The Legal Studies major has four program goals directly related to the U.S. Air Force Academy Outcomes of Service to the Nation, improved Oral and Written Communication, better Decision Making and impeccable Ethics & Foundations of Character.  While working to achieve these outcomes, a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy may build expertise in the study of law and its role and function in both American society and the international community.  Increasingly, complex legal considerations permeate every aspect of modern life in both the civilian and military environments.  Cadets who choose the Legal Studies major will be able to develop the analytical skills that will permit them to identify, understand, and resolve the complex legal issues which they will likely encounter after graduation.  The Legal Studies major is not a “pre-law” major, but is designed to provide cadets an enhanced knowledge of the law as part of a broadly focused education.

The Department of Law, and the Legal Studies major, is in the Social Sciences Division.  Presently, course requirements for the major in Legal Studies provide that, in addition to a variety of law courses, a Legal Studies major may take courses offered by the Departments of English & Fine Arts, Behavioral Science, Management, Economics & Geographical Sciences, Philosophy, Foreign Languages, Political Science, Military Strategic Studies and History.  This program of study is designed to expose the student to a broad range of issues and subjects related to the discipline of law.

Since the graduation of the first class of Legal Studies majors in 1990, graduates with the Legal Studies major have successfully entered Pilot and Navigator training, as well as nearly every other non-technical career field in the United States Air Force, such as: public affairs, personnel, office of special investigations, security forces, acquisitions, intelligence and communications.

We Are Not a Pre-Law Major, But…

Opportunities to attend law school in the Air Force

The Air Force sponsors two programs which allow officers to earn a law degree, the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) and the Excess Leave Program (ELP).  FLEP allows officers to attend law school at government expense while receiving full pay and allowances.  ELP permits attendance at law school at the officers’ own expense, and they do not receive pay or allowances while going to school.  Officers who attend law school under either program practice law in the Air Force as a member of The Judge Advocate General’s Corps upon graduation from law school and admission to any state bar.  Officers are eligible to be considered for FLEP to begin law school between their second and sixth year of active duty, and are eligible to be considered for ELP to begin between their second and tenth year.

USAFA’S Reputation

USAFA is highly regarded in the areas of quality of the institution, quality of pre-legal education, and quality of curriculum.  The curriculum presented by the Department of Law allows students who graduate from this institution to be as competitive as those who graduate from others.  While the United Stated Air Force Academy does not possess a “pre-law” program as such, it does offer a broad-based legal studies major that is comparable in the degree of difficulty and quality of studies to that of civilian universities.

USAFA Mock Trial Team

For further information about the Legal Studies Major, contact DFL Webmaster


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