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Legal Studies

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.

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.


Quinn with a prof and fellow student

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

About the Legal Studies program 

briefcase Available as a co-op and regular program

Graduation cap Earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



Careers 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.

  • Legal Assistant, RZCD Law LLP
  • Summer Law Student, Ministry of Attorney General
  • Associate, Richardson GMP Limited
  • Human Resources, Loblaw Companies
  • Legal Assistant, Bruder Springstead LLP
  • Legislative Services Coordinator, Resort Municipality of Whistler
  • Student Support Counsellor, Ministry of Education, Ontario
  • Teacher, Trillium Lakelands District School Board

First-year Legal Studies courses

September to December

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

January to April

1 Legal Studies (LS) course, such as
 • LS 222 - Juvenile Delinquency
 • LS 271 - Conflict Resolution
 • LS 286 - Law and Popular Culture
Arts First requirement 2*
3 additional courses

*The Arts First requirement consists of 2 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 Legal Studies courses

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


Customize your Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies degree

You can also add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your degree.​


Gain relevant work experience through co-op

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. Co-op is available if you study Legal Studies through Honours Arts and Business.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Legal Office Assistant
  • Marketing Communications Writer
  • Project Administrator
  • Underwriter

Sample co-op employers

  • Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
  • OpenText Corporation
  • International Financial Data Services Canada 
  • Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  • Riders Plus Insurance Inc.
  • Ontario Ministry of Finance

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