Legal Studies Major

A major in legal studies is appropriate for students who have a general interest in law, are considering a career as a paralegal, or are planning to attend law school. 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.

To complete the program, students must take at least 9 credits of synchronous courses.  

Why major in Legal Studies at Grand Valley?

  • The major 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.
  • The program prides itself on the diverse professional experience of its faculty members, most of whom are licensed attorneys, who collectively have many years of experience working in areas of civil and criminal law.
  • Faculty are engaged in scholarly research and writing and have been recognized in their professional circles as award-winning teachers and mentors.
  • The program has an advisory board consisting of attorneys and paralegals representing a broad cross-section of employers. The board plays an important role by giving guidance on matters such as curriculum, internship and employment opportunities, and trends in the legal field.
  • Graduates from Legal Studies program can play an important role in the delivery of legal services, but they are not permitted to practice law. To practice law, graduates must obtain a law school degree and satisfy other state requirements for admission to the bar.

Key People

Program Coordinator: Joshua Sheffer

Academic Advisor: CECI Undergraduate Advising Center 

Career Center Contact: Dayna Phillips

University Library Liaison: Cara Medvedenko

Internship Coordinator:  Laura Marsh


Faculty & Adjunct Faculty:

CECI Dean: Sherril Soman

SCCJLS Chair: Patrick Gerkin


Joshua Sheffer

Joshua Sheffer, Legal Studies Program Coordinator

Employment Outlook and Career Advise

Connect Early, Connect Often

Make regular appointments with your faculty mentor and with a Career Center advisor to discuss your post-graduation plans.  

Keep in mind that your internship experience is a prime opportunity to build your professional network and gain marketable skills.


Handshake is a powerful online resource connecting GVSU students to top employers and career resources.

Program Transparency

Class sizes

  • The average class size for lower level LS courses is 38.
  • The average class size for upper level LS courses is 25.6


  • 92% of recent graduates are successfully placed (employed, attending graduate school, or both).
  • 25% of recent graduates are in graduate or law school.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Body Profile

LS majors at time of graduation, August 2015 to April 2020

  • Total graduates: 141
  • Age under 25: 86% 
  • Age 25-29: 7%
  • Age 30-39: 5%
  • Age 40+: 2%
  • Female: 77%
  • Male: 23%
  • White: 80%
  • Hispanic: 6%
  • African-American/Black: 6%
  • Asian: 3%
  • Multi-Ethnic: 4%
  • Foreign citizen: 0.7%
  • Transfer students: 35%

Page last modified July 8, 2024