Legal Studies, B.A.

The Legal Studies Program provides students an opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and think critically about the law. Students interested either in attending law school or working in the legal profession as a paralegal or office administrator are ideal candidates for this program. Legal Studies faculty are dedicated teachers actively involved in exciting research and community service. The program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and a minor in Legal Studies/Pre–Law.

Legal Studies Courtroom

Program Description

The Legal Studies Program provides students with a broad understanding of basic principles of law and the role and function of the legal system. The focus is on fundamental legal knowledge, skills and ethical principles. It hones important tools such as critical thinking and analysis that are valuable in almost any job after graduation. The program teaches students the skills and content to be better prepared for the rigors of the first year of law school, while at the same time providing instruction for those interested in the fundamental skills necessary for success as a paralegal. Specifically, the program covers the substantive law, research skills, ethical awareness, oral advocacy, and persuasive writing. 

Students in the Legal Studies Program enjoy small class sizes and high-quality faculty dedicated to providing an outstanding education. There are opportunities to conduct research, complete internships, and participate in student organizations.

While no specific major is prescribed for admission to law school, many pre-law students elect to major in legal studies. In addition to preparing students for law-related careers, the Legal Studies Program provides a foundation for law school or other graduate education. All of the full-time Legal Studies faculty members are attorneys who are graduates of ABA-Approved law schools and are available for law school advising. Pre-law students are encouraged to work closely with Legal Studies Faculty in planning their program of study.

For specific program requirements, visit the Online UWF Catalog.


Department Contact

Charlie Penrod, J.D.
Associate Professor, Legal Studies
University of West Florida
Building 85, Room 117
Pensacola, FL 32514

Catalog Description
Department's Website

Stetson University College of Law logo

UWF and Stetson Law Partnership

The University of West Florida and Stetson University College of Law have partnered to offer 3+3 and 4+3 programs, starting in August 2015, that will allow aspiring attorneys to reduce the time they spend working toward a law degree.

Read more about the UWF and Stetson Law Partnership

Florida State University College of Law

UWF and FSU Law Partnership

The University of West Florida and Florida State University College of Law have partnered to offer a 3+3 program, starting in August 2015, that will allow aspiring attorneys to reduce the time they spend working toward a law degree.

Read more about the UWF and FSU Law Partnership

UWF Legal Studies Ranked #9 in the Country

UWF Legal Studies ranked #9 in Best Legal Studies Degrees in the country by Notables that put UWF Legal Studies at the top include the annual events that are offered to our students: Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, a trip to the Supreme Court, law school tours, and an LSAT Prep Course. We are proud of our dedicated faculty and staff who make UWF Legal Studies one of the best in the nation!

See List Logo Names UWF to 25 Best List (TBS) has named the UWF Legal Studies Program to its list of the 25 Best Bachelor in Legal Studies Degree Programs in the country. TBS selected our degree program based on academic excellence, faculty strength, range of courses provided, awards, rankings, and reputation.

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UWF Legal Studies Ranked Top Affordable Program in the Country

Affordable Schools ranked the UWF Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies program number 8 on its "Best Affordable Paralegal Studies Degree Programs (Bachelor's)" list in 2019. Affordable Schools looks at factors such as ABA-accreditation, hands-on learning and extracurriculars, faculty-to-student ratio, and cost.

See Affordable Schools List

Annual Legal Studies Events

Careers in the Law: A Panel of Legal Professionals

The Legal Studies Program offers an annual panel of practicing professionals open to all students interested in a career in the legal profession. The panel consists of judges, attorneys, paralegals, law office administrators, and alumni. Students can listen to how people in the field describe a day in the life in the practice of law. This panel is organized at the beginning of the Fall semester and is a great opportunity to learn about the law and meet others with similar interests. For more information, please contact Dr. Charlie Penrod at

Law School Recruitment Forum

The Legal Studies Program invites UWF students of all majors to attend the annual UWF Spring Law School Forum. Attendees will learn how to apply to law schools and get advice on setting yourself apart from other candidates. Representatives from multiple law schools will discuss admissions policies, LSAT and GPA requirements, and non-numerical factors such as work and leadership experience, community service, and overcoming prior disadvantages. For more information, please contact Dr. Charlie Penrod at

Additional Events
  • Trips to the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida First District Court of Appeal
  • Law School Tours
  • Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament
  • LSAT Prep Course


The Legal Studies Internship is a cooperative effort between the Legal Studies program at the University of West Florida and a public or private law-related office. The purpose of the Internship is to give students the opportunity to apply their education to actual work situations. The student intern works under the overall supervision of a licensed attorney in a traditional paralegal internship or other legal professional in a non–traditional paralegal internship.

Potential Internship Placements:

  • Clerk of Court, First Judicial Circuit
  • Court Administration, First Judicial Circuit
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Legal Services of North Florida
  • Public Defender’s Office, First Judicial Circuit 
  • State Attorney’s Office, First Judicial Circuit
  • UWF Office of General Counsel
  • Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, PLLC
  • Emmanuel Shepard & Condon
  • Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A. 
  • Shell Fleming Davis & Menge

For more information on Legal Studies internships, visit the Legal Studies Internship Placement webpage.

If your company or organization is looking to create a UWF Legal Studies internship position, please fill out the Potential Internship Placement Site Form and return to Charlie Penrod at

Potential internship placement sites should review our list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for a better understanding on what to expect when hiring a UWF Legal Studies Intern.

Employment Opportunities

The Legal Studies program at the University of West Florida likes to hear about employment opportunities for students. If your company or organization has an open position, tell us about it! Please fill out the Position Announcement Form, and return it to Charlie Penrod at


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