The legal studies minor is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to study the role of law and legal institutions in society.
Students who minor in legal studies learn about law in courses from anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science and other disciplines. The curriculum emphasizes the forces that shape law and the ways that peoples of different cultures and from different historical periods have used and interpreted the law.
Because Legal Studies is interdisciplinary in nature and offers a variety of courses, each student can design a course of study that addresses his or her individual needs and interests.
Students may choose to take advantage of internships available in law and government. Legal Studies is an excellent pre-law program. It also prepares students well for other graduate study, as well as for careers in academia, business, politics or social services.
There is no major available in this area. Students interested in undergraduate, pre-professional preparation for the study of law should contact the pre-law adviser in the College of Arts & Sciences, who is available to help plan a course of study and prepare a strategy for applying for admission to law school.
The Minor in Legal Studies
Units required: 18
The minor in legal studies requires six courses (18 graded units), at least three of which must be upper-division (300- or 400-level). Two of the six courses may be drawn from the student's major, but as in all College programs, they can not be double-counted (i.e., applied to both the major and minor). The six courses also must be distributed across three of four thematic subject areas. For details, please visit the Legal Studies website or consult the Director of Legal Studies.
The following is a list of courses that have been offered in Legal Studies in recent years. Note that some of these courses are not currently offered, and some new courses may also count toward the minor. For a current list of courses in Legal Studies, please visit the Legal Studies website or contact the director of Legal Studies.
Visit https://courses.wustl.edu to view semester offerings for L84 Lw St.
L84 Lw St 105G An Introduction to Logic and Critical Analysis
Introduction to the elementary tools of logic required for constructing and critically evaluating arguments and the claims they support. Topics include: the nature of an argument; argument structure; how arguments can fail both in structure and in content; formal and informal fallacies; propositional logic and predicate calculus; and critical analysis of rhetorical strategies for presenting arguments. Students are encouraged to develop critical reasoning skills that can be widely applied.
Same as L30 Phil 100G
L84 Lw St 131F Present Moral Problems
An investigation of a range of contemporary moral issues and controversies that draws on philosophical ethics and culturewide moral considerations. Topics may include: racism, world hunger, war and terrorism, the distribution of income and wealth, gender discrimination, pornography, lesbian and gay rights, abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment. The aim of the course is to present diverse points of view regarding these topics and to provide conceptual and theoretical tools that enable the student to make headway in thinking carefully and critically about the issues.
Same as L30 Phil 131F
L84 Lw St 2260 Sociological Approaches to American Health
The major objective of the course is to provide beginning students with the theoretical (conceptual) and empirical tools necessary to understand how health and illness and health care delivery in the United States are significantly influenced by the social structure in which they are embedded. Students demonstrate this understanding through designing and implementing a research project grounded in sociological theory and sound methodological strategies for collecting and analyzing data. Working in teams, students produce a research report suitable for a poster presentation or newsletter to a variety of audiences.
Same as L98 AMCS 226
L84 Lw St 233F Biomedical Ethics
A critical examination, in the light of contemporary moral disagreements and traditional ethical theories, of some of the moral issues arising out of medical practice and experimentation in our society. Issues that might be discussed include euthanasia, genetic engineering, organ transplants, medical malpractice, the allocation of medical resources, and the rights of the patient.
Same as L30 Phil 233F
L84 Lw St 235F Introduction to Environmental Ethics
A general survey of current issues in environmental ethics, focusing on problems such as the obligation to future generations, protection of endangered species, animal rights, problems of energy and pollution, wilderness, global justice and business obligations. Students also learn some ethical and political theory.
