Chair, Professor LAWRENCE KAPLAN

Advisory Committee: Professors: JACKALL*, JUST, KAPLAN, KASSIN**. Associate Professor: NOLAN*. Assistant Professor: MARUKO. 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.



Four elective courses are required to complete a concentration in Legal Studies. These courses must be taken from at least two departments.

  1. Anthropology 342 Dispute and Conflict, Settlement and Resolution: The Anthropology of Law
  2. Chemistry 113 Chemistry and Crime: From Sherlock Holmes to Modern Forensic Science
  3. Comparative Literature 401 Senior Seminar: Literature and the Law (Deleted 2004-2005)
  4. Environmental Studies 307/Political Science 317 Environmental Law
  5. History 395 Comparative History of Organized Crime
  6. Philosophy 272T Free Will and Responsibility
  7. Political Science 216 Constitutional Law II: Individual Rights
  8. Political Science 219 Constitutional Law I: Structures of Power
  9. Political Science 309 Comparative Constitutionalism
  10. Political Science 338 American Legal Philosophy
  11. Psychology 347 Psychology and Law
  12. Sociology 214 Mafias (Deleted 2004-2005)
  13. Sociology 215 Crime in the Streets
  14. Sociology 218 Law and Modern Society
  15. Sociology 265 Drugs and Society