Does the term ‘legal studies’ sound a little too serious? To be honest, while law is serious business, legal studies is not at all intimidating. After all, pursuing legal studies is like taking a peek behind the curtain of how our society operates.

If you’re even slightly curious about how laws shape our societies, or if you’re into problem solving and standing up for what’s right, legal studies might just be your thing.

A legal studies degree is an academic program that delves into various aspects of the legal system, law, and its applications. It provides students with a comprehensive understanding of legal principles, institutions, and the framework of federal and state legal systems.

The degree typically covers subjects such as constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, civil procedure, and legal research methods.

Here’s the breakdown for the different degree levels in legal studies:


  1. Associate’s Degree: Typically takes about 2 years of full-time study. An Associate’s Degree in Legal Studies provides a foundational understanding of legal concepts and can be a stepping stone towards further education or entry-level legal positions.
  1. Bachelor’s Degree: Takes around 4 years of full-time study. It offers a more comprehensive understanding of legal principles and their applications.


  1. Master’s Degree: Takes about 1 to 2 years beyond a Bachelor’s degree. It’s a specialized program that deepens your legal knowledge and may offer opportunities for more advanced roles.


  1. Doctoral/Ph.D. Degree: This can vary widely, usually taking between 3 to 7 years beyond a Bachelor’s degree. It’s intended for those pursuing advanced research or academic careers in legal studies.

Remember, these timeframes can vary based on factors like program structure, course load, and whether you’re studying full-time or part-time.

Some of the more common specializations within the field of legal studies include:

  1. Criminal Law: Focuses on the laws and procedures related to crimes and the criminal justice system.
  1. Civil Law: Concentrates on legal matters involving disputes between individuals, organizations, or entities.
  1. Constitutional Law: Examines the principles and interpretations of a country’s constitution and its impact on legal systems.
  1. Family Law: Covers legal issues related to families, such as divorce, child custody, adoption, and marital agreements.
  1. Environmental Law: Deals with legal matters concerning the environment, conservation, and sustainability.
  1. Corporate Law: Focuses on legal aspects of business entities, transactions, contracts, and corporate governance.
  1. Intellectual Property Law: Involves legal protection of creative and intellectual works, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
  1. International Law: Explores legal principles that govern relations between countries and international organizations.
  1. Healthcare Law: Concentrates on legal issues in the healthcare industry, including medical ethics and patient rights.
  1. Real Estate Law: Deals with legal aspects of property ownership, transactions, and land use regulations.
  1. Immigration Law: Focuses on legal matters related to immigration, visas, and citizenship.
  1. Labor and Employment Law: Covers legal issues in the workplace, including employment contracts, discrimination, and labor unions.
  1. Cybersecurity Law: Addresses legal concerns related to digital technologies, data protection, and online activities.
  1. Entertainment Law: Involves legal matters in the entertainment industry, such as contracts, copyright, and intellectual property for artists and media professionals.
  1. Bankruptcy Law: Deals with legal procedures and regulations related to bankruptcy and debt management.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Explores methods like mediation and arbitration for resolving legal conflicts outside of traditional court proceedings.

Remember, these are just a few examples, and there are many more areas you can specialize in within the broad field of legal studies.

Here are the typical admission requirements for different degree levels in legal studies:

Associate’s Degree:

  1. High school diploma or equivalent
  2. Completed application form
  3. Transcripts from high school or GED scores
  4. Application fee (if applicable)

Bachelor’s Degree:

  1. High school diploma or equivalent
  2. Completed application form
  3. Transcripts from high school
  4. Letters of recommendation (sometimes optional)
  5. Personal statement or essay
  6. Standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT (sometimes optional)
  7. Application fee
  8. Some programs might require an interview

Master’s Degree:

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  2. Completed application form
  3. Transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended
  4. Letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources
  5. Statement of purpose or personal statement
  6. Relevant work experience (varies by program)
  7. Graduate entrance exam scores like the GRE or GMAT (sometimes optional)
  8. Application fee
  9. Some programs might require an interview


  1. Master’s degree or equivalent in a related field
  2. Completed application form
  3. Transcripts from all prior colleges or universities
  4. Letters of recommendation, often from academic sources
  5. Statement of purpose outlining research interests
  6. Relevant work or research experience
  7. GRE or other specialized graduate exam scores
  8. Writing samples or previous research work
  9. Application fee
  10. Interviews and/or campus visits might be required

Requirements can vary by institution, so it’s a good idea to check with the specific schools you’re interested in for accurate and up-to-date information.

