Legal Studies Degree: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Government

Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What Is a Legal Studies Degree?

Policy making and governance can be drivers of positive change that benefit communities, families and individuals. Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies offers a unique pathway for students because it combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on application. Based in policy and politics, this legal studies degree emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that is rooted in a classical liberal arts education. This online and on-campus legal studies degree examines the intersections of disciplines such as communication, justice studies, philosophy, business and theology.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this bachelor’s in legal studies can serve as a foundational framework for students interested in pursuing entry into law school or public service. The program is an intensive exploration in research and writing that challenges students to develop their critical reasoning capabilities, communication skills and sense of servant leadership. Examine the founding principles of the American government, as well as its constitutional framework and governing institutions. Historical perspectives and contemporary legal issues are examined in this dynamic online and on-campus legal studies degree.

Why Earn Your BA in Government and Legal Studies Degree at GCU?

GCU is a private Christian school that integrates the Christian worldview into each curriculum. In the Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree program, there is an emphasis on the value of servant leadership. Students explore the theories and application of Christian ethics into the decision-making process.

Students are encouraged to practice critical analysis while exploring the negotiation and resolution of legal issues. You will examine the growth of American democracy from its colonial roots to the development of the Constitution to contemporary topics. Explore the foundations of the law and legal philosophy, and examine how these time-tested concepts are applicable to modern legal and governance decisions.

A total of 120 credits are required for completion of this bachelor’s in legal studies. This degree is available through on-campus or online classes. Most online courses are seven weeks in length, while campus classes are about 15 weeks long.

What You’ll Learn With a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Legal Studies Degree

This government bachelor’s degree with a legal studies emphasis prepares you to take on challenges in the criminal or civil law fields. Fully qualified faculty members teach courses such as Introduction to Political Theory, Philosophy of Law and Introduction to Comparative Government and International Politics. During your studies, you will acquire foundational knowledge and skills such as the following:

  • Classic and contemporary expressions of political thought and processes
  • Qualitative and quantitative political research methods
  • Public policy in the federal government, and its impact on governing institutions, interest groups and public opinion
  • Legal reasoning, analysis and practical legal research
  • Diplomatic relations, international processes and governance in Western and non-Western countries

Career Opportunities in Government and Legal Studies

The interdisciplinary nature of this bachelor's-level online or on-campus legal studies degree prepares students for success in a wide range of career fields. Some of the jobs related to this degree may include the following:

  • Legislative aid
  • Policy analyst
  • Policy and quality analyst
  • Compliance analyst
  • Regulatory affairs manager
  • Manager of government affairs policy

With its concentrated focus on the principles of a legal, ethical and constitutional society, this online or on-campus legal studies degree can prepare students to apply for entry into law school. Additionally, bachelor's in legal studies graduates will have a fundamental understanding of legal database research, writing skills and law school concepts that go beyond what is typically available from a two-year paralegal program.

Frequently Asked Questions for Legal Studies Degrees

From a simple standpoint, legal studies examine the law from all viewpoints. It looks at the theory of how the law works and how it affects society. The curriculum in a legal studies degree can often be applied with a variety of law-related careers due to the breadth of the legal topics covered.

A bachelor’s in legal studies is a valuable investment for anyone looking for a career in law, politics or any business-related profession. Legal studies cover a broad range of law topics that are applicable to many careers, so earning a bachelor’s in legal studies is a degree that can propel you toward your ideal position.

No, legal studies is not the same as a paralegal. Legal studies is the name that covers many law topics and careers, paralegal being one example. A paralegal is the name for a specific career in law that assists lawyers and attorneys for any legal matter. They play an important role in the preparation and organization of a case and are sometimes the stepping-stone job toward becoming a full-time lawyer or attorney.

Get More Information!

Loading Form

Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks [More Info]

Online: 7 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
44 credits
Open Elective Credits:
36-42 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is an introduction to American government and politics. It covers the constitutional foundations and governing institutions of the federal government. Throughout the course, students address common political themes, such as the nature and scope of governance, democracy, citizenship, and patterns of political behavior.

Course Description

This course compares and contrasts various systems of government in Western and non-Western countries, and explores political and diplomatic processes and how they affect international relations, nations, and localities.

Course Description

This writing intensive course surveys the development of the American Constitution from colonial origins to the present. Constitutional law in the broader framework of political philosophy is discussed. Major themes in this course are federalism, the doctrine of separation of powers, and the impact of Supreme Court decisions on society. Prerequisite: GOV-140.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to topics in legal philosophy, including but not limited to the foundations of law, the relation of law and morality, law and ethics, whether persons have a duty to obey the law, the nature of property, the reasonableness of punishment, and the role of constitutions in law. Readings will be drawn from both historical and contemporary sources.

Course Description

This course introduces the qualitative and quantitative methods used to research and study politics including hypothesis testing, inference, and causal reasoning. Prerequisite: GOV-140.

Course Description

This course covers public policymaking in American federal government. It focuses on the impact of policy on public opinion, the media, interest groups, and governing institutions within the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches. Prerequisite: GOV-140.

Course Description

This course examines the political processes that determine who gets what, when, and how in society, and explores the issues and concepts that are used to develop and critique political theories. The classics as well as the more contemporary expressions of political thought are introduced.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the broad field of civil law, giving students a contemporary, practical understanding of the different fields of civil law. The course also provides analytical techniques for resolving legal problems.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to criminal liability with an emphasis on the elements of a crime and governmental sanctions of individual conduct as formulated by the legislature and the court system.

Course Description

This course focuses on three major areas of success required to become a successful legal practitioner: legal reasoning and analysis, practical legal research and writing, and "soft" skills of the legal profession such as the ability to gather information from persons and to communicate with persons in the legal arena. Prerequisite: GOV-357.

Course Description

This writing intensive course provides a broad overview of careers at the federal, state, and local levels of governing bodies and agencies. The course explores the role of a bureaucrat, legislative aid, lobbyist, or campaign worker. Issues that are unique to legislatures that make the law, and to public agencies that implement and enforce the law are also explored. This course examines selected theoretical and empirical topics in government. This course represents the culmination of undergraduate study within government. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. Prerequisites: GOV-364, GOV-307, GOV-358, GOV-378, GOV-140, and GOV-210.


GCU Campus Student

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

Scroll back to top