The Law, Politics and Society (LPS) program offers students an interdisciplinary perspective on the complex interactions of law, culture, economics, politics, and social structure. The program does not treat law as a fixed, naturally given feature of social life, nor as a professional practice reserved only for specialists such as lawyers, judges and legislators. Instead, we understand law as a pervasive part of everyday life, socially constructed and often contested.
As a liberal arts major, the LPS program is designed to provide students with a broad education contributing to their pre-professional and personal growth, in preparation for effective participation in a civil society, and for ethical global citizenship.
In this major students will:
LPS has three core faculty members, and an advisory board comprised of faculty from throughout the College of Arts and Sciences. LPS faculty specialize in American Indian law and politics, critical race and feminist theory, and reproductive law and politics, as well as human rights, international law (including war crimes), and environmental disaster.
ACADEMIC PREPARATION No specific preparation is required. Students with a wide variety of interests - from government and history, to philosophy, religion, and cultural studies, as well as students who are particularly interested in the nature of public life, and in the engagement with political and social issues are often drawn to the LPS major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR
LPS majors are required to take an introductory sequence of courses (LPS 001 and LPS 002), a mid-level LPS seminar focusing on Constitutional Law (LPS 100), and the Senior Seminar in the major (LPS 190). As well, they take four LPS-designated courses outside of the core curriculum, and an additional six courses from related disciplines. Through their coursework, students will encounter the structures and people that create, interpret, implement, and are affected by law; they will engage in in-depth examination of problems and opportunities facing contemporary societies, and identify the complex web of contributing legal, political, and social factors – as well as possible solutions to those problems. Finally, students will leave the major with a more critical and nuanced understanding of the historical underpinnings of contemporary law, politics, and society, able to critically evaluate normative claims, and craft their own unique and imaginative responses to current issues.
DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.
The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.
INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES Drake's location in Des Moines, Iowa's capital city, gives LPS majors the opportunity to intern in a variety of settings including local law firms, state and local government, social service agencies, and interest groups. Drake also offers a Washington Semester Program. These internships in the nation's capital are available to a few students each semester. Students interested in careers in public service receive excellent experience in the program. All LPS students will engage in experiential learning, which may involve service learning, through at least one of their LPS-designated courses.
CAREER OPTIONS LPS majors use their degrees for entrance into state, local and federal government, international service, business careers, social work, journalism, teaching and politics. Drake Law, Politics and Society graduates pursue a variety of post-graduate educational opportunities, including law school and graduate programs.
STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES Although not associated directly with the major, a number of students have benefited from participation in Drake’s mock trial and moot court teams, which have been effective and successful at the highest levels of national competition. LPS students also participate in Drake's Pre-Law fraternity, and have their own LPS student organization