Area of Focus
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
  • Undergraduate Minor
Academic Division
  • Social Sciences
  • Politics

Program Overview

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.


Learning Experience

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. or undergraduate minor
  • Off-campus and study abroad programs
  • 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.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

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.

Students in class

Transfer Requirements

This is a non-screening major. 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 outside Humanities Building

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the major, undergraduates with a B.A. in Legal Studies will have met the following objectives:

  1. Describe, explain, and compare the sources and functions of law in the US and other national or international contexts, including drawing on theoretical perspectives, institutional perspectives, and social/cultural perspectives;
  2. Analyze the role of laws, courts, and other legal institutions in broader society, including the historical, social, political, and economic contexts in which it operates;
  3. Evaluate the operation and function of legal norms, practices, and systems/institutions from a variety of disciplinary and social perspectives;
  4. Apply and critically evaluate arguments about legal principles and norms, practices, and institutions based on logic and evidence, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; and
  5. Develop and communicate well-organized, persuasive, and well-supported written and oral arguments and analyses regarding law and legal issues based on appropriate empirical and/or theoretical evidence and logic.

Internships and Career Opportunities

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.

Program Contact



apartment Merrill College Academic Building
phone (831) 459-2505

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