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Law and Society (B.S.)

Program Director: E. Laine



The B.S. in Law and Society program is an undergraduate, interdisciplinary program that encourages active student participation and debate on issues concerning how competing powers create law, for what purpose, and how these laws are implemented and why they are followed. The program develops leadership by building critical thinking and communication skills in an energetic, practically oriented environment. Graduates are prepared broadly for careers in the legal profession, such as law school, paralegal and legal assistantships, and for positions in criminal justice, law enforcement, politics, non-profits and government organizations.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the law and society program will:

  • Experience a rigorous educational experience in a broad interdisciplinary major
  • Obtain an understanding of the structures and functions of the legal systems in both the American and global context
  • Have strong experiences in writing across a variety of contexts
  • Obtain the ability to apply their understanding and skills to the recognition and resolution of problems in contemporary society
  • Be strongly prepared for graduate and professional careers, within the legal system and without, as well as a variety of public and private settings
  • Experience an integrated understanding of the historical, philosophical, political, and social foundations of the law and its roles in society, and its relationship to economic, political, social and cultural structures and values in contemporary world

Program Description

The rule of law and concepts of social justice provide a foundation for life in modern society and a framework for ethical action for professionals in all fields of work. Knowledge of the origins of American and international legal concepts and systems, and of the ongoing transformation of those systems, is of value in virtually every profession and for every global citizen.

The law and society major builds valuable critical thinking and writing skills through the examination of legal systems, courts and conceptions of justice and human rights within both the American and international contexts, and offers opportunities to explore literary, philosophical, psychological, sociological, historical, ethical and scientific approaches to legal issues. With a multidisciplinary approach that draws deeply on the liberal arts and social sciences, the law and society program also reflects the University’s traditional commitment to practical professional education.

Students earning a B.S. in Law and Society will be well prepared for careers in law, law enforcement, criminal justice and politics, but are by no means limited to such careers. Today’s employers seek graduates with critical thinking and communications skills and broad global awareness. The skills and information offered by the law and society program prepare its students for work in a broad range of professional areas. Public service, government, NGOs, international businesses, high-tech firms and diplomatic service: these are only a few of the law-related fields affected by the rapidly changing legal environments worldwide.

All law and society majors also choose a minor from one of the many professional fields that the University offers, such as business, psychology, languages and environmental sustainability. Opportunities for internships, study abroad and independent research allow students to examine the ways in which legal issues intersect with professional practice in a variety of site locations across many professional fields. Our Career Services professionals help position students for career opportunities after graduation and have an enviable job placement record.

The law and society major also opens many doors for students whose career plans include graduate study in fields such as law, business, medicine, public health, political science, sociology and urban policy and planning. Students preparing specifically for careers as lawyers can take advantage of our professional advising program that supports them on their way to law school.