The program is the only four-year undergraduate degree of its kind in the SUNY system and is one of the college’s signature online programs. Faculty members include current and former attorneys, which allows students to learn from professionals working in the public and private sectors.
The program prepares students for careers as paralegals, legal assistants, occupational health and safety specialists, and contract administrators. It also serves as a pre-law program for students looking to enter law school.
“Students learn a variety of skills while earning their degree,” said Assistant Professor and Legal Studies Curriculum Coordinator Alexander Lesyk. “We begin teaching them fundamental concepts of law and the structure of the legal system. Then we advance to more specialized topics, such as legal research, environmental law and Native American law.”
Lesyk added that a unique aspect of the program is the option for students to complete a semester-long internship. “The real-world exposure helps students jump-start their careers by making job connections while still in school,” he said.
According to the United States Department of Labor, the job outlook for paralegals and legal assistants is expected to increase 8 percent from 2014 to 2024. The average median pay for those in the legal assistant field in 2014 was $48,350.
The Legal Studies degree was also recently recognized as one of the most affordable programs in the country by the Online Paralegal Degree Center. It was one of only two New York schools to make the list.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as ten exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 14 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.