Legal Studies

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (B.A., B.S.)
  • Minor

Legal studies is an emerging area of study and practice in the field of law. The discipline involves the study of civil and criminal law, including litigation, contracts, torts, property, business organizations, legal research and writing, ethics, factual investigation, and interviewing.

Program Offerings at Grand Valley

Legal studies majors may earn either 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.


The ABA-approved legal studies program prepares students for careers as legal assistants by providing a liberal education and practical skills needed in this field. Courses focus on:

  • Substantive law and legal ethics
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Professionalism
  • Oral and written communication
  • Investigation and legal research

Career Options

Legal assistants are employed by:

  • Banks
  • Courts
  • Corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Law firms
  • Nonprofit organizations

A legal assistant performs substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. While legal assistants play an important role in the delivery of legal services, they are not permitted to practice law.

Why Study Legal Studies at Grand Valley?

  • The program 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, including prosecution of state criminal cases, work for low-income clients of legal aid offices on civil and Indian Tribal law matters, and federal employment law litigation.
  • 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 legal assistants 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.

For More Information

School of Criminal Justice
(616) 331-7130
Admissions Office

I am leaving GVSU with a strong foundation and firm goals thanks to the things that were shown and taught to me by my professors.


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