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Curriculum

The Legal Studies major is designed for students interested in preparing for law school or other graduate study and for those who want to pursue a humanities major with a legal perspective. The courses in the major assist students in developing analytical and communication skills and an understanding of economic, political, and social contexts within which legal issues arise.

Learning Outcomes

A successful legal studies graduate is expected to:

  1. Evaluate the elements of oral and written argument relevant to legal issues;
  2. Explain the historical development of legal systems;
  3. Analyze the economic, political, and social contexts of legal decisions and legal systems;
  4. Explain the philosophical issues that arise in law.

Curriculum Requirements

At least 18 credits in the major must be at the 3000/4000 level.

General Education Requirements (30 credits)

Students are required to complete 30 credit hours as part of the General Education Program.

Legal Studies Major Requirements (48 credits)

HIST 1030 - American History to 1865 (3 credits) OR HIST 1040 - American History Since 1865 (3 credits)

HIST 1030 - American History to 1865 (3 credits)

American history from its colonial origins through the Civil War. Special emphasis is given to analyzing and evaluating the major forces and ideas that have shaped American political, social, and economic life. 

HIST 1040 - American History Since 1865 (3 credits)

American history from Reconstruction to the present. Special emphasis is given to analyzing and evaluating the major forces and ideas that have shaped American political, social, and economic life.

HIST 1090 - Early Western History (3 credits) OR HIST 1110 - Modern Western History (3 credits) OR HIST 1150 - Early World History (3 credits) OR HIST 1160 - Modern World History (3 credits)

HIST 1090 - Early Western History (3 credits)

A historical study of the major political, social, economic, philosophical, and religious movements shaping Western society in the period preceding the Renaissance.

HIST 1110 - Modern Western History (3 credits)

A historical examination of modern western society since the Middle Ages, emphasizing political, social, and economic movements, and the religious and philosophical ideas that have shaped its development.

HIST 1150 - Early World History (3 credits)

A study of the development of world civilizations, examining the interrelationships of the various regions of the world from Prehistoric times through 1500, including the rise of world communities, cultures, religions, and empires, tracing the development of trade, economics, political forms, the creation of the nation-state, and on the development of technology and the use of war of resolve cultural/religious/national conflicts.

HIST 1160 - Modern World History (3 credits)

A study of the interrelationships of world civilizations of the various regions of the world in the post-Renaissance era, examining the major world communities, cultures, and religions, tracing the modernization of economics and political systems, and the relations between modern nation-states. The course will also examine the collapse of colonialism, the beginning and end of the Cold War, the use of technology and warfare to resolve cultural/religious/ national conflicts, and the role played by the United States in world affairs in the modern era.

HIST 3010 - Constitutional History I (3 credits)

A study of the origin and development of the American constitutional system from the colonial period to 1870. The course will examine seminal decisions of the United States Supreme Court during this period in their political, social, and economic context. Prerequisites: one HIST course; and COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

HIST 3020 - Constitutional History II (3 credits)

Continuation of the study of the constitutional system of the United States. The course covers the period 1870 to the present with special emphasis on Supreme Court decisions in the areas of federal-state relations, individual liberties, and civil rights. Prerequisite: HIST 3010. 

LGST 2500 - Introduction to Legal Studies (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the structure and basic decisional processes of the American legal system, as well as a study of the historical and social development of the legal profession in America from the colonial period to the present. Particular focus is on examination of the central issues and processes of the legal system from the perspective of their everyday working relationships and how courts work. Prerequisite: COMP 1500 or COMP 1500H.

LGST 3400 - Comparative Law (3 credits)

A study of the interrelationship between cultures and legal systems; how legal systems develop as a response to, and expression of, the cultures from which they derive. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, 2010, or 2020 or COMP 2000H.

LGST 4000 - Legal Research and Trial Advocacy (3 credits)

Students will learn legal research and writing skills, as well as the basics of case preparations, courtroom strategy and presentation, and legal argumentation. Library and Internet primary and secondary legal resources will be utilized, and legal memoranda and research skill exercises will be required. The students will create a trial notebook of their research and writing work, which they will then present in a mock trial/appellate setting. Prerequisites: LGST 2500 and COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

LGST 4410 - International Law (3 credits)

An introduction to basic legal principles governing relations between nations. Topics include recognition of states, jurisdiction, human rights, treaties and agreements, law of the sea and claims against nations. Prerequisites: one LGST course; and COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020.

