Major and minors in Legal Studies typically complete their course requirements with a mix of courses offered by Legal Studies and by courses offered through departments and program across the University. The wide variety of options allows students to tailor their studies to their tastes and interests.
Legal Studies Courses
Annual and quarterly lists of the classes offered by Legal Studies and our faculty can be found here:
For a comprehensive list of Legal Studies courses you can refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog. Not all courses are taught each year.
To see the list of classes from around the University that are approved for Legal Studies credit, please refer to the Electives page.
Frequently asked questions about our courses
What are the major and minor course requirements?
How should I choose my classes?
The usual starting point for Legal Studies students is LEGAL ST 206 "Law and Society", offered twice each academic year (usually in fall and winter quarters). We strongly encourage students to take Law & Society early in their program. 206 is required for both the major and the minor.
Otherwise, students are encouraged to select courses in their areas of interest from our electives list.
Students majoring in Legal Studies must also take LEGAL ST 207 "Research Methods in Legal Studies" (usually taught in spring; 206 is a pre-requisite) before they take the Advanced Research Seminar sequence, LEGAL ST 398-1,2, during the fall and winter of their junior or senior year.
My primary major is not in Weinberg. What are my requirements for the Legal Studies major or minor?
Legal Studies requirements are the same for Weinberg and non-Weinberg majors. Non-Weinberg majors do not need to fulfill WCAS language and distribution requirements. Double-counting rules are different for non-Weinberg students (see below for more information).
Do First Year Seminars count towards the major or minor?
Legal Studies will count one First Year Seminar taken through the Legal Studies program toward the Legal Studies requirements. We will not count First Year seminars taken in other departments.
Can Chicago Field Studies classes count towards the major or minor?
Yes. Legal Studies approves all CFS courses to count for up to one approved elective, and students can receive two Legal Studies credits for the following courses:
CFS 391 - Field Studies in Social Justice
CFS 394 - Legal Field Studies
CFS 396 - Field Studies in Community Research
CFS 397 - Field Studies in Civic Engagement
You may also petition for credit for Business Field Studies or Field Studies in the Modern Workplace; these petitions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
What restrictions does the program have on double-counting?
For minors in Weinberg College: students may NOT double-count courses from any other major or minor. Related courses and distribution courses, however, can be double-counted without limit.
NOTE: "Related courses" in this context is a technical term that other departments use to categorize a group of their course requirements. (For example: Gender & Sexuality Studies has a "related courses" component in their major requirements.) Legal Studies requires law-related electives which are taught in outside departments and programs - these are not considered "related courses."
Non-Weinberg students should consult the following rules.
Double-counting rules are complicated! Never hesitate to ask our Program Assistant, Ann Kelchner, for help.
Can my Legal Studies courses be used to satisfy Weinberg distribution requirements?
Yes, if they are on the list of Weinberg-approved courses that meet distribution requirements.
Can my Legal Studies courses be used to satisfy distribution requirements in other schools?
Maybe - non-Weinberg students should consult the following rules.
Can I use a class not in the elective list toward my Legal Studies requirements?
Petitions for elective credit should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and are considered on a case-by-case basis. Petitions should be submitted during the quarter the student is enrolled in the course. Typically if a class is accepted for elective credit, it will be added to our list of Legal Studies electives.
Can I get credit for an internship program?
In some instances, a student might arrange an independent study in conjunction with an internship in which a research project is undertaken that draws on the internship experience. In such a case, credit would be awarded for the work completed in the 399, not merely for the practical experience of the internship. Each case must be weighed individually, however. If you have an internship opportunity for which you would like to receive major credit, you should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies well in advance of the start of the program. A final decision about Legal Studies credit cannot be made until you have completed the internship.
The standing exception to this rule is the Chicago Field Studies program, as described above.
How do I receive credit for Study Abroad courses?
Before leaving for study abroad, you should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval. Though the Director does not preapprove courses for credit, you can discuss which courses may receive credit. After completing your study abroad program, submit a petition for elective credit and attach the relevant syllabus. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will review the course materials to let you know if the course is approved. If so, then you will need to complete a Petition for Credit for Courses Taken Abroad form (available through the Global Learning office) and get it signed by the Program Assistant, or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in order to receive Legal Studies credit.
Exceptions to these rules are study abroad programs run directly by Northwestern, including the European Union Studies Program in Paris. Many of these courses can towards the major and they do not require a Petition for Credit from Study Abroad. For more information, visit the Global Learning office.
What kind of Study Abroad courses will count for credit?
For more information, visit the Global Learning office.
What is the process for obtaining approval for courses taken at other U.S. universities?
Consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies about getting approval for these courses. A syllabus and completed work are typically necessary to receive credit; you will need to fill out the Petition for Elective Credit.
Can I take courses offered in Summer Session or in Northwestern's School of Professional Studies for Legal Studies Credit?
Courses taken during Northwestern’s Summer Session automatically count toward Legal Studies if they are on the approved list of electives. If you believe that a class not already listed should be considered a Legal Studies elective, please fill out a petition for elective credit and attach the relevant syllabus.
Petitions for elective credit will be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and are considered on a case-by-case basis. Petitions should be submitted during the quarter the student is enrolled in the course. If a class is accepted for elective credit, it will be added to our list of Legal Studies electives.
Can I get credit for courses taken online?
No. Legal Studies does not count online courses toward Legal Studies requirements.
** As of 2020, due to Covid-19, this restriction might be adjusted. Before enrolling in an online course from another university, be sure to reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Joanna Grisinger, for an advising appointment.
Do AP credits count toward the Legal Studies major or minor?
No. Legal Studies does not count AP courses toward Legal Studies requirements.
Can I get credit for participating in mock trial?
No. As of Fall 2014, Legal Studies does not count mock trial participation toward major or minor.