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15 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Legal Studies for 2020

In this article ranking the 15 most affordable online Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, we will explore a few degrees like:

  • Online Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies
  • Online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies
  • Online BA in Pre-Law Studies
  • Online Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Justice Studies
  • Online Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies

You might be interested in a low-cost online degree in legal studies if you are pursuing a career in the legal profession–anywhere from a paralegal, to a legal assistant, to a lawyer. Those professions all have something in common; they start with a degree in legal studies (or something similar!). This degree will give you a solid foundation in the legal system as a whole. Then you can decide to become a certified paralegal or even continue to law school or graduate school. Either way–this is the place to start. To help you in your search, we’ve listed the most affordable online Bachelor’s degrees in Legal Studies below. You’ll be able to choose a school that provides the online flexibility that you need without breaking the bank!

Rating and Ranking Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top affordable Bachelor’s in Legal Studies online programs, our editors searched for schools that offered cheap online undergraduate programs in Legal Studies.  To rate and rank these programs, we applied the methodology below using information from Google, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES),, and each program’s website. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school pulled the higher rank. If the information didn’t fit within the parameters, zero points were awarded for that category.


  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

Flexibility of the Program (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item

Online Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, etc.) — 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point

#15 – National University

La Jolla, California

Online BA in Pre-Law Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 16 to 1

Points: 6

As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, National University offers a low-cost online bachelor’s in legal studies degree. You’ll graduate with a BA in Pre-Law Studies. Classes are presented in 4-week segments and only focus on one subject area per month. Plus, with year-round enrollment, you can truly design a program that works for your life. Upper-level electives include:

  • Law School Portfolio Project
  • Facilitation Fundamentals
  • Mediation Fundamentals 
  • Communication & Conflict
  • Issues in Conflict Management 
  • Ethics and Neutrality

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Net-Price: $29,382

#14 – Rowan University

Glassboro, New Jersey

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Justice Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1

Points: 6

Rowan University’s cheap online legal studies degree program takes a little different approach than some others on this list. You will earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Justice Studies, so that means you’ll equally study the legal field, the function of crime, as well as society’s response to crime. All students will have the opportunity to put theory in practice through an internship. Graduates of this program will be able to pursue careers in fields like law enforcement and security services, court services, and corrections and human services. The school also offers several accelerated and advanced degrees including the 4 + 1 Bachelor’s and Masters’s degree and the 3 + 3 BS/Juris Degree. Rowan University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $22,805

#13 – Brandman University

Irvine, California

Online BA in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

Points: 8

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Los Angeles, CA

Brandman University offers an online legal studies degree with an option to add-on one of two areas of concentration: Paralegal Studies or Business Law. Core courses in the major include Foundations of Law, White Collar Crime, Ethics in a Legal Environment, and Interviewing, Negotiation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Online education at BU offers maximum flexibility, allowing students to choose between a term-based online program that offers structure or a competency-based online program that is self-paced. While you pay by credit hour with the term-based program, the competency program features flat-rate tuition. Brandman University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Net-Price: $23,781

#12 – California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Online Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

Points: 8

California University of Pennsylvania

With California University of Pennsylvania’s low-cost online BA in Jurisprudence, you can pursue a concentration in Legal Studies. The program will provide an in-depth study of the law and legal studies. Specifically, the curriculum will examine legal reasoning, legal research and writing, litigation, estates and trusts, real estate, business, ethics, and multiple practice areas of law. Graduates will be ready to pursue law school or careers in the legal, business, or real estate fields. At CUP, you can learn at your own pace and take your classes year-round, so you’ll be able to reduce the time it takes to earn your degree. For those interested, the school also offers an online MS in Legal Studies. CUP is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $18,264

#11 – Mississippi College

Clinton, Mississippi

Online Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

Points: 8


Through the Department of History and Political Science, Mississippi College offers an affordable online degree in legal studies through their BS in Paralegal Studies program. It is important to note that this degree will be presented through a Christian worldview. After completion of this program, you won’t be licensed to practice law, but you’ll be prepared to support attorneys and legal professionals. Graduates will be able to start careers in facilities like private law firms, government agencies, and corporate legal departments. Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $18,040

