The Legal Studies Department offers the flexible Legal Studies: Law and Society major for students interested in law and its relationship to persons, systems, and institutions. It is an optional major for pre-law students. This major suits the needs and interests of Legal Studies students, and students majoring in other disciplines heavily impacted by law such as criminal justice, business, environmental studies, political science, communications, management, and international studies. Hamline’s undergraduate program provides specific training in law and related professional skills within the context of a broader liberal arts education.
In this major, students conduct legal research, learn to navigate the law, and understand its impact on diverse persons in both legal and social contexts. Knowledge of law and legal issues is important: When we understand the law, we are more informed citizens who are equipped to advocate for issues we care about and create positive systems change. A major in Legal Studies: Law & Society provides students with practical and theoretical tools for achieving justice through the pursuit of creating a better world for everyone.
Students completing the Legal Studies: Law & Society major develop legal and cultural competencies that will allow them to understand how lawyers, scholars, and citizens use the law as they advocate for justice and equity in Minnesota, the United States, and around the world. Graduates can pursue a variety of opportunities in the law, business, public policy, non-profit work, legislative initiatives, human rights, or social service.
In addition, students have the option to add an American Bar Association approved Paralegal Certificate to their program of study. Students can apply the graduate-level coursework in this certificate to Hamline University’s Master in the Study of Law, requiring only 14 additional graduate credits to earn the MSL (approximately 1 semester). The MSL allows students to choose among concentrations including Conflict Resolution, Education Law and Compliance, Litigation Support, Professional Practice Management, and Justice and Equity.
The major Legal Studies: Law and Society major does not qualify students to sit for the bar examination or to work as lawyers. Postgraduate study in an American Bar Association-approved law school after graduation from college is required to practice law.
Legal studies majors who intend to go on to law school are strongly encouraged to consider a second major, certificate, or skills-based minor in a field of their choice. A Legal Studies Major is not required for law school admission. Students interested in law school should also strongly consider taking PHIL 1130 - Logic, as well as writing-intensive and formal reasoning courses beyond those required by the Hamline Plan.
Legal studies majors have the option to complete an interdisciplinary concentration in forensic psychology or public policy. See below for details.