Students will learn the thinking, writing and research skills to thrive in a legal environment. The advantage of an undergraduate education in legal studies is that our students learn practical skills that will prepare them for success, such as drafting pleadings, interrogatories, contracts, wills, trusts, corporate documents, deeds, leases and more.
From what it takes to create a law firm from scratch to the ins and outs of online billing, document creation and file organization, our graduates leave with first-hand knowledge of the operations of a law firm.
Opportunities abound for students to expand their horizons. They receive support in applying for law school and meet personally with admissions representatives from law schools throughout the Southeast. The program also provides opportunities for students to travel regionally and internationally for course credit as they learn the operations of courts worldwide.
Students can look forward to an introductory class (PLS 381) early in their educational experience. Shortly thereafter (or simultaneously) students will learn essential legal research and writing skills in PLS 383 and PLS 384. From there, the program offers a series of specialized classes in civil litigation, family law, criminal law, real estate law and more.
Students in the pre-law track take classes taught by lawyers that prepare them with thinking and writing skills with a specific eye toward success in law school. Soon-to-be graduates will finish their educational experience with a capstone class that reviews important aspects of legal research and ethics. Along the way, students create legal documents, form a law firm and learn case management software firsthand.
There are two Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees available with this major.
This degree focuses on practical legal skills. Students learn to prepare legal documents and function within a law office. These are skills not taught to lawyers in law school, making paralegals an essential part of every successful law firm.
This degree includes many of the practical skills of the Legal Studies BA, which will give the graduate a framework for work in an actual law firm environment, but also provides classes that deal with the more theoretical ideas covered in law school to prepare them for law school success.
Legal Studies graduates are career-ready to join a law firm as a paralegal or to work for companies and governmental agencies in need of basic legal services.
Graduates of the Legal Studies Prelaw track are prepared for entry into law school. Many students appreciate the opportunity to take law school subjects on the undergraduate level.
Since most classes in the prelaw track are taught by attorneys, students receive "insider" information on being successful in law school. This process relieves some of the stress students typically go through when adjusting to the law school environment.
As the world becomes smaller, even small law firms are finding themselves working with clients and parties overseas. Our students have visited and attended hearings in international courts and have discussed international legal topics with those working in the field. PLS 499 is typically offered in France during odd-numbered years and Italy during even-numbered years.
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Be aware of our deadlines, $40 application fee and other items on our checklist. Admission requirements vary for freshmen, transfers, prospective Honors College students and others.
Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.
All courses listed in the degree plan are available online. A student would not have to take a face-to-face course to complete this degree.
50 percent or more of the degree plan’s courses in Major Area of Study Requirements AND 50 percent or more of courses in Curriculum Requirement are available online. Remaining courses are face-to-face at the Hattiesburg or Gulf Park campus, as noted.
All courses are available face-to-face on the Hattiesburg campus.
All courses are available face-to-face on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.