There are two common reasons that someone would pursue an associate’s degree in legal studies. The first is to qualify themselves for employment in a number of entry-level, law-related careers. For example, law clerks, court messengers, and lawyers’ research assistants can all be trained with an associate’s degree. Second, an associate’s degree in law can be an affordable way to start a full law program. After finishing an associate’s degree in one of these programs, students can transfer into a different law program with many of the requirements already fulfilled. In addition, earning a legal studies associate’s degree can help students to decide whether or not law school is an appropriate academic path for them.
Our list of the top 20 affordable associate’s degrees in law is based on the net cost of the program (reported on collegenavigator.gov):
- College of the Sequoias
- Pensacola State College
- Alpena Community College
- Central New Mexico Community College
- Central Wyoming College
- Holmes Community College
- Amarillo College
- Casper College
- Rowan College of South Jersey
- Carl Albert State College
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
- Herkimer State University of New York
- Barton Community College
- Vincennes University
- Minnesota West Community and Technnical College
- Iowa Western Community College
- American Public University
- East Los Angeles College
- Cuesta College
- Washburn University
20. Washburn University
Legal Studies Associate of Arts Degree
Washburn University’s AA in legal studies combines an associate’s degree from Washburn University with a certificate from the Legal Office Professional program at Washburn Tech. Credit requirements include 48 credit-hours on the Washburn Tech campus and 39 additional credit-hours on the main campus. The program offers students a well-rounded education, incorporating courses in communication, math, psychology, and history.
19. Cuesta College
San Luis Obispo, California
Legal Studies Business Emphasis Associate of Arts
Legal Studies Social Science Emphasis Associate of Arts
Cuesta College offers two options for AA degrees in legal studies. Both programs emphasize not only the nature of law and legal institutions, but also the impact they have on politics, government, business, economics, different social groups, and society. Students have the option to select either a business emphasis or a social science emphasis, and they can choose electives accordingly. The 60-credit program is designed for those who are planning to transfer to a four-year program.
18. East Los Angeles College
Monterey Park, California
Law, Public Policy and Society Associate of Arts Degree for Transfer
East Los Angeles College offers an associate’s degree that works as a streamlined pathway to either a legal career or a transfer to a four-year university. This legal studies degree requires a minimum of 60 credits to graduate. Upon completion, graduates are guaranteed admission to a California State University. The program prepares students either for law school or for other graduate school programs.
17. American Public University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Online Associate of Science in Legal Studies
The legal studies associate’s degree at American Public University can be completed entirely online. This 60-credit program offers courses that start monthly and vary from eight to 16 weeks in length. The degree is designed to build an understanding of litigation, ethics, real estate law, criminal law, paralegal procedures, legal research, writing, civil practice, and general law. The program stresses effective writing and communication, and it prepares graduates to provide ethical service and leadership.
16. Iowa Western Community College
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Pre-Law Associate of Arts
Iowa Western Community College offers an AA degree in pre-law that is designed for students intending to transfer to a four-year institution. In this unique pre-law program, students can gain valuable experience while conducting research in law libraries. Students will be instructed in how to analyze information, as well as in how to persuade a jury. The program offers mock trials and “Law Day” activities to help the students hone their skills and gain additional practice.
15. Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Associate of Arts in Law/Pre-Law
Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers a 60-credit, four-semester associate’s degree in pre-law. The program allows students to choose a major, helping them broaden their general knowledge, while still preparing for law school. The law/pre-law degree program places special emphasis on the development of skills in oral and written expression, both of which are necessary skills for a successful career in law.
14. Vincennes University
Pre-Law Associate of Arts
The pre-law AA degree at Vincennes University is an exciting option for those looking to earn an associate’s degree in legal studies. The university has a complete, centralized law library, as well as a multimedia learning resource center. Students can take advantage of highly skilled professors, quality coursework, a study skills center, and free tutoring. The two-year curriculum provides a broad liberal arts background to ensure success in whatever path the student chooses to pursue.
13. Barton Community College
Great Bend, Kansas
Associate of Arts in Pre-Law
At Barton Community College, students can earn an AA in pre-law. The school offers a variety of pre-professional options, each of which allows the student to choose electives based on their personal interests. The curriculum gives the student a good idea as to what the legal profession is like, and students will complete all necessary general education courses needed to springboard their law degree.
