2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin

Socio-Legal Studies

Office: Ricketson Law Building, Room 465A

Mail Code: 2255 E. Evans Ave. Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-6761
Email: randolph.wagner@du.edu
Web Site: www.du.edu/ahss/sociolegal/

Law permeates every aspect of social life. Students who major or minor in socio-legal studies—an interdisciplinary program within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences—focus on fascinating questions that strike at the heart of modern society: How does law operate in people’s everyday lives? How do social institutions shape law? How are social institutions shaped by law? How does law empower and constrain individuals, groups, organizations and communities? Students majoring in socio-legal studies often pursue a legal career, but the issues addressed in the major are relevant to all fields of endeavor.

Socio-Legal Studies

Bachelor of Arts Major Requirements

(183 credits required for the degree)

All students must take a minimum of 40 credits of coursework. To ensure a broad education, students majoring in Socio-Legal Studies must also complete a second major. 

Required Courses
PLSC 1810Introduction to Law and Society4
SOCI 2120Methods of Socio-Legal Inquiry4
SOCI 2755Legal Actors and Institutions4
Remaining hours must be selected from the following approved electives (see internship option below) and topics courses approved by the director.
Environmental Science
ENVI 3000Environmental Law4
Media, Film and Journalism Studies
MFJS 3040Media Law4
MFJS 3700New Media Law & Regulation4
PHIL 2040Practical Logic4
PHIL 2150Philosophy of Law4
PHIL 2180Ethics4
PHIL 2184Ethics, Individuals, & the Law4
PHIL 2700Biomedical Ethics4
PHIL 3061Kant's Ethics/Aesthetics/Politics4
PHIL 3175Morality and the Law4
PHIL 3176Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Law: Rights, Legal Institutions, and Justice4
PHIL 3178Metaethics4
PHIL 3701Topics in Philosophy1-4
Political Science
PLSC 2001Law and Politics4
PLSC 2700Topics in Political Science4
PLSC 2701Topics in American Politics4
PLSC 2820Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties4
PLSC 2830Judicial Politics4
PLSC 2840International Law & Human Rights4
PLSC 2860Constitutional Law: Governmental Structures and Powers4
PLSC 2880Taming Tyranny: How Constitutions Frame Freedom4
SOCI 2250Criminology4
SOCI 2750Sociology of Law4
SOCI 2760Discipline and Punishment4
SOCI 2765The Female Offender4
SOCI 2770Kids and Courts4
SOCI 2775Wrongful Conviction4
SOCI 2780Women and the Law4
SOCI 2785Family and the Law4
SOCI 2790Policing Society4
SOCI 2795Capital Punishment4
SOCI 2820Drugs and Society4
Student may complete pre-approved internships to fulfill up to 8 credits toward the major. Major and minor courses cannot be double counted.
Total Credits40


40 credits. Same requirements as for BA degree.

Minor Requirements

The minor requires 20 credits including one of the following: PLSC 1810 Introduction to Law and Society, SOCI 2120 Methods of Socio-Legal Inquiry, SOCI 2755 Legal Actors and Institutions. Remaining credits are selected from electives listed in the major. Only one course in the student's minor can be from that student's major area. Student may complete a pre-approved internship to fulfill up to 4 credits toward the minor. Major and minor courses cannot be double counted. 

Requirements for Distinction in the Major in Socio-Legal Studies

Socio-legal majors may pursue graduating with Program Distinction if they receive a recommendation from a member of the Socio-legal Studies faculty and have an overall DU GPA of 3.5, and GPA within the Socio-legal Studies major of 3.75.

To win the designation of graduation with Distinction in Socio-legal Studies, students must successfully complete a Senior Thesis. The guidelines for completing the thesis are as follows:

  • Students must select a faculty member from the Program who will agree to act as Thesis Advisor.
  • Students will submit a thesis proposal to the Thesis Advisor for approval before October 15 of the

senior year.

  • Students wishing course credit for thesis work should contact the Program Director to register for an appropriate course. The Thesis Advisor will act as the designated instructor.
  • The completed thesis, once approved by the Thesis Advisor, must be submitted to a committee of three faculty by April 1 of the senior year. The committee will consist of the Thesis Advisor and two other faculty, one of whom may be from outside the Socio-legal Studies faculty.
  • During the month of April, the Thesis Advisor will schedule a one-hour meeting between the student and the faculty committee to discuss the thesis and its implications for the discipline.

o NOTE: If you are in the University Honors Program, you should check with them for specifics on their calendar and requirements for completion of the thesis; their deadlines are different than ours.

o Departmental Theses (for students who are NOT in the HONORS program) MUST be defended by the end of the 7th week of any quarter to ensure timely major approval and inclusion in the commencement program.

  • Students who satisfactorily complete a thesis, as determined by the faculty committee, will receive program distinction, which will be noted in the Commencement program and on your transcript. You will also be recognized at our Department Recognition Ceremony in early June.
  • Honor cords are not given out for Distinction in the Major; they are only given to students invited to join Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the Sociology Honor Society.

Students wishing further information should contact the Program Director (Randy Wagner; Ricketson Law Building 450; phone: 303.871.6761 email: randolph.wagner@du.edu). 

BA in Socio-Legal Studies

The following course plan is a sample quarter-by-quarter schedule for intended majors. Because the bachelor of arts curriculum allows for tremendous flexibility, this is only intended as an example; that is to say, if specific courses or requirements are not available in a given term, students can generally complete those requirements in another term. More importantly, students should focus on exploring areas of interest, including Common Curriculum requirements and possible minors or second majors, and maintaining a course load which will allow for completion of the degree within four years.

Ideally, Common Curriculum requirements other than Advanced Seminar should be completed during the first two years. Students should anticipate taking an average course load of 16 credits each quarter.

Ways of Knowing courses in the areas of Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture and Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture introduce students to University-level study of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Credits earned in Ways of Knowing courses may also apply to a major or minor.

The sample course plan below shows what courses a student pursuing this major might take in their first two years; beyond that, students should anticipate working closely with their major advisor to create a course of study to complete the degree.

First Year
FSEM 11114WRIT 11224WRIT 11334
Foreign Language or Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World4Foreign Language or Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World4Foreign Language or Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World4
Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture or Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture4Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture or Analytical Inquiry: Natural and Physical World4Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture or Analytical Inquiry: Natural and Physical World4
PLSC 18104SOCI 27554SOCI 21204
 16 16 16
Second Year
Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4Scientific Inquiry: The Natural and Physical World or Foreign Language4
Analytical Inquiry: Natural and Physical Word or Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture4Major Elective4Major Elective4
Major Elective4Major Elective4Minor or Elective4
INTZ 250112Minor or Elective4Minor or Elective4
 14 16 16
Total Credits: 94
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