Legal Studies Certificate

Legal Studies Certificate

The Legal Studies (LEGST) certificate is intended for students who want to learn about some of the cases and legal processes they will study in law school. It is also intended for students who might want to work as legal assistants and wish to get some background in law and legal processes without attending law school.

The certificate requires that students take three political science courses (nine credits) about law or the legal process and two more political science courses (six credits) in which court cases or legal processes are a significant component of course materials. Many of the legal studies courses are offered in the evening or after 4:00 p.m., and it is therefore possible to complete the certificate with courses late in the day or in the evening for students will full-time jobs.

This certificate is for students who are interested in legal careers. Students who are interested in criminal justice careers, such as police officers, probation or parole officers, correctional officers border patrol, security officials, or work with delinquents should consider Penn State Behrend's Crime, Psychology, and Public Policy certificate as an alternative.


Students must have a C or better in each certificate course, and at least one course must have been completed in or after spring 2012.

Legal Studies Core Courses

Take 9 credits in core courses from a program-approved list:

  • PL SC 471: American Constitutional Law (3 credits)
  • PL SC 472: The American Legal Process (3 credits)
  • PL SC 473: American Judicial Behavior (3 credits)
  • PL SC 487: International Law and Organizations (3 credits)

Legal Studies Supplementary Courses

Take 6 credits in supplementary courses from a program approved list*:

  • PL SC 110: Rights in America (3 credits)
  • PL SC 123: Ethnic and Racial Politics (3 credits)
  • PL SC 178: Organized Crime, Law, and Politics (3 credits)
  • PL SC 419: The Bureaucratic State (3 credits)
  • PL SC 480W: Congress and the Presidency (3 credits)
  • PL SC 482: American State and Urban Politics (3 credits)

*Students can also take 12 credits from the core courses and 3 credits from the list of supplementary courses

The courses listed here are those that are initially approved. Additions or subtractions may be made in future years.


For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Robert Speel, Associate Professor of Political Science at or 814-898-6206.