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BS in Legal Studies: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Undergraduate Law Programs

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.

What about law school, should I study Legal Studies?

The Legal Studies major is not a pathway or a direct pipeline program into law school. The program can provide beneficial, foundational knowledge about the law. Students in this major can apply to law school and take advantage of Pre-Law Advising for guidance on the application process to law school.

Will the BS in Legal Studies guarantee admission into law school?

No, completing this major does not guarantee admission to any law school. USC Undergraduates are welcome to apply to the Juris Doctor degree program at USC Gould School of Law. The Undergraduate Law Programs Office encourages students to take advantage of Pre-Law Advising resources if they are interested in applying to law school.

Will the BS in Legal Studies prepare me for law school better than other undergraduate degrees?

The BS in Legal Studies offers foundational knowledge in law. Students gain early exposure to legal concepts. This could help a student identify if Law School is the right next step for them. Law Schools accept students from a wide variety of majors. Undergraduate students should feel empowered to choose the major that they are genuinely interested in.

Can I practice law as an attorney with this degree?

The BS in Legal Studies does not enable students to sit for the bar exam and practice law as an attorney; however, Legal Studies graduates can pave the way to law-adjacent careers or graduate school.

What is the difference between the LLB and the BS in Legal Studies?

In most countries outside of the U.S., law is offered as an undergraduate degree. The LLB (Bachelor of Laws) is the most common undergraduate law degree. In many countries, the LLB degree allows graduates to sit for a bar exam and practice law as an attorney. In the United States, the LLB was phased out in favor of the JD (Juris Doctor) degree in the 1960s. Students in the U.S. complete a bachelor's degree before pursuing the JD degree. Therefore, BS in Legal Studies graduates do not qualify to sit for a bar exam or practice law as an attorney.

What kind of jobs can I get with this degree?

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 who 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.

Are there any pre-requisite requirements for first year admits?

There are no pre-requisites for first year students; however, classes taken in the following fields will be valuable to entering students: writing, history, political science, English, along with social sciences and humanities-related classes.

Does the Legal Studies major require foreign language?

No, foreign language is not a requirement for the BS in Legal Studies.

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes, we do admit transfer students to the BS in Legal Studies.

Are there any pre-requisites or recommended preparatory courses for transfer students?

The BS in Legal Studies does not have prerequisite courses. Taking courses in the following subjects will be valuable to entering students: writing, history, political science, English, along with social sciences and humanities-related classes. Please refer to the Transfer Tools here.

How many units is this Legal Studies major?

The major is 48 units: 24 of those units are required core courses, 20 units are elective units, plus 2 units of internship and 2 units of capstone seminar are required as well.

How does this degree differ from other fields of study?

Legal Studies takes a deep dive into the legal framework and teaches students what goes into creating and carrying out law. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the legal system including the infrastructure, the reasoning process and the substantive commitments that the legal system has made. The major requirements are all Law courses through the Gould School of Law.

Will I receive assistance when looking for an internship?

As part of your academic learning experience, we strongly encourage students to seek out internships on their own; however, if students need assistance in attaining an internship, we have dedicated staff to help and support their needs.

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