Legal Studies Requirements under the New Plan

Students are now required to declare under the New Plan. Please see below:

Prerequisites – Take one distinct course from each of the following four categories:
Statistics; Philosophy; History; Social/Behavioral Sciences.
(4 courses)  See the new prerequisites page for a list of choices.

Unit Requirement – Students must take a minimum of 32 upper division units for the major.

Core Legal Studies Requirements – Take 4 courses from the list below, including at least one course designated as Humanities (H) and at least one course designated as Social Sciences (SS). Students are strongly encouraged to take 100 early in pursuing the major as it provides a foundation for the Legal Studies curriculum.

NOTE: The 4 courses taken for the Core requirements cannot also be counted toward the distribution requirements.

(4 courses)
100:     Foundations of Legal Studies (H or SS) (4 units)
103:     Theories of Law & Society (H or SS) (4 units)
107:     Theories of Justice (H) (4 units)
138:     The Supreme Court & Public Policy (SS) (4 units)
145:     Law & Economics I (SS) (4 units)
160:     Punishment, Culture & Society (H or SS) (4 units)
177:     American Legal & Constitutional History (H) (4 units)
182:     Law, Politics & Society (SS) (4 units)
184:     Sociology of Law (SS) (4 units)

Distribution Requirements – Take two courses* in one of the following Areas and 1 course each in two additional Areas for a total of four courses.  See the new upper division requirements.

Area I              Crime, Law & Social Control
Area II             Law & Culture
Area III            Law & Markets
Area IV            Law, Rights & Social Change
Area V             Law & Sovereignty

* LS H195B Honors Thesis or LS 199 Independent Study (for 4 units) may substitute for one of the two courses.

LS 190 Seminars – These are upper division courses that do not have discussion sections or GSIs. Seminars are designed to be smaller in size and involve more discussion. LS 190’s count towards the Distribution requirements. Because we recycle the numbers every semester, check under ‘Course Offerings’ for the semester in which you are taking the course to find which Area(s) it falls under.

Law-Related Courses You may use up to 2 law-related courses from outside the Legal Studies Program to count towards the Distribution Requirements, for a maximum of 8 units.

NOTE: This is an option, not a requirement.

Outside courses should normally be drawn from the pre-approved list of law-related UCB courses, but may be approved from other 4-year institutions, or from study abroad programs. If a course you are considering is not on the pre-approved list, you must submit a syllabus and description to the Legal Studies Academic Advisor for approval.  See the new law-related courses page.

Capstone Experience – Legal Studies students are strongly encouraged to enroll in one Legal Studies seminar course (LS 190), preferably in their senior year, to complete their remaining units. Alternatively, students who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to enroll in LS H195A & B, the Honors Program, for their capstone experience. Students who have a faculty mentor and a desire to do a research project but do not meet the eligibility requirements for Honors, may enroll in 4 units of LS 199 for their capstone experience provided that they meet the eligibility requirements for Independent Study. See the research page for eligibility requirements for 199 and H195A/B.

Sample Course Plan for the Legal Studies Major –
The following plan can work whether you begin as a freshman or as a junior transfer. It’s best to spread your courses out as much as possible to give yourself the time to do your absolute best and be able to take advantage of other wonderful opportunities available to you.

Helpful Tip #1: Continue to choose a Core course each semester so you don’t get to the end of your time here and find that you have to settle for a course because it’s the only one offered that you haven’t already taken. The list of Core choices is short and we can only offer a few each semester, so grab the courses you prefer as they come up.

Helpful Tip #2: Take just two upper divs for the major each semester. Typically grades are higher for students who plan conservatively.

Helpful Tip #3: Prereqs can be taken during the summer at community college, just check on

Helpful Tip #4: Plan ahead for Study Abroad, Honors (LS H195A and B in senior year), etc. You CAN do it all.

Helpful Tip #5: If you choose all 4 unit upper div courses, you’ll need just 8 courses. See below.

This is just one possible way to schedule your classes:

Fall – Freshman Year

Spring – Freshman Year

Fall – Sophomore Year

Spring – Sophomore Year

Fall – Junior Year
Upper div Core (4 units)
Upper div Area (4 units)

Spring – Junior Year
Upper div Core (4 units)
Upper div Area (4 units)

Fall – Senior Year
Upper div Core (4 units)
Upper div Area (4 units)

Spring – Senior Year
Upper div Core (4 units)
Upper div Area (capstone course) (4 units)

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