#10 – University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, Maryland

BS in Legal Studies Online


Student Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

Points: 9

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a low-cost online legal studies degree that results in a BS in Legal Studies. You’ll learn the administrative legal skills you’ll need to be successful, like producing/reviewing forms, etc. In addition, you’ll gain a critical understanding of the American legal system and the role of the paralegal. Coursework includes Litigation, Contract Law, Legal Ethics, Torts, and Domestic Relations. Graduates will be ready for support positions in legal advocacy, legal research, legal writing, and legal case review/support. And if you’re worried about all the extra costs online learning could incur, you’ll love UMGC’s digital textbooks that are completely free to you! This means that for most courses, you won’t have to buy textbooks. The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price Tuition: $14,635

#9 – Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

BA in Legal Studies Online


Student Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

Points: 10

Though you can pursue your low cost online legal studies degree at many of Keiser University’s campuses, you can also earn the BA in Legal Studies fully online. The core curriculum will explore courses like Family Law, Legal Research and Writing, Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Litigation, and Wills, Trusts, & Estates. Students can then take upper-level electives to round out the degree. An area of specialization is available in Law Office Management, which would be beneficial for anyone who is pursuing a career in that field. On-campus students have the option for an internship experience, but online students may not have to. Online students can utilize the Department of Student Services and the online career center, which will help students with career-related things like resume preparation and mock interviews. Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $30,437

#8 – Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia 

BS in Paralegal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1

Points: 11

Liberty University offers an online legal studies degree that is an online BS in Paralegal Studies. The 120-credit program will be presented in an 8-week format. LU does not require standardized testing for admission, so if the SAT or the ACT isn’t your thing, you’re in luck here! Plus, online students will also have access to a plethora of student resources, including an online library, writing center, study aids, live webinars, and more. To make it even better, the majority of online students (a high 87%) get financial aid towards their degree. Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $28,181

#7 – American Public University

Charles Town, West Virginia

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 21 to 1

Points: 11

American Public University offers a low-cost online degree in legal studies. This online BS in Legal studies will give students a broad understanding of the law and prepare students for jobs as a court administrator, investigator, paralegal, law clerk, court clerk, and more. The major coursework will include the following classes:

  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Practice and Procedure
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Legal Ethics
  • Administrative Law and Policy
  • Constitutional Law

To help save money, online books are available at no additional cost. The school also offers and accepts a variety of ways to pay, to make the college tuition process cheaper or more convenient for you. Options include various scholarships, employer contributions, payment plans, and more. APU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $10,995

#6 – Bellevue University

Bellevue, Nebraska

Online BS in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 27 to 1

Points: 11

At Bellevue University, you can earn your affordable online Bachelor’s in Legal Studies. The curriculum will include material from the following areas:

  • Law, Policy, and Ethics
  • The Legal and Judicial Systems
  • Political Science
  • Criminal Justice

Among the 127 required credits includes specific courses like The U.S. Legal System and Judicial Process, Theory and Practice of Law, and The Rule and Role of Law through Matters of Life. Through Bellevue’s legal studies program, you won’t just be sitting in a classroom learning theory. First of all, you’ll be learning from faculty that are experts in their field with plenty of real-world knowledge. Secondly, you’ll get to visit a myriad of different legal-related businesses and organizations. And you’ll get to do all of this with the flexibility of your schedule. Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $13,261

#5 – University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Online Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 17 to 1

Points: 12

University of Massachusetts Lowell.jpg

You can earn a low-cost legal studies online degree through UMass Lowell’s online Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Legal Studies. Through the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, you’ll take major classes like Legal Aspects of Cyberspace, International Law, Family Law, and Women and the Law. In addition, you’ll sharpen many marketable skills, like communication skills, critical thinking skills, and analytical skills. The US News and World Report ranks UMass Lowell’s online programs among the best for 2019. UMass Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Net-Price: $18,183

