UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Advising & Student Services

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THE MAJOR OTHER LEGAL STUDIES OPPORTUNITIES

Contact Us

Peer Advising

Major Requirements

Declaring the major

Course overrides/course withdrawals

Approvals for transfer credits

Approvals for study abroad credits

Academic Requirements Report

Need help choosing a class?

Independent Study

Global Ed

Gen Ed

SBS Advising

Internships

Study Abroad

Honors

Scholarships & Awards

Resources (Library)

Research

Pre-Law

Advising Blog

 

 

 

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? VISIT THE ADVISING CENTER

The Advising Center, located on the second floor of Thompson Hall outside of room 222, is your go-to stop for all of your legal studies advising needs. At the advising center, you can find a list of current courses, a staff directory, required forms, information about the major and other departmental opportunities, as well as be able to schedule a time to meet with a peer advisor or one of our other academic staff members. If the advising center is unattended, please see Lori Sadler, the advising coordinator, in room 218.

 

 



 

Contact Us

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The Legal Studies Advising Center
Thompson Hall 2nd Floor, Room 219

Hours: M-F 9:00-5:00
Email: advising@legal.umass.edu

Not sure who to contact? Look at our quick reference guide.

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Peer Advising

Sometimes only other students can give you the kind of information you need, such as insider tips on navigating the University, choosing courses, and planning your undergraduate career. Because of this, the Department has specially trained peer advisors ready to assist you.  Just stop by the 2nd floor Help Desk to meet with them, drop them a line at helpdesk@polsci.umass.edu.  To find out more about our Peer Advisors, take a look at our advisors' profile page.

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Major requirements

All legal studies majors must take LEGAL 250, Introduction to Legal Studies. This course is taught every semester and is restricted to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. LEGAL 250 is a prerequisite for most legal studies courses. In addition, majors must take: SEVEN upper level legal studies courses, LEGAL 450 (Jr Yr Writing), and two liberal arts law-related courses, taken outside of the department. Click here for the full list of liberal arts law-related courses, and click here for a list of liberal arts law-related courses for the current semester only. If you are interested in counting a course that is not on this list, please discuss the possibility with your advisor before registering. Note that only one law-related liberal arts course can be at the 100-level.

In addition to these course requirements, students must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA overall and within the Legal Studies program.

A detailed list of the major requirements can be found here. We have also created a checklist that should help you keep track of your requirements. Download the PDF here. NOTE that the general education requirements in this checklist are ONLY for students admitted Fall 2010 or later.

Major requirements are in addition to any University or College of Social and Behavioral Sciences requirements.

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Declaring the Major

To declare legal studies as your primary or secondary major just make an appointment to see an advisor or stop by the Help Desk located on the second floor of Thompson Hall. You will need to fill out a major declaration form and get it signed by an advisor. Peer advisors are available to answer your questions and concerns about the major and its requirements. A list of requirements can be found here. We encourage you to come to the Help Desk to meet with a peer advisor and discuss questions you might have. Peer advisors can be a very helpful resource for understanding the requirements of the major and mapping out a potential course timeline. If you have questions or wish to schedule an advising appointment, you can email our advising staff at advising@legal.umass.edu. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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Course overrides/course withdrawals

You can pick up course override/withdrawal forms at the Help Desk or at the Registrar's office in Room 213 of the Whitmore Administration building. You will need to obtain the signature of the professor whose class you are either dropping or adding, and then bring it to an advisor to have it processed. NOTE:  Once the form is signed by an advisor, you are guaranteed a spot in the class, so be sure to drop any conflicting classes before you submit the override to an advisor.  If you are adding or dropping a class after the add/drop period ends additional approval and signatures will be required.

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Approvals for transfer credits

In order for a class taken at another institution to be approved for legal studies credit you will need to come to the Advising Center to get approval. If you are planning on taking a course for transfer credit we strongly encourage you to get course approval before you take the class this way if there are any concerns about the class’s qualifications you can settle them before investing time in taking the class. If you have already taken the class please bring a copy of the syllabus or class description with you when you come to the Advising Center.

