About the Major

*****NOTE: All major requirements must be taken for a letter grade beginning Fall 2021.*****

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. There is no minor.

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.

NOTE: Students are required to follow the New Plan.
Information regarding the Old Plan remains on the website for the students who declared prior to the changes and have not yet graduated.
Old Plan        New Plan

Land Acknowledgement Statement

The Legal Studies Program recognizes that Berkeley sits on the territory of Xučyun, the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo Ohlone, the successors of the historic and sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has, and continues to benefit from the use and occupation of this land, since the institution’s founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples. By offering this Land Acknowledgement, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and will work to hold University of California, Berkeley, more accountable to the needs of American Indian and Indigenous peoples.

An alternate spelling of  Xučyun is Huchiun.

What is a Land Acknowldgement?
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.

For more information, we recommend Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements by Chelsea Vowel.

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