Minor in Law and Society
The interdisciplinary Law and Society (LSoc) minor is housed in the Department of Sociology and is open to all qualifying GWU undergraduates. The application forms can be uploaded here.
The minor is structured as follows:
- Admission to the minor requires a 3.3 minimum GPA, based on at least 30 credit hours of coursework at GW
- 18 credit hours (excluding prerequisites)
- With the exception of prerequisites and PSC 2988, no more than two courses from a single department may count for the minor
- No more than two courses may be counted for both the Law & Society minor and any other major or minor
Three (3) required foundation courses (9 credits):
- SOC 2167 Sociology of Law (3 credits)
- UW 2031W Equality and the Law: An Introduction to Legal Research and Writing (3 credits)
- PSC 2988 Internship in Law and Society (3 credits)
At least one (1) secondary foundation course selected from the following (3 credits):
- AMST 1160 Race, Gender, and Law
- PHIL 3142 Philosophy of Law
- PSC 2214 U.S. Constitutional Law and Politics I
- PSC 2215 U.S. Constitutional Law and Politics II
Two (2) elective courses selected from the following (6 credits):
- Any of the secondary foundation courses listed above
- BADM 4101 Business Law and Ethics
- ECON 3190 Law and Economics
- HIST 3370 U.S. Constitutional History
- MAE 3171 Patent Law for Engineers
- PSC 2213 Judicial Politics
- PSC 2444 Public International Law
- PUBH 3136 Health Law
- SMPA 2173 Media Law
- SOC 2145 Criminal Law
- SOC 5785 American Criminal Justice System
- WSTU 3170 Sexuality and Law
SOC 2167 and UW 2031W must be taken prior to or concurrently with PSC 2988.
Course Descriptions and Prerequisites: Required Foundation Courses
SOC 2167 Sociology of Law. This course focuses on law as a social phenomenon and agency of social control with special emphasis on the sources of and challenges to the legitimacy of law. Topics include an introduction to courts and the judicial process, state versus federal law, key branches of law, legal reasoning, and law, policy, and politics. The course provides a critical introduction to the structure, organization, content, and logic of law and legal institutions in the U.S. with a focus on how society shapes, and is shaped by, law. Prerequisite: SOC 1001 or 1002 and SOC 1003.
UW 2031W Equality and the Law: An Introduction to Legal Research and Writing. An introduction to how lawyers and legal scholars research and write about specific disputes that arise in the context of complex social issues. The course explores how legal advocates strive to fit historical, ethical, social, and “purely legal” arguments into an ostensibly conservative and narrow discipline. Open to declared Law and Society minors only.
PSC 2988 Internship in Law and Society: Study of the legal and judicial systems through internship experience. Open to declared Law and Society minors only. Approval of instructor required to register.
Course Descriptions and Prerequisites: Secondary Foundation Courses
AMST 1160 Race, Gender, and Law. Significant civil rights cases, critical race theory, feminist theory, and current public policy debates on domestic violence, mass imprisonment, sexual assault, and racial profiling.
PHIL 3142 Philosophy of Law. Systematic examination of fundamental concepts of law and jurisprudence; special emphasis on the relationship between law and morality.
PSC 2214 U.S. Constitutional Law and Politics I Separation of powers; federal-state relationships; economic regulation. Prerequisite: PSC 1002.
PSC 2215 U.S. Constitutional Law and Politics II Political and civil rights. Prerequisite: PSC 1002.
Course Descriptions and Prerequisites: Elective Courses
BADM 4101 Business Law and Ethics. Overview of the American legal system and related ethical issues with reference to business law and the Universal Commercial Code. Key legal concepts such as contracts and torts. The role of courts: regulation, litigation, and constitution issues.
ECON 3190 Law & Economics. An introduction to the economic analysis of legal systems. How laws alter behavior and how laws might be designed to satisfy efficiency and fairness criteria. Prerequisite: ECON 1011 and ECON 1012 and either ECON 2101 or 2103.
HIST 3370 U.S. Constitutional History. Examination of the text and interpretation of the document that is the foundation of the American government, with special attention to the changing character of race and gender as constitutional classes.
MAE 3171 Patent Law for Engineers. Types of patents; international patents; inventorship; prosecution process; basic references for patents; detailed structure of a patent; patentability requirements; reexamination and reissue; litigation; infringement and invalidity; copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress. May be taken for graduate credit with approval of department.
PSC 2213 Judicial Politics. An examination of judicial process and behavior. Emphasis on judicial selection, decision making, interaction with the political environment, and impact and implementation of decisions. Prerequisite: PSC 1002.
PSC 2444 Public International Law. Survey of essential principles and concepts of public international law through case analysis and with reference to political factors. Prerequisite: PSC 1003.
PUBH 3136 Health Law. Legal concepts related to individual health care and public health systems in the United States. Health care law, public health law, and bioethics.
SMPA 2173 Media Law. Freedom of the press, censorship, legislative controls, copyright, laws of libel and privacy, and laws relating to the news business, privilege, and fair comment.
SOC 2145 Criminal Law. Introduction to the sources and fundamental principles of criminal law and procedure using major sociological perspectives as interpretive tools. Prerequisite: SOC 1001 or 1002 and SOC 1003.
SOC 5785 American Criminal Justice System. Introduction to the powers of law enforcement in the United States related to the rights of suspects and defendants in the U.S. Constitution. Prerequisite: SOC 1001 or 1002 and SOC 1003.
WSTU 3170.12 Sexuality and Law. How the law has affected individuals’ abilities to express their sexuality. The primary focus will be on sexual orientation and issues such as marriage, adoption, voting rights, sexual harassment, and military service.