Legal Studies is the academic discipline that helps prepare individuals for careers in law, criminal justice, jurisprudence, or law enforcement. As a multi-disciplinary degree, legal studies analyzes modern trends and issues in the justice system as well as the history and development of law and legal precedent. In addition to courses specific to the field law, Legal Studies also considers anthropology, economics, ethics, history, political science, sociology, and social sciences. In 2020, balancing individual rights and social health has become a very hot topic in legal theory and education due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Social and racial justice have also begun to receive a much-needed hearing as well. Future legal professionals will need to be ready to face these issues and fairly apply the law. The Top Online Legal Studies Degrees on this list provide a wide range of excellent options for getting a grip on legal theory and history as they affect and are affected by our very real contemporary situation.
Several bachelor’s degrees in Legal Studies offer intern opportunities and culminate is a final Capstone project. Asynchronous or self-paced online formats common among online degree programs provide outstanding options for students with a family and/or career.
To begin your legal career, check this out: Unrivaled Online Paralegal Associate Degree Programs and Best Online Schools for Associate of Criminal Justice Degree Programs
Ready to move on? Look at this: Top 20 Online Schools for Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree Programs
For graduate degrees, see: Top Online Master’s of Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2020 and Top 10 Online Schools for Master’s in Law
Most Affordable Schools for Online Legal Studies Degree Programs
METHODOLOGY: The list we’ve compiled was done so by researching publicly available data from various sources, but, mainly from our own methodology as stated below, in order to derive a useful tool for prospective students. Our editors have made use of the following criteria in deriving program rankings:
- Affordability based on four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. offering online Legal Studies Degree Programs,
- A comprehensive online program covering all aspects of Legal Studies,
- 100% Online or Hybrid Format availability,
- Ease of program use, through asynchronous and flexible coursework,
- Satisfactory retention rates among Legal Studies Online degree programs,
- Career counseling, internship opportunities, job placement in the legal field,
- Proper School Accreditation.
In compiling this list, OnlineSchoolsCenter.com chose not to list the schools in any specific order, but instead chose to highlight 20 of the Most Affordable Schools for Online Legal Studies Degree Programs for 2020, all of which have their own unique qualities and strengths.
Bellevue University’s Online Affordable BS in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Bellevue University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies program that incorporates conceptual theories in coursework with hands-on experience. The program aims to teach students the concepts of critical thinking, comprehension of legal principles, and application of ethical principles on the law. The online track of Bellevue is completely cohort-based wherein students participate in communities with peers that share their professional objectives. The coursework that can be accessed online includes American Criminal and Civil Legal Systems, Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Law, the U.S. Legal System, and the Judicial Process, and Constitutional Law, Liberty, and Emerging Policy. Guest lectures from well-acclaimed experts. Guest lecturers also include politicians, lawyers, federal judges, legislators, and corporate executives. Program tuition is $415 per credit hour. As part of the university’s financial aid, a veteran’s assistance program and a work-study program of up to 20 hours per week of paid work are both offered to eligible students. Military members may also be qualified for tuition discounts. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education.
Brandman University’s Most Affordable Online BA in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: Irvine, California
Another university that features an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies is Brandman University. The program equips graduates with proficiency in analytical thinking, moral awareness, and legal writing and research. The curriculum is based on the perspective that the study of systematic legal arguments and critical thinking can both establish a solid foundation for future jobs in the administration, government, and law. The 120-credit coursework includes 33 credits of litigation, torts, trial advocacy, and white-collar crime courses along with a legal studies capstone course. Students comprehensively study Supreme Court decisions, correctional systems, social movements, forensic psychology, and conflict resolution. A 12-credit paralegal discipline is also available, as students focus on electronic discovery, law practice management, contemporary legal studies, and legal technology. Courses have also been designed according to the Brandman iDeal (Instructional Design for Possible Engaged Adult Learning) model. Possible careers include adjudicators, arbitrators, and transit and railroad police administrators. Program tuition is at $500 per credit hour. Brandman University is accredited within the Chapman University System and by the WSCUC Senior College and University Commission.
