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.