#4 – University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Online BA/BS in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 30 to 1

Points: 13

The University of Central Florida offers two flexible online degrees in Legal Studies. Through the College of Community Innovation and Education, students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The Bachelor of Arts path requires two college courses in foreign language. Online students have an immense amount of support, including an online writing center and library. Graduates can pursue careers as Legal Analysts, Legal Assistants, Court Reporters, or Contracts Specialists. The US News and World Report ranks UCF’s online programs as among the best. UCF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Net-Price: $11,617

#3 – Peirce College

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Online BS in Paralegal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

Points: 13

Peirce College’s cheap online legal studies degree provides maximum flexibility and support for its online students. You can access your classes anytime from anywhere at your convenience. Plus, you’ll get the same online support as on-campus students, including advising, tutoring, academic workshops, and more. This 121-credit program, approved by the American Bar Association, includes coursework like The Paralegal Profession, Professional Legal Responsibility, Advanced Legal Technology, and Legal Writing. Through the Rutgers Law School, a Bachelor’s to Juris Doctor program is also available. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $8,711

#2 – SUNY College of Technology at Canton

Canton, New York

Online BS in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1

Points: 15


Through the College of Business, SUNY at Canton offers a cheap online legal studies degree. As an online student, you can take your classes anytime, anywhere, offering maximum flexibility. Students will earn a BS in Legal Studies and also participate in a real-world internship. Classes include Business Law, Civil Litigation, Constitutional Law, Criminal Practice, Family Law, Negligence and Intentional Torts, Real Property Law, Wills, and Trusts & Estates. Students can also earn a Bachelor’s + Law degree in just years through Canton’s partnership with the University of Buffalo’s Law School. SUNY College of Technology at Canton is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Net-Price: $13,285

#1 – Dominican University

River Forest, Illinois

Online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies


Student Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1

Points: 16

Dominican University offers a cheap legal studies degree program that is designed with working students in mind. Classes will be accelerated, so you can earn your degree in about 20 months. Not only will you gain valuable skills and real-world experiences, but this Bachelor of Professional Studies in Legal Studies also offers something much more unique. You can customize your degree with up to two concentrations, or you can even design your own concentration–all with the help of your advisor. Areas of specialization include paralegal studies, public administration, labor relations, social justice, disability advocacy or criminal justice. If you’re worried about online education, you’ll love DU’s Adult Learning Seminar, which will give you the tools you need to be a successful online student. Dominican University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Net-Price: $19,280

Affordable Online Legal Studies Degree FAQs

An online Bachelor’s degree in legal studies is the place to start if you’re looking for a career in the legal field. It can help set the groundwork for law school or give you the education you need to pursue other legal related positions like a paralegal or a legal assistant. But, the field is even broader than that. You won’t just be studying courtrooms and contracts. You’ll also examine real estate law, torts, professional ethics, criminal procedure, and legal research and writing, among others. Because the field is so broad, the good news is that it won’t lock you into one specific career. You can work in the legal field, but you can also continue your schooling or pursue professions in business, public affairs, public service, politics, international affairs, management, real-estate, or non-profit organizations.

Taking the degree online means that you won’t necessarily have to step foot on campus (but this can vary based on the school and the program). Most online programs are designed with non-traditional students like you in mind. So if you’re working? Yes, you can still attend an online school. Do you have kids and you’re wondering how you can pull off getting your degree too? With the right school, you’ll be able to manage that too. You can read more about this in the FAQ section!

Coursework in the Major:

The core curriculum of most legal studies programs will be rooted in liberal arts coupled with a solid understanding of the legal system. The coursework will place high importance on research and writing. Plus–you’ll learn valuable and marketable skills like critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills.

