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Law and Society (B.A.)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services



About the Major

The Law and Society program is a broad-based interdisciplinary major that is rooted deeply in the liberal arts.  The major spans the humanities and the social sciences, incorporating the insights and methodologies of such disciplines as:  anthropology, criminology, economics, history, gender studies, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and comparative studies.  The program is broader than the study of criminal justice, which is but one aspect of the major. The major offers students the opportunity to explore the ways in which law intersects with its larger social, historical, political and economic world. Throughout the major, students develop an awareness of the historical and contemporary contexts for the study of law, and an appreciation of how various theories of jurisprudence have molded and continue to mold our understanding of law.  Students also gain an appreciation for the complex ways that social issues interface with the law, and how biases about race, class, gender, nationality, ethnicity and other forms of inequality may influence how the law is created, interpreted and implemented.  This major fosters a comprehensive understanding of the American legal system, its place within the larger context of comparative legal traditions, and its role in the international legal realm.

Completion of LAW AND SOCIETY is a prerequisite to all further study in the major.

The Law and Society major emphasizes analytical and critical thinking through effective oral and written presentation.  It also fosters experiential and life-long learning through its capstone requirements of fieldwork and the composition of a Law and Society thesis.  It thus provides a solid foundation for many professional and non-professional careers – including the practice of law, law enforcement, public service, health care, social services and legal administration.  The major is not intentionally designed to be either a pre-law or pre-law enforcement degree, although many of its graduates do enter into these two careers each year.  A pre-law or pre-law enforcement degree is not a requirement for these careers.

The major is offered by the School of Social Science and Human Services and leads to a B.A. degree.  A minor is not available.

Outcomes for the Major

Outcome 1: Students will form a knowledge base in the foundational principles of law and justice.  

Outcome 2: Students will understand the intersections between law, humanities, and social sciences.

Outcome 3: Students will be able to compare legal systems using historical, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary methods. 

Outcome 4: Students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in researching and using primary and secondary legal and scholarly sources. 

Outcome 5: Students will be able to present clear oral and written argumentation on sociolegal issues. 

Outcome 6: Students will connect the law in action to course concepts. 

Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing) and Studies in the Arts and Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of Classes for semester course offerings.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation.  Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Crime and Justice Studies Minor
  1. The Crime and Justice Studies minor provides students with the knowledge to understand the problem of crime in its broad societal context—social, cultural, political, and economic, both nationally and internationally.  This includes understanding the causes and consequences of crime, criminal justice policy, and the role of law in redressing or reinforcing inequality and social problems with criminogenic ramifications.
  2. The Crime and Justice Studies Minor will consist of 5 courses.
  3. To complete the minor, students would be required to take five courses, three of which would need to be distinct from their major.