Legal Studies, Minor

Program Code: LEGST_UMNR

Program Description

Laws affect every person, everywhere, every day. Laws structure the rights and responsibilities of citizens, the conduct of business, and the powers and obligations of governments. The minor in legal studies introduces students to a variety of perspectives on the law, its operation, and its effects in different contexts. Students take a core set of courses that examine how laws are made, how they are put into practice, and how they affect the broader world. They build on this foundation with coursework focused on specific aspects of law or areas of its application. 

This minor is an excellent complement to the major field of study for students who are interested in the broad ways that law touches citizens’ everyday lives as well as for students with more focused interests in the legal environment and consequences of their primary area of study. The program will be particularly valuable to students outside of the liberal arts who are interested in law. The array of courses from which students can choose to complete the minor makes the program compatible with a wide range of majors, including engineering, business, criminal justice, communication, environmental/resource management and sustainability, information technology, and intellectual property.

The Legal Studies minor requires 18 credits. 9 credits are required courses that provide a foundational understanding of various facets of the law, including the US legal system, the power and function of law as a social institution, and the sources and effects of change in legal orders. The remaining 9 credits are selected from a cross disciplinary list that enables students to focus their study of law in accordance with their interests and professional goals.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
PLSC 1American Politics: Principles, Processes and Powers Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Rights in America Keystone/General Education Course
American Constitutional Law
American Constitutional Law
The American Legal Process
American Judicial Behavior
Civil Liberties and Due Process
Empirical Legal Studies
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits from the following list of courses. At least 6 credits must be at the 400-level or above. No more than 6 credits can be from the same discipline.9
Arts Entrepreneurship and the Law
Archaeological Ethics and Law
Science, Ethics, Policy, and Law Keystone/General Education Course
Legal Environment of Business
Business Law I: Introduction to Contracts, Liability Issues, and Intellectual Property
Real Estate Law
Business Law II: Agency, Employment and Business Structure
Advanced Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Employment Law
Entertainment Law
Rhetoric and Law Keystone/General Education Course
Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course
Entertainment Law
Law of Mass Communications
Law of Mass Communications
Telecommunications Law
Strategic Communications Law
Media Law and Ethics
Internet Law and Policy
Introduction to Criminal Justice Keystone/General Education Course
Presumed Innocent? Social Science of Wrongful Conviction Keystone/General Education Course
Policing in America
The Juvenile Justice System
Race, Crime, and Justice
Seminar in the Law
Introduction to Law
Courts and the Prosecution Process
The Pennsylvania Court System
Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System
Criminal Law and Procedure
Offender and Prisoner Rights
Crime and the American Court System
American Guns: History, Law & Criminal Justice Challenges
Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
Law and Society
Legal Rights, Duties, Liabilities of Criminal Justice Personnel
Criminal Procedure and Evidence in the Business Community
Energy Law and Contracts
Economics of Law and Regulation
The Teacher and the Law
Education and Civil Rights
Environmental Law
Legal Aspects of Resource Management
International Business Law
Legal and Regulatory Environment of Information Science and Technology
Legal and Regulatory Environment of Privacy and Security
Legal, Regulatory, Policy Environment of Cyber Forensics
Employment Relationship: Law and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
The Law of Labor-Management Relations
Research Methods for Law and Government Information Resources
Philosophy of Law Keystone/General Education Course
Honors Philosophy of Law Keystone/General Education Course
Seminar in Philosophy of Law
State, Society, and Public Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Pennsylvania Government and Politics
Politics and Government in Washington DC Keystone/General Education Course
Organized Crime, Law, and Politics
American Public Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Ethnic and Racial Politics Keystone/General Education Course
The Legislative Process
Analyzing Public Policy in the American States
The Bureaucratic State
Government and the Economy
Business and Government Relations
American Constitutional Law
American Constitutional Law
The American Legal Process
American Judicial Behavior
Civil Liberties and Due Process
Empirical Legal Studies
Sex, Race, & Justice: The U.S. Supreme Court and Equality
American State and Urban Politics
Congress and the Presidency
International Law and Organizations
Political and Legal Aspects of Recreation Services
Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System

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


Robert Speel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Political Science
156 Kochel Center
Erie, PA 16563


University Park

202 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802


170 Kochel Center
Erie, PA 16563