Legal Studies

27 Merrill College

(831) 459-2056

Department website

Programs Offered

Legal Studies B.A.

Legal Studies Minor

At UC Santa Cruz, legal studies (LGST) majors study the complex relation of law to ideas and values, to political structures and institutions, and to society and communities. Legal studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts major that invites students to consider many lenses regarding how law develops and operates, and how it relates to social issues, political structures, and the breadth of human experience.

The program is housed within the Politics Department, but operates independently and is intended to appeal to students who wish to gain from a variety of disciplinary frameworks. The design of the major provides a core foundation of knowledge of law as well as enabling students to explore their interests and expand their understanding of legal themes through the broad vantages offered in upper-division electives. Students who join the major have the opportunity to engage with methods and concepts from different academic disciplines by taking courses with faculty with backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and law.

Our majors develop an informed and critical perspective on the roles and functions of legal ideas and systems in the U.S., other countries, and internationally, past and present, including the operation, possibilities, and limits of law in relation to fundamental issues of rights, equality, justice, citizenship, and political power.

Legal studies is not designed as a pre-law program or preparation for law school, but many students who are interested in law school join the major and can benefit from its liberal arts approach. (Students interested in learning more about law school, which does not suggest any specific major, should visit the Career Center's website and pre-law coach.)