University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Legal Studies Undergraduate Program

Welcome to the Legal Studies Program at UMass! We are the oldest undergraduate law and society major in the country and the only one offered at a public university in New England. Students majoring in Legal Studies are exposed to a wide array of courses that focus on the interrelationship between law, politics, and society in American, foreign, and international contexts. Our faculty are some of the best teachers and researchers in the nation and are experts on areas like human trafficking, judicial decision making, immigration, legal policymaking, alternative dispute resolution, the right to privacy, transitional justice, and many others.

Students majoring in Legal Studies study of law within a liberal arts framework and benefit from close contact with our faculty. Most classes are limited to 25 students and students regularly interact with faculty on honors theses, internships, and as undergraduate research assistants. Because the Legal Studies major hones students’ critical thinking, conflict resolution, and oral and written communication skills, Legal Studies majors are well-trained for a wide array of careers. While some of our students attend law school, Legal Studies alumni also go into careers in mediation, court administration, law enforcement, government, public interest, business, and, education, and many students attend graduate school in a variety of social science and humanities fields.

Within the major, students are eligible to receive Letters of Specialization in Legal Studies, allowing them to focus their studies, while earning a specialized credential. Letters can be earned in Comparative and International Law; Conflict Resolution; Constitutional Law; Data Analytics for Politics, Policy, and Legal Studies; and Law and Social Justice. Many of our students also double major in departments across the university. We also have a robust internship program, including internships with the Massachusetts trial and appellate court systems, district attorneys’ offices, private law firms, public interest groups, mediation firms, law enforcement, legislators, corporations, and many others. UMass is also the home to the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, the Law and Society Association, and the Five College Seminar in Legal Studies.

Thanks for taking the time to look into the Legal Studies Program at UMass. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Rebecca Hamlin
Director of Legal Studies