Legal Studies

UCSC Students


Legal studies is an interdisciplinary program that is designed for students who wish to use the methods and perspectives of various academic disciplines to study legal issues and to use the conceptual framework of the law to illuminate empirical and theoretical concerns in the various disciplines. The major is not intended as a substitute or preparation for any part of a law school curriculum but rather as a full field of study within the liberal arts curriculum.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Minor

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A., undergraduate minor
  • UCDC Program in Washington, D.C., Spend a quarter at the UC campus in Washington D.C., study and gain experience in an internship.
  • Academic credit available for internship and field study work through the legal studies program with the sponsorship of a legal studies faculty member
  • 3+3 B.A./J.D. program with UC Hastings, an accelerated program to earn a B.A. and a J.D. in six years.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

No specific courses at the high school level are required for admission to the major in legal studies at UC Santa Cruz. Courses in history, literature, philosophy, and the social sciences, whether taken at the high school or college level, are appropriate background and preparation for the legal studies major.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students will find it helpful to complete college courses that satisfy campus general education requirements before coming to UC Santa Cruz. Courses from another institution may be considered for the legal studies major only if they appear on the student’s transfer credit list on the MyUCSC portal. Students are allowed to substitute only one philosophy course in logic or ethics taken elsewhere to satisfy a legal studies major lower-division requirement. Students should discuss the procedure with the department adviser.


Students graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a major in legal studies are well prepared to go on to graduate or professional school in a variety of liberal arts or professional fields, and subsequently into academic or professional careers in such fields as business, education, journalism, law, public policy analysis, public finance, social work, or urban planning.


We encourage students to attend EAP, UCDC, and other study opportunities. If students begin planning early in their academic career, they will be able to complete the legal studies requirements, as well as attend EAP, UCDC, etc. and graduate on time. Students should meet with the undergraduate advisor to discuss their plans and to ensure their timely completion of requirements. 

Alumni Focus

Legal studies alumna Jessian Choy won the 2002 Brower Youth Award for environmental activism from the Earth Island Institute.

Joseph W. Guzzetta (B.A., Legal studies and Economics, ’01) is an associate at Severson and Werson in San Francisco, where he focuses on Financial Services.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064