The Legal Studies major provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to become familiar with legal ideas, legal institutions, and the legal process. It is designed to provide tools for reasoned appraisal of how the law works and of the policies that underlie it. The major is based firmly on the view that the study of law and justice has a rich humanistic tradition and that its pursuit can encourage sustained reflection on fundamental values. Legal Studies is a liberal arts major in the College of Letters and Science but under the academic supervision of the law school faculty.
The courses deal with a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy of law, American legal history, non-western legal traditions, politics and law, the criminal justice process, property law, and economic regulation; courses are taught by faculty with backgrounds in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as law.
Legal Studies was not specifically designed to prepare students for law school, nor does it provide paralegal training. (Law schools recommend no specific major.) On the other hand, it does help students develop their ability to think clearly and to analyze arguments critically. Our multidisciplinary approach exposes the student to the great variety of human behavior and institutions. Many students who plan to go to law school choose this major as a field of liberal arts study. There is no minor.
Students are now required to declare the New Plan. The Old Plan remains on the website because of the large number of students who are still working on the old requirements.