The Legal Studies major, housed in the School of Criminal Justice, is approved by the American Bar Association and features a curriculum that provides a strong foundation in writing and critical thinking with an emphasis on professional skills necessary for success in the legal field. 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, and the B.S. requires completion of courses in statistics and research methods. A minor, not approved by the ABA, is also available.
This page will provide information about the Legal Studies Major, Legal Studies Minor and Paralegal Studies Certificate and Career Exploration & Opportunities.
For additional information about the program, check out the The School of Criminal Justice's website.
Legal Studies Major
The checklist below explains which courses are required for the Legal Studies major. For an outline of the required coursework, click the link below that corresponds to your catalog year, which is determined by when you start the Legal Studies program.
(Expires August 2023)
(Expires August 2021)
The First Year Guides are meant to help direct students who have not been in college before. Each of the guides provide class suggestions based on a student's math and/or writing placement. Not all scenarios are represented here so you should follow up with an academic advisor with any questions.
Grand Valley State University also offers the Legal Education Accelerated Program (LEAP), which is an accelerated degree partnership between the our Legal Studies program and the Michigan State University College of Law. LEAP offers Legal Studies students an opportunity to minimize the cost of their education and begin their legal career one year sooner. Be sure to follow up with your academic advisor to personalize your plan further.
Legal Studies Minor & Paralegal Certificate
The legal studies minor is open to students from any major. It is appropriate for students who have a general interest in law or for students considering law school or other graduate studies in law. It is also appropriate for students who are pursuing a career that has a significant connection to law and legal matters and who wish to deepen their understanding of the legal system. The legal studies minor is not intended to prepare students to work as paralegals and it is not approved by the American Bar Association. Students intending to work as paralegals should choose the paralegal studies certificate or the legal studies major.
Students seeking a certificate in Paralegal Studies must complete 30 credit hours. Students must be degree-seeking students to receive the certificate. The certificate will be awarded at the same time as the degree. The certificate has received Higher Learning Commission approval, and students are eligible for financial aid because they are seeking a degree. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree at another institution with an overall GPA of 2.7 or higher may earn this certificate by completing the course requirements listed below. The certificate in Paralegal Studies is approved by the American Bar Association.
Legal Studies Career Exploration & Opportunities
Considering a career related to Legal Studies? Check out the links below for information about possible job outcomes and resources to help you explore your options.