12. Herkimer State University of New York
Herkimer, New York
Online Legal Studies Associate of Applied Science
Herkimer State University offers one of the few associate’s degrees in legal studies that can be completed entirely online. This four-semester, 62-credit program prepares students for positions in law offices, banks, real estate firms, government agencies, and other institutions that require legal training. The program also works as a transfer program, and the school offers a convenient transfer agreement with three local colleges.
11. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Associate of Arts in Pre-Law
The AA degree in pre-law at Mississippi Gulf Coast is a good option for those looking to earn an affordable associate’s degree. The program is specifically designed for students looking to transfer to a four-year bachelor’s program. MGCCC is part of a network of schools designed to make degree completion smooth and easy. Additionally, the college participates in an articulation agreement between the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, making the transfer process very easy.
10. Carl Albert State College
Associate of Arts in History, Political Science, and Pre-Law
Carl Albert State College offers an associate’s degree in pre-law that can be completed in two years. This 62- to 64-credit program offers many of the required courses online. Financial aid is available for this program. The college stands at #11 in the nation for graduation rates among community colleges.
9. Rowan College of South Jersey
Sewell, New Jersey
Associate of Arts in Pre-Law
At Rowan College of South Jersey, students can earn an affordable associate’s degree in pre-law. The program provides the general education foundation necessary for transfer to a four-year program. Students in the program will choose to focus on legal systems with their available elective credits. Graduates will be equipped with an understanding of various scientific, artistic, social, and historical perspectives and ideas, as well as a thorough understanding of legal principles and systems.
8. Casper College
Pre-Law Associate of Business
Casper College offers a pre-law associates degree that is intended to prepare students for a successful transfer to a four-year program. More than 70% of the 63 credits required for this degree can be earned online. The curriculum is designed as a general studies degree emphasizing an understanding of political, economic, social, and cultural institutions. There is an emphasis placed on communication skills and the ability to think logically and creatively.
7. Amarillo College
Associate in Applied Science in Legal Studies
The legal studies program at Amarillo College is an associate’s degree program designed for justice-loving men and women. The 60-credit curriculum teaches students how to draft legal documents, perform research, and assist attorneys before and during trials. Graduates of the program will be prepared for a vast array of employment opportunities in both government and private sectors. The legal studies program at Amarillo is one of only 12 programs in Texas that are approved by the American Bar Association.
6. Holmes Community College
Associate of Arts in Pre-Law/Legal Studies
At Holmes Community College, students can earn an affordable associate’s degree in pre-law. The 62-credit program combines one year of general education courses with one year of program-related courses. The curriculum aims to provide suitable alternatives for those planning to transfer into law school. Various financial aid options are available for this program.
5. Central Wyoming College
Associate of Arts in Pre-Legal Studies
Central Wyoming College offers a 63-credit associate’s degree in pre-law. The curriculum exposes students to a broad overview of U.S. law, at the same time providing the groundwork and educational foundation for a law degree. The program also works as a starting point for a career as a paralegal, legal assistant, or victim’s advocate.
4. Central New Mexico Community College
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Associate of Arts in Pre-Law
Central New Mexico Community College offers a very affordable and flexible associate’s degree in pre-law. This 60-credit program can be completed through either part-time or full-time study, and students can enter the program at any term throughout the year. Financial aid is available, and many of the required courses are available online. The program prepares students to transfer into a four-year degree program in whatever course of study they choose on their way to a degree in law.
3. Alpena Community College
Associate in Arts in Pre-Law
The pre-law associate’s degree program at Alpena Community College is a suggested program of study that can be altered to meet individual goals and transfer plans. This affordable, 60-credit program consists of 36 general education credits and 24 major credits. The curriculum meets degree distribution requirements for both graduation and the Michigan Transfer Agreement.
2. Pensacola State College
Pre-Law/Pre-Legal Administration Associate in Art
At Pensacola State College, students can earn an extremely affordable associate’s degree in pre-law. The four-semester program requires the completion of 60 credits. The curriculum provides a course of study aimed at a broad general education in the liberal arts. The program is designed to be the first two years of a pre-law curriculum, and it includes many electives, allowing students to choose courses based on areas of personal interest.
1. College of the Sequoias
Associate in Arts in Law, Public Policy, and Society for Transfer
College of the Sequoias offers the most affordable associate’s degree program we have found. The 60-credit program is eligible for financial aid. Students will gain an introductory foundation in the field of law through the study of the interdisciplinary fields of law, political science, history, philosophy, sociology, and communications. Students will graduate with the ability to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and understanding for the development of personal, civic, and social responsibility within a career in this field.
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