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Top Schools for Legal Studies

Read about legal studies programs, which can lead to an undergraduate degree in pre-law or paralegal studies, a Master of Laws or Juris Doctor. Find information about the program options at four noteworthy universities, as well as a list of other schools around the country that offer legal studies.

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Your options are plentiful for public and private-not-for-profit institutions that offer degrees in legal studies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on your interests, you may be able to qualify for a position in the legal field with just a postsecondary non-degree award or an associate's degree.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Comparative Law
  • Energy and Environmental Law
  • Financial, Banking, and Securities Law
  • Health Law
  • International Business, Trade, and Tax Law
  • International Law
  • Law Degree
  • PreLaw Studies
  • Programs for Foreign Lawyers
  • Tax Law
  • US Law

School Overviews

Four of the top schools for legal studies include Cornell University, an Ivy League college that offers graduate programs in law. Both undergraduate and graduate programs in law or legal studies can also be found at Webster University, the University of Iowa and Arizona State University. Depending on the level of study, the programs can help students prepare for careers as attorneys, court reporters, judges or paralegals. These schools were highly ranked as top national schools, regional schools and law schools by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

School Highlight: J.D. students can choose from international joint-degree and dual-degree programs, in addition to attending a summer institute in Paris.

Cornell University ranked 15th among national universities in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell enrolled its first law students in 1887 and currently offers a number of master's and doctoral degrees in law and legal studies. These include a Master of Laws, Master of Science in Legal Studies, Juris Doctor and Doctor of Science of Law.

Webster University in Saint Louis, MO

School Highlight: Legal studies programs at Webster University are accredited by the American Bar Association.

Webster University ranked #24 among regional universities in the Midwest in 2017, according to U.S. News & World Report. The university's Department of Legal Studies offers degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These include a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Legal Studies. Students can also pursue a Minor in Legal Studies.

University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA

School Highlight: The university offers a CIEE Madrid Legal Studies program in Spain, where students can study language, legal issues, law and political science at a university in Madrid.

The University of Iowa offers a Juris Doctor which requires students to register for the Law School Admissions Council. Law students can participate in legal externships, moot court or clinical law programs. A study abroad program is also available and includes opportunities in England, France and Germany.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

School Highlight: ASU offers an Indian legal program.

ASU offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in legal studies. The school's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law features programs that lead to a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Legal Studies and Master of Sports Law and Business. In addition to Indian law, focused programs at the school include health law, patent practice, law and sustainability and international law. The Sandra Day O'Connor School of law was ranked at #25 in the list of best law schools by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

List of Top Legal Studies Schools

Below are an additional six schools that offer diverse legal studies programs:

  • Hofstra University located in Hempstead, NY offers joint degrees as a JD/MBA and JD/MPH.
  • Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY features community service programs.
  • Loyola University which is located in Chicago, IL, has study abroad programs available in China and Rome.
  • Madonna University in Livonia, MI hosts more than 30 master's programs and one doctorate program through its graduate school.
  • Newman University offers an associate's degree in legal studies and a pre-law minor at its campus in Wichita, KS.
  • Whittier College whose home is in Whittier, CA presents a flexible schedule with evening classes available.

The National Center for Education Statistics notes that as of 2016, there were over 180 schools nationwide that offer various degree programs in areas that include American law and legal studies, international law and legal studies, legal professions and studies and general legal studies.

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