Legal Studies

The Legal Studies program teaches theoretical and practical aspects of the field of law as a profession. Students are equipped to offer substantive legal support services to firms and agencies or to continue their education in law school. The core curriculum emphasizes four correlated disciplines:

  1. Theory, process, application, and ethics of law;
  2. Legal and administrative research and investigation;
  3. Law-related technologies; and
  4. Professional decorum and communication skills.

Only licensed attorneys are permitted to practice law, but well-trained paralegals and support staff are indispensable to any organization that faces critical issues in law, regulatory compliance, or policy. The unique skill sets of Legal Studies graduates are vital not only to law firms but also to corporations, government agencies, courts, law enforcement, health care organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, and a wide range of other professional settings.

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Admission to the Program

Undergraduate students admitted to University of Memphis may pursue a degree in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies by completing Declaration of Major form

Once accepted, students must seek academic advising prior to the start of each semester. Advisors will provide guidance in developing a meaningful educational plan that is compatible with the student's abilities, values, interests and career goals. Academic advising is available in-person, by phone and web conference. 

Fees and Scholarships

Students are encouraged to visit University and Student Business Services regularly to review fee charts, deadlines and other important details as they are subject to change. 

The College of Professional and Liberal Studies offers several scholarships for students meeting the stated requirements. Students may apply for scholarships through Tiger Scholarship Manager.

Degree Requirements

Students in the Legal Studies concentration will select from a set of courses to form a coordinated plan of study. Requirements for this program include general education, core requirements, internship, thematic studies, senior project and general electives. Students should seek guidance from their advisor every semester and follow the assigned degree plan.  A minor may be pursued with this degree through the submission of a completed minor application. Approval must be granted from the graduation analyst of the minor they are seeking as well as the College of Professional and Liberal Studies graduation analyst. 

3+3 Accelerated BA/JD program

The Legal Studies 3+3 Program is a partnership between the College of Professional and Liberal Studies and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. This unique program will allow UM eligible students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years, saving a full year of time and tuition. Learn more about the program on the law school's website

Thematic Studies

Thematic studies focus on significant themes in social, political, and religious history. All College of Professional and Liberal Studies students must complete 6 credit hours of thematic studies courses. These courses are offered on campus and online in many interdisciplinary topics.

100% Online Curriculum

The Legal Studies Program is part of UofM Global, which means our curriculum is delivered entirely online. Coursework consists of asynchronous weekly online instruction with periodic real-time video-conference meetings. This offers lots of flexibility without sacrificing the option of occasional face-to-face interaction. It also helps our instructors integrate technology into the curriculum more seamlessly, so students can graduate with the digital fluency required in today's advancing legal field.

Legal Studies Internship

Every student seeking a BPS in Legal Studies is required to complete a 150-hour internship (UNIV 4110). Students may only enroll in the Legal Studies internship during their final year of school and must complete all requirements in the Legal Studies Internship Packet. Although the Legal Studies Coordinator and the Academic Advisors are available to assist as necessary, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to secure an internship position before the semester starts. Once a student accepts an internship offer, the student must request a permit to register for the Legal Studies Internship course. Although student interns are working off campus, the internship is a formal, online class for which students must register prior to starting their service. Students who intern without getting advisor approval in advance will not receive academic credit.

Every semester, there are several sections of UNIV 4110 offered to students in all disciplines. Only one section is designated exclusively for Legal Studies students. The registration paperwork is also different for Legal Studies versus other fields of study. Students must be sure to register for the correct section of UNIV 4110 and submit the proper paperwork. For more information on internships, please email us at legalstudies@memphis.edu.

Prior Learning Assessment

Students who wish to accelerate the completion of their degree may be eligible to earn credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) which includes credit earned by CLEP or DSST standardized exams, Experiential Learning Credit, or departmental credit by examination.

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File for Graduation

Undergraduate students who are within two semesters of graduation should review the required process to file for graduation. All parts must be completed by the posted deadline. 

Career Development

Students interested in learning more about career options in Legal Studies should review information and set an appointment to meet with a Career Specialist in our Career Services Office.

School of Law

Students interested in continuing on to law school will be more prepared having completed the Legal Studies degree. Knowledge on how to brief cases, conduct legal research, and read legal citations prior to starting law school will provide a significant advantage. The Legal Studies concentration focuses on the substantive points of the law so that graduates of the program step into their first law class with a level of comfort, assurance, and skills that the typical law student will not have.

Local and National Organizations

Legal Students Association was formed to provide networking and professional development opportunities for students interested in any aspect of the legal field. While LSA was founded by Legal Studies students, members do not have to major in Legal Studies to join. LSA welcomes not only paralegals and future lawyers, but also Students aspiring toward law enforcement, government/politics, public policy, corrections, court reporting and stenography, investigation and forensics, process service, and legal office administration.

Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) is a national honor society for paralegals and legal assistants. It was founded in 1996 by the American Association for Paralegal Education, and the University of Memphis established its local Chapter in 2007. Legal Studies majors may apply to be inducted into the National Honor Society at any time after earning at least 80 credits (two-thirds of the degree requirements). National Inductees must also have a 3.5 GPA in their Legal Studies classes and a 3.25 GPA overall. All National Inductees who apply before the deadline and pay any requisite fees are recognized at graduation with a purple cord and sash and the official LEX certificate and pin. For more information, please contact Lambda Epsilon Chi at lex@memphis.edu. 

University of Memphis Student Organizations
Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance
Tennessee Paralegal AssociationNational Association for Legal Assistants (NALA)
National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)  
American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE)
American Bar Association (ABA)

Additional Resources