University of Maryland University College’s Online Affordable BS in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: Adelphi, Maryland
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program that equips students with appropriate knowledge and skills to conduct research in legal settings, conduct analysis and assessment, and write and draft legal documents. After graduating from this degree program, students are expected to understand concepts of the legal system, do legal research, comprehend legal methods, and apply critical thinking on legal cases. The program requires 33 credit hours for major coursework, wherein 17 credit hours should be earned in the upper-division courses, as well as 46 credit hours of electives. Online coursework mainly includes Techniques of Legal Research, Advanced Legal Writing, Criminal Law and Procedures, and Contract Law. Program tuition for Maryland residents is $294 per credit hour, while non-residents pay $499 per credit hour. The university provides interest-free monthly payment plans, enabling students to distribute their tuition payments throughout the semester instead of paying the full amount outright. There are about 100 scholarships offered to qualified UMUC students. UMUC is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
California University of Pennsylvania’s Online Most Affordable BA Degree in Jurisprudence/Legal Studies
Location: California, Pennsylvania
The California University of Pennsylvania offers a Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence with a concentration in Legal Studies degree program. The program aims to prepare graduates for jobs such as court support personnel, law enforcement professionals, and paralegal. Graduates may also enter careers in the real estate and business or pursue law school. Coursework includes Constitutional Law for Paralegals, Classical Jurisprudence, Litigation and Trial Evidence, and Criminal Law for Paralegals. Program tuition is $319 per credit hour. An estimate of 90% of students in the university is eligible for financial aid through the work-study program, loans, payment plans, need-based grants, and scholarships. The university also provides about $5 million in scholarships yearly. The California University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
SUNY Canton’s Online Affordable BS in Legal Studies
Location: Canton, New York
The State University of New York (SUNY) Canton offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program. The goal of the entire program is to train students on the proper application of practical education in legal studies. Graduates may pursue careers in law firms, hospitals, governments, and corporations. Coursework includes Business, Criminal Justice, Accounting, Negligence, and Intentional Torts, Immigration Law and Border Control, Trial Courts and Rules of Evidence, Legal Issues in Emergency and Disaster Management, and Law Enforcement Leadership. Students may also take an internship totaling between 3 to 15 credit hours as part of their capstone experience. Aside from internship, students may also consider at least five upper-level legal studies as electives plus a senior project. Program tuition is $333 per credit hour. SUNY is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
University of Central Florida’s Online Most Affordable BA in Legal Studies/BS in Legal Studies Degree Programs
Location: Orlando, Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) offers both an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program under the College of Health and Public Affairs. The program aims to prepare students who will take the national paralegal certification exam, or apply for The Florida Bar Registered Paralegal designation. Graduates may also consider careers such as a contracts specialist, community service analyst, and court reporter. The 120-credit coursework mainly includes Professional Ethics and Liability, Law and the Legal System, Property and Real Estate Law, and Civil Practice and Procedure. Program tuition for Florida students is $179 per credit hour, while non-residents pay $384 per credit hour. About 44 percent of UCF students are debt-free in terms of tuition and other fees. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dominican University’s Online Affordable BA in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Dominican University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree program with a completely online and accelerated format. The degree program has numerous concentrations such as Criminal Justice, Disability Advocacy, Labor Relations, Law and Social Justice, Paralegal Studies, Public Administration, and Sustainability Studies. Coursework can be completed from 20 months to 2 years, and it includes the American Legal System, Legal Research and Writing, Religion and the Law, and Philosophical Basis of the Law. Program tuition is $450 per credit hour. Tuition can be paid on a monthly basis as opposed to outright full payment at the start of the semester. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Liberty University’s Most Affordable Online BS in Paralegal Studies
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Liberty University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies degree program that emphasizes the importance of ethical interpretation of the law while highlighting the biblical viewpoint. The program curriculum includes topics such as criminal law, constitutional law, judicial process, jurisprudence, and persuasive argumentation. The 120-credit program takes about three and a half years to complete. Classes are eight weeks long, and for the degree to be earned, students need to complete at least 39 to 42 credit hours of general education; 15 hours of core classes, and 33 hours of concentration. Students can also use the university’s online resources like webinars, tutorials, and online writing center, and the Liberty Landing, an online student community. Program tuition is $390 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Peirce College’s Online Most Affordable BS in Legal Studies
