The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies provides students with an in-depth understanding of the legal system including the infrastructure, the reasoning process and the substantive commitments that the legal system has made. 

Law Affects Everyone

As future leaders, students in this major will become critical thinkers able to apply and understand various legal concepts in their interaction with real-world issues locally, nationally and globally. 

This program is particularly appropriate for students interested in pursuing a career that integrates legal concepts with other disciplines — or that requires familiarity with extensive aspects of the legal system. 

The USC Gould Advantage


Internationally Renowned Law Faculty

USC Gould School of Law is one of the nation's top-ranked law schools, offering undergraduate law programs and courses taught by its internationally renowned faculty. Learn more about our instructors.


Diverse Student Body

As one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, USC Gould recognizes the inherent value that a diverse academic community offers to students, the legal profession and our broader society.


Internship and Research Opportunities

Undergraduate students majoring in Legal Studies will have the opportunity to intern, as part of their degree requirements.


Vibrant City of Los Angeles

As a USC student, you will experience a city rich in diversity and a robust economy. A thriving cosmopolitan city with businesses ranging from a vast professional and cultural arenas. Discover the City of Angels

Changing the World Begins with Learning the Law

The B.S. in Legal studies is a major designed for students who are looking to become future leaders in the community, the city, the state, the nation and the world. It is also suitable for students wanting to pursue graduate education in various disciplines, including economics, humanities, social science, political science, business, health care, public service and many more, and for anyone who wants to obtain a general understanding of the place of law in contemporary society.

Frequently Asked Questions

USC Gould School of Law offers a legal studies bachelor’s degree, minor programs and progressive and accelerated degrees — in addition to student organizations and standalone law courses.

What is the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies?

The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies is a four-year undergraduate degree offered by USC Gould School of Law for undergraduate students to learn about the legal system and the way laws influence society.

Is the Legal Studies major pre-law?

At USC, pre-law is a pre-professional emphasis. Pre-law is a resource available to all USC students, and not an actual course of study or a particular academic program. The Office of Pre-Law Advisement at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences provides resources to students who are interested in learning more about law school or plan on going to law school. Students in the BS in Legal Studies may add a pre-law emphasis, just like any other majors.

Should I major in Legal Studies to go to law school?

The Legal Studies major is not a pathway or a pipeline into law school. It does not advantage or disadvantage you to get into law school. Here is a simple table for guidance.

Yes, because...
You want to get a flavor for the study of law
You are eager to get exposure to the material, you are passionate about the law
You are undecided about studying law


No, because...
You want an advantage applying to law school
You want an advantage when you get to law school
You are passionate about some other undergrad options

BS in Legal Studies Requirements (48 Units)

Curriculum Requirements

Required Core Courses (24 units)

LAW 101w - Law and the U.S. Constitution in Global History: 4
LAW 200w - Law and Society: 4
LAW 205 - Introduction to Criminal Law: 4
LAW 210p - Fundamentals of the U.S. Legal System: 4

LAW 210p - Fundamentals of the U.S. Legal System: 4
LAW 220 - The Legal Profession: 2
LAW 225 - Current Court Cases: 2
LAW 300 - Concepts in American Law: 4


Students must choose one of the tracks listed below. Each track requires 20 units from its respective course list, and 16 of those units must be upper division courses (numbered at the 300-400 level).

Regulatory State Track

LAW 202 - Wrongful Convictions: 4
LAW 207 - Personal Data in the 21st Century: 4
LAW 211 - Intellectual Property and Technology: 4
LAW 212 - Immigration Law for a New America: 4
LAW 250w - Children and the Law: 4
LAW 352 - Introduction to Law and Economics: 4
LAW 355 - Law and the Landscape of Homelessness: 4
LAW 401 - Cybersecurity & Cybercrime: 4
LAW 402 - Psychology and Law: 4
LAW 403 - Mental Health Law: 4
LAW 404 - Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process: 4
PPD 314 - Public Policy & the Law: 4

Public Law Track

LAW 201 - Law and Politics: 4
LAW 202 - Wrongful Convictions: 4
LAW 207 - Personal Data in the 21st Century: 4
LAW 211 - Intellectual Property and Technology: 4
LAW 212 - Immigration Law for a New America: 4
LAW 250w - Children and the Law: 4
LAW 275p - The Origin and Evolution of American Civil Rights Law: 4
LAW 305 - International Influence: Law & Power: 4
LAW 310w - Global Justice for Mass Atrocities and Genocide: 4
LAW 355 - Law and the Landscape of Homelessness: 4
LAW 401 - Cybersecurity & Cybercrime: 4
LAW 403 - Mental Health Law: 4
LAW 404 - Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process: 4
LAW 406 - Individual Rights in U.S. Constitutional Law: 4
PPD 314 - Public Policy and the Law: 4

Private Law Track

FBE 428 - Introduction to Employment Law: 4
LAW 207 - Personal Data in the 21st Century: 4
LAW 211 - Intellectual Property and Technology: 4
LAW 324 - Sports Law: 4
LAW 350 - Law and Entrepreneurship: 4
LAW 352 - Introduction to Law and Economics: 4
LAW 401 - Cybersecurity & Cybercrime: 4

General Legal Studies Track

Must take 8 units from the Public Law Track
Must take 8 units from the Private Law Track
Must take 4 units from the Regulatory State Track

Additional Requirements - 4 units

LAW 497 - Legal Studies Capstone Project: 2
LAW 498 - Law Internship: 2

University Requirements

General Education

Eight courses in six Core Literacies, plus two courses in Global Perspectives (which may double-count with courses in the Core Literacies). In addition, all entering first-year students freshmen are expected to complete a General Education Seminar during their first year at USC. These seminars satisfy one of the Core Literacy requirements above.

