During a four-year bachelor's program, legal studies majors take courses on topics like criminal law, legal research, and constitutional law. A bachelor's degree in law or legal studies prepares graduates for careers in growing fields. For example, paralegals and mediators both earn above-average salaries with much faster than average projected job growth between 2019-2029. After earning a bachelor's in law, graduates can also apply to law school.
Our ranking of the best online bachelor's in law programs identifies the top programs in the field. Prospective applicants can use the list to find the right fit for their schedule and budget. This article also introduces common career paths for law and legal studies majors, the earning potential and demand for graduates, and scholarship opportunities.
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Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Law Programs 2021
|#1||University of Central Florida Orlando, FL|
|#2||National University La Jolla, CA|
|#3||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|#4||Dominican University River Forest, IL|
|#5||SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton, NY|
|#6||Bellevue University Bellevue, NE|
|#7||Hodges University Naples, FL|
|#8||Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ|
|#9||Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA|
|#10||University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD|
Earning a bachelor's degree generally takes four years for full-time students to complete. Incoming students with prior college credits or an associate degree can complete their bachelor's degree sooner.
Yes, degree-seekers can study law online. Online bachelor's in law programs use a distance learning format, and some master's in law programs offer online options as well.
Prospective law students benefit from a degree in the humanities or social sciences that emphasizes analytical thinking and research. A bachelor's in law or legal studies also prepares graduates for law school.
Currently, law schools do not offer fully online JDs. However, a growing number enroll students in a hybrid format where they complete some requirements online.
Career Paths and Outlook for a Bachelor's Degree in Law
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in law can pursue jobs such as paralegal, mediator, and claims examiner. Graduates can also expand their career options by pursuing additional legal training in law school. This section introduces common legal studies careers.
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators conduct negotiations between parties to settle disputes. They arrange meetings between the parties to reach an agreement and create a settlement agreement at the end of the mediation.
Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators act outside of the court system but must apply any relevant laws or regulations when reaching a settlement. Some of these professionals hold a law degree.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators work for insurance companies where they research and evaluate claims. They determine whether a policy covers the client's loss, research suspected fraudulent claims, and negotiate settlements with clients.
Some employers prefer to hire job candidates for these roles with a bachelor's degree in an area like legal studies or business.
Court reporters create transcripts of legal proceedings, including trials, hearings, and depositions. They attend legal proceedings to create transcripts, which typically requires training in stenography machines and recording devices. After creating a transcript or recording, court reporters provide a copy to the court, the plaintiffs, and the defendants.
Court reporters often hold a degree with specialized training in the law and court reporting. The career requires strong listening, writing, and concentration skills.
Paralegals and legal assistants draft legal documents, conduct legal research, and manage files to help lawyers. They may gather evidence for attorneys to review, summarize reports during trial preparation, and draft correspondence with clients. Paralegals who specialize in litigation file briefs and handle exhibits during a trial.
Most paralegals and legal assistants bring training in the law, legal research, and legal writing to their jobs. Some careers require a bachelor's degree.
Private detectives and investigators find information for their clients. They may conduct background checks, research financial or legal documents, and search for missing persons. Private detectives and investigators also conduct interviews, search public records, and locate evidence for clients.
These professionals benefit from a legal studies background, since they must ensure they follow any applicable laws. Some positions require a bachelor's degree in law, legal studies, or criminal justice.
Lawyers advise businesses on their legal responsibilities and represent clients in court. They research the law; interpret legal rulings; and write legal documents like contracts, court motions, and wills. Lawyers also represent government agencies, prosecute offenders, and file lawsuits with courts.
Lawyers typically specialize in an area like employment law, criminal law, family law, or corporate law. They must attend law school, earn a JD degree, and pass the bar exam to practice law.
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)|
|Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators||$63,930||8%|
|Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators||$66,540||-6%|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||$51,740||10%|
|Private Detectives and Investigators||$50,510||8%|
Accreditation for Law Programs
Prospective legal studies majors should check a school's accreditation status before submitting an application. Regionally accredited colleges and universities meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees. Independent accrediting agencies evaluate schools on their student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission.
Accreditation benefits degree-seekers in several ways. Credits earned from an accredited school will more likely transfer to other schools. Many graduate programs, including law schools, require an accredited undergraduate degree. And employers often look for job candidates with an accredited degree.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. While the American Bar Association grants accreditation to law schools, it does not accredit undergraduate programs. Instead, prospective bachelor's in law and legal studies learners should look for regional accreditation. Students can verify a school's accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education's database.
Courses in Online Law and Legal Studies Programs
During an online law bachelor's program, learners explore topics like criminal and civil laws, the legal system, and the role of legal institutions in the criminal justice system. Many law and legal studies programs also incorporate courses on legal research and legal writing. This training benefits future paralegals and lawyers.
Our sample curriculum covers classes commonly found in an online bachelor's in law program. Exact courses and class descriptions vary depending on the program.
