The 15-credit Prelaw Minor provides students with the substantive background and specific skills for success in law school as well as basic exposure to legal systems and concepts. The Prelaw minor targets these areas for development:

  • clear, concise, organized writing
  • logic and reasoning skills
  • oral argument and advocacy
  • effective argument construction and assessment
  • exposure to legal thinking and terminology

Required Courses

And an additional 12 credits from the following list:

Other courses may be accepted upon petitioning to the director of the Prelaw Minor. These substitutes may include relevant faculty/student research, internships, or senior thesis credits.

Course Descriptions

  • AFAM2100 This course will explore our modern state of affairs for its sociopolitical interrelations with race, gender, civil rights, poverty, policing, and the prison industrial complex, drawing from Michelle Alexander's influential book, The New Jim Crow, as well as scholarship from Derek Bell, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, President Barak Obama, Angela Davis, and Wally Lamb, among others. Students will learn about and critically analyze specific cases of wrongful imprisonment and the exponential growth of inmates, largely minority men and women.

  • ANTH2431 Murder, theft, corruption, genocide, sex trafficking, this course examines all from an anthropological perspective. Using cultural situations from around the globe, it investigates the complexities that generate and support crime, even while seeking to constrain and end it.

  • ANTH3349 A historical and comparative of social, ethnic, religious and national conflicts with special emphasis upon understanding and analyzing the customary, moral and legal regulation of armed conflict. A case analysis approach is used to illustrate the complexity subjecting warfare to legal regimes.

  • CMLGY1306 This course provides an understanding of crime and criminal justice. Students will examine theories of crime, individual and group criminal behavior and aspects of criminal justice systems from American and global perspectives.

  • CMLGY2317 Probation and Parole: Theory and Pratice This course examines the history of probation and parole from past to present. Specifically, we will look at the historical foundations of community-based corrections, the everyday operation of probation and parole and evaluations of the effectiveness of probation and parole.

  • CMLGY2503 This course offers an examination of the role of the media in reporting crimes and the extent to which media coverage of crime and the criminal justice system impacts the commission of crimes and the operation of the system. We also explore the impact the media has on public perceptions of crime and society, criminals, and the criminal justice system.

  • CMLGY2701 Penology is the study or the punishment of criminal offenders. This class will examine justifications for punishment and the methods of punishment used in our society. This course will also look at approaches to sentencing, the development of prisons and the evolution of correction in the United States.

  • GOVT1200 Overview of substantive and procedural law, and scholarly research on legal behavior and institutions. Course emphasizes the contemporary U.S. legal system, but includes discussion of comparative and historical issues.

  • GOVT2300 This interactive course will offer students the skills to participate in a democratic society through education and direct service. Students will engage in an experiential learning process whereby they work collaboratively to identify a problem, evaluate solutions and create an action plan for change. The course will address such key concepts as tracing the history of civic engagement in the United States critically analyzing the methods to effectuate change in a democratic, pluralistic society, and learning about the various levels of government. Local and state policymakers will supplement the course through in-person presentations.

  • GOVT3220 A basic introduction to criminal law in the United States. Emphasis is upon social factors, values and social policy, considerations that shape modern criminal law. Subject areas include issues such as the justification of punishment, the elements of just punishment and the death penalty as well as the study of substantive laws of homicide, rape and other criminal acts. Attention is also given to the emergence of international criminal law and the punishment of war crimes.

  • GOVT3230 A review of the key concepts, processes, institutional and organizational components of the international criminal legal system. Problems to be analyzed include terrorism, crimes against humanity and war crimes, piracy, drug trafficking of women and children. The course examines the foundations and justifications of the establishment of the mechanisms of international criminal law, the relationship between treaties and custom, the problems of sovereignty and the use of force, the emergence of international tribunals and courts for the trying of offenders.

  • GOVT3240 Law as a determinant of social control and change. Analysis of legal systems and their administration, with special emphasis on law affecting the poor.

  • GOVT4220 This seminar offers an in-depth analysis of recent scholarship and emerging issues related to contemporary and enduring issues in criminal law. Students should have taken POLS 3220; Criminal Law or have a working knowledge of basic criminal law before taking this class.

  • HIST3250 This course examines the complex history of criminality and state response in the African subcontinent. Although we will examine the nature of pre-colonial crime and punishment, the focus of the course will be on the colonial period and the apartheid era that followed. Because of the ugly realities of race and class, distinguishing what was, or was not a criminal act in Southern Africa is not as easy as it might at first seem. Nelson Mandela served nearly his entire adult life in prison, while Cecil Rhodes , the founder of De Beers diamond, strong-armed his company into a monopoly and became prime-minister of the Cape Colony. Rogues, rebels, shebeen queens, tsotsis (gangsters), highwaymen, and corporate raiders all make appeareances in this course that mixes traditional lectures with seminar style discussions.

  • HIST3251 This upper level course examines the changing paradigms about order, crime, justice, and punishment in Latin America and their impact on society and institutions. Chronologically, the course will be divided into four main sections: Pre-Hispanic notions of social control and order (until the 1500s), the colonial foundations of racial and religious criminalization and repression (1500s to early 1800s), the early republican state and the modernizations of the means of social control (mid-1800s to the 1930s), and crime and punishment in the 20th and 21st centuries (1930 to the present). Particular attention will be given to topics such as social control policies, the police, narco-trafficking and crime, political crimes, genocide, and justice.

  • PHIL2432 This course provides students with an overview of the central theories in Philosophy of Law. To see how these theories are applied to real world conflicts between theory, law and government, the class will address contemporary issues like just and fairness, criminal culpability and punishment, the death penalty, due process, equality, privacy, and the 1st amendment rights of free speech and expression. :

  • WOMEN2312 This course examines how the law has addressed stereotypical assumption about male and female differences in public policies.