Law, Politics and Society

Degree Option

Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in law, politics and society.

Description of Program

The Law, Politics and Society 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 civil society, and ethical global citizenship.

In this major students will:

  • read and understand court decisions and theoretical writing, as well as the organization and practice of legal and political institutions
  • develop their ability to convey complex ideas and arguments in writing;
  • know and articulate the difference between law as a professional practice and law as a topic of liberal arts inquiry;
  • participate in experiential learning, democratic practices, and engaged members of a civil society;
  • demonstrate awareness of how issues of justice, morality, authority, order, legitimacy, individualism and community create tensions within ordered social life;
  • explain how historical development and different cultural practices, social organizations and political systems affect law and justice around the world;
  • assess critically how people interpret, respond to and experience law and the legal system based on factors such as race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and religion;
  • deploy contemporary legal, critical and/or interpretive theories in their own analyses of political, social or legal events or situations.

Requirements for Major

Through their coursework, LPS 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.

Students will be required to take the following courses:

  • LPS 001 Introduction to Law, Politics, and Society
  • LPS 002 Critical Concepts in Law, Politics, and Society
  • LPS 100 LPS Perspectives on Constitutional Law
  • LPS 190 Senior Seminar in Law, Politics, and Society

In addition, students are required to take 4 LPS-designated courses outside of that core curriculum (LPS 035, LPS 135, LPS 138, LPS 145). Three of those courses must be upper division; 2 must have a departmental designation as international/global; 1 must have a departmental designation as experiential learning.

Finally, students will take six courses in related fields: 2 lower division courses chosen from Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Politics/International Relations, Rhetoric, Sociology, Study of Culture and Society; and 2 upper division courses chosen from 2 of those fields, with the option of taking 2 LAW courses towards half of that requirement.

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