What is a Legal Studies Degree?

Legal studies is an interdisciplinary program aimed at students or individuals who are interested in various aspects of the law or legal system. It’s often combined with other academic disciplines to give a broader perspective to it as a whole. Graduating with a legal studies degree can be the start of many career options. Here is an overview of the legal studies degree.

What is Legal Studies?

Legal studies is a field that combines the practices, values and institutions of legalities and law enforcement. It covers a broad study that examines how the legal system is determined by economic, political and cultural forces. It’s also a vast field that covers many areas within the legal system. As an academic program, legal studies offers many educational options because it covers so many areas. In its simplest form, legal studies is the study of anything legal or law-related.

What Courses are in the Legal Studies Program?

A legal studies program typically includes many law-based courses. The amount and exact type of courses the student takes depend on the degree level and program the student has chosen. Legal studies may be part of an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Legal studies is also referred to as pre-law and may be utilized by someone pursuing a law degree. Some of the following courses may be part of a legal studies curriculum

  • Civil litigation
  • Family law
  • Legal research and writing
  • Legal ethics
  • Introduction to torts
  • Legal research
  • Criminal law
  • Wills, trust and estate planning

Here are also some examples of different types of degree programs that may be chosen by a student interested in legal studies.

  • Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Devices
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
  • Master of Science in Legal Studies
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

What Jobs Can a Legal Studies Graduate Find?

One of the things that make the legal studies degree so popular is that graduates have so many career choices. They may find work in legal firms, real estate agencies, law enforcement, insurance companies, consulting firms and government settings. A student completing a bachelor’s degree in legal studies may choose a specialization in corrections, paralegal studies or law enforcement to name a few. Here are some of the possible jobs a legal studies graduate may find.

  • Paralegal/legal assistant
  • Human resources representative
  • Lawyer
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Law clerk
  • Legal investigator
  • Probation officer
  • Parole officer
  • Corrections officer

Career Outlook for Legal Studies Jobs

Although the career outlook for legal studies graduates is good overall, it can vary from one career to the next. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals can expect a job growth of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, while lawyers can only expect an increase of eight percent. These types of workers are always going to be in demand as more laws come into effect and legal agencies continue to expand. Because there are so many possibilities within the legal studies field, their potential wages can vary as well.

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The legal system in our country seems to be busier than ever before with crime up so high. Those working in the legal system typically find their job rewarding and challenging. The legal studies degree can put an individual in a position to become a part of the legal profession.