Legal Studies (MA)

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description

The coursework in legal studies is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the legal environment in which individuals, businesses, and the judiciary operate. This major should be attractive to those individuals (for example, managers, teachers, government employees, and legal assistants) who need additional legal knowledge to function more effectively. The program in legal studies does not prepare students for the practice of law, and its graduates are not eligible for admission to the bar.

MA degree-seeking students with a declared major in legal studies may seek, concurrently with the degree, a certificate in paralegal studies. Some of the coursework is applied toward both the degree and the certificate. Students who are interested in the certificate program should refer to Graduate Certificates.

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Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students should:

    • Demonstrate the fundamentals of legal reasoning and analysis.
    • Comprehend the Code of Professional Responsibility to be able to address  ethical dilemmas faced by lawyers and legal assistants.
    • Master the skills and knowledge necessary for understanding legal issues working from both theoretical and practical applications.
    • Explain the essential goals of legal researching, legal and logical reasoning and begin to develop legal writing skills.
    • Be able to apply the theory of legal research and writing to practical problems encountered in a legal environment.
    • Distinguish the significant role that legal assistants have in the legal world and perform the practical skills necessary to function in it.

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Program Curriculum

The 39 credit hours required for the MA degree must include the following courses for a major in legal studies:

  • LEGL 5000 Introduction to Legal Studies (Requisite Course) (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5100 Jurisprudence (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5300 Ethics for the Legal Professional (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5260 Methods of Legal Research and Writing I (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5270 Methods of Legal Research and Writing II (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5400 Anglo-American Legal History (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5450 American Constitutional Law (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5470 Civil Actions (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5480 Criminal Actions (3 hours)
  • LEGL 5490 Advanced Topics in Law (6 hours)
  • LEGL 5800 Computerized Legal Research (3 hours)
  • LEGL 6000 Research and Writing Project (3 hours)

The elective requirement can be satisfied by taking LEGL 5850 Advanced Legal Writing, an additional LEGL 5490 Advanced Topics in Law course, or LEGL 5550 Legal Studies Internship.

If a substitution has been approved for a required course, the student must choose either LEGL 5850 Advanced Legal Writing or an additional LEGL 5490 Advanced Topics in Law course.

The required courses and electives listed in this core may be taken as directed studies, subject to the conditions stated in the Directed Studies section listed under Academic Policies and Procedures.

Note: A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Paralegals or legal assistants may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law. Webster University's St. Louis area paralegal programs have been approved by the American Bar Association.

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Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should see the Admission Section of this catalog for general requirements.

Send all admission materials to:

Office of Admission
Webster University
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119

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