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Peirce College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with an emphasis on the Paralegal Studies degree program. This can be completed fully online or a combination of both online and on-campus formats. Graduates pursue careers in government and administrative agencies, corporations, paralegal institutions, and law firms. The 121-credit coursework includes Professional Legal Responsibility, Real Estate Law, Advanced Legal Research, and Advanced Legal Technology. The academic institute also takes pride in offering one of the most affordable tuition rates in Pennsylvania. Program tuition is $600 per credit hour. Several scholarships, such as the Edwin B. Miller Scholarship Fund and Chester County Paralegal Association Scholarship, are offered to Paralegal Studies students. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Hodges University’s Most Affordable BS in Legal Studies Online Degree Program
Location: Naples, Florida
Hodges University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program. Graduates pursue various careers such as being legislative liaisons, lawyers, and legal consultants in settings such as the FBI within a student’s local area or in private firms. Small online classes are conducted through competent professors who are excellent in the field of legal studies. Students may have the option to choose whether to take the fully online format or the hybrid format or a combination of on-campus and online classes. The 120-credit coursework includes advanced constitutional law, criminal justice systems, identity politics, and the legal system. Program tuition is $560 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
American Public University’s Affordable BS in Legal Studies Online Degree Program
Location: Charles Town, New York
The American Public University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program that is ideal for working adults as they prepare for law school. The program is also recommended for those who wish to work as investigators, legal researchers, and paralegals. Through the online coursework, students interact with fellow students for topics in case law, research, foundations of the law, and legal writing and conduct meaningful discussions on the legal system. Classes begin every month and run for about 8 to 16 weeks. Coursework includes Introduction to the Courts, Civil Practice and Procedure, Administrative Law and Policy, and Constitutional Law. The online class size is 18 students. The program cost is $270 per credit hour inclusive of tuition, fees, and books. The university does not charge an application fee. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Abraham Lincoln University’s Online Most Affordable BS in Legal Studies
Location: Los Angeles, California
Another online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program is offered at Abraham Lincoln University. The extensive legal program curriculum promotes student learning through excellent communication and qualitative legal research and writing. A combination of electives and core classes are offered to online students for them to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills such as excellent communication, legal writing and research, and adjustment to modifications in the legal system. Graduates may pursue careers as paralegals or enter law school. The duration of program completion is approximately 160 weeks, and an online application form is required for admission. Courses are taken simultaneously through the Internet in terms of live or archived lessons. Program tuition is $250 per credit hour. The university ensures that students are debt-free through their cost-efficient strategies and programs to provide financial aid. The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
Herzing University’s Most Affordable BS in Legal Studies Online
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Herzing University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program that aims to equip students with the fundamental knowledge required for careers in law firms, governments, corporations, and paralegal offices. The program also prepares students for actual practice through case investigations and reviews, effective decision-making in various cases, development of reports, and the delivery of legal arguments. Graduates work as paralegals in the private and public sectors, or as freelancers. The 126-credit coursework encompasses legal office administration, advanced legal research, business law, property law, intellectual property law, and human resource information systems. Students are required to complete a project management course as an application of what they have learned from the whole program. This degree can also be completed in 36 months. The university also allows students to be eligible for the Association of Legal Assistants certification examination. Veterans are also qualified for special benefits. Program tuition is $650 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Wilmington University’s Online Affordable BS in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: New Castle, Delaware
Wilmington University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree program that provides students with a stable foundation for graduate-level study and law school. Aside from specialized legal courses, students may attend courses in analytical thinking, interpersonal communication, and reading comprehension. The 120-credit coursework includes Legal Research, Civil Procedure, Interviewing and Investigating, and Advanced Litigation Skills. Students are also required to complete a minimum of 10 credits of legal specialty courses through on-campus learning set-up aside from online means. For students who have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher, admission to the Widener University Delaware Law School is ensured. Program tuition is $372 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Mississippi University for Women’s Most Affordable Online BA/BS in Legal Studies
Location: Columbus, Mississippi
The Mississippi University for Women offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and an online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies degree programs. Both programs share the same curriculum to prepare students who may pursue a liberal arts approach. The goal of the program is to prepare graduates to become excellent legal professionals or go for other careers that they wish to pursue. The program curriculum has also earned the seal of approval from the American Bar Association. The 124-credit coursework includes Legal Bibliography and Research, Statistical Analysis for Business, Legal Environment of Business, and Practical Legal Laboratory. Most of the courses are conducted online but there are 10 hours of traditional on-campus courses that students of this degree program are required to take. Program tuition is at P285 per credit hour. The university has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Keiser University’s Affordable Online BA in Legal Studies
