College of Letters and Sciences


Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Law school awaits. Jump start your journey here.

Since the founding of our country, lawyers have helped shape nearly every facet of life in the United States. Through court cases and other legal methods, lawyers can impact everything — from business and commerce to personal liberties and criminal justice, to the environment and society as a whole.

A major in Legal Studies puts you on the track for success in law school and careers in the legal field.

As a Legal Studies major, you’ll develop and refine key transferrable skills in pre-law, such as critical thinking, detailed reading and written and oral communication. This interdisciplinary program will teach you how to do legal research and writing and build a strong foundation of knowledge about topics in public and private law. You’ll also get valuable hands-on experience by completing a three-credit, 150-hour internship in a legal setting.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment of lawyers is projected to grow 8 percent over the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for lawyers in 2022 was $127,990. In Wisconsin, the projected growth over the same period is 8.4 percent and the median salary is $147,530.

4-year plan


Why major in Legal Studies at UW-Whitewater?

A multitude of career paths in a great location.

By pursuing a degree in Legal Studies, students can discover if law school is the best option for them or pivot to other related professions without making the commitment to attend law school, including a career as a paralegal, a position with a non-profit organization or a job within the private sector. Our students leave UW-Whitewater with the skills needed to pursue a bevy of professions. The ability to think critically and communicate orally and in writing are helpful in any profession.

UW-Whitewater is approximately one hour of the state’s two areas with the highest concentration of lawyers – Madison and Milwaukee. Whitewater is fewer than 60 miles to the southeast of Madison, the state capital and the hub of the state government, and fewer than 75 miles to the southwest of Milwaukee, the state’s most populous city.

UW-Whitewater is one of three schools among the Universities of Wisconsin to offer an undergraduate major in Legal Studies. The program is currently in a face-to-face learning environment, but we will soon be offering the major fully online.

What our Legal Studies students do

Icon of a piece of paper. Learn how to read and brief a case
Icon of a name badge. Complete a three-credit legal internship with professionals in the area
Icon of a student with a mentor. Work directly with faculty in law and courts on various research projects

Hands-on learning experiences


Two students high five in a classroom.


A broad area of study like Legal Studies comes with a high number of learning opportunities. UW-Whitewater will help you track down your best fit.

Learning Community
First-year students can join the Legal Eagles Learning Community, a community of students interested in careers in law and law enforcement. It is open to Legal Studies majors and Criminology majors. Students will have the opportunity to join prior to registering for their first semester at UW-Whitewater or at SOAR.

Legal Studies majors are required to complete a three-credit internship in a legal setting for valuable, hands-on experience. Students may intern with courts, private law firms, legal advocacy groups and non-profits, and judges. Students will make valuable connections with legal professionals who help guide and mentor them along the way.

Student employment
Each semester, professors in the Legal Studies program hire a student in the program as a paid, editorial assistant for the international journal, the “Law and Politics Book Review.” This role allows students to apply and gain new skills and to learn about current topics in the law.

Students in the Legal Studies program also have opportunities to work directly with faculty in law and courts on various research projects. Faculty will mentor students who wish to work on their own research questions.


A group of students stand together outside while in Europe.


Study abroad
Explore the evolution and development of law and government around the world on a study abroad experience, led by faculty experts. On a recent trip, our Warhawks traveled to the United Kingdom, where they sat in on oral arguments during a trial in Scotland, learned about Medieval punishments at the Tower of London and took in the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” at the famed Globe Theatre.

Explore more international opportunities »

Campus and community involvement


Two students help make blankets at a church.


As a Legal Studies major, you might be interested in participating in UW-Whitewater’s Law Society, a student organization focusing on students interested in law school and/or legal careers.


Space and places: On and off campus

Legal Studies majors can work with several different organizations in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. Students recently interned at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Milwaukee and the Kenosha Circuit Court.

What our graduates do

Icon of a scale of justice. Law school/lawyer, prosecuting attorney, legal consultant, paralegal
Icon of a courthouse. Politician, judge, mediator
Icon of a person pointing to a whiteboard. Tax attorney, law professor, teacher

Careers: What can you do with a Legal Studies degree?


A faculty member places an academic hood on a smiling student.


After earning their degree in Legal Studies, UW-Whitewater graduates attend law school or find a variety of positions in various legal and political sectors.

Law schools attended by recent UW-Whitewater graduates include:

  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Denver
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Marquette University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Minnesota
  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law (Minn.)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Our Legal Studies faculty

Real world law experience combined with a passion for student success. Our legal studies faculty collaborates with students on research projects, builds relationships to increase opportunities for students outside of campus and structures courses to align with relevant law school subjects.


Meet our faculty

Want to learn more about earning an Legal Studies degree?
262-472-1124 |

UW-Whitewater offers the following Legal Studies undergraduate options:

Teaching licensure:



In addition to UW-Whitewater’s general education requirements, as a Legal Studies major, you’ll take a variety of core and elective classes that will vary based on your chosen emphasis. Here’s an example of classes most Legal Studies majors will take: ater’s general education requirements, you’ll take a set of core and foundational courses, such as:

  • Introduction to Legal Studies
  • American Government and Politics
  • Law and Society
  • Political Science Research Methods
  • Writing in Political Science
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • The Judicial Process
  • Internship in Legal Studies

Students will have plenty of flexibility to explore electives based on their Legal Studies career interests. Here’s just a sampling of the scores of electives across the different types of legal studies you can choose from:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Business and Commercial Law
  • Employment Law
  • The American Legislative Process
  • Police and Criminal Justice Administration
  • Public Policy Analysis and Advocacy
  • Federalism
  • Black Political and Social Thought
  • Communication Conflict Resolution

To apply, you’ll complete the UW-Whitewater standard application for admission and indicate your interest in earning a degree in Legal Studies.

Apply Now

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