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Law Program

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Recognizing that law, legal processes, and concepts are integrally involved in political, social, environmental, economic, scientific, and other issues, Hampshire College has given legal studies a significant place in its curriculum.

Our pioneering Law Program, established in 1970, was the first undergraduate legal studies program in the nation. It offers an innovative interdisciplinary approach to the study of law, as well as a number of exciting opportunities for engaging legal questions outside the classroom.

Interdisciplinary Approach
Hampshire's Law Program is not a pre-law program in the traditional sense of one that specifically prepares students for the study of law as a profession. Rather, it is an interdisciplinary one, deeply committed to the principles of liberal education and founded on the premise that an understanding of law as a social force ubiquitous at practically all levels—local, regional, national, and international—is basic to the exercise of the rights, privileges, and duties of today’s citizens.

Some students choose to focus primarily on law, while others include legal perspectives as a secondary focus. Advanced students create concentrations in which law interacts with their interests in philosophy, international relations, environmental studies, or community organizing.

Though many of our students do ultimately choose to go on to a professional legal education at some at the nation’s most highly regarded law schools, others simply incorporate an engagement with the study of law as part of their Division II concentration or Division III advanced research project.

The Program
At the program’s center are courses on subjects such as philosophy of law; crime and punishment; political justice; civil rights; freedom of expression; law and racial conflict; legal regulation of sexuality; reproductive rights; human rights and humanitarian law; immigration and refugee issues; anthropology of law; law in literature; and others in a wide range of areas of student interest.

Many first encounter legal studies through courses designed to present legal methods and reasoning to first-year students, such as Political Justice, The U.S. Supreme Court, and Affirmative Action. Others come to courses such as Feminist Legal Theory or International Human Rights as more advanced students interested in philosophy, sociology, psychology or international relations.

Lester J. Mazor Endowment
Established in honor of founding faculty member Lester Mazor, this endowment supports programming for the interdisciplinary study of law, culture, politics, and social science, and the use of this knowledge to promote cross-cultural understanding and a more just society for all people.

 

Contact Us

Law Program
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
frisech@hampshire.edu
 

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