Law and Society, B.A.

Program Code: LAWSC_BA

Program Description

The College of the Liberal Arts Law and Society program is an undergraduate major that provides a comprehensive liberal arts education across multiple disciplines. The program focuses on understanding how social, cultural, economic, and political forces treat the law within the context of historical and contemporary trends. Socio-legal theory will provide a framework for understanding the increasing importance of programs that accentuate the study of law, and legal institutions.

The Law and Society program has six prescribed classes. In addition, a student will complete five supporting courses that incorporate the student’s degree goals and can be tailored to his or her special interests. Students will consider the relationship between law, legal processes, human behavior, and legal and social institutions. The conventions of reading, argument, logic, and program solving will be used to explore issues.

Law and Society provides excellent preparation for higher schooling, such as law school or graduate study in sociology, criminology, or criminal justice. The major enhances career options in law enforcement, regulatory agencies, social service agencies, non-profit agencies, non-government agencies (NGO), and organizations that determine public policy. Law and Society also provides valuable knowledge for the small business owner.

What is Law and Society?

The 123-credit Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society is a multidisciplinary program intended to provide you with a greater understanding of law, legal principles, and the legal systems of the United States. Many occupations today require at least some legal knowledge and notion of the law. With a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society, you will not only learn about the law, legal principles, legal institutions, and processes in the United States, but you can also become skillful in logic, rhetoric, research and legal writing.

Direct Admission to the Major

Incoming first-year students who meet the program admission requirements are admitted directly into the major. Admission restrictions may apply for change-of-major and/or change-of-campus students.

For more information about the admission process for this major, please send a request to the college, campus, or program contact (listed in the Contact tab).

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 30-33
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 36

12-15 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 6 credits of GH courses; 0-3 credits of GQ courses; 6 credits of GS courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
HIST 20American Civilization to 1877 Keystone/General Education Course3
HIST 21American Civilization Since 1877 Keystone/General Education Course3
LA 1003
PLSC 1American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers Keystone/General Education Course3
PLSC 1103
PLSC 472The American Legal Process3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select one or both of the following:3-6
Critical Thinking Keystone/General Education Course
Symbolic Logic Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits of the following:12
Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course
Law and Society
Undergraduate Field Experience or Practicum
Independent Studies
LER 401
LER 458Y
American Constitutional Law
Select 0-3 credits of the following:0-3
Rhetoric and Law Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Law
Undergraduate Field Experience or Practicum
Independent Studies
LER 201
Research Methods for Law and Government Information Resources
Philosophy of Law Keystone/General Education Course

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Program Learning Objectives

  • Communication: Students will be able to effectively communicate about law and society in both written and oral formats
  • Content Knowledge: Students will be able to explain how law is embedded in social contexts and how it is socially and historically constructed
  • Professional Skills: Students will be able to apply career related skills in law and society
  • Research Skills: Students will show proficiency in commonly used research methods—including techniques from history, political science, and sociology—in law and society
  • Thinking Skills: Students will utilize critical thinking in analyzing and applying law and society perspectives to society's problems

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

World Campus

Undergraduate Academic Advising
301 Outreach Building
University Park, PA 16802

Career Paths

  • Business
  • Public service
  • Social services
  • Legal administration
  • Human resources
  • Nonprofit and NGO organization
  • Law or graduate school


World Campus

8 Thomas Building
University Park, PA 16802