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Course Descriptions

The following courses are recommended for students planning to attend law school. These are not required courses, but they do help the student develop some of the skills, abilities, and knowledge helpful for success in law school.

BA 230 Business Law (4 SH). A study of law as it pertains to business. Legal principles pertaining to a variety of topics, including the Uniform Commercial Code, will be presented and applied to business entities. Text and case study will emphasize legal reasoning processes.

PS 214 The Courts (4 SH). This course covers a variety of topics relating to the politics of the American judicial system. Topics include: the structure and function of the state and national courts, the causes and consequences of civil litigation, the methods used to select judges, the politics of the bar, political litigation by interest groups, the historical development of judicial power and the controversies surrounding it, the factors that influence judicial decisions, and the relationship between the courts, the public and other branches of government.

PS 321 American Constitutional Law: Government Powers (4 SH). An examination of the U.S. Supreme Court as an agency of judicial decision making within the framework of the American political system. The Supreme Court is studied within its political, historical, and constitutional framework, where it seeks to protect or expand its own powers as it is called upon to clarify social values as it interprets the major clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Prerequisite: PS 102 or 103, or permission of instructor.

PS 322 American Constitution Law: Civil Rights and Liberties (4 SH). An examination of the role of the Supreme Court, judicial review, and political struggle in shaping the evolution of the Constitutional framework of American politics. This course focuses on judicial review and the role of the Supreme Court in articulating and defending the civil rights and liberties of American citizens, through the interpretation and application of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Particular focus will be placed on the issues of freedom of speech and expression, the relationships between church and state, the right of privacy, and the constitutional guarantees of equal protection before the law. Prerequisite: PS 102 or 103, or permission of instructor.

PS 431 International Law and Organization (4 SH). A study of selected international institutions that have been constructed to address challenges faced by the world’s states. The course will introduce the student to several theories of international cooperation and explore the validity of these approaches in explaining behavior in the United Nations system (which consists of many international organizations). Students will leave the course with an understanding of the structures of these organizations, as well as a sense of how and why they work and sometimes fail to work. Topical areas will include peacekeeping, arms control and disarmament (e.g., nuclear weapons, biological and chemical warfare), development and trade, social and humanitarian issues (e.g., refugees, drug trafficking, transnational crime), and legal issues (e.g., war criminals, asylum). Prerequisite: PS 104 or permission of instructor.

ECO 150 Principles of Microeconomics (4 SH). Fundamental economic concepts and theories of supply and demand, resource allocation, taxation, international trade, externalities, public goods, market models, and labor markets. An emphasis on applications in both public policy and individual decision making will be recurrent throughout the course.

PHI 102 Practical Logic (4 SH). A systematic introduction to critical thinking. This study of the methods and principles for the evaluation of argument includes formal techniques for reasoning that provides conclusive grounds for the truth of its conclusions. Both traditional (Aristotelian) and modern (Boolean) logic are considered, as is informal logic.

PHI 230–259 Practical Ethics (4 SH). Studies in the application of moral philosophy to ethical questions raised by the practical issues of our time. Individual courses will focus on the application of developed moral theories (such as virtue ethics, utilitarianism, or an ethics of duty) to specific areas of inquiry, such as business, the environment, genetic engineering, and medicine. More than one course in this sequence may be taken for credit, as long as each course has a different number, indicating different content.

CJS 202 Criminology (4 SH). This course covers the workings of the criminal justice system. Students will explore how we define and respond to crime, how the institutions of the criminal justice system (police forces, criminal courts and prisons) have developed and functioned, and the reasons criminal justice policies are adopted and the effects those policies have. Offered Fall Semester.

CJS 302 The Sociology of Law and Legal Systems (4 SH). This course takes a broad perspective on such questions as the origins of law and the development of systems of dispute settlement. Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between law and social change, and law and social control in the areas of criminal and civil law. Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CJS 102. Offered Spring Semester.