Same as L30 Phil 235F
L84 Lw St 260 Game Theory in Science and Culture
Introduces the major intellectual insights of game theory in a nontechnical fashion, and examines the influence game theory has had on geopolitics, social philosophy, psychology, art and the humanities. In addition to covering the basic machinery of the theory, the class: participates in numerous illustrative classroom games; examines game theory in film, literature and literary criticism; sees how game theory has contributed to social theory; and learns about the background of game theory and its history and perception as a hoped-for tool in the Cold War. Grades based on problems, short essays, two short-essay exams, and participation.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 260
L84 Lw St 280 Exploring Inequality: The Social and Structural Analysis of Modern American Life
Same as L98 AMCS 280
L84 Lw St 299 Undergraduate Internship in Legal Studies
Students receive credit for a faculty-directed and approved internship. Registration requires completion of the Learning Agreement which the student obtains from the Career Center and which must be filled out and signed by the Career Center and the faculty sponsor prior to beginning internship work. Credit should correspond to actual time spent in work activities, e.g., 8-10 hours a week for 13 or 14 weeks to receive 3 units of credit; 1 or 2 credits for fewer hours. Students may not receive credit for work done for pay but are encouraged to obtain written evaluations about such work for the student's academic adviser and career placement file.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L84 Lw St 3012 Biblical Law and the Origins of Western Justice
Same as L75 JINE 3012
L84 Lw St 312 Argumentation
This advanced writing course examines the strategies of argumentation, exploring such elements of argument as the enthymeme, the three appeals, claim types and fallacies. Prerequisites: Writing 1 (Writing 100) and junior standing. A note for students and advisers: when registering refer to WebSTAC for updated information on section times and available seats.
Same as L13 Writing 312
L84 Lw St 315 Introduction to Social Psychology
Introduction to the scientific study of individual behavior in a social context. Topics: person perception, stereotyping and prejudice, attitudes, memory and political psychology, among other issues. Prerequisite: Psych 100B.
Same as L33 Psych 315
L84 Lw St 3201 Religious Freedom in America
Same as I50 InterD 320
L84 Lw St 3255 The Development of the American Constitution
The practical meaning of the Constitution has changed since 1787 — not only as a result of normal amendments and court interpretations, but also through normal politics and unconventional transformations. After initial discussion of the nature of the Constitution and of constitutional interpretation, the course examines important instances of such change processes. These have resulted in important reformulations, usually gradual but occasionally sudden, of executive branch powers, the judicial system, the electoral system, federalism, economic regulation, and civil rights. The course then devotes special attention to several present-day issues of constitutional politics, such as presidential war powers, the use and misuse of secret agencies, the "unitary executive theory," and the special constitutional significance of the Justice Department. Prerequisite: L32 Pol Sci 101B American Politics. Formerly L32 Pol Sci 3254 Constitutional Politics in the U.S.; students who have taken that class are not eligible.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3255
L84 Lw St 330C Culture and Identity
Topics course focusing on instances of identity and culture within the American scope. Varies by semester; consult Course Listings for description of current semester's offering.
Same as L98 AMCS 330C
L84 Lw St 331 Theories of Social Justice
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 331
L84 Lw St 3325 Constitutional Politics in the United States
The principal purpose of this course is to introduce students to the politics of constitutional interpretation. We first discuss the origins of the constitution, the structure operation and work of courts, and judicial decision making. Afterward, we examine various areas of the law relating to institutional powers and constraints (e.g., federalism, presidential powers, Congressional authority). In so doing, we develop an understanding for the legal doctrine in each area of the law and also examine explanations for the legal change we observe.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3325
L84 Lw St 3373 Law and Culture
We live in an age when social policy is increasingly displaced into the realm of law, when justice and equality are matters of courtroom debate rather than public discussion. Legal language has become a key resource in all kinds of struggles over livelihood and ways of life. In this course, we study the cultural dimensions of law and law's changing relationship to state power, the global economy, social movements, and everyday life. We approach law as a system of rules, obligations, and procedures, but also a cultural practice, moral regime, and disciplinary technique. How are relationships between legal, political, and economic realms structured and with what consequences? How does law provide tools for both social struggle and social control? What does anthropology contribute to research on these issues? In exploring these questions, we combine readings from classical legal anthropology with recent ethnographic work from around the globe.
