Program Description

As an interdepartmental program, the Legal Studies Program considers problems and perspectives that reach across most academic disciplines and practical fields taught at Brandeis. We present law in the broad context of history, economics, politics, philosophy, literature, and the sciences; and we trace law’s impact within the fields of health, business, environment, and creative arts. The scope of legal concerns ranges from the local (states and communities), to the national, and to the global (regions and international bodies).

Our program does not provide professional legal training. Rather we give undergraduates access to a venerable field of human expression, where rigorous learning combines with reflective practice. Our learning goals apply not just to students completing the legal studies minor, but to the larger number of students who take one or more courses (all open without prerequisite). Understanding how law works should also help guide students in choosing professional careers, and also in forming lives of responsible citizenship.

In legal studies, the main University learning goals are tightly interwoven. To invoke Justice Brandeis’ core insight, learning about the law improves analytic skills. In dynamic terms, the creative elements in legal knowledge challenge conventions and require public improvement; just as legal problem-solving points back to the refinement of social and humanistic principles. The close integration of legal knowledge and skills provides a concrete framework for social advocacy, bringing real-life justice concerns to the center of liberal inquiry.