Legal Studies Minor


The Legal Studies Minor provides students with an interdisciplinary curriculum that engages them in critical analysis of the connections between legal issues and social justice, both from a contemporary and historical perspective.

Upon successfully completing the Legal Studies Minor, students will develop a deeper understanding of the impact of legal practices and institutions on economics, politics, education, international relations, and other justice-related areas.

In order to graduate with a Legal Studies Minor, students are required to complete 18 units, comprised of one required course and five elective courses selected from five disciplinary areas:

  1. Perspectives in law
  2. Contemporary issues in law and justice
  3. Legal history
  4. Law and Ethics
  5. Law and Courts

In order to ensure a broad and interdisciplinary education, students may only use one course from the minor as credit towards their major.

Students are responsible for meeting (or getting waived by instructor) any prerequisite courses. Proper planning and advising will ensure that students graduate when intended. Students are highly encouraged to meet with a department advisor during posted office hours.

Curriculum and Requirements

Required Lower Division Coursework

Students must have completed their lower-division coursework to enroll in many of the courses in the Legal Studies Minor. There may also be prerequisites that must be taken before students can enroll in substantive elective courses.

Students interested in the minor should register for POLS 120, complete their lower division coursework, and complete their major's 100W requirement.

Advantages to the Legal Studies Minor

The courses within the Legal Studies Minor may overlap with major course requirements, reducing time to completion. Many of the Minor courses also fulfill SJSU Studies Course Requirements (Area R, S, and V). Proper planning and advising will ensure that students graduate when intended.

The Legal Studies Minor exposes students to interdisciplinary perspectives on major social issues. The Minor’s broad curriculum allows students to familiarize themselves with the fields of law, social justice, international relations, public policy, environmental justice, and mass communications.

Students enrolled in the Legal Studies Minor can take courses on:

  • American legal history
  • Civil rights
  • Constitutional law and civil liberties
  • Courts and society
  • Drugs and society
  • Environmental law
  • Law and economics
  • Law and society
  • Media law and ethics
  • Philosophy of law
  • Professional and business ethics
  • Other related subjects

Careers Related to the Legal Studies Minor

Graduates with a minor in Legal Studies can explore a wide range of justice-related careers and are well prepared to pursue postgraduate education in Justice Studies research, law, and public policy studies.

Careers in the field include professional positions within the criminal justice system, NGOs, public institutions, and other justice-related organizations.

Steps to Complete the Minor

  1. Declare the Legal Studies Minor
    • Submit the appropriate Request for Addition/Change of Major or Minor petition form (less than 90 units or more than 90 units) to the Legal Studies Coordinator, along with other required documentation listed on the form. Visit the Office of Registrar website to download the petition form.
  2. Take the Classes
    • Enroll in courses as specified by the Legal Studies Minor Form [pdf] and log course completions on form.
    • When selecting substantive elective courses in the minor, we encourage students to choose courses that also fulfill other university requirements.
  3. Apply for Graduation
    • When applying for graduation, submit a completed Legal Studies Minor Form [pdf] and unofficial transcripts to the Legal Studies Coordinator.
    • Students should complete this process at the same time they apply for graduation with their major. The minor form must be approved by the Department of Justice Studies.

Meet with an Advisor

Dr. Edith Kinney is the Department of Justice Studies' designee to lead advising for the Legal Studies Minor. She also helps students find opportunities that suit their interests.

Contact Dr. Edith Kinney if you are interested in declaring a Legal Studies Minor or if you have additional questions.

Dr. Edith Kinney will be happy to consult with students about programs and personal goals. However, all department advisors can process the change of minor and/or graduation paperwork.