Same as L48 Anthro 3373
L84 Lw St 344 Courts and Civil Liberties
This course focuses on constitutional law principles in the Bill of Rights, and examines how Supreme Court decisions influence these principles in everyday life. We explore how the courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, have interpreted these rights in light of changing times and emerging issues. Topics include the First Amendment; free exercise of religion and the establishment clause; freedom of speech, assembly and association; freedom of the press; the Fourth Amendment and the rights of those accused and convicted of crimes; the right to privacy, including reproductive freedom and the right to die; equal protection and civil rights, including race, gender, sexual orientation; immigrants' rights and voting rights; and civil liberties after September 11. Recommended for the Liberal Arts and Business (LAB) Certificate.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 344
L84 Lw St 3441 Defendant's Rights
This course explores the operations of the American criminal justice system. Substantial emphasis on the constitutional rights accorded to the criminally accused. Readings consist primarily, but not exclusively, of Supreme Court cases.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3441
L84 Lw St 346 Philosophy of Law
This course first focuses on the philosophical foundations of law, examining both the relationship between law and rules, as well as the types of legal reasoning. Second, the course focuses on philosophical issues that arise in the key substantive areas of law: contracts, torts, property, criminal law, and constitutional law, as well as specialized areas such as family and employment law. The course ends with a brief discussion of several problems in legal ethics. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 100 or 200 level, or permission of the instructor. Priority given to majors in Philosophy and PNP.
Same as L30 Phil 346
L84 Lw St 3507 Legal Conflict in Modern American Society
Thousands of lawsuits are filed daily in the state and federal courts of the United States. The disputes underlying those lawsuits are as messy and complex as the human, commercial, cultural and political dynamics that trigger them, and the legal processes for resolving those disputes are expensive, time-consuming and, for most citizens, seemingly impenetrable. At the same time, law and legal conflict permeate public discourse in the United States to a degree that is unique in the world, even among the community of long-established democracies. The overarching objective of the course is to prepare our undergraduate students to participate constructively in that discourse by providing them with a conceptual framework for understanding both the conduct and resolution of legal conflict by American legal institutions, and the evolution of — and values underlying — the substantive law American courts apply to those conflicts. This is, at core, a course in the kind of legal or litigation "literacy" that should be expected of the graduates of first-tier American universities. Some of the legal controversies that are used to help develop that "literacy" include those surrounding the permissible use of lethal force in self-defense, the constitutionality of affirmative action in university admissions, contracts that are unconscionably one-sided, sexual harassment in the workplace, the duty of landlords to prevent criminal assaults on their tenants, groundwater pollution alleged to cause pediatric cancers, and warrantless searches of cellphone locator data by police.
Same as L98 AMCS 3507
L84 Lw St 3510 The Supreme Court
This course is intended primarily for sophomores and juniors. The topic of this course varies by semester, dependent on faculty and student interests.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 3510
L84 Lw St 3561 Women and the Law
We explore the development of women's legal rights by examining the ways in which social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality have shaped American legal concepts within the limited bounds of traditional legal reasoning. We begin by placing our current legal framework, and its gender, race and other societal assumptions, in an historical and Constitutional context. We then examine many of the critical questions raised by feminist theory, feminist legal thought and other critical perspectives. For example, is the legal subject gendered as male, and, if so, how effectively can women use the law to gain greater social equity? What paradoxes have emerged in areas, such as employment discrimination, family law or reproductive rights, as women have sought liberal equality? What is the equality/difference debate about and why is it important for feminists? The course is thematic, but we spend time on key cases that have influenced law and policy, examining how they affect the everyday lives of women.
Same as L77 WGSS 3561
L84 Lw St 3562 Introduction to Forensic Psychology
This course is an introduction to the interaction between psychology and the legal system. The contribution of psychology to such legal areas as family law, juvenile delinquency, criminal cases, law enforcement, and correctional psychology are surveyed. Topics covered include domestic violence, child abuse, personal injury, eyewitness testimony, insanity, sex offenders and psychopaths. Legal standards regarding insanity, civil commitment and expert testimony are reviewed. We also focus on the emerging contributions of neuroscience to the field of forensic psychology. Prerequisite: Psych 100B.
