Law and Society Major

The Law and Society Major provides students with an understanding of the place of law in economic, cultural, political, and social life.



Rather than reflecting universal or natural laws, legal systems intersect with social structures and systems of stratification.  Laws can mediate or exacerbate conflicts, reinforce or help to change social norms, determine access to institutions, and even regulate personal reproductive decisions and define intimate relationships. The major includes courses relating to a wide array of areas of study, including the criminal justice system; immigration law and policy; housing and residential segregation by race and social class; reproductive and marital rights; religious freedom; public welfare systems; and other historical and contemporary complexities at the intersection of law and society. Courses will examine how laws get made, how they evolve, and whether and how they are enforced. Courses will also delve into the impact of laws and legal systems, and how they shape social life by constraining some actions and enabling others. They will also elucidate how the law patterns inequality by race, ethnicity, nativity, religion, gender, and sexuality. The Law and Society major benefits students upon graduation with a wide range of opportunities including the pursuit of graduate studies in law, engaging in policy work, and other careers in the public and private sectors where a holistic understanding of the intersection of law and various aspects of society is beneficial.


To declare, please contact the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students who major in Law and Society cannot double major in Sociology, nor can they do any of the minors in the Sociology program (Sociology, Medical Sociology, Law and Society).



A) Core (3 CU's) 

SOCI 1120: Law and Society 
SOCI 1000: Introduction to Sociology 
SOCI 2000: Sociological Research Methods 

B) Breadth Requirements (6 CU's): 
Students are required to take at least 2 courses in each of 3 substantive areas: 1) the criminal justice system; 2) systems of stratification; and 3) social problems and policy. 

The Criminal Justice System (2 CUs): 

SOCI 1030: Deviance 
SOCI 2902: The U.S. and Human Rights – Policies and Practices 
SOCI 2908: Carceral Crisis – The Question of Abolition 
SOCI 2920: Criminology 
SOCI 2921: Criminal Justice 
CRIM 4002: Criminal Justice Data Analytics 

Systems of Stratification (2 CUs)
(Closely-related courses outside of this list that explore systems of stratification may be considered at the discretion of the undergraduate chair)

SOCI 1050: Social Stratification 
SOCI 1060: Race and Ethnic Relations (or alternatives: SOCI 0003: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, SOCI 2907: Race, Rights and Rebellion) 
SOCI 1100: Sociology of Gender 

Social Problems and Public Policy (2 CUs): 

SOCI 0004: The Law in our Lives 
SOCI 1090: Urban Sociology 
SOCI 1150: Fair Housing, Segregation and the Law 
SOCI 2200: Religion 
SOCI 2240: Law and Social Change 
SOCI 2420: Social Problems and Public Policy 
SOCI 2430: Race, Science and Justice 
SOCI 2450: Poverty Race and Health 
SOCI 2460: Social Inequality and Health
SOCI 2680: Contemporary Immigration in the US 
SOCI 2691: Innovation, Regulations, Technology and Society: Experience from East Asia 
SOCI 2940: Homelessness and Urban Inequality 
SOCI 2943: Global Urban Education 
SOCI 2944: Perspectives on Urban Poverty
SOCI 2952: Health and Social Justice


C) Electives (4 CU's) 
Any 4 courses in Sociology or from other departments that relate to the law (courses outside of this list may be approved at the discretion of the Undergraduate Chair or Associate Director): 

SOCI 2440: Social Movements 
SOCI 2690: Comparative International Education – Focus on East Asian Education 
SOCI 2973: Culture on Trial: Race, Media, and Intellectual Property 
AFRC 3500: American Slavery and Law 
COMM 3230: Contemporary Politics, Policy and Journalism 
COMM 4320: Digital Inequalities 
ECON 0440: Law and Economics 
EDUC 5418: Global Governance and Cooperation: Int’l Education Policy and Practice 
EDUC 5439: Examining the School to Prison Pipeline: Implications of History, Police 
EDUC 5841: Access and Choice in Higher Education
ENGL 0060 - Literature and Law 
HIST 1172: Bodies, Race, and Rights - Sex and Citizenship in the 20th Century America 
HIST 1119: History of American Law to 1877 
HIST 1169: History of American Law since 1877 
HIST 1733: Free Speech and Censorship 
LGST 1010: Law and Social Values
LGST 2020: Law of Corporate Management and Finance
LGST 2080: Law and the Workplace
LGST 2120: Economic Analysis of Law
LGST 2150: Environmental Management: Law and Policy
LGST 2180: Diversity and The Law
LGST 2190: Law and Policy in International Business
LGST 2210: Constitutional Law and Free Enterprise
LGST 2240: Human Rights & Globalization
LGST 2260: Markets, Morality and Capitalism
LGST1010: Law and social Values 
PHIL 1450: Philosophy of Law 
PHIL 2450: Justice Law and Morality 
PSCI 3401: International Law 
PSCI 1205: Constitutional Law
URBS 2040: Urban Law


D) Advanced Research (1 CU) 
Independent Study/Research Project, under the guidance of a sociology faculty member, on the intersection of law and society