Legal Studies

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If you’re interested in working in law, law enforcement or with government agencies and corporations, a degree in legal studies may be the right path for you. A certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree can provide students with an excellent foundation to further their career goals. While students planning to attend law or graduate school may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, other students prefer to utilize the degree to gain immediate employment.

You may be curious as to the difference between Criminal Justice and Legal Studies. Criminal Justice educates and prepares students with knowledge in criminal law. Legal Studies gives students the expertise in civil, administrative and criminal law.

This program allows students to earn both the bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate at the same time. The paralegal certificate prepares students to sit for paralegal certification exam.

Why Legal Studies at WVU Parkersburg?

Extensive local involvement with the Parkersburg and regional legal professionals creates beneficial networking and internship opportunities for students in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Legal Studies at WVU Parkersburg is a fully-imbedded career ladder program. This means that students can earn a 30-hour degree certificate, move on to the 60-hour associate’s degree, and then earn a 120-hour bachelor’s degree without losing any credits along the way.

Ohio residents can qualify for in-state tuition rates through our reciprocity agreement.  Competitive tuition – ranked the 6th in the nation for bachelor program affordability by the U.S. Department of Education.

Program instructors bring a wealth of knowledge, education and international experience in the legal studies field.

Programs Offered

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Legal Studies
  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Legal Studies
  • Certificate in Legal Studies

Curriculum

Legal Studies – BAS pdf
Legal Studies – AAS pdf
Legal Studies – CAS pdf
Additional Information

Admission Criteria

 Admission to the Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in Legal Studies degree may be achieved by fulfilling the following steps:

  1. Meet all General Admission or Transfer Admission requirements for WVU at Parkersburg.
  2. Earn an Associate in Applied Science in Legal Studies degree from an accredited college or university.  (Provisional admission may be granted under certain circumstances.)
  3. Maintain a minimum of 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale for all courses transferred to or completed at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

BASLS Degree

Graduation Requirements: 

  1. Complete an Associate in Applied Science degree prior to application for graduation with the BASLS
  2. Complete 120 credit hours in courses outlined for the Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in Legal Studies.
  3. Maintain an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher in all General Education Foundation courses required for the degree.
  4. Maintain minimum grade point average of 2.5 in all courses in all program core courses.  (See MyDegree for listing.)
  5. Residency Requirement:  Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at WVU Parkersburg, 24 of which must be upper division (numbered 300 and above) courses.
  6. Complete application for graduation, pay graduation fee, and file application in OLSIS prior to stated deadline. 

Associate of Applied Science in Legal Studies

Graduation Requirements:  

  1. Complete 60 credit hour from the AAS Legal Studies curriculum.
  2. Maintain minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all general education and program core course requirements.
  3. Residency Requirement:  Complete at least 16 credit hours at WVU at Parkersburg.
  4. Complete application for graduation, pay graduation fee, and file application in OLSIS prior to stated deadline.

Certificate of Applied Science in Legal Studies

Graduation Requirements: 

  • Complete 31 credit hours in courses outlined.
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher in all General Education Foundation and legal studies core courses required for the degree.
  • Residency Requirement:  Complete a minimum of 16 credit hours at WVU Parkersburg, 12 of which must be legal studies courses.
  • Complete application for graduation, pay graduation fee, and file application in OLSIS prior to stated deadline.

Careers

Law Firms
Several career options in private law firms are associated with a degree or certificate in legal studies: paralegal, legal assistant and legal administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median pay for paralegals and legal assistants was $50,220 per year.

Law Enforcement
Criminal justice and law enforcement careers are also associated with a degree in legal studies. These careers include correctional officer, police officer, investigator and detective. Educational requirements vary for these positions. The 2012 annual median pay for correctional officers was $43,550 and for police officers, $57,770.

Government
In some states, a degree in legal studies can provide entry into government positions such as a magistrate judge, administrative law judge or hearing officer. Educational qualifications for these positions vary by state, with some states requiring a law degree. Legal Studies provides an good start for students who wish to move on to law school. You must be elected or appointed to these positions, depending on the process used in your state. The 2012 annual median pay for administrative law judges, adjudicators and hearing officers was $89,970.

Corporations
You can also find corporate jobs associated with a Legal Studies degree, such as human resources assistant, customer service representative, analyst, and consultant. Teaching in paralegal and legal assistant programs or working as an assistant or advocate in a community non-profit corporation are also options. Pay varies by position. The average pay for a customer service representative in 2012 was $33,110; while the average pay for a human resources assistant was $38,340.

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