Legal Studies Program

Program Overview

Legal studies is an undergraduate major in the College of Letters & Science. The program’s mission is to provide a liberal education across traditional disciplines, focusing on the theory and operation of law and legal institutions. The courses in the legal studies major expose students to the many facets of law as a social phenomenon—its evolution, function, motivating ideas and effects. The major is not intended as preparation for law school because the emphasis is on exploring broadly defined questions about law from a variety of perspectives, rather than on training for the profession. The legal studies major is, however, suitable for pre-law students.

The curriculum is designed around the following five themes: Legal Institutions, Processes of Legal Order and Disorder, Law and Social Forces, Law and Culture, and Law and Theory.

Courses

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Spring 2023 Courses

For the most current information, search the UW-Madison Schedule of Classes here

Major and Certificate overviews

Gateway Courses

Legal St/Soc 131: Criminal Justice in America

Legal St/Poli Sci 217: Law, Politics and Society

Methods Courses (Statistics and Research Design)

Statistics (one course from this listing)

Economics 310: Statistics: Measurement in Economics
General Business 306: Business Analytics
Political Science 270: Understanding Political Numbers
Psychology 210: Basic Stats for Psychology
Sociology 360: Statistics for Sociologists
Statistics 301: Introduction to Statistics
Statistics 371: Intro Applied Stats – Life Sciences

Research Design (one course from this listing)

Political Science 170: Research Methods
Political Science 373: Intro to Survey Research
Public Affairs 240: Evidence-Based Policy Making
Public Affairs 380: Analytical Tools for Public Policy
Psychology 225: Experimental Psychology
Social Work 650: Methods of Social Work Research
Sociology 357: Methods of Sociological Inquiry

Theme Group 1: Legal Institutions

*Asian 630: Law and Judgment in Asia
General Business 301: Business Law
General Business 302: Bus Orgs and Negotiable Instruments
*Int’l St 602: The EU and the World
Legal St/Hist 262: Amer Legal History 1860s to Pres
Legal Studies 400: Criminal Injustice in America
Legal Studies 444: Law in Action
*Legal Studies 450: Courts, Constitutionalism and Human Rights
Legal Studies/Sociology 641: Sociology of Law
Political Science 205: Introduction to State Government
*Political Science 340: The European Union
*Political Science 356: Principles of International Law
Political Science 401: Marshall Court and Constitution
Political Science 408: The American Presidency
Political Science 412: The American Constitution: Rights and Civil Liberties
Political Science 470: The First Amendment
Political Science 601: The Supreme Court
Public Affairs 520: Inequality, Race and Public Policy

Theme Group 2: Process of Legal Order & Disorder

Legal Studies 694: Field Observation in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies (application and internship required)
Psych 526: The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives
Psych 601: Prisoner Re-Entry
Social Work 646: Child Abuse and Neglect
Sociology 441: Criminology
Sociology 446: Juvenile Delinquency

Theme Group 3: Law & Social Forces

AfAm 271: Multiculturalism and Social Justice
AfAm 302: Origins of Black Movements
AfAm/Hist 625: Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement
Amer Ind St 450: American Indian and Indigenous Resistance (ethnic st)
Amer Ind St 636: Social Work in American Indian Communities: The Indian Child Welfare Act
Asian Am/Soc 220: Social Movements in the US (ethnic st and Comm B)
Asian Am 240: Asian American Power and Politics
Asian Am 441: Hmong American Social Movements in the 20th and 21st Century
C&E Soc 375: Health and Environmental Justice
ChicLa 330: US Mexico Borderlands
ChicLa 330: Feminist Social Movements in the Americas
Econ 522: Law and Economics
Ed Pol 150: Incarceration and Education
Ed Pol 220: Human Rights and Education
*GenWS/Int’l St 535: Women’s Global Health and Human Rights
History 201: Freedom Summer and Civil Rights (Comm B)
History 277: Making Black Lives Matter: A History of a Movement
History 600: Gen, War Crimes and Human Rights
*International Studies 601: Refugees in Global Context
*Legal Studies 400: Law and Climate Justice
*Legal Studies/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
*Legal Studies/Hist/Envir St 430: Law and Environment
Legal Studies/Soc/ChicLa 443: Immigration, Crime & Enforcement (ethnic studies)
Legal Studies 473: Impacts of Social and Legal Issues on Health (application and placement hours required)
Legal Studies 663: Cyber Law
Psych 311: Sexual Violence Research and Advocacy
Psych 601: Legal Psych: Crim & Civil Iss
SocWork 375: Pwr Poss, SJ and Social Change

Theme Group 4: Law & Culture

English 177: Narco-Narratives
*English 474: Global Reproductive Justice
English 457: Cultures of AIDS Activism
*History 201: Shanghai Life and Crime (Comm B)
*History 500: Firearms: A Global History

Theme Group 5: Law & Theory

Journ 563: Law of Mass Communication
LIS 641: Data and Algorithms: Ethics and Policy
MedHist/Philosophy 558: Ethical Issues in Health Care
Philosophy 341: Contemporary Moral Issues (some sections are Comm B)
*Poli Sci 343: Theories of International Security

Core Perspectives

Legal Studies 262: Amer Legal History 1860s to Present
*Legal Studies 400: Law and Climate Justice
Legal Studies 400: Criminal Injustice in America
*Legal Studies/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
Legal Studies/Soc/ChicLa 443: Immigration, Crime & Enforcement (ethnic studies)
*Legal Studies 450: Courts, Constitutionalism and Human Rights
Legal Studies 641: Sociology of Law

**Meets requirement that at least two courses in the major must have substantial content dealing with countries or cultures outside the United States or with the international legal system. For this requirement, a course can count both for purposes of meeting the Distribution requirement above and the Global Legal Systems requirement.

