About the Major

*****NOTE: All major requirements must be taken for a letter grade beginning Fall 2021. Please see the only exceptions below in bold.*****

The Legal Studies major provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to become familiar with legal ideas, legal institutions, and the legal process. It is designed to provide tools for reasoned appraisal of how the law works and of the policies that underlie it. The major is based firmly on the view that the study of law and justice has a rich humanistic tradition and that its pursuit can encourage sustained reflection on fundamental values. Legal Studies is a liberal arts major in the College of Letters and Science but under the academic supervision of the law school faculty.

The courses deal with a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy of law, American legal history, non-western legal traditions, politics and law, the criminal justice process, property law, and economic regulation; courses are taught by faculty with backgrounds in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as law.

Legal Studies was not specifically designed to prepare students for law school, nor does it provide paralegal training. (Law schools recommend no specific major.) On the other hand, it does help students develop their ability to think clearly and to analyze arguments critically. Our multidisciplinary approach exposes the student to the great variety of human behavior and institutions. Many students who plan to go to law school choose this major as a field of liberal arts study. 

*****NOTE: P/NP and DPN grades in prerequisite courses, upper div Area courses and Core classes Sp20, Fa20, Sp21, Su21, and Fa22 will be accepted for the major.******

Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts major that engages the meanings, values, practices, and institutions of law and legality. The Legal Studies curriculum examines how law shapes and is shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces. The major is designed to stimulate critical understanding of and inquiry about the theoretical frameworks, historical dynamics, and cultural embeddedness of law.

The Legal Studies faculty and students grapple with important questions of social policy within the framework of significant concerns in
jurisprudence and theories of justice. These concerns include individual liberty, privacy, and autonomy; political and social equality; the just distribution of resources and opportunities within society; the relationship between citizens and the state; democratic participation and representation; the moral commitments of the community; and the preservation of human dignity.

The major’s course offerings examine law and legality from both humanist and empirical perspectives. Courses are organized into interdisciplinary topical Areas that transcend disciplinary boundaries in the interest of collaborative inquiry.

Students are required to complete 4 prerequisites and 8 upper division requirements.

There is no minor.