Legal studies focuses on the theories and procedures inherent in local, state, and federal law from various perspectives. Someone pursuing any degree level in this subject is typically interested in the legal system, how it affects businesses and citizens, and the way in which it operates. Legal studies students have an aptitude and passion for understanding and analyzing abstract language, concepts, and events, as well as applying these analyses to real-world situations. Characteristically, legal studies students tend to value leadership, encourage social change and action, communicate effectively, and be highly attentive to detail.
Legal studies is closely related to the fields of business, law, and politics. Legal studies degrees from accredited online universities may lead to careers as legal secretaries, paralegals, lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, human resource specialists, and law enforcement. Legal studies educational opportunities are offered quite commonly because such an education is useful in a very broad breadth of careers and industries. For some career fields, advanced or professional education, exams, and/or certification may be required. For instance, someone hoping to become a lawyer may receive their bachelor’s degree in legal studies. However, he or she must also graduate from law school and pass the bar exam in their state before being legally permitted to practice law. Someone seeking a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on the other hand, must pass physical and mental tests and have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
A two-year program, Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) in Legal Studies online degree programs concentrate on the American legal system. Students will become familiar with the functions of local, state, and federal courts, as well as the laws that govern each of those governmental systems. An A.A. or A.S. in legal studies prepares students for careers as paralegals, legal assistants, and entry-level court clerks as an associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for obtaining these positions. Frequently those seeking careers as paralegals or legal assistant obtain certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants or the American Alliance of Paralegals to make themselves more marketable. Common online classes that associate’s students take are National Government, State and Local Government, and Political Science. Assignments usually consist of papers and homework in which students must demonstrate their understanding of U.S. government and law from their reading assignments and online lectures.
Legal studies at the undergraduate level are formally known as either a Bachelor of Science or Business Administration in Legal Studies. Online bachelors degree programs take about four years of study and teach students not only the theories, procedures, and laws inherent in U.S. government, but important practical knowledge relating to the subject. To be more specific, students often take Legal Statistics, Legal Writing, and Legal Ethics. Students gain necessary knowledge through their reading assignments, homework, exams, and projects in which they must actually apply newly learned concepts. A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is a common major for students who hope to earn their Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, which is the professional degree needed to become a practicing lawyer. Others pursue this degree to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for careers as business managers, human resource specialists, risk management officers, legal assistants, paralegals, or law enforcement officers.
An online masters degree in legal studies is for students who wish to solidify and enhance their legal knowledge, but who do not wish to become lawyers. Students will take existing legal knowledge, and expand on it, gaining a deeper understanding of U.S. legal and political systems. Many pursue this online degree in an effort to learn laws as they relate to and affect the business world. Common careers sought after obtaining a master’s degree in legal studies includes higher-level jobs in the criminal justice and political fields, as well as middle-management positions in the non-profit, governmental, and business fields. Courses typical of this master’s degree consist of specialized law courses, such as Tort Law, Constitutional Law, and Business Law. Assignments entail reading complex legal texts, and proving one’s understanding of those concepts and laws through papers, projects, and online course discussions.