Legal Studies

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is Legal Studies?

Legal Studies is the study of the practice and institution of law. This is a very broad study of law at large that will grant students interested in careers in legal studies with the opportunity to focus and specialize the scope of their studies as they progress. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Law and History – the study of the interactions between law and history and how the two have shaped one another.
  • Legal Studies – the study of the practice of law.
  • Criminal Law – the study of crime and criminals

Studying Legal Studies in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students an introduction to the foundational areas of law, including legal skills, contract law, tort law, and constitutional law. 

Depending on the sub-discipline of legal studies, students will likely move from exam-based study modules to more hands-on ‘clinical’ modules. Most Legal Studies modules will combine lectures, exams, case studies, and written practical work.

Most undergraduate Legal Studies courses run for three or four years. In some cases universities will facilitate work or internship experience as well.

It is common that all law-based courses will require students to complete long-term research projects including a final dissertation or Capstone project. This will ensure the completion of a rigorous curriculum and prepare students for postgraduate studies and for eventual careers in legal studies.

A bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies is adequate for many jobs in the legal field. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working as solicitors or barristers, or as diplomats, journalists, and broadcasters.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in Legal Studies will serve you well in the job market as it provides you with a unique and marketable skill set.  A law degree teaches students how to think logically and analytically as well as equipping them with invaluable research and communication skills.

Many recent graduates have entered into ‘entry-level’ positions working as journalists, accountants, solicitors, and barristers in Ireland and abroad. Some have gone on to work as research assistants, lawyers, or teachers.

Other careers in legal studies that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training, and/or experience to qualify for.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Solicitor / Barrister
  • Lawyer /Legal Assistant
  • Legal Researcher
  • Professor / Lecturer
  • Diplomat
  • Journalist / Broadcaster
  • Author
  • Foreign Affairs Consultant
  • Insurance Agent

Further Study

An undergraduate degree in Legal Studies is often the first step towards further postgraduate study. Postgraduate students will often specialize in their particular legal sub-disciplines, oftentimes while working as an assistant or junior lawyer for a local firm in their field.

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What points do I need to study Legal Studies?

  • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language.

Are there any particular qualities you need to study Legal Studies?

  • Law students will need to enjoy problem solving, history, sociology and cultural studies, Additionally law students will need to be detail-oriented, focused, determined, and curious.

Where can I study Legal Studies?

  • Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • Prior to English colonization and the introduction of English ‘common law,’ Ireland had their own indigenous law system known as Brehon Law!
  • Catholics in Ireland were not allowed to practice law under English rule until the enactment of the Roman Catholic Relief Act in 1793!


Ethan Moser

Legal Secretarial
Cultural Studies


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