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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) [social science]
ECO/PSC 288—Game Theory [social science]
ENG 135—Debate [humanities]
ENG 280—Advanced Debate [humanities]
PHL 105—Reason and Argument [humanities]
PHL 110—Introductory Logic
PSC 107—Introduction to Positive Political Theory [social science]
PSC 202—Argument in Political Science [social science]
PSC 281—Formal Models in Political Sciences [social science]

B. Legal Studies (at least one required)

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

C. Cognate Courses (at least one required)

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