Law, Rights, and Justice
Nicholas Buccola, Ph.D.
The interdisciplinary minor in Law, Rights, and Justice is intended to encourage students interested in law to connect legal theory with legal practice, to explore law through the lenses provided by multiple disciplines, to think critically about the relationship between law, rights, and competing conceptions of justice, and to combine liberal learning with possible career aspirations. Through an interdisciplinary program that combines humanistic with social scientific forms of inquiry, students will have opportunities to think critically about a variety of issues such as the sources of law, the functions of law, the impact of law on society and society on law, the behavior of legal elites, the impact that behavior has on ordinary people, the relationship between law and morality, the nature and value of rights as well as how competing conceptions of justice can provide us with lenses through which to view the relationship between law and freedom, virtue, democracy, equality, and human flourishing.
This is not a pre-law minor and it should not be thought of as “the path” to law school. The Law School Admission Council and the American Bar Association have made it very clear that the specific subject matter of undergraduate study is far less important for students interested in law school than the rigor of their academic program. In the words of the Pre-Law Committee of the American Bar Association: “Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education.”
Our hope, though, is that the course of study for a Law, Rights, and Justice minor would provide students with skills that will serve them well if they choose to pursue a legal education: the ability to read complex texts, the ability to assess the logic of arguments, the ability to do independent research, and the ability to communicate effectively through speech and writing. The minor is housed in the Department of Political Science. Students interested in the minor should contact Professor Nick Buccola at email@example.com.
Goals for the Minor
In successfully completing the Law, Rights, and Justice minor, a student will:
- exhibit a fundamental grasp of the major reasons that have been offered in defense of the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice;
- exhibit a fundamental grasp of the major reasons that have been offered in critique of the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice;
- think critically about the connections and tensions between the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice;
- ask meaningful questions about law, rights, and justice;
- communicate with clarity and precision in response to meaningful questions about law, rights, and justice.
Requirements for the Minor
In order to complete the Law, Rights, and Justice Minor, students must complete six courses. Elective credits for this minor may not count toward the student’s major. Students must take at least one elective course from List A and at least one elective course from List B. No more than three courses from one department may be counted toward the minor. If a student believes a course not listed below might be an acceptable alternative, he or she should check with the coordinator of the program.
- POLS 220: Great Political Thinkers or PHIL 365: Social & Political Philosophy
- POLS 320: Law, Rights, & Justice
At least one elective from:
- PHIL 180: Moral Problems
- PHIL 215: Bioethics
- SOAN 240: Utopias and Dystopias
- ENGL 260: Transatlantic Literature: The Good Society
- PHIL 306: Environmental Ethics
- POLS 310: American Political Thought
- PHIL 320: Ethical Theory
- PHIL 360: Philosophy of Law
- POLS 380: Topics in Political Theory*
And at least one elective from:
- POLS 225: The Study of Law
- POLS 325: U.S. Supreme Court
- MSCM 337: Mass Media & the Law
- BNSS 340: Business Law I
- ECON 352: Economics & Law
- POLS 362: Global Governance, International Law and Ethics
- SOCL 370: Society, State, and Social Policy
- BNSS 435: International Business Law
- BNSS 440: Business Law II
*Depends on topic; check with coordinator of the program.