Litigation, Personal Law, or a customized track built on 6 credit hours of electives. Note that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is a hybrid program and does require some residence learning. For interested students, an associate’s and certificate program are also offered. With just 1,700 students enrolled, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods offers all the perks of a smaller school education, including student-to-faculty ratio and an intimate learning environment. As a Roman Catholic University, religious studies are often incorporated into the curriculum.
- Tuition per credit is $496.
13 (tied). Mississippi College
Mississippi College’s BS in Paralegal Studies consists of studies in Introduction to Law, Civil Litigation, Legal Research & Bibliography, Legal Writing, Law Office Management, and Family Law, among others. The program stresses professional training, but also emphasizes a broad interdisciplinary approach that gives students’ a far-reaching liberal arts background. (The major is administered by the Department of History and Political Science). Graduates of the program have gone onto jobs at Bellsouth, the Hinds County DA Office, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, the State of Mississippi, the State of Tennessee, the Supreme Court of Georgia, US Army JAG Corps, the US Navy, and private law firms. Note that Mississippi College is a Christian school and religious values and studies are incorporated into the curriculum.
- Tuition per credit is $459.
13 (tied). Bellevue University
Bellevue University’s BS in Legal Studies consists of 40 major credits. Core classes include Theory and Practice of Law, The American Criminal and Civil Legal Systems, Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Law, The U.S. Legal System and the Judicial Process, and Civil and Criminal Procedure. In addition, all Bellevue students must complete the upper-level, 9-credit Kirkpatrick Signature Series, a cluster of liberal arts studies in the history and philosophy of political science in American democracy. A generous transfer program allows students to accelerate coursework, and classes are taught asynchronously to allow students maximum schedule flexibility. Further, Bellevue’s faculty is composed of recognized leaders in the field, including Federal Judges, legal professionals, Congressmen, legislators, lobbyists, and corporate executives.
- Tuition per credit is $395.
16. Brandman University
Brandman University’s BA in Legal Studies is a 42-credit major sequence out of the 120-credit undergraduate minimum. (A minor is available for 18 credits.) Core classes include Social Research Design, Social and Political Theory, and a Social Science capstone; upper-level core requirements include two History of Political Philosophy classes, The Western Legal Tradition, Constitutional Government, and Social Movements in the Sixties. Students choose 12 credits of electives to further specialize their studies, and a concentration in Paralegal Studies is also available. With its impressively wide range of courses, Brandman’s track is among the most interdisciplinary programs on the list, stressing the development practical skill-sets while also laying a firm foundational knowledge of theory. For those interested, Brandman also offers a related bachelor’s in Criminal Justice.
- Tuition per credit is $500.
17. Abraham Lincoln University
Abraham Lincoln University’s BS in Legal Studies has a 60-credit major sequence and a 120-credit total undergraduate requirement. Example coursework includes Legal Research, Criminal Law, Legal Analysis and Writing, Laws of Criminal Evidence, and a capstone. Students also select from a wide range of electives to customize their studies according to needs and interests. Program objectives are primarily developing effective communication skills, legal research and writing skills, and other essential skill-sets most in-demand at law offices. The program is also an excellent lead-in for students considering law school later. ALU specializes in law education and therefore boasts an impressive faculty of experts and recognized leaders in the field.
- Tuition per credit is $250.
18. William Woods College
William Woods College offers a BS in Paralegal Studies that consists of 42 major credits. Core classes include American Legal System, Civil Practice, Ethics and the Law Office, Administrative and Federal Procedure, and Probate and Estate Planning. With a rigorous and intensive curriculum, William Woods fosters a highly collaborative learning environment. Courses are delivered in 8-week blocks and offer self-paced flexibility for students with challenging schedules. The program stresses real-world experience; among its unique opportunities are a Virtual Law Office internship, Practicum, or clinical program requirement. Graduates have gone on to careers as lobbyists in Washington D.C., at private law firms, in the energy, finance, healthcare and gaming industries, and other corporate entities.
- Tuition per credit is $258.
19. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers a BA in Government with an emphasis in Legal Studies. The curriculum breaks down as 44-major credits out of a required 120-undergraduate hours. Same major classes are American Government and Politics, Philosophy of Law, Public Policy Analysis, Research Methods in Government and Politics, and a Government capstone. As a degree in the wider spectrum of government, GCU’s program provides an excellent platform for students to pursue a career or further academic study in an array of fields and is among the more not-strictly-professional degrees on the list. Students go on to careers in, obviously, the public sector, but also business, lobbying, consulting, and many continue on to law school.
