Legal Studies

Welcome to the Legal Studies Program at UMass! We are the oldest undergraduate law and society major in the country and the only one offered at a public university in New England. Students majoring in Legal Studies are exposed to a wide array of courses that focus on the interrelationship between law, politics, and society in American, foreign, and international contexts. Our faculty are some of the best teachers and researchers in the nation and are experts on areas like human trafficking, judicial decision making, immigration, legal policymaking, alternative dispute resolution, the right to privacy, transitional justice, and many others.

Undergraduate program options include a Bachelor’s degree and letters of specialization.

Welcome to the Legal Studies Community

Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and society. The major is housed in the Department of Political Science within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. There is no minor in Legal Studies. There are five Letters of Specialization available to Legal Studies majors. The purpose of this multifaceted program is to develop the study of law within a liberal arts framework and to explore the myriad ways in which law is connected with other disciplines pertinent to an understanding of society.

Legal Studies is an education about law as a social and political product, whereas law school is education in rules and procedures. The critical, social scientific approach of the program encourages students to investigate and develop their attitudes toward law, politics, and society within the context of a growing literature of Legal Studies and related disciplines.

Legal Studies also examines law and society from the perspective of other cultures. The department encourages study abroad to expand cross-cultural understanding in an increasingly global legal community.

UMass Amherst to host MA Appellate Court: Students Invited to Attend

MA Appellate Court at UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is once again hosting the state Appeals Court on campus as they hear 6 oral arguments. The Appeals Court is a court of general appellate jurisdiction, which means that the justices review …

By Rebecca Bell
Rebecca Bell Associate Director of Career and Professional Development for SBS Rebecca Bell
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Get the most out of the new SBS Pathways website by selecting your preferences!

We encourage you to explore the variety of content areas on our new SBS Pathways website, whether exploring academics, checking out our various Career Communities to learn all about different industries, learning about our Signature Programs like the Academic Fellows …

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Carol Sharick
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#WhySBS Contest – Get creative and give us your best tagline!

We’re seeking taglines and descriptions of why SBS / the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences is such a great place, and why incoming students should want to come join us and one of our majors!
Prizes will be offered to …
By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Carol Sharick
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Explore Outcomes

The SBS Office of Career & Professional Development annually surveys graduating seniors in order to provide a snapshot of their post-graduation plans.  The survey begins just prior to graduation, and continues until six months after graduation.  Our data collection process is guided by the industry standard put forth by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, and includes information collected by the SBS Office of Career & Professional Development, the Office of Institutional Research at UMass Amherst, and by various academic departments, as well as from information that is made publicly available by students.  The SBS undergraduate outcomes knowledge rate for 2020 was 60%, though knowledge rate varies among departments.

  • First Destination
  • Top Employers
  • Starting Salary
  • Employment Locations
  • Top Universities
  • Degree Types
  • Fields of Study

First Destination

SBS graduates pursue a range of plans after graduation, including employment, continuing education, and volunteering/service, among others.  This graph depicts what recent SBS graduates tell us they are doing within six months after graduation.

Featured Resources

Research Opportunities

The Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) at UMass helps students (and alumni who are not currently in grad school) …

UREP is designed to partner advanced undergraduate political science and legal studies majors with faculty for hands-on, one-on-one research experiences.

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