Recognizing the critical role that law plays in societies, the minor in legal studies provides students with courses that deepen and expand their understanding of law as practiced, especially its influence on social, political, and economic institutions.
Notes about this minor:
Students majoring in criminal justice, philosophy, or political science can count a maximum of 3 credits from their home departments. Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).
The plan code for Legal Studies Minor is LEGAL-MN.
This course focuses on the relationships between law and other social institutions, and examines the values and interests that are expressed in law and shaped by legal structures and processes. Consensus and conflict perspectives of the law are compared and contrasted, and applied to understanding the law's impact on everyday life. This course takes an explicit interdisciplinary approach to understanding law. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
Law & Society
This course focuses on the relationships between law and other social institutions, and examines the values and interests that are expressed in law and shaped by legal structures and processes. This course takes an explicit interdisciplinary approach to understanding law and is designed for those interested in a critical inquiry of the nature of law within a framework of a broad liberal arts education. Class 3, Credit 3 (F) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Choose four of the following:*
Communication Law and Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Criminal Law deals with the substantive and procedural criminal law. Characteristics of crimes against people, property, and the state will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on the nature of criminal conduct, the requirement of criminal intent, and legal causation. In addition, the principal defenses will be examined. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
This course provides students with an understanding of the recognized functions of courts in the American criminal justice system. Jurisdiction, policies and procedures of courts in the administration of criminal justice, including trial and appellate courts, will be discussed. Courts will be examined at the local, state and federal levels. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Provides the student with an awareness of what types of evidence are admissible in a criminal trial. Includes a comprehensive analysis of the most frequently used rules of evidence. There are readings and discussions pertaining to the nature of real, testimonial, hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Examines rules concerning the cross-examination of witnesses, exceptions to the exclusion of hearsay evidence, the burden of proof, the provinces of the judge and of the jury, legal presumptions, and the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
Major Issues in Criminal Justice
Focuses on contemporary issues and topics not otherwise distinctly incorporated in established criminal justice courses. Concentrates on student discussion and interaction surrounding required readings on topics such as crime prevention and issues in the prosecution/court system. Recent examples include cyberlaw, prisoner re-entry restorative justice, wrongful convictions, crime mapping, crime analysis, non-traditional courts, legal controversies in the law, substance abuse, and legal research. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
An introduction to symbolic, or formal, deductive logic and techniques, such as truth tables, truth trees, and formal derivations. The emphasis will be on propositional (or sentential) logic and first-order predicate logic. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Philosophy of Law
An introduction to philosophical analysis centering on the nature, extent and justification of law, the nature of legal thought, and the problems and theories of justice and the relationship between law, ethics and morality. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Social and Political Philosophy
An examination of some of the main problems of social and political philosophy through an analysis, comparison and critical examination of various views concerning the natures of individuality and society and the relations between them. (Prerequisites: Completion of one (1) course in any of the following disciplines: PHIL, POLS, SOCI, or CRIM.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
International Law and Organizations
The study of international law and organizations is the study of international cooperation and governance. The course will cover a variety of theoretical and substantive topics including the theories of international law and organizations, the historical development of international organizations, how these organizations work in practice, and whether they are effective. Emphasis will be placed on the United Nations and the role and usefulness of nongovernmental organizations in international organization. Several of the substantive issues discussed are interstate violence and attempts to address humanitarian concerns, globalizations, and the environment. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Human Rights in Global Perspective
This course explores the theoretical meaning, both domestically and internationally, and the institutional and political aspects of human rights. Issues covered include the definition of human rights; the relationship between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights; the meaning and impact of humanitarian and international human rights law; the impact of cultural relativism in the definition and assessment of the promotion and protection of human rights; the significance of different religious perspectives; the question of the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions and the effects of globalization on human rights perceptions and practices. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
A study of the Constitution of 1787 and the manner in which it was written. The focus of the course is on the way the people have, through the Constitution, delegated powers and responsibilities of government to the Congress, the President, the Courts and the States. Selected Supreme Court opinions will be considered to shed light on how the Constitution has been read and how thoughtful citizens might read it. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Constitutional Rights and Liberties
This course provides an introduction to the Supreme Court's legal and political reasoning on the civil rights and liberties contained in the Bill of Rights. Particular emphasis will be placed on the First Amendment as the cornerstone of a free society guaranteeing religious liberty and the right to free speech. The course will also examine how the Court has balanced constitutional rights and liberties in the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments against the need for enhanced national security. Lecture 3 (Spring).
Classical Constitutionalism, Virtue, & Law
This course will examine the classical quest for personal and political order. It will concentrate on the foundations of classical political science and its search for the best regime. The course will also examine the classical understanding of constitutionalism, or the regime as the form for encouraging virtue through the rule of law, in contrast to the modern view that attempts to combine liberty and property. Along the way, the enduring questions of cosmology, human nature, justice and the good will be examined. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Modern Constitutionalism, Liberty, & Equality
This course examines the founding principles of modern constitutionalism and the modern state. Special attention will be paid to the theory and practice of the principles of equality, liberty, and consent. A major effort throughout the course will be made to consider the assessments and prescriptions for modern constitutionalism offered by American and continental political thinkers. Lecture 3 (Spring).
* Students majoring in criminal justice, philosophy, or political science may only count one course from their home department toward the requirements of the minor.