Director: Philip Pajakowski
The Legal Studies major addresses a fundamental aspect of human experience: the regulation of social interaction through norms instituted by common authority and enforced by state power. Law shapes countless aspects of human conduct, from family relations, to business activity, to criminal sanction, to international relations. The nature of law and legal sanction further provides informs literary expression and philosophical inquiry. The relationship between law and morality has permeated social thought since ancient times and remains among the pressing concerns of our day. An examination of law thus deserves a place in liberal education and provides rich opportunity for reflection on human beliefs and institutions informed by insights from a variety of academic approaches.
Following an interdisciplinary approach, the major includes courses from Criminal Justice, Politics, History, Sociology, Philosophy, Classics, Economics and Business, English, Psychology, and Modern Languages. Legal Studies examines the law in its formulation, application, moral significance, and cultural resonance in a variety of historical and contemporary social contexts. The major offers insight into the function of law within institutions as well reflection on the origins and significance of efforts to shape human behavior through state sanction.
Students are advised to begin their studies in the major by taking HI 108 Law and Justice in European History; HI 151 Special Topics: Citizenship; PO 102 American Government; or PO 104 Comparative Politics. Beyond their distribution of courses in the three fields, students may take any of the listed classes according to their interest. Students must also complete Seminar in Legal Studies as their capstone course.
Requirements: To complete the major, students must complete ten courses from the following list. Of these courses, two are required in each of three fields: law in practice, law as policy, and legal culture.