Overview of Legal Studies Courses

Legal studies is an interdisciplinary subject that examines both society and law, as well as how they relate to one another. Learn more about the most common legal studies courses available by checking out this article.

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Essential Information

Since it is an interdisciplinary field, legal studies courses can be included in a multitude of undergraduate majors, like criminal justice, political science, legal studies, paralegal studies and more. Graduate degree programs in political science and related fields may also include legal studies coursework. Beyond lectures and research projects, some programs may include an internship component.

Students in legal studies should be ready to review the following topics:

  • Cultural perspectives of legal systems
  • Policy development and implementation
  • Connections between the study of law and other disciplines
  • Liberties and rights to privacy
  • The humanist approach vs. empirical legal systems

List of Courses

Introduction to American Legal Studies Course

This legal studies course combines various theories and methods from social science and law. Designed as a pre-law course, the goal of the class is to develop an understanding of the nature, content, and operation of American law and its legal institutions. Topics in the course include court procedures, the organization and powers of federal and state lawmaking institutions, and the analysis of statutory provisions and judicial opinions.

Human Rights, Social Justice and Law Course

This course introduces a discussion on the individual, social and cultural rights within international human rights laws. By studying international law, students become familiar with the protocols that regulate the handling of international conflicts and developments that guide protocols instilled for combat, care of the sick and wounded, and the explicit role of the Red Cross. Students examine the governing conduct of armed hostilities to determine criminal responsibility for humanitarian law violations.

Global Politics Course

This course is designed to help students understand modern day challenges of a global society. Students study issues such as energy, trade, human rights, health care, sex and drug trafficking, and the disparity between rich nations and poor nations. Students assess competing theoretical issues in the field in order to analyze the evolution of the post-war challenges on the economic, environmental and political level. The goal of the course is to help identify major challenges of peace and sustainability in the new global environment. Attention is given to developing non-Western regions, such as Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Legal Ethics Course

This course provides students with a fundamental understanding of the codes of conduct, laws, and ethical obligations of members of the legal profession. The coursework covers the basic principles that concern the ethical practice of both lawyers and paralegals. It also offers students the necessary theoretical background for identifying and resolving ethical problems in everyday practice, including issues of confidentiality, the unauthorized practice of law, handling of client funds, and disciplinary procedures and malpractice.

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