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Legal Studies

Legal phenomena extends throughout many contemporary political systems, playing an important role in shaping the conduct of life for both individuals and institutions.

Study in the minor emphasizes the forces that shape law and the ways law has been used and understood by a variety of peoples in differing historical circumstances. Political, sociological, historical and philosophical approaches to legal phenomena are included in the program, with other approaches always a possibility for the interested student.

The legal studies minor treats law as a subject of liberal inquiry, open to all students in any major or concentration. The legal studies minor, as a liberal studies program, is not a program in “prelaw” or professional preparation. For those students interested in law as a political, social, historical or philosophical phenomenon, however, the legal studies minor presents an opportunity to study one of the most important aspects of contemporary human society.

For more information, contact program coordinator Dr. Marie Courtemanche.

Minor Requirements

21 hours of course work organized according to either option 1 or 2.

Option 1

Required classes

  • POSC 300 Introduction to Legal Studies
  • POSC 436 Constitutional Law
  • PHIL 267 Ethics or PHIL 377 Legal Philosophy

Elective classes

Select four additional courses from the following list. All students should take introductory preparatory courses selected from political science, sociology, criminal justice, history, economics and philosophy prior to attempting course work within the minor. No more than two classes may be from the same academic discipline.

  • Substantive Law
    • ENSC 210 Introduction to Environmental Law
    • BADM 355 Business Law
    • BADM 356 Business Law II
    • COMM 455 Media Law and Regulations
    • POSC 437 First Amendment Issues
    • POSC 439 Criminal Law
    • CJS 301 Juvenile Justice Issues or CJS 303 Family Justice Issues
    • SOC/CJS 431 Selected Topics (if designated as an elective in the course description)
  • Historical Framework
    • HIST 300 U.S. Colonial History
    • HIST 305 Middle Period and American History
    • HIST 307 Emergence of Modern America
    • HIST 309 Recent American History
    • HIST 315 Diplomatic History of the United States
  • Law and Society
    • POSC 385 The Law of Families
    • POSC 388 The Death Penalty
    • SOC 321 Deviance
    • SOC 331 Criminology
    • SOC 431 Selected Topics (if designated as an elective in the course description)
    • ENG 120 Introduction to Literature
  • Legal Policy and Process
    • POSC 396 International Organization and Law
    • POSC 316 Selected Topics (if designated as an elective in the course description)
    • POSC 445 The Great American Trial
    • POSC/SOC 438 Criminal Due Process Rights
  • Communication
    • COMM 300 Persuasion

Other courses maybe appropriate to meet program requirements when selected in consultation with the program adviser.

Option 2

  • Students may design their own minor. See “Individualized Minor” in the Academic Catalog (2017-2018) for more information about this option.

Portfolio

At the conclusion of their course of study in the legal studies program all students, whether they have selected option 1 or 2, will complete a portfolio demonstrating that they have met the various learning outcomes of the minor.

Course List

All students should take introductory preparatory courses selected from political science, sociology, history, economics and philosophy prior to attempting course work within the minor.

  • Political Science: 300, 378, 396, 436 and 316 Topic: Constitutional Law of Civil Rights and Liberties
  • Sociology: 191, 251, 261, 321, 331
  • History: 315, 335, 405, 455, 465
  • Environmental Science: 200
  • Business Administration: 355, 356
  • Philosophy: 377 Criminal Justice Studies: 101, 301