Law-related courses for Spring 2020

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 130+ courses can be found in over 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). This list is in addition to ALL of the courses in 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 133 - African-American History, Civil War-1954 (DU HS)
AFROAM 161 - Introduction to AfroAmerican Political Science (DU SB)
AFROAM 326 - Black Women in U.S. History (DU HS)

ANTHRO 205 - Power and Inequality in the United States (DU SB)

BIOLOGY 105 —Biology of Social Issues (BS)

COMM 209H - LGBT Politics and the Media (DU SB)

ECON 105 - Introduction to Political Economy (DU SB)

EDUC 115—Embracing Diversity (DU I)

HISTORY 150/151—US History (HS)
HISTORY 154 - Social Change in the 1960s (DU HS)
HISTORY 242H – American Family in Historical Perspective (DU HS) (Honors)
HISTORY 265 - US LGBT and Queer History (DU HS)
HISTORY 290A - African American History from Africa to the Civil War (DU HS)
HISTORY 372 - American Thought and Culture I (HS)
HISTORY 383 - American Environmental History (HS)
HISTORY 390E - Imperial America: US and World 1898-Now (HS)

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

LABOR 201 - Issues of Women & Work (SB)
LABOR 280 - Labor & Work in the US (I)

MIDEAST 190A - Water, Oil, and Blood: The Middle East in Global Policy (DG SB)

NRC 185 - Sustainable Living: Solutions for the 21st Century (SI)

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 162 – Intro to Constitutional Law (SB)
POLISCI 203 - American Political Thought (HS)
POLISCI 229 - Experiments in Political Persuasion, Perception, Power, Prejudice and Policy (DU 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 and Ethnicity (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 262 – Globalization and Inequality (SB)
SOCIOL 287 – Sexuality and Society (DU SB)

WGSS 187 - Gender, Sexuality and Culture (DU I)
WGSS 290C - History of Sexuality and Race in the US (DU HS)


Upper-Level Classes (not Gen Eds)

NOT recommended for first years. Pre-requisites may apply and/or courses may be restricted to declared majors. 

ACCOUNTG 371 – Individual Taxation
ACCOUNTG 472 - Corporate Taxation
ACCOUNTG 483 – CPA Law

AEROSPAC 442 – National Security Policy II

AFROAM 291G - Seminar- Reading, Writing & Citizenship: African American Educational Campaigns
AFROAM 390M - Race and the American Story

ANTHRO 297PP – Special Topics-Anthropology of Slavery
ANTHRO 297SR - Special Topics- Sex, Reproduction and Culture
ANTHRO 341 - Building Solidarity Economies
ANTHRO 380 - Grassroots Community Organizing
ANTHRO 397DC - Special Topics- Decolonizing Collections
ANTHRO 499D - Honors Thesis Seminar - Conquest by Law: The Use of Law to Subjugate and Marginalize in the U.S.
ANTHRO 597CR Special Topics - Critical Race Theory

ART-HIST 397V - Vexed Antiquities: Intro to Challenges of Cultural Heritage in the 21st Century

CLASSICS 355 - Slaves and Freed Slaves in the Classical World

COMM 122 - Media Industries and Institution
COMM 226 - Social Impact of Mass Media
COMM 260 - Public Speaking
COMM 310 - Social Influence and Persuasion
COMM 339 - Media and Public Policy
COMM 397SS - Youth, Democracy and the Entertainment Industry
COMM 494DI - Conflict and Collaboration
COMM 497NP - Special Topics- News and Public Opinion
COMM 497SL - Special Topics- The Social Life of Algorithms

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

COMPSCI 365 – Digital Forensics

ECON 308 – Political Economy of the Environment
ECON 311 – Money and Banking
ECON 330 - Labor in the American Economy
ECON 333 – Income Inequality and Policy Alternatives
ECON 335 – Economics of Immigration
ECON 341 - Labor Economics
ECON 394CI – Economics of Cooperative Enterprise
ECON 394EI – Economics and Ethics
ECON 394FI – Finance and Society
ECON 397EA - Special Topics- Political Economy of African Growth and Transformation
ECON 397WM - Seminar- Economics of Women, Minorities, and Work

GEOGRAPH 497N - National Parks and Protected Areas
GEOGRAPH 497R - Special Topics- Rethinking US Environmental Policy

HISTORY 397AR - American Reconstruction & Reunion
HISTORY 397GE – Special Topics – Global Environmental History
HISTORY 397JL – Social Justice Lawyering
HISTORY 397RR - History of Reproductive Rights Law
HISTORY 397SC – Sex and the Supreme Court

HT-MGT 320—Hospitality and Tourism Law

INFO 203 - A Networked World

JOURNAL 445 – Journalism and Law

MANAGMNT 260 - Intro to 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 310 – Community Forestry
NRC 497WD - Offshore Wind Energy-Environmental Impacts, Siting, Permitting, and Stakeholder Engagement
NRC 590C - Clean Energy and Climate Policy in Massachusetts

POLISCI 290L – Introduction to Legal Reasoning
POLISCI 297XH - Special Topics- The Science of Health Inequalities: the Politics of Policy Intervention
POLISCI 320 - Public Administration
POLISCI 361— Civil Liberties
POLISCI 394DI - Protest & Dissent
POLISCI 394IIH – International Environmental Policy & Politics, Honors
POLISCI 395A - Constitutional Amendment Workshop

PSYCH 297F - Forensic Psychology
PSYCH 391SD - Seminar- Stigma, Discrimination and Health
PSYCH 480 – Intellectual Disability: Concepts and Controversies

PUBHLTH 390P - Case Studies in U.S. Health Policy
PUBHLTH 450 - Comparative Health Care Systems

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

SCH-MGMT 333 - Principles of Real Estate

SOCIOL 241 - Criminology
SOCIOL 292W – Labor & Work in the US
SOCIOL 323 – Sociology of Law
SOCIOL 341 – Social Welfare
SOCIOL 342 – Deviance and Social Order
SOCIOL 346 - Communities and Crime
SOCIOL 349 – Race, Class, and Crime
SOCIOL 395K – Domestic Violence
SOCIOL 397PA – Probation and Parole
SOCIOL 461 - Seminar on Race and Racism

SPP 397G - Special Topics- Internet Policy and Governance
SPP 397N - Natural Resource Policy & Administration
SPP 497C - Catalyzing Change: Creating & Operating a Nonprofit

SPRTMGT 335 - Sport Law

STOCKSCH 182 - Principles of Pesticide Mgt
STOCKSCH 397R - Social Permaculture: Building Resilient Communities and Organizations

SRVCLRNG 390B - The Boltwood Project: Engaging with the Disabilities Community
SRVCLRNG 393TH - Tools for Democratic Change

WGSS 205 - Feminist Health Politics
WGSS 297TC - Intro to Transgender Studies
WGSS 393J - Critical Prison Studies