University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Legal Studies Major

Admissions to the major is open to all. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required for graduation as a Legal Studies major and overall. Legal Studies requires its majors to complete a minimum of 33 credits. No courses used for the major may be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Legal Studies is part of the New England Regional Student Program (NERSP), which means students from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with Legal Studies as their primary major may be eligible for a tuition reduction. Starting academic year 2012-2013, only sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible for this tuition break. For more information, contact the Registrar's Office.


1. Legal Studies 250, Introduction to Legal Studies (4 credits)

This is a prerequisite for most Legal Studies courses.

2. 20 credits worth of Legal Studies classes (200-400 level), including one IE class

Note that 250, 296, 298, 396, 398, 450, 496, and 498-499 may not be used toward your upper-level requirement.  Practicum and Independent Study courses may not be used toward major requirements, nor can courses be used that are taken pass-fail. 

3. Legal Studies 450 -- Legal Research and Writing (Junior Writing Requirement; 3 credits)

4. TWO liberal arts law-related courses taken outside of the department (6 to 8 credits).

These must be taken from a list prepared by the department (see our forms page). Only one of the two courses may be at the 100 level. Note that business law, HRTA law, Sports Law and applied legal training are specifically excluded from this list because they are not liberal arts courses. 

If you see a liberal arts course that you think would be appropriate for this requirement, please acquire a copy of the course description and contact the Chief Undergraduate Advisor to see if the course can be approved as a law-related course. Many people use this "outside" requirement as the one they will fulfill if taking courses at another college or while studying abroad. Remember to get approval before you take them, or risk not having the course count toward major requirements.