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Keiser University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree program. Graduates boast of excellent research skills, the capacity to write legal documents, and sufficient knowledge of criminal and civil law. The 120-credit coursework is composed of upper-division courses, which mainly include advanced civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and legal interviewing and investigation; and lower-division courses, which include civil litigation and family law. For students who are working full-time, the degree can be obtained in 40 months. Students who are taking up a law office management concentration are required to take at least five courses in the track such as accounting for non-financial majors, leadership, and management law and employee relations. Program tuition is $699 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tulane University of Louisiana’s Most Affordable BA in General Legal Studies Online Degree Program
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
An online Bachelor of Arts in General Legal Studies degree program is offered at the Tulane University of Louisiana. The program allows students to get a degree from their chosen academic institution without having to lose time for family or career advancement. The degree program is also ideal for students who wish to improve their knowledge and skills as essential foundations for a law degree. Graduates of the program pursue careers as human resource administrators, court clerks, insurance adjusters, and law office managers. The 120-credit coursework is composed of 36 credits of major courses, which include topics such as Computer in the Law Firm, Introduction to Paralegal Studies, and Legal Research. Program tuition is $406 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida National University’s Affordable Online BA in Legal Studies
Location: Hialeah, Florida
Florida National University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree program. The goal of the program is to improve students’ analytical skills, communication skills, and critical thinking in preparation for careers in the legal discipline. The 120-credit coursework is composed of 42 credits of major upper-level and lower-level courses, 39 total elective credits, and 39 education credits. Course topics include civil litigation, constitutional law, and the law of contracts. Transfer of at least 60 general education credits is also allowed from other academic institutions. Program tuition is $550 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Providence’s Most Affordable Online BS in Legal & Paralegal Studies
Location: Great Falls, Montana
The University of Providence offers an online Bachelor of Science in Legal and Paralegal Studies degree program, which aims to equip students for careers in the paralegal field, law firms, nonprofit organizations, local government, banks, insurance companies, and corporate compliance. Despite the fact that the program is completely online, students are required to earn at least 10 credit hours of electives on-campus. Students are also required to accomplish an internship experience for the solidification of the students’ skills through practical learning. The American Bar Association (ABA) has also approved the program curriculum. Program tuition is $790 per credit hour. The university has also been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits the University of Providence.
Purdue University’s Online Most Affordable Master of Science in Legal Studies Degree Program
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University offers an online Master of Science in Legal Studies degree program, which gives emphasis to theory, research, and real-world applications. Such a holistic strategy allows graduates of the program to handle various issues that they may face with their clients. Purdue graduate degree holders may work as paralegals, legal secretaries, title examiners, and other careers related to law in nonprofit organizations, private institutions, and local and federal governments. Students may take courses like Alternative Dispute Resolution, Ethics and the Legal Environment, and Legal Philosophy. Program tuition is $571 per credit hour. The university is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
What are the objectives of an Online Legal Studies Degree Program?
One of the learning objectives of an online legal studies degree program is for graduates to be able to evaluate legal issues, assess facts, and aid in investigations. Students can learn to understand the basic foundation of writing and citing legal documents, as they are trained to draft legal contracts, pleadings, memorandum, and legal forms. Students also need to become familiar with court proceedings, agency adjudication, procedural systems, standards used by legal institutions for a systematic rule-making policy modification. Students are also expected to learn law terminologies and technologies, become well-versed in case management systems, and familiarize themselves in research databases. Moreover, students are expected to be adept in defining ethical concerns among legal professionals and within the legal community.
What qualities should I have to pursue an Online Legal Studies Degree?
To be able to successfully pursue an online Legal Studies degree, you must possess certain qualities such as the willingness to learn, independent learning, teamwork with others, excellent communication and research skills, perseverance, and commercial awareness. You need to exercise excellent critical thinking, analytical thinking, and decision-making skills, especially on legal matters.
What are the common career prospects of an Online Legal Studies Degree holder?
Possible careers for an online legal path include being a legal assistant or a paralegal. Paralegals are normally employed in law institutes or law firms. Some may work in the legal departments of private federal, local, and state businesses. A degree in legal studies may help some students become a law enforcement officer, community services manager, count clerk, and corrections officer. The specialization that you decide on in your Legal Studies degree program serves as the key to pursuing your potential career path.
“It’s every lawyer’s dream to help shape the law, not just react to it.” -Alan Dershowitz, American Lawyer