Majors & Programs


Legal Studies Minor

What is Legal Studies?

The Legal Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary academic program about law, rather than vocational training in law. Recognizing the critical role that law plays in human society, it examines the ways people in different cultures and historical periods have used the law and understood its purposes. It is designed to guide students toward courses that will deepen and expand their understanding of the law as practiced, especially its influence on social and economic institutions, while also providing students with the critical skills needed to excel in law school. As such, the minor encourages students to draw not only upon the humanistic and social scientific offerings of the College of Arts & Sciences, but also to take advantage of courses in the schools of Business, Engineering, and Social Work.


The minor requires six courses (18 graded units), at least three of which must be upper-division (300 or 400 level). Two of the six courses may be drawn from your major, but as in all college programs, they cannot be double-counted (i.e. applied to both the major and the minor). The six courses must also include at least one in three of the four thematic subject areas – Legal Reasoning, Theory, and Methods; Law and Culture in Historical Perspective; Legal Institutions and Social Practices; and Justice, Ethics, and the Law. You may also obtain course credit through study abroad or an undergraduate internship.

Legal Studies Courses

Please note, not all of these courses are offered every year. New courses being offered for the first time and courses in other divisions of the university may not be listed.

Theme I: Legal Reasoning, Theory, and Methods

  • Introduction to Logic and Critical Analysis
  • Present Moral Problems
  • Augmentation
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Politics and the Theory of Games
  • Economics of Law
  • Social Theory and Anthropology

Theme II: Law and Culture in Historical Perspective

  • Power and Persuasion: Courts and Laws of Ancient Athens
  • The Immigrant Experience
  • The Enigma of Thomas Jefferson
  • Theory and Practice of Justice: The American Experience
  • Religious Freedom in America
  • Development of the American Constitution
  • Civil Rights
  • Law and Culture
  • Law in American Life I: English and Colonial Tradition
  • Law in American Life II: 1776 to the Present

Theme III: Legal Institutions and Social Practices

  • Legal Environment of Business Management
  • Social Problems and Social Issues
  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Constitutional Law
  • Courts and Civil Liberties
  • Defendant’s Rights
  • Politics of Privacy in the Digital Age
  • Legal Conflicts in Modern American Society
  • The Supreme Court
  • Law, Gender, and Justice
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Law, Politics, and Society
  • Gender Violence

Theme IV: Justice, Ethics, and the Law

  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Introduction to Environmental Ethics
  • Theories of Social Justice
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Power, Justice, and the City
  • History of Political Thought I, II, and III
  • Advanced Social and Political Philosophy

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