The Bachelor’s Degree


A faculty advisor is assigned to each student after the student has been fully admitted to the LES Department. Students without an official advisor should refer to the department chair for advising until a permanent advisor is assigned.

Faculty advisors help students plan their overall course of undergraduate or graduate study. The advisor provides advice and assists the student if any difficulties arise during his or her UIS career. Advisors are required to sign off on a variety of forms, including applications for clinical education or thesis studies.  Students should talk to their faculty advisor at least once each semester.

A student may change his or her advisor by filing a form for this purpose, available through the department office.

Grading Policy

The Legal Studies program has no grading policy different from that used by the UIS campus.

Degree Requirements

A Legal Studies Degree allows students the flexibility to focus on the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful in their future career plans. 

The degree entails required core and elective courses.  Required courses give students the opportunity to acquire essential legal background and to develop needed skills. Elective courses allow students to focus their program of study in a specific area. LES 307 is designated as the UIS communications competency course. (Please refer to the Communication Requirement section below.)

Students should be aware that required courses are not offered every semester. Students are strongly advised to consult with their academic advisor or the department chair before registering. To ensure that all course work is properly integrated, students are encouraged to work out plans for their academic careers in conjunction with their LES advisor.

Students should consult with the College of Public Affairs and Administration Undergraduate General Education Advisor for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements. The College General Education Advisor may be reached at (217) 206-6573.

The Legal Studies B.A. degree requires each student to take a minimum of three hours of internship for their ECCE Engagement Experience requirement. Students may take up to six hours of internship; any hours beyond three will be credited as elective hours. Double majors may have different internship requirements and should consult with their LES and other major advisor.

When necessary and advisable, students may waive the program’s three-hour internship requirement and substitute another ECCE course in its place. Waivers are given only in exceptional cases.

Students who double-major in Legal Studies and Political Science may count cross-listed courses with a PSC prefix as electives in Legal Studies.

Core courses – required of all undergraduate students
LES/PSC 202 Introduction to the American Legal System 3
LES 303 American Law in Comparative Perspective 3
LES 307 Law and Society 3
LES 352 History of American Law 3
LES 401 Legal Research And Citation 4
LES 414 American Constitution: Government Powers and Institutions 3
LES/PSC 416 The American Constitution and Civil Liberties 3
LES 489 Closing Seminar: Ethics and Current Legal Questions 3
LES Electives 9
Total Hours 34

Communication Requirement

UIS requires that students demonstrate proficiency in writing skills before attaining a degree. Each student’s writing skills are initially assessed by instructors in legal studies courses. Students who are identified as having writing difficulties are required to develop a plan of improvement with their advisor.

Certification of communication skills for LES majors occurs through an assessment of the student in both LES 303 American Law in Comparative Perspective and LES 307 Law and Society. Students must demonstrate competency in standard written English by passing the writing portion of the courses with a grade of C or better (grades of C- or lower will not be accepted) to meet this campus requirement. Students who do not demonstrate adequate written communication skills will be required to take one or more lower division writing courses to address the writing deficiencies before being allowed to graduate.

Closure Requirement

Students must complete a minimum of 48 upper-division hours and fulfill all department and general education requirements to graduate. Each student must submit a completed graduation application by the deadline date designated by the Office of Records and Registration for the applicable semester. A Graduation Application Signature Form must be approved and signed by the student’s advisor and the department chair and submitted to the Office of Records and Registration by the specified deadline.

Graduation application instructions and the required Graduation Application Signature Form are available on the Office of Records and Registration website (

Legal Assistant Certificate

After graduation, students will receive a Legal Assistant Certificate if they have received a B (3.0) or better in LES 401 Legal Research And Citation, LES 402 Advanced Lawyering Skills, and LES 403 Civil Practice Skills, and have earned at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. The certificate reflects that the student has successfully completed a comprehensive bachelor’s degree legal assistant training program. Legal assistants are skilled professionals able to perform many tasks and services under the supervision of a licensed attorney.