- Tuition per credit is $470.
20. National University
National University offers a BA in Pre-Law Studies consisting of 40.5 major quarter units, 31.5 upper-level electives, and 19.5 major prerequisites. Total credits required for the undergraduate degree are 180 quarter units. Core classes include Current Legal Issues, Litigation, Analytical Reasoning, Legal Writing Research, and a capstone. Electives allow students to specialize their studies as they see fit. Classes include Public Contracting, Facilitation Fundamentals, Communication & Conflict, Issues in Conflict Management, and others. (Note that some of the upper-level electives are strongly recommended.) A pre-law degree is particularly appropriate for students interested in eventually attending law school or who wish to enter business or government with a strong legal knowledge base, which is certainly beneficial in certain professions.
- Tuition per credit is $354.
21 (tied). University of Great Falls
The University of Great Falls offers an online bachelor’s and associate’s in Paralegal Studies. (An Army Paralegal program and BS in Criminal Justice are also available for interested students.) The university currently offers two delivery methods: Microsoft Lync and Moodle. The former is an interactive, live class delivery with students participating through a live stream as if they were enrolled in a typical on-campus class; these classes are regularly scheduled. The other option for online students is Moodle, which is an internationally recognized educational platform used in over 200 countries around the world. Moodle offers asynchronous delivery, allowing students who are part-time or working professionals with busy schedules to pursue degrees on their own time. All UGF classes are labeled as being delivered through one format or the either so students can plan in advance.
- Tuition per credit is $666.
21 (tied). University of Maryland – University College
The University of Maryland – University College’s bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies consists of a 33-credit major track and 120-credit total undergraduate requirement. For interested students, a minor is available as well for 15 credits; a Criminal Justice minor is also offered. Core classes include Techniques of Legal Research, Legal Writing, Legal Ethics, Torts, Domestic Relations, Contract Law, and Advanced Legal Practices, among others. Primarily approached from a professional prospective, the program emphasizes essential law office skills, from producing and reviewing legal forms and documents, to applying statutes to legal cases and assessing fact patterns. Eligible students may accelerate coursework with credit transfer options. With a worldwide enrollment of nearly 90,000 students, UMUC is one of the largest online universities in the world, giving graduates the added bonus of an exceptionally large alumni network.
- Tuition per credit is $499.
21 (tied). South University
South University offers both a bachelor’s in Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies. South University’s online delivery offers students the same benefits as its on-campus students, including the online library, tutoring, and career services. In addition, the school has an exclusive social media platform through which students and professors can interact and share questions, discussions, news, and more. All online students are assigned a graduation team composed of three advisors to make sure students are given the necessary support to complete their degree in a timely manner and with all the desired coursework. An additional academic advisor works alongside students to build a specialized curriculum to fit each individual’s needs and interests, with postgraduate professional goals in mind.
- Tuition per credit is $499.
24. Hodges University
Hodges University’s BS in Legal Studies includes a 68-credit major sequence and a 120-credit total undergraduate requirement. Among the core major classes are Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Data Privacy and Social Media, Legal Ethics, and Advanced Legal Research and Writing. Hodges students also study the emerging fields of eDiscovery and eLitigation, a unique new area of law. An approved elective track by a student adviser also helps to specialize individual study plans. Accelerated options are available, and students may be able to graduate in as little as 5 semesters. Hodges class sizes are small, with an average of 14 students, providing students with a low student-to-faculty ration and an intimate learning environment. Graduates have found employment in a variety of fields, including in law offices, government, office administration, banking, and corporate legal departments.
- Tuition per credit is $1,590.
25. SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton’s BS in Legal Studies consists of a total of 124-126 undergraduate credits. Among some of the classes in the major are Business Law, Legal Research, Negligence and Intentional Torts, Civil Litigation, Constitutional Law, and a final capstone, which can be fulfilled either with a research project or internship. In particular, Canton’s program is designed for recent high school graduates, paralegal studies transfer students, criminal justice transfer students, and working professionals. As part of the massive SUNY umbrella, with over 400,000 enrolled students, SUNY Canton students enjoy the resources of a massive higher learning institution, which includes a very impressive alumni network for professionals to tap into. The Legal Studies program at Canton continues to be the only 4-year program in the 64-campus SUNY system.
- Tuition per credit is $1,590.
- Affordability (1/3): the average out-of-state tuition per credit hour
- Flexibility (1/3): if the program offers additional specializations and/or an accelerated track
- Academic Reputation (1/3): the rank of the school’s parent institution according to US News