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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I declare the Legal Studies major?

Students wishing to declare the Legal Studies Major can schedule an appointment at:

May I earn major credit for a topics course not listed in the Legal Studies requirements?

Legal Studies grants credit for topics courses other than the ones listed in our permanent requirements on a case-by-case basis. Whether you will receive major credit for a topics course depends on: (1) which course you plan to take; and (2) how that course fits into your overall academic goals. You should discuss this with the Legal Studies Program advisor prior to enrolling.

What are the advantages of writing a Senior Thesis?

There are a variety of benefits you will receive from writing a Senior Thesis. Most importantly, you likely will improve your research and writing skills. These are vital skills if you plan to pursue graduate work. Additionally, you will gain knowledge in a particular subject area. This also will make you a more attractive job and graduate school candidate. Finally, since you will work closely with your supervising professor for an entire year, it is likely the faculty member will be able to speak specifically to your skills as a student and researcher when you are in need of a reference.

How do I determine whether I can take a class "pass/fail"?

Courses that count toward the major -- or any L&S breadth requirement -- may not be taken pass/fail.

Read about the pass/fail rule here:

Will I be able to double major and still graduate in four years?

Many students complete two majors and graduate in four years, but this will take good planning. To accomplish this goal, see the Legal Studies advisor regularly. Commonly, students majoring in the Legal Studies also major in Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology; however, you are not limited to these majors.

What can I do with a major in the Legal Studies Program?

The Legal Studies major provides a general background for a number of careers. The interdisciplinary nature of the major prepares students for jobs in fields such as business, law enforcement, and government. Many students have also found that the major has prepared them well for law school and graduate programs in social work, criminal justice, public policy, government, and business.

Will the Legal Studies major prepare me for law school?

Legal Studies is not a pre-law program. "Pre-law" is neither a major nor a specific program of study; it is more a route to developing skills through coursework that will prepare you for success in law school. There are, for example, no course requirements that law schools require undergraduates to take (contrast this to medical school admission requirements). The best preparation for law school is a broad liberal education background that includes courses that strengthen your command of English; develop your ability to think clearly, concisely, and logically; develop the self-discipline to handle an extremely demanding educational experience; and increase your broad understanding of social issues. (Information partially drawn from the L&S Advising Center).

The Legal Studies major is designed to be a liberal education program organized around the themes of law and legal institutions. As such, the courses in the major cover many facets of the law and legal institutions as a social, political, and cultural phenomenon. Many courses are drawn from traditional academic disciplines; others are designed specifically to be interdisciplinary. The goal throughout the curriculum is to challenge you to think more critically about the law -- whether or not you decide to pursue law school.

Where should I go for advice and pre-law planning?

Visit the Pre-Law Advising Center.