Summer 2023 Courses

For the most current information, search the UW-Madison Schedule of Classes here

Major and Certificate overviews

Gateway Course
Legal St/Soc 131: Criminal Justice in America

Legal St/Poli Sci 217: Law, Politics and Society

Statistics

Economics 310: Statistics: Measurement in Economics

General Business 306: Business Analytics

Psychology 210: Basic Stats for Psychology

Sociology 360: Statistics for Sociologists

Statistics 301: Introduction to Statistics

Statistics 371: Intro Applied Stats – Life Sciences

Research Methods

Political Science 170: Research Methods in Political Science

Psychology 225: Research Methods

Sociology 357: Methods of Sociological Inquiry

Theme Group 1: Legal Institutions

General Business 301: Business Law
*Political Science 434: Politics of Human Rights

Theme Group 2: Process of Legal Order & Disorder

Communication Arts 371: Communication and Conflict Resolution

Legal Studies/Sociology 694: Criminal Justice Field Observation — [Application and concurrent internship required – Schedule appt with advisor if interested]

Sociology 496: Serial Killers in America

Theme Group 3: Law & Social Forces

Econ 522: Law and Economics

Legal St/GWS 422: Women and the Law

*Legal St/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
*Political Science 434: Politics of Human Rights

Theme Group 4: Law & Culture

Comm Arts 313: Crime Films Today

*History 201: Shanghai Life and Crime

Poli Sci 400: Law and Justice in Film

Theme Group 5: Law & Theory

*Legal St/History 426: History of Punishment

*Legal St/History 450: History of Prison

Philosophy 341: Contemporary Moral Issues

Core Perspectives

Legal St/GWS 422: Women and the Law

*Legal St/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice

*Legal St/History 426: History of Punishment

*Legal St/History 450: History of Prison

Fall 2022 Courses

For the most current information, search the UW-Madison Schedule of Classes here

Major and Certificate overviews

Gateway Courses

Legal Studies/Sociology 131: Criminal Justice in America

Statistics

Economics 310: Statistics: Measurement in Economics
General Business 306: Business Analytics
Psychology 210: Basic Stats for Psychology
Sociology 360: Statistics for Sociologists
Statistics 301: Introduction to Statistics
Statistics 371: Intro Applied Stats – Life Sciences

Research Design

Political Science 170: Research Methods in Political Science
Psychology 225: Experimental Psychology
Public Affairs 240: Evidence-Based Policy Making
Public Affairs 380: Analytical Tools for Public Policy
Sociology 357: Methods of Sociological Inquiry

Theme Group 1: Legal Institutions

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies 542: Law and Public Education
General Business 301: Business Law
General Business 302: Bus Orgs and Negotiable Instruments
Legal Studies/Hist 261: American Legal History to 1860
*Legal Studies 409: Human Rights in Law and Society
Legal Studies 444: Law in Action
*Legal Studies 450: Courts, Constitutionalism, & Human Rights
Legal Studies/Sociology 641: Sociology of Law
*Political Science 201: Law and Disorder in Russia
Political Science 311: US Congress
*Political Science 356: Principles of International Law
*Political Science 400/Pub Affairs 270: Topic: International Environmental Politics
*Political Science 400/Pub Affairs 27: Topic: The Public and Private Sectors in Policymaking
Political Science 408: The American Presidency
Political Science 411: The American Constitution I
Political Science 414: The Supreme Court as Political Institution

Theme Group 2: Process of Legal Order & Disorder

Legal Studies 694: Field Observation in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies (application required)
Psych 526: The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives
Sociology 421: Processes of Deviant Behavior
Sociology 441: Criminology

Theme Group 3: Law & Social Forces

AfAm 628: History of the Civil Rights Movement (ethnic st)
AfAm 671-002: Topic: Criminalizing Blackness (ethnic st)
Econ 522: Law and Economics
Envir St 349: Climate Change Governance
Envir St 439: US Environmental Policy and Regulation
*Inter-LS 106: Refugee Rights, Bordered World
*International St/GWS 535: Women’s Global Health and Human Rights
Legal Studies 435: Civil Rights
*Legal Studies/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
Legal Studies/ChicLa/Sociology 440: Ethnicity, Race and Justice (ethnic st)
Legal Studies 473: Impacts on Health (application required)
Psych 401: Psychology, Law and Social Policies
Psychology 601: Issues in Prisoner Re-entry
Sociology 220: Ethnic Movements in the U.S (Comm B and ethnic st)

Theme Group 4: Law & Culture

*English 174: Law and Literature
*Lit Trans 236: Extreme Stories

Theme Group 5: Law & Theory

*Legal Studies 476: Medieval Law and Society
Philosophy 341: Contemporary Moral Issues (some sections are Comm B)

Core Perspectives

Legal Studies/History 261: American Legal History to 1860
*Legal Studies 409: Human Rights in Law and Society
*Legal Studies/Soc/GWS 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
Legal Studies 435: Civil Rights
Legal Studies/ChicLa/Sociology 440: Ethnicity, Race and Justice (ethnic st)
*Legal Studies 450: Courts, Constitutionalism, & Human Rights
*Legal Studies 476: Medieval Law and Society

*Meets requirement that at least two courses in the major must have substantial content dealing with countries or cultures outside the United States or with the international legal system. For this requirement, a course can count both for purposes of meeting the Distribution requirement above and the Global Legal Systems requirement.

Program Requirements

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Program Advising

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