Legal Studies FAQs

When can I declare the major?

You may declare the major any time of the year except during the first and last two weeks of the Fall & Spring semesters. Drop-in office hours can be found here.

Can I take the prerequisites elsewhere?

Yes. Should you decide to complete prerequisites at a California community college, you can check to see which courses are accepted. For other institutions, submit a course description for review. When in doubt, always consult with the Undergraduate Advisor. Prerequisites may not be taken abroad.

Can I take upper-division courses abroad or at other institutions to satisfy program requirements?

Course descriptions and syllabi must be submitted before upper-division courses from other institutions, including Education Abroad (EAP), can be approved to be applied toward the Legal Studies major. You may take a maximum of 8 units from EAP or another four-year institution to be used towards the LS major.

I’m interested in declaring Legal Studies, but I’m still considering other majors as well. What courses should I take?

Plan to take as many prerequisites that overlap between those majors of interest, so that you won’t fall behind just focusing on one major. Find out if you can use AP or IB credit as well for the prerequisites.

Will declaring Legal studies help me get into law school?

Legal Studies was not specifically designed to prepare students for law school, nor does it provide paralegal training. There is no officially recommended pre-law major here at Cal. You can study any major and still apply to law school. The Program will, however, help you develop your ability to think, analyze and write critically. These are skills which law schools recommend you enhance during your undergraduate career. Choose a major in which you are genuinely interested. Doing well and becoming more competitive for law school will naturally follow.

What can I do with a Liberal Arts degree in Legal Studies after I graduate?

Although certain majors such as Computer Science and Accounting equip students with fairly specific career-related skills, Liberal Arts majors often find that they have a wide variety of career options because their backgrounds are so broad. As an undergraduate, you are developing analytical, interpersonal, administrative, and critical thinking skills that are highly valued by employers and that are applicable to a wide variety of professions. The experiences that supplement your classroom education are also helpful. Get involved with research, independent study projects, student groups, internships, or summer and part-time jobs to better understand your strengths and interests. The Career Center provides information on the initial career choices of graduates of the Legal Studies Program; these choices reflect a wide range of fields from web designer to probation officer to marketing consultant. A number also pursued graduate and law school following graduation.

If I’ve never taken a Legal Studies course before, which one should I take first?

If you are a first or second year student, you might consider taking one of our Frosh/Soph seminars. If you are a sophomore planning to declare the major, you  should definitely consider taking LS 100: Foundations of Legal Studies. This course will provide a good foundation for the Legal Studies curriculum and majors are encouraged to enroll early on in their coursework.

I’d like to double-major. Is it possible?

With careful planning and advising, it is completely feasible to graduate with a double-major or simultaneous degree program.  Your first step should be to speak to a Letters & Science advisor, then to both advisors in the departments you’re interested in.

If I declare the Legal Studies major, do I have a better chance of getting into the classes?

Yes. A majority of the seats are reserved for officially declared majors. You also have priority when waitlists are manually processed, but don’t wait until Phase I to declare…do it ahead of time.

I’m on a waitlist. What are my chances of getting in the course if I’m not declared?

It depends on the course.  Attendance is taken during the first two weeks and students who do not attend are dropped, making room for those on the waitlist. Attendance will also be taken during discussion sections. Priority is given to officially declared majors. Also, your chances are better if you are waitlisted for a discussion section that is not over-enrolled.

How do I facilitate a deCal?

For Legal Studies procedures and deadlines, pleaseclick here. To learn more about deCals, click here