Legal Studies program

Undergrad minor

Are you interested in a future in law?

With a legal studies minor, you'll gain the foundational skills to pursue law school or a wide variety of other careers that deal with the law, apart from being a lawyer.

UW-La Crosse's Legal Studies minor is an interdisciplinary program focused on topics and skills that are desirable for students who are interested in legal fields. Students gain a foundational understanding of the legal system and how the law operates within government and society. They will also learn to formulate arguments; critique the arguments of others; evaluate and apply theories, examine legal and constitutional principles and much more. Courses include areas of advocacy, theory and areas of law.

Best majors for law school

Law schools have no preferences for any particular major. The Law School Admission Test, does not test facts. Instead, it is a competency-based exam that evaluates both logical and analytical reasoning, as well as reading comprehension. Students should choose a major that involves a substantial amount of independent work and requires analyzing and organizing materials verbally and/or in writing.They may also consider how a major might complement an area of law they would like to pursue. For example, sociology and criminology relate well to criminal justice work.

Legal studies jobs

Some graduates choose career paths associated with legal studies. Others choose unrelated careers that use skills and experiences developed in college. Some fields below require graduate study or further training. 

  • City manager
  • Campaign manager
  • Congressional or white house aide
  • Educator
  • Election supervisor
  • Environmental activist
  • Foreign service officer
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Lawyer
  • Legislative assistant
  • Lobbyist
  • Paralegal or legal assistant
  • Peace corps officer
  • Policy staff assistant
  • Political consultant
  • Politician
  • Program evaluator
  • Public interest group director
  • Speech or technical writer
  • Urban/ regional planner

What distinguishes UWL's Legal Studies program?

Gain skills that are critical for law school

Students in UWL's legal studies minor gain widely-applicable skills and experience with written communication and critical thinking as part of their coursework. 

Pre-Law Society offers valued extracurricular involvement

Increasingly law schools are taking note of extracurricular activities and work experiences as criteria for admission. UWL offers a Pre-Law Society student group that exposes members to different aspects of the legal profession, while also providing law school preparation exercises. Through Pre-Law Society, students can compete in the intercollegiate Moot Court competition and experience the appellate advocacy process. This competition mirrors the trial advocacy competitions in which one would participate in law school.

Gain internship experience in law

UWL’s internship program, offered for variable credit, provides an acceptable supplement to academic training. Internship positions — paid and unpaid — are available in public offices, law firms and other private businesses. Though none of these things will substitute for a specific entrance requirement, they may entitle a law school applicant to more favorable consideration than he/she would otherwise receive.

Sample courses

POL 221 The American Legal System An introductory survey of the American legal system in operation; utilizing case materials, class discussion, and hypothetical conflict situations to illustrate and study the range of problems, proceedings, actions, and remedies encountered. Offered Fall, Spring.

CST 310 Debate An introductory course covering the concepts, formats and strategies of debating. Emphasis is on the development of personal skills of argumentation. Prerequisite: CST 110. Offered Occasionally.

HIS 357 Crime and Punishment in America An introduction to crime and punishment in America from colonial times to the present with an overview of the law and basic institutions of the criminal legal system. The class explores how different groups of people experienced these institutions, how crime patterns and punishment have changed, the differences between crime and violence, different types of crimes (violent, property, white-collar), and why America has the criminal legal system it does. Course makes extensive use of evidence from inside and outside the criminal legal system including police reports, court records, crime data, program evaluations, newspapers, and popular culture. Offered Alternate Years.