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Legal Studies Curriculum

(for Students Declaring Prior to September 2, 2010)

The Legal Studies major provides a liberal arts education that crosses the traditional social science and humanities disciplines to explore legal process, the law, and legal institutions and how they operate in society. The major is appropriate for those who plan to attend law school and for those who want a concentration in law-related study to prepare for graduate training or seek to pursue careers in public service or business.

The curriculum is designed around the following central themes:

Substantive courses in the major are organized around a set of five theme-oriented categories Theme Groups:

1. Legal Institutions
2. Processes of Legal Order and Disorder
3. Law and Social Structure
4. Law and Culture
5. Law and Theory

Prerequisites for the Major (Three Courses)

To declare the Legal Studies major, students must complete three prerequisite courses with grades of C or better. The three prerequisite courses consist of:

Communication A courses and Quantitative Reasoning A courses can be found at

Gateway Courses

Complete one of the following:

Legal St/Soc 131 Criminal Justice in America; or
Legal St/Poli Sci 217 Law, Politics, and Society

Declaring the Major

Students wishing to declare the Legal Studies Major should contact
the Legal Studies Advisor at or (608) 262-2083 to set up an appointment. Email is preferred. Students seeking to declare the major must bring a current DARS and a Transcript to the appointment. Interested students should consult consult Legal Studies during freshman and sophomore years.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to the Gateway Courses, at least ten (10) courses are required to complete the Legal Studies major. These courses must be distributed as follows:

I. Two courses from those listed in the Legal Institutions Theme Group.

II. Four courses distributed across at least three of the following Theme Groups:

· Processes of Legal Order & Disorder
· Law & Social Structure
· Law & Culture
· Law & Theory

III. Two methods courses: one research design and one basic statistics (the latter also can be used to complete the L&S Quantitative Reasoning B requirement). Students are urged to complete this requirement by the end of the junior year; failure to do so may preclude completion of the major in the following year.

IV. Capstone consisting of:

A. Either Legal St/Soc 641 Sociology of Law or
Legal St 661 Law, Culture, and the Humanities or
*Poli Sci 617, Comparative Legal Institutions


B. One of the following alternatives:
1. Either a Senior Thesis (6-8 credits); or
2. Two additional courses from the five Theme Groups listed below.

Students are advised that the required Capstone Course (Legal St/Soc 641 or Legal St 661) may not be taught every semester; consequently students should enroll in the Capstone Course in the semester before their final semester if the course is offered at that time.

At least one course in the major must have substantial content dealing with countries or cultures other than the United States. An asterisk in the list of courses below designates courses meeting this requirement (some topics courses may also fulfill this requirement).

No more than four (4) courses from a single department or program will count toward the Legal Studies major; this restriction does not apply to courses listed in or crosslisted with Legal Studies.

All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Legal St/Soc 641 and Poli Sci 617 Comparative Legal Institutions(the Social Science Capstone Courses), Legal St 661 (the Humanities Capstone Course), and all Theme Group courses designated with an "I," "A," or "D" level count toward the required 15 credits of upper-level work in the major.

Courses That Satisfy the Requirements to Complete the Major

Because the Legal Studies major relies heavily upon departments and programs around the University that offer relevant courses, the list of courses that count toward the Legal Studies major is constantly being updated. Students should visit the program web site for the most up-to-date list of courses. The list below, organized by Theme Group, is illustrative rather than inclusive.

Theme Group 1: Legal Institutions
Theme Group 2. Processes of Legal Order and Disorder
Theme Group 3: Law and Social Structure
Theme Group 4: Law and Culture
Theme Group 5: Law and Theory

Courses shown in brackets have not been taught regularly in recent years but are still on the books; they appear here in the event they are offered again.

For information about abbreviations and terms, please refer to the Registrar's Timetable guidelines at:


History 331 American Constitutional and Legal History
Journ 559 Law of Mass Communication
Legal St 415 The Legal Profession
*Legal St 442 The Civil Law Tradition
Poli Sci 104 Intro to American National Government
*Poli Sci 106 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Poli Sci 184 Introduction to American Politics
*Poli Sci 316 Principles of International Law
*Poli Sci 338 The European Union
Poli Sci 404 American Politics and Government
Poli Sci 411 Constitutional Law I
Poli Sci 412 Constitutional Law II
Poli Sci 417 The American Judicial System
Poli Sci 420 Administrative Law
Poli Sci 426 Legislative Process
Poli Sci 470 The First Amendment
Poli Sci 471 Civil Liberties in the United States
*Poli Sci 617 Comparative Legal Institutions