POLS 1010 - American Government and Politics (3 credits)

An introduction to the processes of the American national and local forms of government. Included are the nature and structure of government, its characteristics and functions, and the intimate relation of government to other interests. 

POLS 2010 - Comparative Government (3 credits)

This course will examine the elements of foreign political systems such as constitutions, political parties, institutions, historical development, and ideology using the United States as a frame of reference. Attention will be given to how legislation is enacted, how elections are conducted, and the relationship between the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government. 

SPCH 2020 - Argument and Debate (3 credits)

Training and practice in fundamentals of oral argumentation, including methods of obtaining and organizing materials, delivery, and audience analysis, with an emphasis on researching evidence and constructing and refuting an argument in a debate format. Prerequisite: COMP 1500 or COMP 1500H.

Philosophy: Logic
Select 3 credits from the following courses:

PHIL 1400 - Introduction to Logic (3 credits)

A study of the principles and evaluation of critical thinking including identification and analysis of fallacious, as well as valid reasoning. Traditional and symbolic logic will be considered and foundations will be laid for further study in each area. Prerequisite: COMP 1500 or COMP 1500H. 

PHIL 2400 - Symbolic Logic (3 credits)

Rigorous analyses of the concepts of proof, consistency, equivalence, validity, implication, and truth as exemplified in propositional logic and predicate logic. Prerequisite: COMP 1500 or COMP 1500H. 

Philosophy: Value Inquiry
Select 3 credits from the following courses:

PHIL 3010 - Ethical Issues in Communication (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning through a philosophical examination of major ethical problems in communications, such as those encountered by media professionals; conflicts of interest, morally offensive content, media influences on anti-social behavior, confidential sources, privacy, truth and honesty in reporting, among others. Student will be introduced to the idea that ethical problems are largely a matter of normative ethical (philosophical) theory. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3180 - Biomedical Ethics (3 credits) OR PHIL 3180H - Biomedical Ethics Honors (3 credits)

PHIL 3180 - Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning through a philosophical examination of major problems in biomedical ethics, such as abortion, euthanasia, allocation of resources, medical experimentation, genetic engineering, confidentiality, among others. Students will be introduced to the idea that ethical problems are largely a matter of reason; that progress toward solutions can be gained through an application of normative ethical (philosophical) theory. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010 or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3180H - Biomedical Ethics Honors (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning through a philosophical examination of major problems in biomedical ethics, such as abortion, euthanasia, allocation of resources, medical experimentation, genetic engineering, confidentiality, among others. Students will be introduced to the idea that ethical problems are largely a matter of reason, that progress toward solutions can be gained through an application of normative ethical (philosophical) theory. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. Honors students only. 

PHIL 3200 - Ethics and Sport (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning through a philosophical examination of major problems in sports, such as the nature of sportsmanship, drugs, violence, commercialization, and gender equality, among others. Students will be introduced to the idea that ethical problems are largely a matter of reason; that progress toward solutions can be gained through an application of normative ethical (philosophical) theory. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010 or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3360 - Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to moral reasoning through the philosophical examination of major problems in environmental ethics, such as the relationship between human beings and living and non-living environments, controlling nature, and land use, assessing risk, responsibility to future generations, and the role of science, among others. Students will be introduced to the idea that ethical problems are largely a matter of reason; that progress toward solutions can be gained through an application of normative ethical (philosophical) theory. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3660 - Philosophy of Law (3 credits)

A critical examination of basic analytic and normative questions pertaining to law. The course may include such topics as the nature of law, law and morality, legal responsibility, civil disobedience, and the justification of punishment. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3670 - Social and Political Philosophy (3 credits)

This course will examine significant philosophical contributions to an understanding of politics and society. Among the questions it will address are: What is the nature and basis of the state? Which form of government is best? How do we determine whether political institutions are just? What conceptions of human nature underlie various political philosophies? How are social goods and burdens justly divided? This course will draw from classical, modern, and contemporary sources in political philosophy. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, 2010, or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

Philosophy: Systematic Area of Philosophy
Select 3 credits from the following courses:

PHIL 3220 - Philosophy of Science (3 credits)

A study of the conceptual foundations of modern science. The course focuses on the philosophical analysis of scientific method and its basic concepts and assumptions. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, 2010, or 2020 or COMP 2000H.