Same as L33 Psych 356
L84 Lw St 358 Law, Politics and Society
This course offers an introduction to the functions of law and the legal system in American society. The course material stresses the realities of the operation of the legal system (in contrast to legal mythology), as well as the continuous interaction and feedback between the legal and political systems. There are four specific objectives to the course: (1) to introduce students to legal concepts and legal theories; (2) to analyze the operation of the appellate courts, with particular emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court; (3) to analyze the operation of American trial courts, especially juries and the criminal courts; and (4) to examine the linkages between culture and law.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 358
L84 Lw St 3670 The Long Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement is known as a southern movement, led by church leaders and college students, fought through sit-ins and marches, dealing primarily with non-economic objectives, framed by a black and white paradigm, and limited to a single tumultuous decade. This course seeks to broaden our understanding of the movement geographically, chronologically and thematically. It pays special attention to struggles fought in the North, West and Southwest; it seeks to question binaries constructed around "confrontational" and "accommodationist" leaders; it reveals how Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans impacted and were impacted by the movement; and it seeks to link the public memory of this movement with contemporary racial politics.
Same as L22 History 3670
L84 Lw St 3713 Law in American Life I: English and Colonial Foundations to 1776
L84 Lw St 372C Law in American Life II: 1776 to the Present
Among the many contradictions of American history, none has been more recurrent than the tension of justice and law — of aspiration and reality — as Americans have sought to make good on the promises of the Revolution. Although we pride ourselves as a nation devoted to the principle of "equal justice under the law," the terms "equal" and "justice" have prompted bitter debate, and the way we place them "under law" has divided Americans as often as it has united them. It is the purpose of this course to examine the many and conflicting ways in which Americans have sought to use "law" to achieve the goals of the republic established in 1776. Viewing "law" as the contested terrain of justice, cultural construction, social necessity and self-interest, this course pays close attention to the way Americans have used, abused or evaded "law" throughout their national history.
Same as L22 History 372C
L84 Lw St 389 Power, Justice and the City
This course examines normative theoretical questions of power and justice through the lens of the contemporary city, with a particular focus on American urban life. It explores urban political economic problems, questions of racial hierarchy and racial injustice in the modern metropolis, and the normative and practical dilemmas posed by "privatism" in cities and their suburbs. In addition, the course devotes considerable attention to honing students' writing skills, through class assignments that stress rewriting and revising, and also through four in-class writing workshops devoted to formulating a thesis and making an argument, revising and rewriting, writing with style, and peer consultation.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 389
L84 Lw St 389A Power, Justice and the City
This course examines normative theoretical questions of power and justice through the lens of the contemporary city, with a particular focus on American urban life. It explores urban political economic problems, questions of racial hierarchy and racial injustice in the modern metropolis, and the normative and practical dilemmas posed by "privatism" in cities and their suburbs.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 389A
L84 Lw St 391 History of Political Thought I: Justice, Virtue and the Soul
This course offers a critical introduction to the main issues and debates in Western political theory, including but not limited to the topics of justice, legitimacy, equality, democracy, liberty, sovereignty and the role of history in the political and social world. This course is designed to be the first in a three-semester sequence on the history of political thought, and students are encouraged, but not required, to take the courses in chronological sequence. The first semester begins with ancient Greek political thought, and follows its development up to the early 16th century.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 391
L84 Lw St 392 History of Political Thought II: Legitimacy, Equality and the Social Contract
Government is often justified as legitimate on the grounds that it is based on the consent of the governed. In History of Political Thought II, "Legitimacy, Equality and the Social Contract," we examine the origins of this view, focusing our attention on canonical works in the social contract tradition, by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), John Locke (1632–1704), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), David Hume (1711–1776) and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). This course is the second in a three-semester sequence on the history of political thought. Students are encouraged but not required to take all three courses. Prerequisite: one previous course in political theory or political philosophy.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 392
L84 Lw St 393 History of Political Thought III: Liberty, Democracy and Revolution
How, if at all, should the political institutions of the modern state express and secure the liberty and equality of citizens? What is the political significance of private property? Is world history to be understood as progress toward one best form of government — capitalist democracy, perhaps, or communism? What forces drive history? We address these and other timeless political questions through close reading and rigorous analysis of classic texts in the history of Western political thought. Authors studied include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and Nietzsche. Prerequisite: one previous course in political theory or political philosophy. The course is the third in a three-semester sequence on the history of political thought, and students are encouraged but not required to take the courses in chronological sequence.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 393
L84 Lw St 4002 Directed Fieldwork in Legal Research
A fieldwork project in empirical and/or archival legal research under the direction of a member of the Washington University faculty. The fieldwork may be planned and undertaken individually or as part of a formal project. Permission of supervising faculty member and director of the program is required.
