Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Degree Programs 

Law, Societies, and Justice

Program Overview

42 Gowen

The program in Law, Societies, and Justice provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts education focusing on the roles of law and law-like systems in structuring social life. Courses challenge students to understand the multiple forms of law criminal, civil, administrative, and constitutional and the multiple roles law plays in the conduct of social action. Courses stress the importance of examining law in comparative perspective, and of recognizing the increasing significance of rights discourse in shaping how law is understood and practiced. Faculty are trained in several social science disciplines, and hence students learn to analyze law from multiple perspectives.

Undergraduate Program

42 Gowen, Box 353530
(206) 543-2396

Law, Societies, and Justice offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in law, societies, and justice.
  • A minor in law, societies, and justice
  • A minor in disability studies

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Courses that emphasize development of reading, writing, and especially analytical skills. Also, classes that provide background knowledge of modern world history, politics, institutions, and political theory.

Department Admission Requirements

  1. Admission is capacity constrained, based on the following: GPA, with emphasis on grades in courses required for admission and for completion of major requirements (applicants accepted normally present cumulative UW GPAs above 2.50); personal statement representing the student's interest in and commitment to becoming a Law, Societies, and Justice major; other evidence of a commitment to the study of society, justice, and law. Admitted applicants often show evidence of success in social science courses. (See department website or academic adviser for recommended social science courses.)
  2. Minimum 2.50 cumulative UW GPA
  3. Two of the following courses: LSJ 200 or LSJ 363/POL S 363; LSJ 320/POL S 368, LSJ 321/ANTH 323, LSJ 322/JSIS A 324, or LSJ 329; LSJ 367/POLS S 367 or LSJ 366/JSIS B 366
  4. One English composition course. (Further evidence of writing skills in the social sciences is encouraged.)
  5. Students may apply autumn, winter, or spring quarters. Application deadline: second Friday of the quarter. Students are notified of admission decisions by the sixth week of the quarter in which they apply.
  6. Satisfactory progress to degree may be considered when making admission decisions.

Major Requirements

Minimum 53-55 credits as follows:

  1. Completion of four LSJ core courses (20 credits):
    1. one of LSJ 200 or LSJ 363/POL S 363 (5 credits)
    2. two of LSJ 320/POL S 368, LSJ 321/ANTH 323, LSJ 322/JSIS A 324, or LSJ 329 (10 credits)
    3. one of LSJ 367/POLS S 367 or LSJ 366/JSIS B 366 (5 credits)
  2. Three courses from one of the two designated subfields of study (comparative legal institutions; and rights) and two courses from the other subfield. See program website or advisers for list of approved courses. (23-25 credits)
  3. One LSJ departmental seminar. Departmental seminar cannot count simultaneously towards the LSJ subfield requirements. (5 credits)
  4. Completion of LSJ 401, which includes completion of 100 hours of volunteer experience or internship in a field related to LSJ. (5 credits)


Minor Requirements (Law, Societies, and Justice): 28-30 credits

  1. Two courses from the following: LSJ 320/POL S 368, or LSJ 321/ANTH 323, or LSJ 322/JSIS A 324; LSJ 363/POL S 363 or LSJ 200; LSJ 367/POL S 367 or LSJ 366/JSIS B 366; LSJ 375 or SOC 372. (10 credits)
  2. Two courses from each LSJ major subfield. (Major subfields are "comparative legal institutions" and "rights." Courses fulfilling subfield requirements are outlined on the departmental website and handouts. (18-20 credits).

Minor Requirements (Disability Studies): 30 credits

  1. Core Courses: DIS ST 230/LSJ 230/CHID 230 (5 credits)
  2. Completion of three DIS ST courses. See disability studies adviser or disability studies program website for list of approved courses (15 credits)
  3. Disability studies electives: Courses from at least two of the following three subfields: Rights, Policy, and Inequality; Global and Historical Perspectives; Diversty, Representation, and Identity. See disability studies adviser or disability studies program website for list of approved courses (10 credits)
  4. Minimum 15 credits at the 300- or 400-level

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The Law, Societies, and Justice curriculum emphasizes the development of a range of analytic and communicative skills. Courses challenge students to develop the capacities to: read and interpret texts, including theoretical, empirical, and legal documents; comprehend and contrast arguments; develop and defend arguments; contrast theoretical arguments with empirical realities; assess contemporary practices of justice delivery against contemporary conceptions of justice. Students are required to express these skills in both verbal and written forms, through active class discussions and well-constructed writing assignments. Development of these skills assists students in a range of possible future endeavors, including a wide array of careers in law and justice.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Students have access to the Political Science/Law, Societies, and Justice/School of International Studies writing center for most classes. Research opportunities are available on an individual and group basis with many professors.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: LSJ requires each of its majors to complete an internship for credit. Internship aims: (1) to provide students with insights into the workings of law in practice; (2) to scrutinize and 'test' some of the theories and concepts found in the literature against 'real world' practice; (3) to advance career development and goals, and (4) to provide 100 hours of local community service. Student assignments vary, and include government agencies, non-profit social service organizations, private law firms, rights-focused organizations, and other sites that focus on issues connected to LSJ coursework. It is the student's responsibility to find an internship, although the LSJ adviser can help find a suitable one. Students are required to write two papers according to specific guidelines for internship course credit.
  • Many LSJ faculty regularly invite majors to assist them in the development and execution of research endeavors. These provide students an unparalleled opportunity to understand the challenges and mechanics of high-level research.

  • Department Scholarships: The Stromberg Study Abroad Fund provides financial assistance to LSJ majors who pursue Study Abroad opportunities in socio-legal studies.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Law, Societies, and Justice Student Association sponsors regular events of interest to LSJ students, including career panels and service events.

Of Special Note: The required departmental seminar emphasizes close reading of texts, active class discussions, and well-reasoned analytic writing, providing an opportunity to establish a close connection to faculty and other students, and to hone analytic and communicative skills.