Academic Catalog

Legal Studies Major


The Legal Studies major provides an undergraduate liberal arts degree grounded in the Humanist tradition of law.  The focus of the program is to study the historical and contemporary development of the law and its impact and relationship to political decision-making, moral philosophy, evolving theories and concepts of equity, equality and justice, and social and community norms.

The impact of law and legal process on citizens, both at home and abroad, has increased markedly in recent years.  Factors contributing to the development of law and legal institutions include rapid growth in the complexity of government, public, private and administrative law, expanded conceptions of individual and group rights, increased public access to knowledge via the internet and increasing exposure to structures of legal ordering, such as healthcare, environment and economic regulation.  If citizens are to protect, maintain and advance democratic ideals, civic life and participation, they require greater knowledge of the role of law, its goals, methods, successes and failures.  Coupled with this must be an understanding of the benefits and limitations of evolving methods of alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice.

Legal Studies majors learn about both the theoretical and practical dimensions of law, not only within the American and English common-law model, but within other civil, code-based, global legal systems as well.  They gain first-hand experience in legal analysis, argument and advocacy as well as in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  They learn such substantive areas of law as contracts, real property, family law, etc., and gain an understanding of procedural law in civil and criminal contexts.  The program offers coursework in law-related topics involving diversity, multiculturalism, environmental regulation and international law.

Legal Studies programs offer students two options for majors:  a 36-credit major in Legal Studies, which would be complemented by a minor of the student's choice, or a 58-credit comprehensive major in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, which would not require a minor.  Additionally, this program offers a 24-credit minor in Criminal Justice. The criminal justice concentration builds on the Legal Studies curriculum to offer both social science perspectives and professional development in the study of justice through the lenses of police, courses, corrections, offenders, and victims.

Legal Studies Major Requirements

35-36 total credits

Completion of 35 or 36 credits is required, including 24 credits in required courses, 3 credits in a procedure course, 2 or 3 credits in a substantive law course and 6 credits from two of three groups.

LSTU 115Law and Human Behavior3.00
LSTU 261Contemporary Issues in Law and Society3.00
LSTU 268Alternative Dispute Resolution3.00
LSTU 305Methods of Legal Research and Writing3.00
LSTU 450U.S.Constitutional Law, Part I3.00
LSTU 451U.S. Constitutional Law, Part II-Civil Liberties and Civil Rights3.00
LSTU 485Internship1.00-3.00
or LSTU 499 Independent Research/Applied Skills
LSTU 498Senior Capstone Presentation0.00
Legal Procedures Courses
LSTU 210Criminal Procedure3.00
or LSTU 220 Civil Procedure
Substantive Law Courses
Select two credits of the following: (students are strongly encouraged to take more of these courses as electives)2.00
Criminal Law
Administrative Law
Family Law
Contract Law
Select one course from each of the following Groups:9.00
Group 1: Legal Theory and Practice
Great Legal Trials: Stories That Changed Law
Comparative Law and Courts
Group 2: Legal Process and Systems
Law, Citizenship and Civic Engagement
Environmental Law and Regulation
Judicial Process
Crime, Corrections and Punishment
Group 3: Diversity and Multicultural Issues
Race, Ethnicity, and Justice
Gender, Crime, and Justice
Total Hours33.00-35.00

For students planning to attend law school or graduate school, a preparatory course in the LSAT or GRE examination is highly recommended.