L84 Lw St 4013 Negotiating Major Legislation in Congress
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4013
L84 Lw St 403 Economics of Law
The course provides an introduction to the economic analysis of law. Mastery of basic economic approaches to the study of legal institutions is a valuable skill that benefits a broad range of students. The course covers the fundamental contributions made by the economic approach in five core areas: Property, Contracts, Torts, Litigation and Crime. Time permitting we cover other areas of the law such as Family, Privacy, and Discrimination Law. About 50% of the course is devoted to formal economic modeling of legal issues. Approximately 30% of the course is focused on empirical tests of the insights from the early theoretical contributions in the field and the theoretical models developed in class. The remaining 20% of the course uses classic legal cases to illustrate the real-world applications of the theoretical models developed in class. Prerequisite: Econ 4011. Econ 413 is recommended.
Same as L11 Econ 403
L84 Lw St 4030 Political Theory of Education
This course explores issues of authority, legitimacy, citizenship, freedom and equality through contemporary readings in the political theory of education. What is to be done when parents, citizens, and educational experts make conflicting judgments about the proper education of children? When should the state defer to parental judgments and what are the grounds for legitimately refusing to do so? How should public schools aim to equip their students for the responsibilities of citizenship in a diverse liberal democratic state? What do the concepts of equality and equality of opportunity mean in the context of education, and (how) should governments pursue these values through education policy? We explore these issues through contemporary works of political theory as well as through considering a number of important U.S. court cases, including those dealing with the schooling of children from minority religious and cultural groups, affirmative action in university admissions, and school desegregation plans. Prerequisite: one previous course in political theory or political philosophy.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 4030
L84 Lw St 4400 Advanced Social and Political Philosophy
A selective investigation of one or two advanced topics in the philosophical understanding of society, government and culture. Readings may include both historical and contemporary materials. Possible topics include: liberalism, socialism, communitarianism, citizenship, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, social contract theory, anarchism, and the rights of cultural minorities. Prerequisites: one course in Philosophy at the 300 level, graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L30 Phil 4400
L84 Lw St 472 Social Theory and Anthropology
A seminar on social theory and its ethnographic implications. Course combines major works of modern social theory, including Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, with current work by contemporary anthropologists, such as Clifford Geertz, Eric Wolf, Marshall Sahlins, and Fredrik Barth, and ethnographers from related disciplines, such as Pierre Bourdieu and Paul Willis. Prerequisite: previous anthropology course work or permission of instructor.
Same as L48 Anthro 472
L84 Lw St 4981 Historical Perspectives on Human Rights and Globalization
This course offers a historical perspective on the modern international human rights regime, using materials drawn from diplomatic, legal, political, and cultural studies. Successful completion of this seminar involves designing, researching and writing a 25-30 page paper on a historically-oriented, human-rights-related topic of student's choice.
Same as L22 History 4981
PhD, Columbia University
John R. Bowen
Dunbar–Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences
PhD, University of Chicago
PhD, Harvard University
(History and Law)
William R. Lowry
PhD, Stanford University
Margaret C. Garb
PhD, Columbia University
Elizabeth K. Borgwardt
JD, Harvard University
PhD, Stanford University
PhD, Harvard University
Andrew R. Rehfield
PhD, University of Chicago
Professor of Practice
JD, Yale Law School