Spring 2023 Law-Related Courses

Every semester, we provide this list of the amazing array of law-related and law-adjacent courses that might be of interest to students considering legal careers. Some of these courses are squarely focused on the law. Others are more in the nature of background learning that will help you more deeply understand the law and its place in our world. These 100+ courses can be found in 30 different departments across 9 different colleges and schools at the University—and this is not even including the courses offered at the other four colleges (which are not listed here). It’s not just that the law touches every aspect of our lives and your studies, but that every area of study can support your eventual legal career. So think broadly as you consider which courses to take while you’re here at UMass, and rest assured that you will find something of value in every class you take, even if it takes years to figure out just what it might be.

There is nothing you MUST do as an undergrad in order to prepare for law school – no required classes or majors, no magic extracurricular activities.

Study what you love, pursue what you find meaningful, explore your interests.

You’ll find pages of info on undergraduate preparation for law school right here.

Beyond studying what you love, the most important things you can do in the classroom to enhance your eventual application to law school are the following:

  • Learn how to be a good writer – take classes in which you’ll write a lot and get good feedback on your writing.
  • Maintain a strong GPA.  Studying what you love will make this much easier.
  • Get to know your professors.  They’re an amazing resource, and the more they know about you, the better their eventual letters of recommendation can be.

Enrolling in law-related classes is NOT a prerequisite for getting into law school, but it may help you decide if law is the right path for you.

The list below can help you sample law in the classroom. This is NOT a complete list of all courses that touch on or provide background for understanding legal issues, only those most directly related to law (and policy, often). It is also limited to those classes offered this Spring. This list also does NOT indicate availability – classes may be full (check SPIRE). If you’re really interested in a class that’s already full, reach out to the instructor to inquire whether an override of enrollment limits is possible.

This list is in addition to ALL of the courses in the Legal Studies major. It is NOT the same as the list of law-related electives for that major.

Did we miss a class you think should be on this list? Please let us know.

General Education classes (GenEd designation in parentheses)

AFROAM  133 – African-American History, Civil War-1954 (DU HS)

BIOLOGY 105 —Biology of Social Issues (BS)

COMM  386 – Race, Inequality and Representation (SB)

ECON  105 – Introduction to Political Economy (DU SB)

EDUC  101 – Introduction to Education: Schooling in the United States (SB)
EDUC 115—Embracing Diversity (DU I) 

GEOGRAPH  110 – Global Environment Change (PS)

HISTORY  242H – American Family in Historical Perspectives, Honors (DU HS)
HISTORY  373 – American Thought and Culture II (HS)
HISTORY  411 – History of Science Activism (DG HS)

HONORS  321H – Violence in American Culture (DU SB)
HONORS  322H – Criminal Law and Justice in the US (DU SB)

LABOR  201 – Women & Work (DU SB)
LABOR 280 – Labor & Work in the US (DU I)

NRC  185 – Sustainable Living: Solutions for the 21st Century (I)

PHIL 105 – Practical Reasoning (R2)
PHIL 110—Introduction to Logic (R2)
PHIL 160—Introduction to Ethics (AT)
PHIL 163 – Business Ethics (AT)
PHIL 164—Medical Ethics (AT)
PHIL  166 – Environmental Ethics (SB)
PHIL 170—Problems in Social Thought (SB)

POLISCI 101 – American Politics (SB)
POLISCI  280 – Public Policy (SB)

PUBHLTH 129—Healthcare for All (DU SB)

RES-ECON  262 – Environmental Economics (SB)

SOCIOL 103—Social Problems (DU SB)
SOCIOL  106 – Race, Gender, Class & Ethnicity (DU SB)
SOCIOL  201 – Women and Work (DU SB)
SOCIOL  222 – The Family (DU SB)
SOCIOL  224 – Social Class and Inequality (DU SB)
SOCIOL 242 – Drugs and Society (SB)
SOCIOL 244 – Sociology of Immigration (SB)
SOCIOL  245 – Race & Society (DU SB)

SRVCLRNG  293 – Learning through Community Engagement (SB)

WGSS  187 – Gender, Sexuality and Culture (DU I)
WGSS  286 – History of Sexuality and Race in the US (DU HS)

Upper-Level Classes (not Gen Eds)

Prerequisites may apply and/or courses may be restricted to declared majors. Really want to take a class you’re not eligible for? Reach out to the professor — the worst that can result from a polite inquiry is an equally polite “Sorry, no.” But you’ll never know if you don’t ask!

ACCOUNTG 371 – Individual Taxation
ACCOUNTG  472 – Corporate Taxation

AFROAM  293C – Seminar- Race, Sexuality, and the Law in Early America
AFROAM  293G – Seminar- From Environmental Racism to Climate Justice
AFROAM  293J – Seminar- Black Women, Representation, and Power in Africa and the African Diaspora

ANTHRO  380 – Grassroots Community Organizing
ANTHRO  397L – ST-Leadership & Activism
ANTHRO  499D – Honors Thesis Seminar – Conquest by Law: The Use of Law to Subjugate and Marginalize in the U.S.

