Legal Studies, A.S.

If you’re interested in being a part of an exciting profession that impacts every area of our lives, then becoming a legal assistant is the right career for you. But what does a legal assistant, or paralegal, do? Basically, they help the attorneys they work for keep things organized and on track by doing important legal tasks. This can include assisting attorneys during trials, organizing and managing case files, performing legal research, preparing legal briefs, filing legal documents, and conducting client and witness interviews. The Legal Studies program will challenge you intellectually and provide you with the skills needed to work in this exciting field.

In the Legal Studies program, we study law to understand the foundation our society is built upon, the laws created to protect us, and the rules we are bound to respect. We learn to think critically about current legal issues and develop skills needed to work under the direction of an attorney. According to the Department of Labor, as more people will require additional legal services, the demand for paralegals is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2024. Also, if you already have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in any area, this program can give you the legal basics a paralegal needs to know while building upon the areas you’ve already completed. The Associate in Science - Legal Studies degree provides you with the educational foundation to help you work in all areas of the legal system, including courts, law firms and government agencies. *Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law. 


Design Your Future!

Begin by exploring MSJC program maps to find a career or transfer opportunities.  Program maps show the recommended sequence of courses that lead to graduation or transfer. The maps were developed by program experts to give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.    

  • Starting in Spring? Choose Fall Semester 1 courses.   
  • Are you a part-time student?  Start Fall Semester 1 courses and follow the course sequence.
Plan of Study Grid
Fall Semester 1Units
LEG-100 Foundations of the Legal System 3
LEG-505 California Civil Procedure (formerly LEG-105) 3
Personal Success Habits of Highly Effective People (formerly GUID-120)
or Fundamentals of Healthful Living
ENGL-101 College Composition (formerly Freshman Composition) 4
COMM-100 Public Speaking 3
Spring Semester 1
LEG-507 Research and Writing for Legal Assistant (formerly LEG-107) 3
ANTH-101 Physical Anthropology 3
HIST-112 U.S. History Since 1865 3
LEG-560 Business Organizations (formerly LEG-160) 3
MATH-140 Introduction to Statistics 3
Fall Semester 2
LEG-524 Immigration Law (formerly LEG-124) 3
LEG-534 Family Law (formerly LEG-134) 3
Cooperative Work Experience: Legal Assistant (formerly LEG-149)
or General Work Experience (formerly CWE-149)
AJ-101 Criminal Law 3
LIT-280 Multiethnic Literature (formerly ENGL-280) 3
Spring Semester 2
LEG-512 Administrative Law (formerly LEG-112) 3
LEG-503 Elder Law (formerly LEG-103) 3
AJ-103 Criminal Evidence 3
Criminal Procedures
or Introduction to Probation and Parole (formerly AJ-115)
ANTH-102 Cultural Anthropology 3
 Total Units60

An Associate Degree in this program requires students to follow MSJC's General Education, Option A and complete all general education areas, all major requirements, and complete an overall total of 60 degree applicable units with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Course Title Credits
MSJC General Education Option A24
Required Core Courses18
Elective Legal Studies Courses9
Electives (as needed to reach 60 units)
Course Title Credits
Required Core Courses
LEG-100Foundations of the Legal System3
LEG-505California Civil Procedure (formerly LEG-105)3
LEG-507Research and Writing for Legal Assistant (formerly LEG-107)3
LEG-512Administrative Law (formerly LEG-112)3
LEG-534Family Law (formerly LEG-134)3
LEG-560Business Organizations (formerly LEG-160)3
Elective Courses
Select 3 from the following:9
Elder Law (formerly LEG-103)
Cooperative Work Experience: Legal Assistant (formerly LEG-149)
General Work Experience (formerly CWE-149)
Immigration Law (formerly LEG-124)
Criminal Law
Criminal Evidence
Criminal Procedures
Introduction to Probation and Parole (formerly AJ-115)
Total Units27

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Note: There are no guaranteed positions for students completing these programs. Education and work experience required will vary by employer. The salary and benefits for specific occupations will be dependent on work experience, education, background, and employer.