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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Criminal Justice (B.S.)

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Legal Studies prepares its graduates for success in both law school and for careers in legal assisting, paralegal, and other law-related professions with a rigorous curriculum designed to provide them with necessary critical thinking, writing and research skills, as well as an in-depth understanding of the entire legal system, including the court system, clients, and lawyers. The core curriculum provides a solid foundation in the areas of contract law, torts, professional ethics, criminal procedure, and legal research and writing. Students also have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest by taking elective coursework in the areas of litigation, wills, trusts and estates, real estate, family law, criminal law, and international law.

Students holding an associate’s degree in legal assisting (or equivalent) may be admitted to take upper level courses. The 48 credit hours of upper level courses include required core courses (21 credits), restricted electives (12 credits), general upper level electives (12 credits), and university required courses (3 credits).

In addition to preparing students for law school, the Legal Studies program prepares students for professional legal assisting and paralegal studies certification exams, including the Certified Legal Assistant’s (CLA) Exam sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants and Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA). The program focuses on essential competencies identified by these organizations and includes the educational preparation recommended for success in the field.

Our graduates are continuing their education in law school, various graduate programs or are employed in various capacities in law firms, government offices and private businesses. Several of the students who attended law school have communicated to the Legal Studies faculty that their preparation at FGCU put them one step ahead of those who did not have similar educational opportunities.

Even if Legal Studies graduates decide not to enter the legal profession as lawyers, paralegals, or legal assistants, the knowledge and skills they acquire will serve them well, regardless of the career path they choose.