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GVSU student at work in the Mary Idema Pew Library.

Legal Studies, B.A., B.S.

The legal studies major involves the study of law and contemporary issues related to law as part of a liberal education. The American Bar Association-approved B.A./B.S. focuses on both theory and practice and prepares students for work as paralegals and for other careers in the field of law.

Students in this program can play an important role in the delivery of legal services but they are not permitted to practice law. To practice law, learners must obtain a law school degree and satisfy other state requirements for admission to the bar.

Visit the program website for more information.

Students are admitted directly into this program.
Available as a minor.

Program Overview

Legal studies students may earn a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or bachelor of science (B.S.) degree. The B.A. requires third semester proficiency in a foreign language. The B.S. requires completion of courses in statistics and research methods. A minor, not approved by the ABA, is also available.

Why Study Legal Studies at Grand Valley?

  • The legal studies major is approved by the American Bar Association and features a critical-thinking foundation that focuses on professional skills.
  • The program prides itself on the diverse professional experience of its faculty members, most of whom are licensed attorneys with experience working in areas of civil and criminal law.
  • Faculty are engaged in scholarly research and writing and have been recognized as award-winning teachers and mentors.
  • The program's advisory board consists of attorneys and paralegals who give guidance on matters such as curriculum, internship and employment opportunities, and trends in the legal field.
  • The legal studies internship program allows students to get college credit for work in law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and other organizations that engage in law-related work.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.

Location & Format

All undergraduate students begin their academic career on the Allendale Campus. Students in this major continue their upper division studies downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

  • Face To Face


  • Substantive law, including contracts, criminal law, torts, property, business law, and family law
  • Oral and written communication
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Investigation and legal research
  • Legal ethics and professionalism

Combined Degree Programs

This undergraduate degree can be combined with a master's degree to save you time and money, and get you into the workforce sooner. On average, students save $8,500 in our combined degree programs and take up to four fewer classes than if earning the degrees separately.

You can even build your own combined degree from programs in different disciplines to further personalize your education and meet specific career goals.


Hands-on learning and other fieldwork not only deepen your mastery of your discipline but also give you the edge employers seek. Visit our experience matters page to see the work GVSU students are doing in their co-ops and internships.

Admission Requirements

Visit the Admissions website for undergraduate requirements.

For More Information

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies | 289C Richard M. DeVos Center | (616) 331-7130

Admissions and Recruitment Office


“I felt that I had an advantage in law school as a result of participating in GVSU's legal studies program.”


“The legal studies program significantly advanced my knowledge and capabilities in the workforce as a paralegal/legal assistant in criminal and civil law.”