Legal Studies Learning Objectives

Legal issues have a profound impact on the lives of all citizens. Laws determine such issues as whether the police can randomly stop and search automobiles, what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace, whether schools can require students to take mandatory drug tests, and what type of speech and expression can be censored. At a time when laws are increasingly important in their scope and reach, it is essential for students to understand the operation of our legal system, the sources of our laws, and how to interpret and apply legal concepts.

This interdisciplinary minor is designed for all students who wish to gain an appreciation of our complex legal system. More specifically, the legal studies minor provides students with the skills essential for success in law school. The minor teaches students to critically analyze statutes and case law and to effectively communicate their analyses, both orally and in writing. The legal studies minor also easily complements any major.

The legal studies program is co-administered by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Department of Political Science and International Studies.

Upon completion of the legal studies minor, student will be able to:

  • understand the structure and function of the court system at both the state and federal levels;
  • know and differentiate the terminology and purposes of the criminal and civil justice systems;
  • utilize a variety of argumentation skills and techniques;
  • analyze and synthesize relevant case law using the Socratic (law school) method;
  • understand the expectations and challenges of law school.
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