Law, Justice, and Society


William D. Rose, director, Law, Justice, and Society Concentration; associate professor of political science.
B.A., 1981, J.D., 1987, University of Toledo; Ph.D., 1999, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Law is one of the most significant expressions of a society’s social and political development. We live in a period of widespread public interest in law that arises from a concern with problems of social justice, social control and social deviance. The traditional academic disciplines have increasingly focused on such issues as the nature and origin of law, law-making and law-breaking, rights and obligations, and freedom and responsibility. These are matters of increasing concern to teachers, social workers, business executives, doctors and public servants whose professional responsibilities demand knowledge of the relationship of law to their own fields.

The goals of this interdisciplinary concentration, which is selected in addition to an academic major, are to affirm the intellectual importance of the study of law and society, and to provide a framework whereby faculty and students may explore different approaches to law by using the resources of one or more disciplines. The curriculum is designed to equip students with the knowledge to understand legal institutions, practices and ideas, and also to grasp their relationship to larger social, economic and political forces. The concentration in law, justice, and society should be seen within the context of an undergraduate liberal education. That is, it is not a preprofessional program, but is designed for interested students, whatever their future career orientation.

Neither the American Bar Association (ABA) nor the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) recommends a specific course of pre-law studies. Instead, both recommend a broad-based undergraduate program of study that encourages the acquisition of critical reading, writing and analytical skills—i.e., a liberal arts education.

Admission—The law, justice, and society concentration is open to all students, regardless of academic major. Students must apply for admission to the concentration, and due to the nature of the requirements, are advised to do so no later than the second semester of their sophomore year. For more information and an application form, contact the director of the concentration.


The law, justice, and society concentration will be satisfied by the completion of six units of study, as follows:

  • LWJS 101, Introduction to Law, Justice, and Society (one unit). All students must take this gateway course for the concentration, unless exempted by the director of the concentration.
  • Four units, drawn from an approved list of courses, to be chosen in consultation with the director of the concentration. No more than two of the courses can be from the student’s major. See detailed list.
  • A program-related internship (one unit), to be approved by the director of the concentration.

Law, Justice, and Society Course

101 Introduction to Law, Justice, and Society (1)
Explores the basic issues of law's relationship to contemporary society. Topics include the nature as well as historical and social functions of law; the culture and role of major legal actors in the legal system (e.g., lawyers, judges, juries, police, technology); the tension between ideals and realities in law; and the role of law in addressing contemporary social problems. Fosters analytical and critical skills. Serves as the gateway class to the concentration in law, justice, and society; however, registration is open to all interested students. Rose.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)