- Introduction to Legal Studies
- Many legal studies programs begin with an introductory course. The class provides an overview of the U.S. legal system, the history of law, and the difference between civil and criminal law. Students examine topics like comparative law, constitutional law, and international law. The course prepares graduates for upper-division classes.
- Constitutional Law
- In constitutional law classes, students learn about the rights protected under the Constitution. The course explores concepts like the separation of powers, equal protection rights, and common law interpretations of the Constitution. Through reading court decisions, undergrads learn to interpret the Constitution and the ways it has been applied.
- Legal Theory
- Legal theory courses look at the theoretical foundation of law itself. The class may cover natural law, political theories, and different theories of justice. Other topics can include the relationship between the law, morality, and ethics. Students also examine legal concepts like natural rights and the philosophy of law.
- Comparative Law
- In comparative law courses, learners explore legal systems in different parts of the world. They examine the similarities and differences between legal approaches, including the history of legal systems. Topics can include civil law versus common law systems, international laws, and the evolution of the law.
- Criminal Law
- Criminal law classes examine the criminal justice system and laws governing crime. Topics can include criminology, legal policy, and the relationship between crime and punishment. Students may also examine various parts of the criminal justice system, the relationship between state and federal criminal courts, and the role of the correctional system.
Professional associations, corporations, and private donors all award scholarships to help recipients pay for their degree. In addition to researching scholarships for legal studies majors, degree-seekers can look into opportunities for pre-law, criminal justice, and law enforcement majors. Below, we outline several scholarships for law and legal studies students.
Who Can Apply: My Alarm Center offers an annual scholarship to students majoring in law, criminal justice, or a related field. Applicants must submit an essay on the relationship between law enforcement and civilians or the applicant's personal experiences that drew them to a career in the law.
Who Can Apply: The SUEZ corporation welcomes sophomores and juniors into its scholarship program. Applicants must attend an accredited school and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship requires a major in political science, pre-law, legal studies, or a related field. Recipients must complete a two-year internship as part of the program.
Amount: up to $5,000
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students planning to work in anti-fraud careers. Applicants must be full-time students attending an accredited four-year school. In addition to submitting a scholarship application, applicants should provide official transcripts and two letters of recommendation. The scholarship requires a major or minor in criminal justice or a similar field, like legal studies.
Who Can Apply: The Las Vegas injury law scholarship awards four scholarships annually to postsecondary students. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. The committee selects recipients based on their financial need and achievements. Local applicants receive preference during the selection process.
Who Can Apply: Undergraduates attending an accredited school can apply for the scholarship with a transcript, resume, and essay. Applicants should plan to work in law after completing their degree. The committee reviews applicants based on their academic record, career promise, and an essay on challenges facing workers' rights.
Online Bachelor's in Law Programs 2021
Our list ranks the best online law bachelor's programs for 2021 to help students find the right fit to reach their career goals. We only include regionally accredited programs to make sure the ranked schools follow best practices in higher education. Learn more about the top-ranked and most affordable law bachelor's online programs below.
Founded in 1963, UCF is a public research university offering on-campus and online degrees, including an online bachelor's degree in legal studies. Degree-seekers learn about the legal system while strengthening their legal research and writing skills. The program prepares students for careers as paralegals, attorneys, and court reporters.
The legal studies program offers specialization options including public law, criminal law, and litigation. In addition to core legal studies courses, online learners take classes in advocacy, international law, and business law. Students earning the online bachelor's in law also complete an internship or a capstone course to build practical skills.
UCF's program offers BA and BS options. The BA requires additional humanities and social science coursework. The BS curriculum emphasizes math and natural science coursework. UCF admits students on a rolling basis. Applicants typically submit official transcripts and need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants with fewer than 60 transferable credits must provide standardized test scores.
A private institution in La Jolla, California, NU offers on-campus and online degree programs designed for busy learners. The university's online bachelor's degree in pre-law studies is one of the best law bachelor's for online students who need flexible scheduling options. Learners build analytical and critical thinking skills to prepare for careers in the field.
The fully online bachelor's in law trains students to analyze legal issues in business settings, understand contemporary legal debates, and apply rules of law. The pre-law curriculum trains students to negotiate effectively and to craft strong legal arguments. Students can customize the degree through 36 credits of upper-division electives. Elective options include comparative international law, administrative law for business, mediation and facilitation, and conflict management.
NU uses four-week terms, and students take one class per month. Military members searching for the most affordable law bachelor's online program can take advantage of NU's tuition discounts for service members. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Founded in 1977, Keiser provides a career-focused learning environment. Keiser offers an online bachelor's degree in legal studies that emphasizes the intersection between the law and professional fields. Learners in the program prepare for careers in law, business, criminal justice, and government.
Students earning the online bachelor's in law explore legal research, legal document writing, and legal analysis. Degree-seekers choose from electives including civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, legal investigation, and evidence. Learners can also pursue an optional internship to gain practical experience. Students apply classroom knowledge during the legal studies capstone project. Degree-seekers can add a law office management concentration to prepare for careers as a paralegal or law office manager.
