Frequently asked Questions:
What does the Legal Studies degree involve?
Legal Studies majors are prepared for many professions and can make significant contributions to their communities because knowledge of the law is central to so many professions and so many aspects of social and political activity. The Legal Studies major provides knowledge about the legal system, peoples’ rights and privileges, the process for resolving legal disputes, developing public policy, and forging social change. Students also learn how the law relates to other professions and fields of expertise. Students in legal studies take courses in criminal and civil law and procedure, evidence, family and juvenile law, real estate and business law, elder law and the law of wills, trusts and estates, bankruptcy, as well as intellectual property law (copyright, patent, sports and entertainment), legal research and constitutional law. They take courses in forensics, cyber-security and privacy, and fire cause and investigation. Our courses feature hands-on, student-centered learning and stress practical skills that enable students to find employment and succeed as paralegals and in many other fields. Legal Studies students excel after graduation because they are well grounded in the ability to make critical observations and evaluate evidence, think clearly and logically, write clearly and competently, articulate their thoughts and analyses clearly and cogently. They have learned significant, useful skills and have all been given the opportunity to practice their skills in a real-world environment, through internships and legal clinics. Their experience as undergraduates translates easily to employment in one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, that is also well paid and well respected and that provides many avenues for advancement and diversification. All legal studies and forensic studies majors graduate with a Certificate of Advanced Paralegal Studies from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association*.
Who should think about a degree in Legal Studies?
Students interested in working in any aspect of the law should think about legal studies; the major is not limited to those who want to go to law school or work in a law office. The law plays such an important role in business, government, education, social and public policy, law enforcement, employment and other areas that an education focused on law prepares students for a wide and interesting range of exciting potential careers. The major also prepares students for graduate education in specialized fields in law or that are closely related to law, which include forensic specialties, government, and corporate and business related careers.
Those who should think about legal studies include students considering careers in law as paralegals, lawyers, judges, court clerks, legislative aides; corporate work such as senior assistants, claims adjusters, investigators, mediators, fraud investigators, auditors, analysts; social services work, juvenile justice professionals, victim advocates, probation or parole officers; or in law-related professions including government employees, legislators, legislative staff and policy analysts in law, criminal law, education, lobbying and local government; non-profit staff, managers, board members and volunteers; community organization and outreach including advocates for children and youth, seniors, and the disabled and homeless; public advocacy and public policy; media relations, journalist; sports or entertainment management; human resource managers and consultants; business owners, managers, consultants and entrepreneurs.
Who should think about pursing the forensic studies major?
Students who are interested in working as: claims adjusters: police officers, federal law enforcement officers, investigators for government agencies, private investigative firms, crime scene investigation, insurance companies, corporate and bank security, and computer and information security; specialists in areas of forensics including computer forensics; evidence collection, preservation, and presentation; bloodstain pattern analysis; fire investigation, ballistics, juvenile law, documentary photography and videography (includes crime-scene photography). Forensic studies will not prepare a student to become a medical examiner, scientific analyst, or laboratory technician. For those careers, students should be prepared to pursue an undergraduate (and graduate degree) in science.
What do Forensic Studies majors study?
The Forensic Studies major was created to give students the ability to obtain a degree in a field that is rapidly taking root in the legal and business world, while also permitting students to find and satisfy their individual interests through a broad offering of elective courses that can lead to multiple minors or a double major. Law is at the heart of all forensics, so students in Forensic Studies take basic and advanced legal courses. Students in Forensic Studies are also encouraged to take courses in other departments, including business (accounting), psychology, (forensic psychology, child psychology), and in science, liberal studies, and criminal justice. The program advises students to think creatively about their studies because of the broad range of disciplines and professions with applications and association with the law.
*Paralegals work under the supervision of attorneys and may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.