close up of someone looking at laptop while holding phone
Spring 2024 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 and Public Policy majors. It is NOT the same as the list of law-related electives for the Legal Studies 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  132 – African-American History 1619-1860 (DU HS)
AFROAM  133 – African-American History, Civil War-1954 (DU HS)
AFROAM  161 – Introduction to AfroAmerican Political Science (DU SB)
AFROAM  236 – History of the Civil Rights Movement (DU HS)

BIOLOGY 105 —Biology of Social Issues (BS)

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  151 – U.S. History since 1876 (HS)
HISTORY  242H – American Family in Historical Perspectives, Honors (DU 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  245 – Race & Society (DU SB)

SRVCLRNG  293 – Learning through Community Engagement (DU 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  441 – Auditing
ACCOUNTG  472 – Corporate Taxation

ANTHRO  380 – Grassroots Community Organizing
ANTHRO  381 – Leadership & Activism

ART  311 – Cultural Diversity and Emancipatory Inquiries in Art Education

CLASSICS  494SI – Slavery and Manumission in the Greco-Roman World

COMM  122 – Media Industries and Institution
COMM  226 – Social Impact of Mass Media
COMM  260 – Public Speaking
COMM  339 – Media and Public Policy
COMM  390STA – DIY Media and Social Change
COMM  394DI – Youth, Democracy and the Entertainment Industry
COMM  491G – S-Feminist Media Justice
COMM  494KI – News and Public Opinion

ECON  205 – Intermediate Political Economy
ECON  308 – Political Economy of the Environment
ECON 311 – Money and Banking
ECON  313 – Public Finance
ECON  332 – Social Control of Business
ECON 394CI – Economics of Cooperative Enterprise
ECON  394EI – Economics and Ethics
ECON 394FI – Finance and Society

ENGLISH  388 – Rhetoric, Writing, and Society
ENGLISH  494JI – Going to Jail: Incarceration in US Literature and Culture
ENGLISH  494SI – Literature and Social Justice

HISTORY  363 – Civil War Era
HISTORY  378 – Sex and the Supreme Court
HISTORY 378J – Social Justice Lawyering
HISTORY 378R – History of Reproductive Rights Law

HONORS  499DC – Honors Thesis- Debating Globalization Part 2
HONORS  499DG – Honors Thesis- American Struggles: Immigration and Mass Incarceration
HONORS  499DJ – Readings and Research in Disability, Second Semester

HT-MGMT 320 – Hospitality & Tourism Law

INFO  203 – A Networked World

JOURNAL  410 – Social Justice Journalism I
JOURNAL 445 – Journalism and Law

LABOR  203 – Sports, Labor, and Social Justice

MANAGMNT  335 – Workforce Planning, Recruiting and Selection
MANAGMNT  360 – Labor and Employment Law for Human Resources
MANAGMNT  362 – Law of Enterprise Organization
MANAGMNT  363 – The Law of Organizations and the Natural Environment

MILITARY 402 – Military Leadership and Management

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

NURSING  410 – Nursing, Social Change, and Health Justice

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  391MA – Seminar- Child Maltreatment

PUBHLTH  375 – Case Studies in U.S. Health Policy
PUBHLTH  389 – Health Inequities
PUBHLTH  441 – Water Justice and Planetary Health
PUBHLTH 444 – Reproductive Justice

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  248 – Conformity and Deviance
SOCIOL  290Z – Generation Z Culture
SOCIOL 292W – Labor & Work in the US
SOCIOL 323 – Sociology of Law
SOCIOL  330 – Asian Americans and Inequalities
SOCIOL  341 – Social Welfare
SOCIOL  346 – Communities & Crime

SPRTMGT 335 – Sport Law

SRVCLRNG 393TH – Tools for Democratic Change

STOCKSCH  387 – Global Food Systems

WGSS  205 – Feminist Health Politics
WGSS  240 – Introduction to Transgender Studies
WGSS  393S – Seminar- Feminism and Social Justice Activism

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