Judge the impact of the legal system (no gavels required)

Law touches virtually every aspect of society. That makes a degree in Legal Studies great preparation for a career in government, business, the non-profit sector, law enforcement, and (of course!) law itself.

At Waterloo, you’ll enjoy small classes led by highly respected researchers, giving you lots of opportunity for discussion, and you'll also have the opportunity to gain work experience through co-op.

Over the course of your Legal Studies undergraduate degree, you’ll explore the impact of law on society, the origins of legal systems, how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms creates change, and issues such as crime, deviance, punishment, and restorative justice.

You’ll graduate with skills in research, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication, along with an in-depth understanding of law and legal systems.

Study law from every angle

Gain a broad perspective on the law by studying political science, history, sociology, philosophy, and peace and conflict studies.

Get serious work experience

Choose the co-op system of study and apply your knowledge in law firms, government offices, business, technology companies, and more.


Legal Studies degree student Quinn holding an award beside his professor and a fellow student

Curiosity. Chance. Choices. Personal growth. Community. Leadership. These are the hallmarks of Quinn’s experience at Waterloo.

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briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor


Legal Studies admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of at least 70%)

Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)

How to apply

Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Legal Studies as your major at the end of first year.

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


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First-year Legal Studies courses

September to December

  • LS 101 - Introduction to Legal Studies
  • SOC 101 - Introduction to Sociology
  • Arts First requirement 1*
  • Two additional courses

January to April

  • One Legal Studies (LS) course, such as
    •  LS 222 - Juvenile Delinquency
    •  LS 271 - Conflict Resolution
    •  LS 286 - Law and Popular Culture
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • Three additional courses
*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

40% of the classes you’ll take will be Legal Studies courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo. With so many options, you can choose the courses that match your interests. 

Sample upper-year courses

LS 201 – Women and the Law
LS 273 – Children’s Rights in Canada
LS 326 – Punishment and Society
LS 461 – Transnational Organizational Crime


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Legal assistant
  • Law clerk
  • Business analyst
  • Legal office assistant
  • Project administrator
  • Marketing associate

Sample co-op employers

  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon
  • Riders Plus Insurance Inc.
  • Ontario Ministry of Finance
  • Peel Regional Police
  • Mentor Works Ltd.
  • CIBC

Customize your Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular minors for Legal Studies students include Human Resource Management, Sociology, and Psychology.

What can you do with a degree in Legal Studies?

Graduates with a Legal Studies degree often find careers working in law firms, human resources, management, legal departments of companies and businesses, security services, retail, and education to name a variety.

Recent graduates

  • Legal Administrative Assistant – McCarthy Tetrault
  • Economist – Ministry of Finance, Ontario
  • Analyst – Canadian Armed Forces
  • Human Resource Specialist – Qvella
  • Business Development Representative – Rothmans 
  • Project Manager – Manulife Financial
  • Accommodations Consultant – Prica Global

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

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