Afroamer 442 Discrimination and Prejudice in American Society
Afroamer/Folklore 612 Prison Narratives of the African Diaspora
Bus/RMI 300 Principles of Risk Management
Gen Bus 301 Business Law
Bus/RMI 615 Liability Risk Management (prerequisites)
Comp Sci 550 Computers and Society
Econ/Ind Rel 453 Collective Bargaining and Public Policy
Econ/Ind Rel 539 Public Sector Bargaining
Envir St 368 Environmental Law, Toxic Substances, and Conservation
History 344 Age of the American Revolution, 1763-89
Legal St/Soc 131 Criminal Justice in America (NOTE: This course counts within this Theme Group only for students who have also taken LS/Pol Sci 217)
Psych 411, Sec 050 Psych Juvenile Delinquency (prerequisites)
Psych 532 Psychology and Law (prerequisites)
Psych 509 Abnormal Psych
Soc Work 523 Family Violence (prerequisites)
Soc Work 646 Child Abuse and Neglect (prerequisites)
Soc 130 Social Problem
Soc 421 Processes of Deviant Behavior
[Soc 431 Intermediate Criminal Justice in America]
Soc 441 Criminology
[Soc 445 Corrections and the Control of Crime]
[Soc 446 Juvenile Delinquency]
Soc 642 Social Control


Afroamer 233 History of Racial Protest Movements in America
[Amer Ind/Rur Soc/Soc 639 American Indians in Contemporary Society]
Econ/Poli Sci 449 Government and Natural Resources
Econ/Ind Rel 460 Race, Gender & Ethnicity: Inequality in the US Labor Market
Econ 522 Law and Economics
History/Afroamer 628 History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
Legal St 444 Law in Action (formerly taught as a Sociology topics course)
Poli Sci 452 Criminal Law and Justice
Psych 411: Topics: Social Sciences and Law
Soc 134 Problems of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Soc 220 Ethnic Movements in the United States
Soc 643 Sociology of Occupations and Professions
Womens St 102 Women, Social Institutions and Social Change
Womens St 223 Race and Ethnicity in the Lives of US Women
Womens St 422 Women and the Law


Anthro 350 Political Anthropology
*Anthro/Jewish St 436 Anthropology of the Holocaust
Comm Arts 371 Communication and Conflict Resolutions
Comm Arts 671 Communication and Social Conflict
*Hebr St/ Jewish St 328 Classical Rabbinic Literature in Translation
History 401 American Urban History, 1620-1870
History 402 American Urban History since 1870
*Jewish St/Relig St/Med Hist/Law 613 Jewish Law and Ethics in Comparative Perspective
*Jewish St 625 The Holocaust: Facts, Trials, Verdicts, Post-Verdicts
*Legal St xxx A History of the Prison
*Legal St xxx Conceptions of Punishment: Ancient & Modern
*Theater/Jewish St 410 The Holocaust Theme in Western Drama


*Hebr St/Jewish St 448 Classical Rabbinic Texts
Journ 675 Topic: Issues in Media Law & Ethics
History/Legal St 459: Rule of Law in Historical Perspective
Hist Med 559 Children, Parents & the State
Philos 241 Introductory Ethics
Philos 243 Ethics in Business
Philos 341 Contemporary Moral Issues
Philos/Envir St 441 Environmental Ethics
Philos/Jewish St 442 Moral Philosophy and the Holocaust
Philos 541 Modern Ethical Theories
Philos 543 Special Topics in Ethics
Philos 549 Great Moral Philosophers
Philos/Med Hist 558 Ethical Problems Raised by Biomedical Technology
Philos 559 Philosophy of Law
Philos/Hist Med/Agronomy/Rur Soc 565 Ethics of Modern Biotechnology
Poli Sci 530 Ethics and Values in Policy Making

*Fulfills the requirement that at least one course in the major must have substantial content dealing with countries or cultures other than the United States.


One of the following research design courses:

Psych 225 Experimental Psychology
Soc 357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry
Soc/Rur Soc 358 Design and Analysis of Social Research


One of the following introductory statistics courses:
Stats 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods
Soc 360 Statistics for Sociology
Business 303: Business Statistics
Economics 310: Statistics: Measurement in Economics
Poli Sci 551 Quantitative Analysis of Political Data
Psych 210 Psychometric Methods
Soc/Rur Soc 359 Statistical Analysis of Social Research

Soc/Legal St 641 Sociology of Law or
History 426 History of Punishment (meets with Legal St 450-003--this section only)
*Poli Sci 617, Comparative Legal Institutions
Legal St 661 Law, Culture, and the Humanities

Senior Thesis (6-8 credits), LS 681-682 or LS 691-692, or
Two additional courses drawn from the five theme areas


Legal St 400 Topics in Legal Studies and the Social Sciences
Legal St 450 Topics in Legal Studies and the Humanities
Legal St 650 Advanced Seminars in Legal Studies
Legal St 699 Directed Readings in Legal Studies


German 278 Topics in German Culture
German 375 Seminar in German Literature (in German)
German 632 A Theme in German Literature (in German)
History 500 Reading Seminar in History
History 600 Advanced Seminar in History
Journ 675 Topics in Government and Mass Media
Jewish St 490 Topics in Jewish Studies
Philos 556 Topics in Feminism and Philosophy
Philos 557 Issues in Social Philosophy
Poli Sci 181 Topics in Political Analysis
Poli Sci 401 Topics in Political Science
Poli Sci 506 Topics in Political Philosophy
Poli Sci 695 Topics in Political Science
Psych 411 Topics in Psychology
Soc 496 Topics in Sociology
Womens Studies 320 Topics in Women and Society


* Note: If you are a student who declared the Legal Studies major before the Fall 2003 term, please click here for a description of the old curriculum and the old requirements for the major.