Credits and costs
Earn Your Bachelor's Degree in Law and Society Online
Many occupations today require at least some legal knowledge and notion of the law. With a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society, you will not only learn about the law, legal principles, and legal systems and processes in the United States, but you can also become skillful in logic, rhetoric, research, and legal writing. These versatile skills can help you develop your legal or law enforcement career in a variety of organizations, including nonprofit organizations, regulatory agencies, small businesses, public offices, or even the military. Law and society majors analyze legal practices and envision social justice.
Why Study Law and Society at Penn State?
Applicable course work — As a law and society student, your 15 credits of core course work will include legal brief–writing and the philosophy of law and legal ethics. Throughout your studies, you can develop skills to critically analyze arguments and detect careless language use and fallacies.
Pre-law support — Law and society students gain access to specialized pre-law advising to help them navigate the path to law school. In addition, students may become eligible to join Phi Delta Phi, an international legal honors society.
100% online for busy adult learners — With asynchronous online learning, you can complete weekly assignments at times that are convenient for you. You can also set your own pace. Take one or two courses per semester while working. Or become a full-time student and complete your degree faster.
Renowned faculty experts — In this program, you will have the opportunity to study with highly regarded faculty from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, one of the premier institutions in the world to study and work in the liberal arts disciplines.
Who Should Apply?
The bachelor's degree in law and society might be a good choice if you:
- plan to attend law school after earning a baccalaureate degree
- are not a lawyer but work with legal issues in human resources, affirmative action, law enforcement, child and family services, government, education, communication, technology, or health care
- have an associate degree in areas such as law enforcement, legal studies, or law and society
- want a baccalaureate degree focused on law, as opposed to related fields such as criminal justice and political science
- are a law enforcement and corrections officer, community service professional, or member of the armed services and want to enroll in a degree-completion program
- own your own business and often must handle legal matters such as contracts or permits
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than 20 years of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
The Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society can help you develop a greater understanding of the law and legal systems of the United States. You'll receive a solid introduction to legal principles and processes from multiple perspectives, and you can build an integrated understanding of the historical, philosophical, political, and social foundations of law.
The prescribed and supporting courses in this program focus on contemporary issues in U.S. law and ethics. Many different course options are available to fulfill the remainder of the 123 credits required for the program, allowing you to customize the degree to meet your specific goals.
The course list includes only courses offered by World Campus. An official degree audit or the recommended academic plan for this program may include additional course options and detailed requirements. All students are expected to complete at least 36 Penn State credits to earn this degree. Please consult an academic adviser for details.
A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.
Prescribed Courses (18 credits)
The prescribed courses focus on contemporary issues in U.S. law and ethics.
Additional Courses (3–6 credits)
Take one or both of the following. Students planning to attend law school are encouraged to complete both PHIL 10 and PHIL 12.
Supporting Courses and Related Areas (select 12–15 credits)
12 credits must be at the 400-level.
Select 12 credits
Select 0–3 credits
Elective Courses (select 30–33 credits)
Elective courses should be chosen in consultation with an adviser. Among the degree requirements, students should incorporate at least:
- 3 credits in U.S. cultures
- 3 credits in international (IL) cultures
- 3 credits in writing-across-the-curriculum courses
General Education Requirements
Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GWS courses.
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
A student must receive a grade of C or better in GQ courses.
- Integrative Studies: 6 credits
This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. Integrative Studies credits may be completed within the thirty Knowledge Domain credits and must be completed with either Inter-domain or Linked courses, not a combination of both.
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Some Bachelor of Arts requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major, General Education courses, or electives. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.
- Foreign Language: 0–12 credits
Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language.
- B.A. Fields: 9 credits
Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (cannot be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)
- Other Cultures: 0–3 credits
Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by June 30 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by October 31 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 15, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.
Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.
To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:
High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.
Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.
Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.
Submit official documents by mail to:
Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Start Your Application
Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.
If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:
- Review the application instructions before beginning.
- Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
- Pay the application fee.
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
The versatile skills gained in this program and the support of Penn State career resources can help you develop your legal or law enforcement career in a variety of organizations, including nonprofit organizations, regulatory agencies, small businesses, public offices, or even the military.
To learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
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Dr. Stephanie Cardona is an academic advising liaison and instructor with Penn State World Campus for interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts. A Penn Stater since 2008 living in Key West, Florida, Stephanie has been teaching in higher education for 19 years in the areas of English and composition. Her interests and skills are in the areas of curriculum development and design, qualitative research, distance learning, culturally relevant pedagogies, and immersive technologies.
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DegreeB.A., Sociology & Social Psychology, University of Minnesota
John Kryst is an academic adviser and instructor with Penn State World Campus in multiple College of the Liberal Arts programs. John has been with Penn State since 2012. Currently living in New York, John has lived in Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, working in higher education since 2007. He has served many student populations in that time and is passionate about education being accessible and open to anyone seeking to learn.
DegreeD.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
DegreeM.A., English, Penn State
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Dr. Avis Kunz is the senior assistant dean for Online Education and Outreach and the director of the Filippelli Institute for e-Education and Outreach in the College of the Liberal Arts. Her interests are broadly in distance learning and teaching and administration of online programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration, including community colleges, community education, adult literacy, and Penn State.
DegreePh.D., Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
DegreeM.A., Political Science, Virginia Tech
DegreeB.A., English, Virginia Tech
Dr. Bryan McDonald is the director of interdisciplinary programs in the College of the Liberal Arts and an associate professor of history. Dr. McDonald is a historian of modern America with research and teaching interests in food security and food systems. He is currently working on a book project that explores the history of food as a security issue in modern America. He is the author of Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Food Security (Polity Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004). He has published more than 25 articles, book chapters, reviews, and policy documents.
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Tycely Williams is a certified fundraising executive who has led teams that have raised and managed more than $580 million. She is the chief development officer at The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In her career of more than 20 years, she has held C-Suite leadership positions at America’s Promise Alliance, The American Red Cross, and YWCA USA. She has extensive experience governing organizations and is an award-winning philanthropic thought leader with features in numerous publications, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The L.A. Times, The Nonprofit Times, and The Washington Post.
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DegreeB.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrea Woerman has worked in the field of higher education for 13 years as both an academic adviser and an instructor, specializing in adult learner and military student populations. She has seen many students through to graduation and thoroughly enjoys developing students and seeing them move their lives forward using education as a tool. Andrea considers herself a lifelong learner and is passionate about education, continuous self-improvement, and animal welfare.