Online degrees in legal studies provide a thorough overview of the American legal system, including legal theory and practice, civil and criminal law, civil and criminal procedure, and constitutional law. Students learn key skills in legal writing, research, and analysis that can be applied to a broad range of careers, and even professional study in law.
Curriculum in a legal studies degree program will explore special topics in law, such as real estate law and business law, that can be applied to a wide range of careers, since not every student who pursues a legal studies degree wants to become a lawyer. Another special topic in a legal studies degree might be employment law, and knowledge in this area is particularly useful in careers in human resources, where a top concern is avoiding legal trouble with employees.
Online programs in legal studies may share certain course work with online programs in paralegal studies, but paralegal studies is a vocational program designed specifically to prepare students for careers as paralegals or legal assistants. Legal studies tends to be a more general program applicable to a wider variety of careers where legal knowledge would be beneficial.
Graduates of legal studies degree programs may pursue graduate degrees in library science in preparation for a career in law libraries, or may pursue a professional law degree. However, students should be careful to maintain a high GPA if they plan to attend law school or be accepted into graduate programs. Other possible careers might be found in contract negotiation, human resources, labor relations, real estate, legal consulting, litigation analysis, and lobbying, according to the University of Illinois Springfield.