Advising & Student Services
|THE MAJOR||OTHER LEGAL STUDIES OPPORTUNITIES|
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.
The Legal Studies Advising Center
Thompson Hall 2nd Floor outside room 222
Hours: M-F 9:00-5:00
Not sure who to contact? Look at our quick reference guide.
Sometimes only other students can give you the kind of information you need: 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.
All legal studies majors must take Legal250, Introduction to Legal Studies. This course is taught every semester and is restricted to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Legal250 is a prerequisite for most legal studies courses. In addition, majors must take: SEVEN upper level legal studies courses, Legal450, 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.
To declare legal studies as your primary or secondary major just stop by the Advising Center located on the second floor of Thompson Hall outside rooms 220 and 222. You will need to fill out a major declaration form and leave it with 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 Advising Center 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Please allow 48 hours for a response.
You can pick up course override/withdrawal forms at the Advising Center or at the Registrars in 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 the Advising Center. If you are adding or dropping a class after the add/drop period additional approval and signatures will be required.
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.
You can earn Legal Studies credit for study abroad courses, however it is important to get pre approval. Please bring a copy of the class descriptions or syllabi of the intended courses to get approval. Not all classes taken abroad may be approved to count towards legal studies requirements, therefore we encourage you to contact the GenEd and GlobalEd offices to see if they will accept any of the classes. It is important to get pre approval BEFORE you study abroad, thereby reducing the chances of returning to campus and not being able to receive credit.
Your ARR is the most useful tools to assess 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. 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.
Many students look for advice as to which class to take to fulfill needed requirements. Come to the Advising Center 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.
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 the Advising Center so the course can be added to your schedule manually. Faculty can also email the Advising Center 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. Most students register for Legal Studies 496.
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).
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.
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.
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.