PHIL 3510 - Ancient Philosophy (3 credits)

A study of the classic works of philosophy focusing on Plato and Aristotle, and might include discussion of various Pre-Socratic and Hellenistic philosophers. The emphasis throughout will be on understanding, analyzing, and evaluating arguments of the philosophers. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, 2010, or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 3520 - Modern Philosophy (3 credits)

A study of the classic works of philosophy focusing on the rationalists, the empiricists, and Kant. The emphasis throughout will be on understanding, analyzing, and evaluating arguments of the philosophers. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, 2010, or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

PHIL 4100 - Metaphysics (3 credits)

This course will examine the nature of metaphysical inquiry in general and the specific arguments advanced by philosophers to resolve or clarify fundamental metaphysical problems. The course may include topics such as the nature of existence, the debate between realists and antirealists, the nature of truth, the relationship between conceivability, possibility, and actuality, the status of substances and properties, the persistence of entities through change, and the problem of free will. Prerequisite: one PHIL course and COMP 2000, 2010 or 2020 or COMP 2000H.

PHIL 4200 - Epistemology (3 credits)

This course will examine the nature of the philosophical study of human knowledge in general and the specific arguments advanced by philosophers to resolve or clarify fundamental epistemological problems. The course may include topics such as skepticism, the analysis of knowledge, the status of a priori knowledge, and theories of justification, memory, and perception. Prerequisite: one PHIL course and COMP 2000, 2010 or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

Select 6 credits from the following courses that are not completed in the selected track:

LGST 3350 - Environmental Law and Policy (3 credits)

This course analyzes environmental quality in terms of law and policy. Specific public policy issues are surveyed to develop alternative approaches for dealing with ecological problems and for illustrating the power of public opinion. This course also provides an understanding of the norms and institutions that comprise national and international environmental law. Specific topics considered include air pollution and protection of the atmosphere, hazardous waste, endangered species, the global commons, and laws of the sea. Statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions are emphasized to provide an overall analysis of environmental law. Prerequisite: COMP 2000, COMP 2010, or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

LGST 4100 - The First Amendment (3 credits)

This course focuses on study of the First Amendment, emphasizing freedom of speech and religion and how those rights have been exercised and interpreted both historically and in the modern era. Prerequisites: LGST 2500 and COMP 2000 or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

LGST 4200 - Crime and the Constitution (3 credits)

This course focuses on the study of the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments and their relationship to criminal procedure. Additional emphasis will be on the 8th amendment and the death penalty. Prerequisites: LGST 2500 and COMP 2000 or 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

LGST 4270 - Judicial Politics and Process (3 credits)

This class will examine both the formal and informal practices and rules that shape the American judicial system. Using a political science/legal anthropology approach, it will ask who uses the courts, why they use the courts, and what they hope to achieve. In doing so, it will seek to assess the effectiveness of American justice by analyzing such topics as the formal structures of the American judicial system and the judicial appointment, socialization, and the decision-making process. Prerequisite: LGST 2500 and COMP 2000, COMP 2010 or COMP 2020 or COMP 2000H. 

LGST 4310 - Individual Rights and the Law (3 credits)

A study of the crucial role the Supreme Court has played in the expansion and diminution of the rights of individuals. This course focuses on civil rights issues (discrimination on the basis race, sex, etc.) and the rights of the individual to privacy. Prerequisites: LGST 2500 and COMP 2000 or 2020 or COMP 2000H.

LGST 4420 - War Crimes (3 credits)

This course focuses on the issue of war crimes as well as trials of war criminals during the last hundred years. Students will consider the development and evolution of the law particularly as it relates to the definition of war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Students will examine key historical trials as well as consider how war crimes doctrines are being applied currently in national and international venues. Prerequisite: one LGST course and COMP 2000 or 2020 or COMP 2000H.

LGST 4900 - Special Topics in Legal Studies (3 credits)

LGST 4950 - Internship in Legal Studies (3 credits)

A 10-20 hour per week field or work experience for 16 weeks (or more) in the student's major area of study. Consult academic division for specific details and requirements. Prerequisites: cumulative GPA of 2.5 higher, completion of 60 or more credit hours, and permission of division director.

The academic program and curriculum requirements listed on this page are from the NSU Undergraduate Student Catalog. Students are bound by policies and curricula published in the catalog in effect the semester they enter the university, unless an agreement is made with appropriate NSU administration officials allowing them to abide by policies published in a later catalog.

View sample 4-Year Academic Plan

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