Law and Society (BA)

The Law and Society major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and legal institutions, their impact on society, and society's impact on them. The major is organized around the central theme of understanding law as an instrument of political and social change and questions concerning how law matters in people's lives; how law and law-like systems of rules empower and constrain individuals, groups, organizations and communities; and how the structures and values in social institutions shape and are shaped by law.

Learning outcomes. Students will:

• Demonstrate knowledge of law, legal phenomena and legal institutions from a variety of perspectives outside the discipline of law, with a focus on the relationship between law and political and social change.
• Initiate, develop, and present independent research addressing and analyzing the relationship between law and society.
• Develop written and oral communication skills to express informed opinions about issues in law and society.

Credits Required: 36                            Four Year Academic Plan

Prerequisites: POL 101 and SOC 101. Students are strongly urged to complete these two courses during their first year in the College. These courses will fulfill the College's general education requirement in the Flexible Core: U.S. Experience in its Diversity and the Flexible Core: Individual & Society areas respectively. Additional prerequisites for individual courses include ANT 315 which requires at least one course in either Anthropology or Law, and ECO 215 requires ECO 101.

Coordinators: Professors Monica Varsanyi, Department of Political Science, (212.237.8232, and Maxwell Mak, Department of Political Science (646.557.4662,

Advisor.  Professor Monica Varsanyi, Department of Political Science, (212.237.8232,


LWS 200 Introduction to Law and Society

PART TWO: SKILLS Subtotal: 3 credits

SSC 325 Research Methods in the Behavioral Sciences

PART THREE: FOUNDATIONS Subtotal: 12 credits
Please note: two courses in this area must be at the 300-level

Category A: American Legal Foundations

Select two (one course must be at the 300-level or above)

HIS 277 American Legal History
LAW 206 The American Judiciary
POL 235 Judicial Processes and Politics 
POL 301 Constitutional Powers
POL 308 State Courts and State Constitutional Law

Category B: International Legal Foundations

Select one

ANT 315 Systems of Law 
POL 250 International Law and Justice
POL 320 International Human Rights

Category C: Sociological Foundations

Select one

SOC 206 The Sociology of Conflict and Dispute Resolution 
SOC 232 Social Stratification 
SOC 302 Social Problems


Select one

LAW 301 Jurisprudence
LAW 310/PHI 310 Ethics and Law
PHI 302 Philosophical Issues of Rights 
POL 270 Political Philsophy
POL 273 Western Political Thought
POL 371 American Political Philosophy 
POL 375 Law, Order, Justice and Society


Select four courses, or two courses plus a six credit internship (LWS 375, LWS 378, POL 407, POL 408, POL 406, or three courses plus a three-credit internship (LWS 375). Only one 200-level course and a maximum of six credits of internship can be applied towards Part Five of the major. All students MUST take at least one course dealing with social change and race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity (POL 313 or POL 318 or POL 319 or LLS 322 marked with an asterisk below).

ANT 330 American Cultural Pluarlism and the Law
ECO 215 Economies of Regulation and the Law 
*LLS 322 Latino/a Struggles for Civil Rights and Social Justice
*POL 313/LAW 313 The Law and Politics of Race Relations
*POL 318 The Law and Politics of Sexual Orientation
*POL 319 Gender and the Law
POL 305 Constitutional Rights and Liberties
POL 316 The Politics of Rights  
POL 344 The Law and Politics of Immigration
SOC 305 The Sociology of Law

Internship Options (each internship, except where noted, is at least 6 credits and requires permission of the instructor)

LWS 375 Law and Society Internship (3 credits)
LWS 378 Law and Society Internship Intensive
POL 406 Seminar and Internship in NYC Government and Politics 
POL 407 New York State Assembly/Senate Session Program 
POL 408 CUNY Washington, D.C. Summer Internship Program

Subtotal: 3 credits


LWS 425 Colloquium for Research in Law and Society

TOTAL: 36 Credits