Chair, Professor LAWRENCE KAPLAN

Advisory Committee: Professors: JACKALL, JUST, KAPLAN, KASSIN**, NOLAN, SHANKS*. Assistant Professor: SINIAWER. Visiting Assistant Professor: A. HIRSCH§§.

Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to give students a background and frameworks for understanding the law as a means of regulating human behavior and resolving disputes among individuals, groups, and governments. Emanating from a liberal arts tradition, and not specifically aimed at preparing students for law school, this program provides the tools needed to think and argue critically about how laws work, how they evolved in the course of history and in different parts of the world, how they are enforced, and how they affect our everyday lives.

The courses in this program address a wide range of subjects, including the philosophical, moral, historical, social, and political underpinnings of law; the U.S. Constitution; law enforcement and other aspects of criminal justice; methods of scientific proof; psychological influences on evidence, trials, and decision-making; cultural perspectives and non-western legal traditions; and the use of law to regulate environmental policy. Courses are taught by faculty in the Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities, whose work centers on legal processes, and by visiting professors from various law schools.


The concentration in legal studies consists of six courses, including an interdisciplinary introductory course, four electives taken from at least two departments, and a senior seminar on a contemporary topic in the law. Electives may vary from year to year according to course offerings. In addition, the program offers local, alumni, and professional contacts for summer and WSP internships in a wide range of government and private law-related settings.


Students who choose to study abroad should consult with the Program Chair to insure that they can complete the requirements. Studying abroad may provide exciting opportunities to learn about legal traditions and systems other than those of the United States. Students should check with the Chair to be sure that courses taken abroad will be counted toward completion of the Program.


Four elective courses are required to complete a concentration in Legal Studies. These courses must be taken from at least two departments. Other courses, not listed here, may be approved by the Chair.