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Approvals for study abroad credits

You can earn Legal Studies credit for study abroad courses, however it is important to get pre-approval. Please bring us a copy of the class descriptions or syllabi of the intended courses before you depart to ensure approval. If you want to apply study abroad courses to your Global Ed requirements, you should get pre-approval from the Global Ed Advisor in the SBS Advising Center.  If you would like a study abroad course to count as a UMass Gen Ed requirement, you must speak with the International Programs Office Registrar. Contact IPO at abroad@ipo.umass.edu.

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Academic Requirements Report (ARR)

Your ARR is the most useful tool you can use in assessing your progress. You can look at it at any time throughout the year to track your own progress. Your ARR is located in your SPIRE account under academics—academic requirements. You can view your report as a web page or as a pdf, and your advising team recommends you always look at the PDF version to get an accurate picture of where you stand.  Click here for more information on how to read your ARR, or come in and meet with an advisor who will assist you. We strongly encourage every student to become confident with reading their report, as it will be the best tool to help you see if you are staying on track with your requirements. Click here for more information on the ARR from the registrar's office. Sometimes classes will not appear in your ARR the way you are planning on using them, in that case check in with an advisor in the department you want to receive credit from to ensure that they have approval and so that they can adjust the report.

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Need help choosing a class?

Many students look for advice as to which class to take to fulfill needed requirements. Come to the Help Desk where a peer advisor will be able to help. Prior to meeting with a peer advisor look through the list of upcoming courses read the descriptions and see which classes interest you. You should also feel free to contact the professor teaching the course of interest with any questions relating to course material and expectations.

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Independent Study

Independent studies, like internships, do not normally count toward your Legal Studies major requirements. However, they are an excellent way to pursue a topic of interest to you, and to get to know a particular faculty member a little better. Click here for more information about Independent Study. Once you and a faculty member have decided on your independent study you will need to obtain your sponsor’s signature on a course override form. Bring the form to an advisor so the course can be added to your schedule manually.  Faculty can also email the advisors directly. Make sure you check online to verify the course has been added, and that the number of credits is correct. Again, Independent study credit is graded.

Honors independent studies must be registered for through the Commonwealth College (413-545-2483). Commonwealth College has a contract form that must be filled out, and co-signed by our Honors Coordinator, Leah Wing, (if using for Departmental Honors credit).

In addition to fulfilling the Department’s requirements, every Legal Studies major must also meet the requirements of the College of Social and Behavioral Science (the Global Education requirement) and the University (the General Education requirements).  

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Global Education Requirement

The Global Education requirement is designed to provide students with the exposure to diverse cultural perspectives that is essential to the development of individuals as intelligent and committed citizens of the world.  There are four options for fulfilling the five-course requirement; of particular note for Legal Studies or Political Science majors is the International Relations Certificate, completion of which also meets the Global Education requirement in its entirety (including replacing the standard Global Education requirements on one's transcript). 

For more information about the Global Education requirement, or to declare the option you will pursue, please visit the program’s comprehensive website or visit their physical office in 128 Thompson.

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General Education Requirement

The General Education requirement ensures that all UMass students graduate with the experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to become well-educated, successful, and valuable contributors to our ever-evolving global community. Through the Gen Ed Program, undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will broaden their perspectives (scientific, historical, philosophical, cultural, literary), improve critical and analytical thinking, increase awareness of technology, and acquire the skills necessary to discover, manage, and effectively communicate knowledge as informed citizens of our world. Students complete up to 14 courses in five broad curricular fields -- Basic Math and Analytic Reasoning, Biological and Physical World, Social World, Social and Cultural Diversity and Writing.  Most students complete a number of these “GenEds” during their first and second years. 

You can follow your GenEd progress on your own by checking your Academic Requirements Report (ARR)For more information on the General Education requirement, and complete, updated listings of which courses fulfill which requirements, please visit the General Education site.

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SBS Advising

We also encourage all Legal Studies students to explore the SBS advising website as it is full of information regarding all SBS opportunities available, both within and outside of legal studies. There you will find an updated list of achievements and awards as well as upcoming SBS events and opportunities.

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