Core, foundational coursework in the legal studies field might cover topics like:

  • American Politics 
  • Sociology of Law
  • Legal Systems in American Society 
  • Constitutional Law 
  • Business Law
  • Contract Law
  • Legal Ethics 
  • Legal Writing and Research
  • Law and Culture

Possible Areas of Concentration:

An area of concentration is a focus within your major, most times characterized by dedicating a couple of courses to a more specific area of the larger legal studies field. On the other hand, some programs don’t offer an area emphasis, but instead, encourage you to choose a related minor. While a concentration will dive deeper into a sub-field of legal studies and will include coursework inside your same department, a minor will branch out just a bit. A minor gives you a complement to your degree outside of your field of study and will create a multi-disciplinary approach to your education.

Some areas of specialization you might find in the legal studies field could include:

  • Paralegal
  • Business Law
  • Pre-law
  • International Law
  • Public Administration
  • Labor Relations
  • Social Justice
  • Disability Advocacy
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Law

Some minors could include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Government
  • International Relations
  • Politics & Policy
  • Strategic Intelligence Studies
  • Justice

*You might see the same field of study listed in both “minors” and “concentrations” because every school places their Legal Studies in a different department–and that can determine whether your complementary studies are viewed as a minor or an area of specialization.

Getting Admitted to a Low-Cost Bachelor’s in Legal Studies Online Program

When you start applying to schools, you will notice that each school has its own criteria for admission. For example, one school might require standardized testing scores while another school doesn’t. But generally, the schools follow a similar path. Below, we’ve listed a few common admission requirements, just make sure you check the details of the specific school you’re applying to, to make sure you have everything you need!

  • a high school diploma or equivalent with an official transcript (your high school GPA does matter for admission!)
  • a completed application
  • standardized test scores (although some schools do not require them or make them optional–check your program for details)
  • letters of recommendation
  • entrance essay

Affordable Bachelor of Legal Studies FAQs

Q: Is legal studies a good online degree?

Yes, it is. One reason it’s such a valuable degree is because of how broad it is. It’s a great foundational degree to help you become successful in law school or graduate school. In addition, you will have job fluidity if you choose!

Q: What kind of Bachelor’s degree will I get with an online Legal Studies major?

A: Typically, you can earn either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts, and which one you earn will depend specifically on the program that you enroll in. The BS will focus more on math and science, while the BA will focus more on liberal arts and foreign language. Neither is right or wrong, it just depends where your strengths and interests lie. 

Q: What is the difference between Legal Studies and Paralegal Studies?

When you’re researching this degree, you might see both legal studies and paralegal studies. While they are similar, they are not the exact same. There are nuances between the two. The difference between them is that legal studies are a broad umbrella term for the entire legal profession, while paralegal studies is a specific career path within the larger field.

Q: What is the difference between a degree in Legal Studies and a degree in Pre-Law?

Likewise, you might see Legal Studies and Pre-Law mentioned together. Legal studies will prepare you for a broader array of legal professions, not just law. But also, a lot of times, Pre-Law isn’t a major, just a proclamation for your future endeavors. It might direct what coursework you take within your larger major. A few schools do make Pre-Law an actual major, but as you might suspect, it will prepare you specifically for law school. So if law school isn’t in your future, a legal studies degree will give you the broad legal education you will need to succeed. It is important to remember, though, that you can apply to Law School with a major in Legal Studies.

Q: Should I be looking for my online legal studies program to have a special accreditation?

You don’t have to be enrolled in a legal studies program that has special program accreditation, but it could be wise. One such accrediting agency is called the American Bar Association. The ABA upholds standards for paralegal education programs and has accredited 265 programs–so there’s plenty for you to pick from!

Q: What skills do I need to study the field of Legal Studies?

A: Besides learning the fundamentals of the legal studies field, you’ll also need to acquire some skills so you can be successful in your job! A few skills you will need to acquire in this field could include:

  • critical thinking skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • analytical skills
  • written and communication skills

Q: Can I take my classes part-time?

A: Most schools will allow you to take your coursework on a part-time basis. This option would be great for students who also work or have tough home or life obligations. Attending school part-time will certainly help you balance your school and home life. But it is important to remember that taking your classes part-time will lengthen the time it takes for you to earn your degree. If you take your classes full-time, however, you could finish in just 4 years (or sooner depending on your specific program and any previous credits). There is no right or wrong choice; it’s completely up to you. But whatever you do, make the choice that will ensure your success!

