Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies provides students with a broad educational background in American law and policy that prepares them well for a lifetime of informed civic participation. Students will also acquire the technical skills and specialized knowledge that will enable them to build a career working in federal and state agencies or court systems, in a variety of legal service settings, in private law offices or corporate legal departments, and in a multitude of other public and private organizations where familiarity with government regulation and legal processes is required. The program also lays the academic foundation for students who later wish to advance to graduate programs in law or public policy. The program is approved by the American Bar Association.

Please note that students obtaining this degree are not authorized to provide direct legal services to the public. The program offers training for paraprofessionals who are authorized to perform substantive legal work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The program does not train lawyers.

Admission Requirements

Students who do not meet the admissions requirements will be admitted as pre-majors. Students may take up to 12 credit hours of Legal Studies courses while in pre-major status.


  • Students who have not completed the English prerequisites for admission to the program should begin their English coursework in their first semester as a pre-major.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to complete an Undergraduate Certificate in Civic Engagement or to augment their degree with a Minor in Justice or another discipline. Students should note, however, that courses that may be used to satisfy either the Legal Studies degree or the Justice Minor will not be counted toward the completion requirements of both programs.
  • Proficiency in the use of computers and standard office software is an important component of legal practice. Students are strongly encouraged to build their technological skills through coursework in Computer Information and Office Systems (CIOS), Computer Information Systems (CIS), or Computer and Networking Technology (CNT) as they progress through the program.
  • Campus restrictions for this program are enforced in accordance with American Bar Association Guidelines for the Approval of Paralegal Education Programs. Therefore, the Legal Studies degree cannot be completed at extended campuses. Courses designated in this catalog as legal specialty courses may be taken only at the Anchorage campus.
  • Transfer credit for Legal Studies and Justice courses will be determined at the departmental level.
  • Legal Studies majors who have completed the Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will receive full transfer credit for their courses in accordance with the articulation agreement on file in the Justice Center and posted on the Justice Center website. However, students must complete 120 total credit hours for the degree; 42 of those credits must be upper division.
  • Students interested in the Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies should consult a faculty advisor in the Justice Center before enrolling in Legal Studies courses.

Graduation Requirements

Major Requirements

Written Communications Skills
WRTG A111Writing Across Contexts3
Complete one of the following (with a minimum grade of B):3
Writing and the Humanities
Writing and the Professions
Writing and the Sciences
Arguing Across Contexts
Complete one of the following (with a minimum grade of B):3
Writing and Rhetoric in Public Life
Advanced Technical Writing
Professional Writing
Research Writing
Professional Editing
Core Courses
JUST A315Development of Law3
JUST A374The Courts3
LEGL A101Introduction to Law3
LEGL A215Legal Ethics and the Role of the Legal Professional3
LEGL/JUST A352Criminal Law and Procedure3
LEGL A356Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing3
LEGL A367Civil Procedure and Pretrial Practice3
LEGL A377Evidence, Investigation, and Discovery3
LEGL A487Trial and Advanced Litigation Processes3
LEGL A489Legal Studies Senior Seminar3
Complete 15-17 credits (12 upper division) from the following list: *15-17
Aviation Law and Regulations
Real Estate Law
Construction Law
Boundary Law I
Boundary Law II
First Amendment and Media Ethics
Movies and the First Amendment
Business Law I
Business Law II
Constitutional Law
Communications Law
Family Law
Contracts, Debt and Principles of Ownership
Torts, Workers' Compensation and Insurance Law
Health Care Law and Regulatory Compliance
Individual Research
Civil Liberties
Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights
Legal Studies Internship (with instructor approval)
Philosophy of Law
CEL A395Civic Engagement Internship (with a minimum grade of C)3-9
Total Credits57-65

Other upper division law courses from the Justice or Legal Studies curriculum may be used to satisfy this requirement with departmental approval. Only 6 credits of JUST A490 may be used to satisfy elective requirements for the BA in Legal Studies.

All Legal Studies majors must take the Legal Studies Exit Examination. There is no minimum score required for graduation.

A total of 120 credits is required for the degree, 30 of which must be in residence. At least 42 credits must be upper division, 24 of which must be in residence.

Pro Bono Service Honors

The Justice Center awards pro bono service honors to those legal studies students who work toward improving access to justice by contributing volunteer service to Alaska legal aid agencies. Students majoring in any of the legal studies programs, as well as legal studies minors, are eligible to graduate with pro bono service honors upon satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  1. Meet the catalog requirements for the minor, degree or certificate sought.
  2. Complete the following number of volunteer hours with a legal services agency approved by the Legal Studies Department program coordinator:
    1. Bachelor of Arts, Legal Studies: 120 hours
  3. Students intending to graduate with pro bono service honors must obtain written verification of their hours of service from the legal service agency or agencies assisted.
  4. In the semester they intend to graduate, students must submit their verification of service hours and written notice of their intent to graduate with pro bono service honors to the Legal Studies Department program coordinator. The verification and notice must be received by the coordinator on or before the date established by the Office of the Registrar as the deadline to apply for graduation.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies will be able to:

  • Produce superior university-level written documents and oral reports.
  • Identify and accurately apply the rules of professional ethics governing lawyers and nonlawyer staff, and the rules governing the unauthorized practice of law in Alaska.
  • Interpret and accurately apply legal terminology and foundational principles of substantive and procedural law in the analysis of legal issues.
  • Develop and execute legal research plans using law library resources and commonly used legal research databases.
  • Synthesize primary and secondary legal authorities and draft memoranda of legal analysis.
  • Prepare legal investigation and discovery plans and draft legal pleadings that conform to the rules of civil procedure and incorporate standard techniques and resources for managing a case in litigation.
  • Assess and critique theories of law and the impact of American law, both historically and currently, on social and economic relationships, access to public resources, and individual liberties.
  • Construct from disparate fields of substantive law a unified theory of law as a mechanism for ordering social and economic relationships.