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The "law" does not exist in an intellectual vacuum. The legal studies concentration is concerned with more than the abstract analysis of court decisions, statutes, and legal procedures. Rather, the concentration focuses on the interactions and interconnections between law and the broader social world. Specific topics of study include political influences on judicial decision-making, the evolution of the right to privacy, environmental law, plea bargaining, police discretion, the role and function of juries, the legal environment of business, the juvenile justice system, disputes over constitutional interpretation, and the philosophical underpinnings of our commitment to free expression.
Because the study of law is not a narrow or isolated field, the legal studies concentration draws from the perspectives of several different disciplines: political science, sociology, philosophy, business administration, mass communication, and geography. Each discipline is able to contribute unique insights and knowledge about law and society, and students have a substantial degree of flexibility in selecting the courses that will be of the greatest interest to them.
The legal studies concentration offers an excellent course of study for students contemplating law school or work in a law-related field. In particular, taking courses such as Constitutional Law I and II, Logic, Argumentation and Advocacy, and Philosophy of Law will make the transition to law school much easier. However, it is important to emphasize that there is no such thing as a "pre-law" major. Law schools routinely accept undergraduates majoring in such diverse fields as chemistry, philosophy, English, and economics. If you want to attend a good law school, doing well in a major that you enjoy is much more important than taking a course of study designated as "pre-law."
Finally, the legal studies concentration is open to all students who want to learn more about the law, regardless of whether they intend to pursue a law degree. The legal studies concentration will benefit those students interested in careers and/or advanced study in government and public administration, teaching, journalism, human resources, and several fields of business.