Core Literacies

GE-A: The Arts (one course)
GE-B: Humanistic Inquiry (two courses)
GE-C: Social Analysis (two courses)
GE-D: Life Sciences (one course)
GE-E: Physical Sciences (one course)
GE-F: Quantitative Reasoning (one course)

Global Perspectives

GE-G: Citizenship in a Global Era (one course) W (LAW 101, 200, 250 & 310 meet GE-G requirement)
GE-H: Traditions and Historical Foundations (one course) P (LAW 210 & 275 meet GE-H requirement)

Writing Requirements (8 units)

WRIT 150 - Writing and Critical Reasoning-Thematic Approaches: 4
WRIT 340 - Advanced Writing: 4

How the BS in Legal Studies Can Benefit You

  • Gain extensive knowledge of the United States legal system.
  • Analyze how law affects civil society through various aspects of law:
    • Legal infrastructure, both in the U.S. and across the globe
    • The reasoning process that courts employ when interpreting the Constitution, statutes, regulation and the common law, and which purports to justify specific legal decisions
    • The substantive commitments that the legal system has made
    • And how these three aspects of law are affected by normative, historical and societal influences
  • Explain and critically evaluate how the use of legal concepts and legal reasoning interact with and affect social issues.
  • Apply advanced critical and analytical thinking skills.

Career Outcomes

In recent years, the legal field has been diversifying and employing many individuals in new and exciting roles. As the field has grown and evolved, so have the employment interests and objectives for college graduates who are interested in working in law but may not want to become practicing attorneys. USC Gould's bachelor's degree in Legal Studies provides students with a strong foundation that will prepare them for innovative and emerging employment opportunities or graduate studies.

Legal Studies Career Opportunities

Below is a sampling of jobs that BS Legal Studies graduates will be well-suited for:

  • Auditor Humanitarian Affairs Officer
  • Case Manager Immigration Officer
  • City, County or State Planner Immigration Specialist
  • Civil Rights Advocate Jury Consultant
  • Commercial Developer Legal Administrator
  • Compliance Officer Legal Correspondent
  • Compliance Specialist Litigation Support Professional
  • Conflict Resolution Specialist Lobbyist
  • Consumer Safety Officer Mediation Specialist
  • Contracts Administrator Natural Resources Manager
  • Corporate Ethics Officer Ombudsperson
  • Court Reporter Paralegal Specialist
  • E-Discovery Analyst Policy Analyst
  • Employee Benefits Manager Policy Advisor
  • Environmental Impact Analyst Legislator
  • Environmental Protection Specialist Procurement Analyst
  • Foreign Affairs Officer Public Affairs/Media Manager
  • Government Agent (FBI, ICE or DEA) Resource Manager
  • Health/Medical Administrator Trial Consultant
  • Human Resources Specialist UN - Human Rights &
  • Political Affairs
  • Human Rights Officer Victim Advocate/Coordinator

Meet our Student Ambassadors

Our student ambassadors are available to answer any of your questions about undergraduate student life at Gould and USC. Email them anytime at [email protected]

Tim Migliaro

Student Ambassador

Tim is a fourth-year student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Legal Studies. His area of interest is in Healthcare Law, specifically in the biotech industry and the changing scientific technology and laws surrounding it. This past summer, he worked for Northwell Health, New York State's largest healthcare provider and private employer. Tim is involved on campus with organizations such as USC Make a Wish, the Chi Phi Fraternity, the Trojan Review and the Just Dance Club. In his free time, Tim likes to travel, especially to U.S. National Parks and has visited 21 parks. He also enjoys going to the beach and hiking around the Los Angeles area.


Kathy Thach

Student Ambassador

Kathy is a third-year student majoring in Law, History, and Culture with a minor in Law and Technology. Her areas of interest are in the legal regulations of the right to vote and participation in the electoral process, alongside "big-data" analytical campaign techniques. This past summer, she was a Youth Civic Engagement Fellow with Arizona AANHPI For Equity Coalition, and she is currently an Elections Fellow with the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization. Kathy is involved on campus with organizations such as the Joint Educational Project, Society of Women in Law, and The Sack of Troy. As a native Arizonan, being in Los Angeles is a nice break from the heat and she loves exploring the beaches of LA and going on hikes in her free time!


Susanna Andryan

Student Ambassador

Susanna is a third-year majoring in legal studies and Philosophy, Politics, and Law. Her areas of interest are in representing startups and growth stage companies in incorporation and investing. During her academic year, she served as a JusticeCorps member at the Los Angeles Superior Court, assisting self-represented litigants in their legal proceedings. Susanna is involved with organizations such as the Society of Women in Law, Trojan Review, Blackstonians Pre-Law Honors Society, and Undergraduate Student Government. In her free time, Susanna loves spending her life savings on books and cycling along the beach.

Meet Your Advisor


Lina Goggins-Rendón
Assistant Director of Admissions and Advising
[email protected]

Interested? Request More Information


Students for now — Trojans for life.

When you graduate from USC Gould, you join USC's famed Trojan Family.

An alumni network over 437,000 strong, the Trojan Family spans the globe and will remain one of your most valuable — and lifelong — professional resources. Our more-than 15,000 law alumni share a steadfast commitment to nurturing the next generation of students.


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