Obtaining a legal studies degree can open doors to a range of opportunities within and outside the field of law. Here’s just a few factors why it’s worth considering:

  1. Diverse Career Paths: With this degree, you’re not limited to working within the legal or judicial system. You can work in various sectors like business, government, nonprofits, and more.
  1. Understanding the Law: Legal knowledge is valuable in many fields. It helps you navigate complex regulations and make informed decisions.
  1. Problem-Solving Skills: Legal studies teach you how to analyze issues critically and find solutions, skills that are valuable in any profession.
  1. Advocacy and Justice: If you’re passionate about justice and making a difference, this degree gives you a foundation to advocate for change.
  1. Preparation for Law School: If you’re considering law school, a legal studies degree can be a solid stepping stone.
  1. Entry into the Legal Field: As a paralegal, legal assistant, or in administrative roles, you’ll be right in the legal action.
  1. Flexibility: The skills you gain are transferable across many industries and roles.
  1. Constant Demand: Legal matters are always present, ensuring a consistent demand for legal expertise.
  1. Intellectual Challenge: The study of law is intellectually stimulating, as you engage with complex concepts and real-world cases.
  1. Influence and Ethics: Legal studies emphasize ethical decision-making and give you tools to understand and shape the world’s legal landscape.

Ultimately, a degree in legal studies equips you with versatile skills and knowledge that can empower you in your personal and professional pursuits.

A legal studies degree can lead to various well-paying job opportunities. Here are some of the highest paying roles you could consider:

  1. Legal Consultant: Advises businesses or individuals on legal matters. Your expertise can command high fees. For this profession, the salary ranges from a low of $561,868 to a high of $713,680.
  1. Compliance Manager/Director: Ensures organizations follow laws and regulations, with responsibilities that often come with substantial compensation. As of July 2023, the average salary of a compliance manager is $125,633 as of July 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $110,208 and $144,469.
  1. Intellectual Property Manager: Manages and protects a company’s intellectual property, which is crucial in many industries. The average salary if an intellectual property manager is $86,863.
  1. Contracts Manager: Overseeing contracts and negotiations can come with a significant paycheck. As of July 2023, the average contracts manager salary is $132,100, but the range typically falls between $114,030 and $151,950.
  1. Arbitrator/Mediator: Resolving legal disputes outside of court can be lucrative, especially for experienced professionals. The average salary of a mediator is $58,878, but the salary range typically falls between $52,228 and $66,610.
  1. Government Relations Director: Navigates complex legal and regulatory landscapes for businesses interacting with the government. The average salary of a government relations director is $211,600, but the range typically falls between $179,800 and $247,600.
  1. Law Firm Administrator: Managing the operations of a law firm requires business acumen and can lead to competitive compensation. As of July 2023, the average salary of a law firm administrator is $73,99. The typical range, however, falls between $65,012 and $83,264.

Salaries can vary greatly based on factors like location, company size, experience, and industry. Gaining experience, specialization, and staying updated with the latest legal developments can further enhance your earning potential.

A legal studies degree offers a dynamic pathway to a host of promising opportunities. This versatile degree equips you not only with legal knowledge but also with critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that transcend industries.

From specialized paralegal roles to corporate compliance, intellectual property management, and consulting, the legal expertise you gain opens doors to financially rewarding positions. 

With the option to explore diverse specializations, contribute to justice, or excel in the business realm, a legal studies degree stands as a gateway to a future of intellectual engagement, professional growth, and the potential to shape legal landscapes.

Are there any financial aid options available for students who wish to pursue a degree in legal studies?

Yes, absolutely. Financial aid options abound for Legal Studies students. Scholarships from institutions and organizations are common, awarded based on merit, need, or specialization.
Grants, like federal and state offerings, provide non-repayable funds to eligible candidates. Federal Student Aid, including loans and work-study programs, is accessible by filling out the FAFSA.
Additionally, private loans from banks can help bridge financial gaps. Researching opportunities, applying promptly, and exploring institutional aid can significantly alleviate the financial burden of pursuing a degree in Legal Studies.

Is it a good idea to pursue an online degree in legal studies

Yes, pursuing an online degree in Legal Studies can be a smart choice for several reasons. Online programs offer flexibility, allowing you to balance studies with other commitments. They often have lower tuition costs and eliminate the need for commuting or relocating.

Virtual classrooms foster diverse interactions and networking, even with professionals worldwide. However, ensure the program is accredited and reputable. While online degrees offer convenience, they demand self-discipline and time management.

Can I land a well paying job with an online degree in legal studies?

Yes, you can certainly secure a well-paying job with an online degree in legal studies. The key factors in landing a lucrative job are the skills you acquire, your dedication, and the reputation of the institution offering the online program.
Many employers value the skills gained through online education, especially if the program is accredited and well-respected. Your ability to apply legal knowledge, critical thinking, research, and communication skills will be crucial in obtaining a well-paying position.
It’s also beneficial to gain practical experience through internships, volunteering, or relevant work during your studies. Networking and staying updated with industry trends will further enhance your job prospects.