ART  311 – Cultural Diversity and Emancipatory Inquiries in Art Education

ART-HIST  397V – Spec. Topics- Vexed Antiquities: Introduction to Challenges of Cultural Heritage in the 21st Century

COMM  122 – Media Industries and Institution
COMM  226 – Social Impact of Mass Media
COMM  260 – Public Speaking
COMM  394DI – Youth, Democracy and the Entertainment Industry
COMM  494DI – Conflict and Collaboration
COMM  494KI – News and Public Opinion

COMP-LIT  482 – Interpreting and Translation Research and Practice II

ECON  205 – Intermediate Political Economy
ECON 311 – Money and Banking
ECON  313 – Public Finance
ECON  330 – Labor in the American Economy
ECON 394CI – Economics of Cooperative Enterprise
ECON 394FI – Finance and Society
ECON  397WM – Seminar- Economics of Women, Minorities, and Work

ENGLISH  388 – Rhetoric, Writing, and Society
ENGLISH  494JI – Going to Jail: Incarceration in US Literature and Culture
ENGLISH  491Z – Poetry of the Political Imagination

HISTORY  363 – Civil War Era
HISTORY  368 – US Between World Wars
HISTORY  397GV – Special Topics- Greenwich Village After WWII
HISTORY 397JL – Social Justice Lawyering
HISTORY 397RR – History of Reproductive Rights Law
HISTORY  397SC – Special Topics- Sex and the Supreme Court
HISTORY  397WR – Special Topics- Women and Revolutions

HONORS  499DC – Honors Thesis- Debating Globalization Part 2
HONORS  499DG – Honors Thesis- American Struggles: Immigration and Mass Incarceration

HT-MGMT 320 – Hospitality & Tourism Law

INFO  203 – A Networked World

JOURNAL 445 – Journalism and Law

MANAGMNT  362 – Law of Enterprise Organization
MANAGMNT  391E – Environmental Law
MANAGMNT  397W – Special Topics- Workforce Planning, Recruiting, & Selection

MILITARY 402 – Military Leadership and Management

NRC  309 – Natural Resource Policy & Administration
NRC 310 – Community Forestry

NURSING  490M – Nursing, Social Change, and Health Justice

POLISCI  318 – Russian Politics, Law and Society
POLISCI  391E – Seminar- Rules of War
POLISCI  394EI – US Health Politics and Inequalities
POLISCI  499DD – Honors Thesis – Health and Health Care Inequality in the United States

PSYCH  321 – Forensic Psychology
PSYCH  391DG – Seminar- Disability Identity: Intersections of Race, Gender and Sexuality
PSYCH 391SV – Intro to Disability Studies

PUBHLTH  375 – Case Studies in U.S. Health Policy
PUBHLTH  389 – Health Inequities
PUBHLTH  440 – The Opioid Epidemic
PUBHLTH  450 – Comparative Healthcare Systems
PUBHLTH  490FM – Human Rights, Health, and Migration
PUBHLTH  490J – Reproductive Justice

RES-ECON  397E – Special Topics- Economic Development and the Environment
RES-ECON 453 – Public Policy in Private Markets

SCH-MGMT 260 – Intro to Law
SCH-MGMT  333 – Principles of Real Estate

SOCIOL 241 – Criminology
SOCIOL 292W – Labor & Work in the US
SOCIOL 323 – Sociology of Law
SOCIOL  330 – Asian Americans and Inequalities
SOCIOL 342 – Deviance and Social Order
SOCIOL 343 – Hate Crime in America
SOCIOL  349 – Race, Class, and Crime
SOCIOL 395K – Domestic Violence
SOCIOL 461 – Seminar on Race and Racism

SPP 197P – Special Topics- Adulting: Problems, Policy, and Practice in an Age of Precarity
SPP 309 – Natural Resource Policy & Administration
SPP S390P – Politics and Policy in the American Police State 

SPRTMGT 335 – Sport Law

SRVCLRNG  193 – Leadership and Service
SRVCLRNG 393TH – Tools for Democratic Change

STOCKSCH  387 – Global Food Systems
STOCKSCH 397R – Social Permaculture: Building Resilient Communities and Organizations

WGSS  205 – Feminist Health Politics
WGSS  240 – Introduction to Transgender Studies
WGSS  293C – Seminar- Race, Sexuality, and the Law in Early America
WGSS  295D – Seminar- Democracy Works:  People, Power, Government
WGSS  295E – Seminar- Envisioning/Enacting Social Change
WGSS  295W – Seminar-  Embodied Feminism, Healing Justice, and Social Movements for Collective Liberation


By Diane Curtis
Diane Curtis Pre-Law Advisor & Senior Lecturer