2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Feb 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Legal Studies, Dispute Resolution Concentration, B.S.

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Program Outcomes

1. Students demonstrate understanding of the structure and functions of the American legal system, including governmental structure, the court system and alternative methods of dispute resolution, and recognition of the role of law and democratic principles in our society.

2. Students can communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

3. Students demonstrate analytic and critical thinking, including using legal reasoning in the application of basic legal principles to fact situations and the ability to read cases with understanding and apply case law to legal problems.

4. Students demonstrate knowledge of basic legal principles and core substantive and procedural laws.

5. Students can conduct literature-based and legal research using library materials as well as computer assisted research programs to produce reports.

6. Students demonstrate understanding of professional rules of conduct and ethical and professional behavior.

7. Students demonstrate the ability to work effectively as team members.

8. Students demonstrate respect for cultural diversity and the ability to interact productively with persons from diverse backgrounds.

9. Obtain employment in a legal or law-related setting or acceptance in a graduate course of study in law, legal studies, conflict management, public policy, public service, or other related course of study.

Additional Paralegal Concentration Program Outcomes:

10. Students can conduct factual investigations, including accessing documentary information and materials and interviewing clients and witnesses.

11. Students demonstrate knowledge of the role of paralegals in various legal settings and the special concerns and skills involved in such settings, including case and time management, client relations, and working with attorney supervisors.

B.S., Legal Studies

The legal studies major provides students with an understanding of fundamental principles of law and analyzes the role and function of the American legal system within a societal and political context. The interdisciplinary course of study develops critical thinking and writing skills and prepares students for law-related careers, law school, or graduate school. Three concentration options allow students to focus on particular career aspirations and interests.

The legal studies international track provides an opportunity for students to study abroad for a semester, expanding their experience and knowledge of global legal and policy issues, while directly furthering requirements for their bachelor's degree. In partnership with universities in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia, legal studies students with a minimum 3.0 GPA may study abroad in either the spring semester of their sophomore year or fall semester of their junior year.

A two-semester internship in the final year of study combines classroom learning with on-the-job experience, enhancing employment opportunities after graduation. Placements are geared to the student's area of concentration.

Students earning a B.S. degree in legal studies must complete at least 124 credits, including the University Core Curriculum, major requirements, concentration requirements, and free electives.

Program Restrictions to University Core

No more than two LSTD courses can be taken as part of the University Core.  LSTD 4440  is not allowed for the Public Affairs concentration.


Students select an area of concentration for the elective portion of the program. The concentrations consist of five courses that focus on a specific approach to the field of legal studies. Course selection is made with the assistance of the program adviser. Students planning to go on to law school typically choose either the public affairs or dispute resolution concentrations.  Students planning careers as paralegals choose the ABA-approved paralegal studies concentration.  A paralegal performs specifically delegated substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney who is responsible for the paralegal's work.  Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

Concentration in Dispute Resolution

Students in the dispute resolution concentration will explore alternative methods for resolving disputes traditionally resolved through the civil or criminal legal systems. This concentration provides students with an understanding of conflict management theories and alternative dispute resolution practices, and an introduction to practical skills in negotiation, mediation, and facilitation. Graduates are prepared for law-related, alternative dispute resolution careers in the judicial system, government agencies, and the private sector, or for further education in law school or graduate school.

Plus four of the following: conflict management, interpersonal relations, interpersonal or cultural dynamics courses related to concentration content, as approved by program adviser:

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