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Undergraduate Programs

Legal Studies

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Many undergraduates enter upon their studies at the University of Rochester with an interest in the law. For some students the law, especially constitutional law, is an intellectual interest they developed in high school after taking an introductory law course, an interest they would like to further develop even if they do not intend to attend law school. Other students have given thought to turning to the legal profession after graduating from the University. Yet other students may find a general introduction to legal studies to be a nice complement to their major, enriching and filling out an aspect of their other studies to which they are primarily devoted. For yet others the availability of this minor might operate as an "eye-opener" to a field of inquiry which they have only discovered and developed an interest in since coming to the University.

The minor in legal studies is an interdisciplinary program of study which gives students the opportunity to examine law from a variety of perspectives. The study of law is a humanistic enterprise and, while the minor should be useful for those who may be thinking of attending law school, it should not be considered a program in pre-professional training.

To be more precise, the goals of this minor are to:

  1. Educate students in certain broadly relevant analytical skills.
  2. Introduce students to what it means to study a social phenomenon from a variety of perspectives.
  3. Help students obtain a better understanding of law and the multiple functions it plays in a variety of societies.
  4. Encourage writing and the development of writing skills.
  5. Stimulate greater interaction among faculty interested in law and society.


Program Management and Advisors

Students who want to declare a Legal Studies minor or who just want to discuss questions about a Legal Studies minor should see:

Program Requirements

Students who plan to declare a minor in legal studies must define a coherent program of study in consultation with the Legal Studies minor advisor (listed above). The program requires a minimum of six (6) courses, drawn from the lists below, and distributed as follows:

  1. two courses from the "analytical techniques" course list;
  2. at least one course from the "legal studies" list and at least one course from the "cognate" course listing; and
  3. two additional courses selected from any of the three lists, or any other two courses approved by the student's advisor.

Note the following:

  • A legal studies minor may count as a Humanities minor if at least three of its courses are in the humanities (English and Philosophy courses, except PHL 110, are humanities courses.)
  • A legal studies minor may count as a Social Science minor if at least three of its courses are in social science (Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology courses are social science courses.)
  • No more than two courses used for the student's major(s) may be used toward the minor.


Official Course Lists

A. Analytical Techniques (at least 2 required)

ECO 207—Intermediate Microeconomics (valid through fall 2016)
ECO/PSC 288—Game Theory
ENG 135—Debate
ENG 280—Advanced Debate
PHL 105—Reason and Argument
PHL 110—Introductory Logic
PSC 107—Introduction to Positive Political Theory
PSC 202—Argument in Political Science
PSC 281—Formal Models in Political Sciences

B. Legal Studies (at least one required)

ANT 230—Post-Conflict Justice
ANT 231—(IL)Legal Anthropology
CAS 304—Urban Crime and Justice
EDU 490—Higher Education Law
LAW 205—Business Law
PH 230—Law in Public Health Practice
PH 236—Health Care and Law
PHL 223—Social and Political Philosophy
PHL 226—Philosophy of Law
PSC  212—Supreme Court in US History
PSC 223—Constitutional Structures and Rights
PSC 234—Law and Politics in the United States
PSC 239/IR 239—International Environmental Law
PSC 240—Criminal Procedures and Constitutional Principles
PSC 242—Research Practicum in Criminal Justice Reform
PSC 246—Environmental Law and Policy
PSC 291—First Amendment and Religion
REL 182—Religion and Law

C. Cognate Courses (at least one required)

ANT 104—Contemporary Issues and Anthropology
ANT 202—Modern Social Theory
ANT 205—Theories and Debates in Anthropology
ECO 220—Fair Allocation
ENG 286—Presidential Rhetoric
HIS 164—Democratic America
HIS 166—Recent America
HIS 204—History of Global and International Health
HIS 228—British History to 1485
HIS 260—American Thought I
HIS 261—American Thought II
HIS 269—The Civil War
HIS 362W—American Thought
PHL 103—Contemporary Moral Problems
PHL 225—Ethical Decisions in Medicine
PHL 230—Environmental Justice
PSC 209—Interest Groups in America
PSC 215—American Elections
PSC 218—Emergence of the Modern Congress
PSC 237—Domestic and Social Policy (not available after 2014)
PSC 245—Aging and Public Policy (not available after 2014)
PSC 263—Comparative Law and Courts
PSC 284—Democratic Theory
PSC 287—Theories of Political Economy
PSC 291—First Amendment and Religion
REL 266/FMS 265—Guilt