Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary program. Students learn to use the methods and perspectives of various academic disciplines to study legal issues. They also use the conceptual framework of the law to illuminate empirical and theoretical concerns in the various disciplines. The major is not designed as a substitute or preparation for any part of a law school curriculum. It is a full and interdisciplinary field of study within the liberal arts curriculum.
Study and Research Opportunities
- B.A. or undergraduate minor
- Off-campus and study abroad programs
- UCDC Program in Washington, D.C. Spend a quarter at the UC campus in Washington D.C., study and gain experience in an internship.
- UC Sacramento Center. Spend a quarter at the UC Center in Sacramento, study and gain experience in an internship.
- UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). Spend a term or year studying overseas.
- Service-learning and internships. Academic credit is available for internship and field study work through the Legal Studies Program with the sponsorship of a legal studies faculty member
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 in critical thinking and writing, enabling them 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, public finance, social work, and urban planning.
We encourage students to attend EAP, UCDC, UC Sacramento Center, and other study opportunities and resources through the UC system. 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.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
Approximately 40 professors teach courses that enroll legal studies students. Among their awards, professor Elizabeth Beaumont (politics and legal studies) was named a fellow at Harvard University's Ethics Center; professor Hiroshi Fukurai (sociology and legal studies) was named president of the Asian Law and Society Association; professor Dee Hibbert-Jones (art and legal studies) was nominated for an Oscar; and Professor Mark Fathi Massoud (politics and legal studies) received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Legal studies graduates are in careers in universities, law, business, government, and social organizing. 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 & Werson in San Francisco, where he focuses on financial services.