Undergraduate Catalog 2011-2012
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Legal Studies Certificate (Certificate) | Office | Website


The Pre-Law program is an academic advising program run by the Pre-Law Committee and the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Education. Students who are planning on attending law school will be assigned an academic advisor who can assist them in choosing both a major program and electives that will help prepare them for the academic requirements of law school. While the Pre-Law program is not a degree-granting program, the committee devised a certificate program for students interested in legal studies.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Certificate in Legal Studies (24 cr.)

LST 2000* Introduction to Legal Studies (includes a legal research skills component) 3
POL 2100 American Politics 3
*Cross-Listed as POL 201

At least one course from each of the following four component areas of the certificate program:

Skills for the Legal Profession
PHL 1400 Critical Thinking in Law 3
PHL 1500 Introduction to Logic 3
PHL 2500 Symbolic Logic 3
ENL 2020 Writing Across the Curriculum 3
CST 3170 Argumentation 3
CST 4020 Audience Analysis 3

History and Content of the Law
HIS 2500 U.S. To 1877 3
HIS 2510 U.S. Since 1877 3
HIS 3300 History of England to 1485 3
HIS 4070 English Common Law 3
HIS 4660 American Constitution 3
POL 3420 American Constitution and Public Law 3

Theoretical Foundations of Law
PHL 2400 Philosophical Issues in Law 3
PHL 3010 Social and Political Philosophy 3
PHL 4240 Philosophy of Law 3
POL 3800 Political Thought 3

Law in Society
BUS 2310 Business Law 3
BUS 3190 Business and Society 3
CST 3010 Communication Law 3
ECN 3550 History of Economic Thought 3
ECN 3580 Money and Capital Markets 3
ECN 4350 Economic History of the U.S. 3
CJS 4510 Criminology and Penology 3
ETH 3590 Ethics and Public Policy 3
HIS 3450 U.S. Since 1945 3
HUS 4100 Law and the Citizen 3
POL 2020 Criminal Law and Procedure 3
POL 3460 Civil Liberties and Rights 3
POL 3100 Women and Politics 3
RELS 2400 Social Ethics 3
RELS 3430 Ethics and Economic Theories 3
RELS 3480 Justice: Contemporary Issues and Theories 3
SOC 2120 Black Americans and Social Institutions 3
SOC 3350 Urban Issues and Problems 3
SOC 3400 Ethnic and Race Relations 3


LST 4990 Capstone Course 3

Each Semester, one or more LST courses will be designated as fulfilling a capstone seminar requirement. Students must take at least one course with this designation.

Course Distribution
Students may take no more than 12 credit hours in any one department (e.g. CST, HIS, PHL, POL).

At least 12 credit hours must be taken at the 3000- or 4000-level.

Community Service Component
Students must complete 10 hours of community service. (These hours may be fulfilled in courses such as POL 2100.)

The Pre-Law Committee emphasizes that there is no required undergraduate major for law school; rather, students should choose an academically rigorous major that is both of interest to them, and develops their skills in critical reading, writing, and thinking. Students who plan to attend law school are advised by the Association of American Law Schools to develop basic skills and insights rather than follow any pre-set pre-law program. Law schools urge an undergraduate education that emphasizes:

  • 1. Reading comprehension skills. Reading both case law and statutes requires the ability to distinguish and understand the component parts of complex claims and definitions.
  • 2. Critical writing skills. The wide variety of forms of writing used in the law all require clear and concise writing skills, and presuppose proficiency with standard English grammar, punctuation, and syntax.
  • 3. Critical thinking skills. In both its oral and written formats, the practice of law requires skill at argumentation. Distinguishing a claim from the reasons given in support of it, as well as identifying and analyzing the arguments given in judicial decisions, are essential skills in the practice of law.
  • 4. Understanding and analysis of the human institutions and values that are central to the law. Classes that offer insight into the historical development of the law, its impact on other aspects of human life, and the values it reflects are suggested.

Regardless of the choice of undergraduate major, students planning on law school should choose academically rigorous courses (particularly in the liberal arts) that develop all of the skills listed above. Juniors and seniors should choose 3000- or 4000- level courses for their electives, in addition to the upper division courses required by the student's major.

The Pre-Law Committee encourages all pre-law students to visit UDM's School of Law during their course of study. Two very useful contacts at the Law School are:

  • Kathleen H. Caprio Assistant Dean – Admissions and Student Affairs (313) 596-0287
  • Bonnie D. Fitch Associate Director – Admissions and Student Affairs (313) 596-0253

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For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to www.udmercy.edu/apply.

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