Most students complete the 120-credit bachelor's degree in about 40 months. Learners with transfer credits can graduate sooner. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Keiser does not require standardized test scores.
A private Catholic institution in Illinois, Dominican delivers a bachelor of professional studies in legal studies program for students with prior college credit. The 120-credit online degree program prepares students for law-related careers.
Legal studies majors take courses in the legal system and legal terminology. The interdisciplinary program helps learners strengthen their research, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Degree-seekers work with an advisor to customize the curriculum. Learners can choose up to two concentrations based on their interests or professional goals. Concentration options include paralegal studies, public administration, criminal justice, and labor relation. Students can also design a custom concentration.
Dominican's accelerated eight-week terms allow students to earn their legal studies degree in 20 months. Applicants need at least 30 transferable college credits and can apply up to 90 previous credits toward the bachelor's degree. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a current resume, and a statement of purpose.
A public college in upstate New York, SUNY Canton offers online associate and bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor's degree in legal studies. The fully online program blends classroom learning with hands-on experience. Students can complete an internship to gain professional experience and prepare for the workforce.
The legal studies program trains students in legal research and legal writing. Learners also explore legal focus areas, such as business law, constitutional law, criminal practice, family law, and civil litigation. Degree-seekers customize the curriculum by choosing legal studies electives in areas such as real estate, immigration law, and environmental law. SUNY Canton also offers courses in criminal justice, law enforcement leadership, and business.
Students can transfer credits from a certificate or associate degree in paralegal studies or criminal justice. Applicants submit standardized test scores and an essay.
A private institution established in 1966, BU grants degrees from its Nebraska campus and online. The university's online legal studies degree introduces students to the U.S. legal system. Learners in the bachelor's program strengthen their reasoning and critical thinking skills. Graduates often work in entry-level legal and paralegal jobs, and others apply to law school.
The 127-credit program features an interdisciplinary approach to law. Coursework examines concepts in policy, the legal system, and the judicial system. Learners also take classes in criminal justice and political science. The curriculum emphasizes practical skills including legal writing, terminology, and research.
Applicants should hold an associate degree or 60 credits of general education credits. Students who do not meet the credit requirements can take classes at BU before declaring the legal studies major. Applicants must hold a high school diploma and submit official college transcripts.
A private university located in Naples, Florida, Hodges offers an online bachelor's degree in legal studies. The program delivers foundational training in legal theory and the legal process, preparing learners for graduate programs and law careers. The fully online program is ideal for working professionals seeking career advancement.
Learners study legal terminology, the litigation process, and legal practice. The legal studies curriculum explores topics including fundamentals of law, criminal law, and statutory interpretation. The program features a sequence of legal research and writing courses that trains students to craft precise legal documents and conduct research. Hodges also offers courses in business law, data privacy, and identity politics to prepare degree-seekers for specialized career paths.
Prospective students work with an admissions advisor. Applicants typically provide transcripts, financial aid documents, identification documents, and an essay.
A public research university in Phoenix, ASU offers dozens of online degrees. The university's online bachelor's in justice studies program blends coursework in law, policy, and social justice. The curriculum includes core courses in citizenship, human rights, economic justice, and the law. Available through the School of Social Transformation, the program prepares graduates for various career paths.
Learners strengthen their analytical and research skills during courses in justice studies research, statistical analysis, and justice theory. Students design a concentration by choosing 12 credits of upper-division electives. Academic advisors help enrollees customize their course of study based on their interests and career goals.
Applicants must possess either a minimum 3.0 GPA or minimum ACT or SAT scores. Alternately, ASU admits students in the top 25% of their high school graduating class.
Penn State launched its World Campus program in 1998, building on over a century of experience in distance education. The university offers an online bachelor's in law and society that explores legal principles. Learners in the program strengthen their research, logic, and writing skills. Graduates can apply their training to careers in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the criminal justice system.
The 123-credit online program includes coursework examining legal systems and processes. Degree-seekers complete 15 credits of core classes, such as legal brief writing, legal ethics, and the philosophy of law. Learners study how to analyze arguments and create legal documents. Students also take general education courses and electives.
Applicants submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate, along with any college transcripts. Applicants to the legal studies program do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores.
UMGC offers online degree programs designed for working professionals and military service members. The online bachelor's degree in legal studies trains students to create and review legal documents, analyze fact patterns, and interpret statutes in legal cases. Degree-seekers build strong legal writing and research skills to prepare for law careers.
One of the top online law bachelor's programs, UMGC's offering includes hands-on components. Degree-seekers conduct research, draft legal forms, and create legal approaches for hypothetical clients. The 120-credit program includes 33 credits of major coursework and 41 credits of general education classes. Students can also choose a minor and elective courses.
Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Transfer students can apply up to 90 previous credits toward the degree. UMGC offers a streamlined admission process and does not require standardized test scores.