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Legal Studies

Student working with teacher

Texas State’s master of arts in legal studies was the first degree of its kind in Texas and one of only a few in the United States. The program provides students interested in law at the graduate level with an understanding of the American legal system, theories, analysis, research, and writing.

The program emphasizes analytical and conceptual thinking, legal research and writing, legal theories, substantive areas of law, and paralegal training.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Gregory (Lynn) Crossett
Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC), Room 355

Advisor Support
Chris Williams
Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC), Room 355

“Your concern for the educational well-being of your students is exceptional, and your knowledge and teaching skills are what all faculty should strive for.”

— Robert Dickens, M.A. ’06, Director of Contracts, Distribution Services, University of Texas at San Antonio

Course Work

The non-thesis, 36-credit-hour program consists of 27 hours of required core courses and nine hours of electives. The core curriculum, which includes a cumulative research project and internship, provides training in essential paralegal skills, such as legal research, legal writing, rules of procedure, case management, law office technology, and legal ethics. Elective course work covers substantive areas of the law. Students may choose three different areas of law for further study from elective course offerings covering as many as ten different areas of the law, including family law, criminal law, intellectual property, real estate, contract law, and many others. Through the choice of electives, students may also earn a mediation certificate issued by the department.

Degree Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. 36 Non-Thesis No minor

Texas State Certificate
The Department of Political Science also offers a Texas State Certificate in paralegal studies only in conjunction with the legal studies master's program. If you would like to pursue both programs, choose the "Legal Studies (M.A. with Paralegal Certificate)" option when you select your major in the online application. An additional $20 certificate fee will be required.
Undergraduate Academic Center building

The master of arts in legal studies is the only graduate degree paralegal program in Texas and one of a select few nationally that are approved by the American Bar Association.

Program Mission

The legal studies program’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to study law at the graduate level and receive practical, paralegal training in state-of-the-art facilities. The program accomplishes its mission through the work of a talented faculty and staff who are dedicated to the success of each student.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

All of the program’s faculty, including both full-time and part-time members, have substantial experience practicing law and working with paralegals. Faculty members have published books such as The Texas Paralegal, Texas Real Estate Contracts, and The Paralegal Handbook as well as numerous law review and journal articles in the areas of environmental law, intellectual property, real estate, contract law, and alternative dispute resolution.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduates can pursue career opportunities in law, government, or business, enhance career mobility in law-related fields and establish groundwork for further graduate work in law or related fields. The majority of program graduates work as paralegals in law firms. Others work as paralegals or in other law-related capacities in government and corporate offices or continue graduate study in law school or in a Ph.D. program.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 15 March 15
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)

  • $20 non-refundable certificate fee (Paralegal certificate)
    and either
  • $55 non-refundable master's application fee
  • $90 non-refundable master's application fee for applications with international credentials 

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  If your last-60-hours GPA does not meet the minimum requirement, additional documents are required. Read additional information below.

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required

Documents & Other Requirements

  • interview with the legal studies graduate advisor

  If your last-60-hours GPA does not meet the minimum requirement, additional documents are required. Read additional information below.

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  GPA and Additional Requirements
If your last-60-hours GPA falls between 2.5 and 3.0, please submit the following items in order to be considered for conditional admission*:

  • personal statement explaining any special circumstances which would otherwise qualify you for admission to the program
  • two letters of recommendation from persons who could comment upon your ability to perform in the requested area of study

*Conditional admission is not available to applicants who require "F" or "J" visas.