Q: What are some related degrees I could pursue?

Maybe you’ve read this article and you’re interested in the field of legal studies, but you’re not sure it’s the right degree for you. Don’t fret! There are several other related options you could check out, too. Other degree paths that are similar to Legal Studies could include Criminal Justice, Paralegal Studies, Business, and more.

Q: How long will it take to earn my cheap degree in Legal Studies online?

A: The length of time it takes to get your online degree in legal studies will rely on several factors like your program’s requirements if you’re enrolled in an accelerated program, whether you are a part-time or full-time student, and whether or not you already have some college credits. Typically, though, a Bachelor’s degree will take about 4 years to complete.

Q: Can I work while I get my affordable online undergrad degree in Legal Studies?

A: Yes, you can! Many online programs tailor their course delivery system to meet the needs of busy, working adults.

If you need to work while also attending school, try looking for a program that offers asynchronous courses and doesn’t have scheduled times for classes or tests. While you could possibly manage due dates, it might be easier to create your own schedule and fit your schooling in when it’s best for you. Also, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be spread thin, so consider only taking on a part-time load so you can make sure you’re giving your best to school and work. Ultimately, the decision and the balance will be up to you!

Q: What kind of technology will I need to complete my online degree?

To find out exactly what you need, check out your school’s online education section of the website, which usually gives you all the information you need regarding technology. If you don’t see the information you need, simply call the school and they can direct you to the right department.

On a general basis, you’ll need a computer and access to the internet. Other programs that utilize video conferencing or participation might require camera and microphone access on your computer.

Q: When can I start my online degree in legal studies?

The answer to this question will depend on your program specifically. Some schools follow a traditional path, offering start times each semester and sometimes in the summer. Other programs even offer monthly start times! And then–some programs allow you to start online classes whenever you’re ready! Take a look at the details in your program, and see if what the school offers matches with your own personal timeline.

Q: Is the cost of my books included in the tuition cost?

Most of the time, the answer to this question will be no. Typically, the cost of books will be on top of your tuition rates. However, there are some schools out there that either (1) use online textbooks to save money or (2) don’t charge extra for books. Several schools on this list don’t charge extra for books! If you do need to purchase your books, try buying them used to save money.

Q: Is it required to send my SAT/ACT scores to the university for admission?

Requirements for standardized testing vary by school. Some schools don’t require them at all, some schools are test-optional, and some have strict guidelines on scores. You’ll want to check the admission requirements of the specific schools you are considering to make sure your scores will cut it. 

Q: Is a cheap Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies worth it?

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that careers like Paralegals and Legal Assistants will increase in number by 12% over the next ten years, which is much faster than average. Likewise, arbitrators will increase in jobs by 8%. So those careers? Yes, they are worth it. On the other hand, jobs in the claims examiner field are projected to decline by 4%. So percentages vary within the field, and you’ll have to decide yourself!

Low-Cost Bachelor of Legal Studies Career FAQs

Q: What can I do with an affordable Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies?

Your job opportunities in the legal field are large and wide! A few careers you could pursue are a/an:

  • Legal Assistant/Paralegal
  • Court administrator 
  • Personnel administrator 
  • Law enforcement official 
  • Lobbyist 
  • Arbitrator
  • Claims examiner

Q: What kind of salary can I expect with a degree in Legal Studies?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018, you can earn a variety of salaries, ranging from about $40,000-$70,000. Below are a few specific salaries you can expect:

  • Legal Assistant/Paralegal: $50,940 per year 
  • Court, Municipal, and License Clerks: $41,100 per year
  • Arbitrator: $62,270 per year 
  • Claims examiner: $65,670 per year 

Q: Should I join a professional organization in the Legal Studies field?

Yes, you should! Joining a professional organization will help keep you up-to-date on current research or professional practices, as well as help you network within a group of like-minded peers.

When looking for an organization to join, check these out:

GVC Staff

February 2020

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