The law and society degree will help you develop a greater understanding of the law and legal systems of the United States. You'll receive a solid introduction to legal principles and processes from multiple perspectives, and you can build an integrated understanding of the historical, philosophical, political, and social foundations of law.

The bachelor of arts degree in law and society is a 123-credit program. To earn this degree, you must successfully complete:

  • 18 prescribed core course credits
  • 12–15 supporting and related course credits
  • 24 bachelor of arts course credits
  • 45 General Education credits
  • 30–39 elective credits

The degree's 36 credits of prescribed core courses and supporting and related courses focus on contemporary issues in U.S. law and ethics. Many different course options are available to fulfill the remainder of the program, allowing you to customize the degree to meet your specific goals.  

Course List - Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society 

Requirements for the Major (36 credits)

A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.

The following 6 courses focus on contemporary issues in U.S. law and ethics and comprise the core of the program.

Prescribed Core Courses (18 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
American Civilization to 1877 HIST 020 An historical survey of the American experience from its colonial beginnings through the Civil War and Reconstruction. 3 credits
American Civilization Since 1877 HIST 021 An historical survey of the American experience from the emergence of urban-industrial society in the late nineteenth century to the present. 3 credits
Contemporary Legal Issues LA 100S An introduction to law-related issues with a focus on current legal topics viewed from an across discipline perspective. 3 credits
Introduction to American National Government PL SC 001 Introduction to the development and nature of American political culture, constitutional/structural arrangements, electoral/policy processes; sources of conflict and consensus. 3 credits
Rights in America PL SC 110 This course explores the historical and contemporary struggles of particular groups within American society to expand their rights. 3 credits
The American Legal Process PL SC 472 Analysis of the roles, procedures, and policies characterizing the American legal system.

Prerequisite: PL SC 001
3 credits

Take one or both of the following. Students planning to attend law school are encouraged to complete both PHIL 010 and PHIL 012

Additional Courses (3–6 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Critical Thinking PHIL 010 Discussion of the validity, soundness, and fallacies of everyday language use and reasoning; informal logic; and manipulative arguments and propaganda. 3 credits
Symbolic Logic PHIL 012 Formal logical structures of propositions and arguments; mechanical tests and proof techniques for logically necessary truth and deductive validity. 3 credits
Supporting and Related Courses (Choose 12–15 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Rhetoric and Law CAS 321 A survey of the literature on the role of rhetoric in law, including trial advocacy, appellate argument, and judicial reasoning. 3 credits
Conflict Resolution and Negotiation CAS 404 Theories and strategies important for conceptualizing, developing, and managing conflict negotiation, mediation, and third-party intervention.

Prerequisite: CAS 100
3 credits
Introduction to Criminal Justice CRIM 100 Studies the formulation of laws, extent of crime, impact on victim, and processing and sanctioning of offenders. 3 credits
Introduction to Law CRIM 113 Introduction to law in society, with a focus on criminal law, judicial code, laws of sentencing and corrections, criminal procedure. 3 credits
Law and Society CRIM/SOC 467 The social origins of law and legal systems; occupational careers; and decision making of legal officials.

Prerequisites: CRIM 100 or CRIM 113
3 credits
Fundraising Leadership: Building a Strong Base L A 402 The course will focus on the fundamentals of fundraising and leadership, including communications, management of events and people, and stewardship.

Prerequisites: 60 undergraduate credits or permission of program
3 credits
Undergraduate Field Experience or Practicum LAWSC 495 Approved experience, related to student career objectives, in agencies external to the University.

Prerequisite: Completed 60 credits & permission from the program
3 credits
Independent Studies LAWSC 496 Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.

Prerequisite: Completed 60 credits & permission from the program
3 credits
Employment Relationship: Law and Policy LER 201 An examination of basic legal principles underlying the employment relationship and their social, political, and economic bases. 3 credits
The Law of Labor-Management Relations LER 401 Development of Anglo-American law regulating collective bargaining, with emphasis on American labor-management relations under Wagner, Taft-Hartley, and other acts.

Prerequisite: 3 credits in labor and industrial relations or political science
3 credits
History of Work in America LER 458Y A study of selected problems in the history of work in the United States, especially since 1877.

Prerequisite: Completed 60 credits & permission from the program
3 credits
Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Legal Ethics PHIL 105 Historical and contemporary philosophies of law; concepts of responsibility, property, rights, and justice; and ethical issues in legal practice. 3 credits
American Constitutional Law PL SC 471 The origins of judicial review, landmark decisions of the Supreme Court, and their impact on the American form of government.

Prerequisite: HIST 021 HIST 156 or LER 100
3 credits

Note: 12 credits must be at the 400-level.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements (24 credits)
Title Credits
Foreign Language 12 credits
Other Cultures 3 credits
Arts, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, Quantification, and/or Foreign Language (beyond 12th credit or a different language) 9 credits
General Education (45 credits**)
Description Credits
Arts – GA 6 credits
Humanities – GH 6 credits
Health and Wellness – GHW 3 credits
Natural Sciences – GN 9 credits
Social and Behavioral Sciences – GS 6 credits
Writing and Speaking – GWS* 9 credits
Quantification – GQ* 6 credits
Integrative Studies (6 credits)***

*A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

**12 credits are included in the requirements for the major.

***This requirement only applies to students starting in summer 2018 or later. Learn more about the Integrative Studies options and consult your academic adviser when choosing courses to fulfill these requirements. 

Electives (30–39 credits)
Description Credits
Courses chosen in consultation with an adviser. 30–39 credits

Please note: Among the above degree requirements, students should incorporate at least 3 credits in US cultures, 3 credits in international (IL) cultures, and 3 credits in writing across the curriculum courses. The above course list includes only courses offered by World Campus. An official degree audit or the recommended academic plan for this program may include additional course options and detailed requirements. All students are expected to complete at least 36 Penn State credits to earn this degree. Please consult an academic adviser for details.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.