Law and Society (BA)

Law and Society (BA)

Law and Society (BA)

The Law and Society major offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and legal institutions, their impact on society, and society’s impact on them. The major is organized around the central theme of understanding law as an instrument of political and social change and examines questions concerning how law matters in people’s lives; how law and law–like systems of rules empower and constrain individuals, groups, organizations and communities; and how the structures and values in social institutions shape and are shaped by law.

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

•     Demonstrate knowledge of law, legal phenomena and legal institutions from a variety of perspectives outside the discipline of law, with a focus on the relationship between law and political and social change.

•     Initiate, develop, and present independent research addressing and analyzing the relationship between law and society.

•     Develop written and oral communication skills to express informed opinions about issues in law and society.

Credits Required.

Law and Society Major


General Education




Total Credits Required for B.A. Degree


Prerequisites. POL 101 and SOC 101. Students are strongly urged to complete these two courses during their first year in the College and are course prerequisites for LWS 200. These courses can fulfill the College’s general education requirement in the Flexible Core: U.S. Experience in its Diversity and the Flexible Core: Individual and Society areas respectively. Prerequisites for individual courses include ANT 315 which requires at least one course in either ANT or LAW, and ECO 215 which requires ECO 101.

Coordinators. Professors Veronica Michel (212.621.3733, and Monica Varsanyi (212.237.8232,, Department of Political Science

Advisor. Professor Monica Varsanyi, Department of Political Science (212.237.8232,

Advising resources. Sample Four-year Plan of Study

Additional information. Students who enrolled for the first time at the College or changed to this major in September 2016 or thereafter must complete the major in the form presented here. Students who enrolled prior to that date may choose the form shown here or the earlier version of the major. A copy of the earlier version may be obtained in the 2015-16 Undergraduate Bulletin.

PART ONE: INTRODUCTORY COURSE                                                                     Subtotal: 3 credits

LWS 200 Introduction to Law and Society

PART TWO: SKILLS                                                                                                        Subtotal: 3 credits

Choose one
LWS 225 Introduction to Research in Law & Society
SSC 325 Research Methods in Criminology and Sociology

PART THREE: FOUNDATIONS                                                                                  Subtotal: 12 credits 

(Two courses in this area must be at the 300-level or above)

Category A: American Legal Foundations
Select two (one course must be at the 300-level or above)

HIS 277 American Legal History
LAW 206 The American Judiciary
POL 235 Judicial Processes and Politics 
POL 301 Constitutional Powers
POL 308 State Courts and State Constitutional Law

Category B: International Legal Foundations
Select one

ANT 315 Systems of Law 
POL 250 International Law and Justice
POL 320 International Human Rights

Category C: Sociological Foundations
Select one

SOC 206 The Sociology of Conflict and Dispute Resolution 
SOC 232 Social Stratification 
SOC 302 Social Problems

PART FOUR: PHILOSOPHY/JURISPRUDENCE/ETHICS                               Subtotal: 3 credits

Select one
LAW 301 Jurisprudence
LAW 310/PHI 310 Ethics and Law
PHI 302 The Philosophy of Rights
PHI 317 Philosophy of Law in Global Perspective

POL 270 Political Philosophy
POL 273 Western Political Thought
POL 371 American Political Philosophy 
POL 375 Law, Order, Justice and Society 

PART FIVE: SOCIETAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE                                           Subtotal: 12 credits

Select four courses, or two courses plus a six credit internship (LWS 375LWS 378POL 406POL 407POL 408, or three courses plus a three-credit internship (LWS 375). Only one 200-level course and a maximum of six credits of internship can be applied towards Part Five of the major. All students must take at least one course dealing with social change and race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity (POL 313 or POL 318 or POL 319 or LLS 322 mentioned in the note below).

ANT 330 American Cultural Pluarlism and the Law
ECO 215 Economics of Regulation and the Law 
LLS 322 Latina/o Struggles for Civil Rights and Social Justice
LWS 385 Faculty Mentored Research Experience in Law and Society
POL 305 Constitutional Rights and Liberties 
POL 313/LAW 313 The Law and Politics of Race Relations
POL 316 The Politics of Rights
POL 318 Law and Politics of Sexual Orientation
POL 319 Gender and Law
POL 344 The Law and Politics of Immigration
SOC 305 The Sociology of Law
LLS 322, POL 313, POL 318, POL 319: All students must take at least one course dealing with social change and race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Internship Options 
(Each internship requires permission of the instructor)
LWS 375 Law and Society Internship 
LWS 378 Law and Society Internship Intensive
POL 406 Seminar and Internship in New York City Government and Politics 
POL 407 New York State Assembly/Senate Session Program 
POL 408 CUNY Washington, D.C. Summer Internship Program 

PART SIX: SENIOR CAPSTONE                                                                                 Subtotal: 3 credits

LWS 425 Colloquium for Research in Law and Society

                                                                                                                                             Total Credit Hours: 36

                                                                                                                                                   Last Updated: 2/14/18