Critical Race Studies Specialization

The CRS curriculum provides a unique combination of depth and breadth. In-depth instruction in civil rights and race theory are taught by professors who built the intellectual foundations of the field. Also, courses addressing specific racial groups and other forms of social hierarchies provide rich comparative analyses. This approach helps us understand that we live in a multiracial world with intersecting and overlapping forms of subordination. 

Courses in Fulfillment of the Critical Race Studies Specialization

Overview: Students are required to take six (6) courses to complete the program, including two (2) core courses, one (1) course in comparative analysis, two (2) applied courses (one doctrine and one practice), and one (1) course which fulfills the writing requirement, in which students will complete a 35-page paper, double-spaced. This requirement is further described below under the subheading CRS Writing Requirement. The cumulative GPA within these courses must be a B- or higher in order to gain the Critical Race Studies certification. Students can use an externship in place of the applied practice course.

Core Courses: BOTH courses are required. (Note that it is highly recommended that these courses be taken in the 2L year and be taken before embarking on the writing requirement.)
Course # Course Name
214 Civil Rights
266 Critical Race Theory
Comparative Analysis Requirement (ONE Course) (The courses below provide a basis for critically comparing various forms of racial subordination throughout the history of American law and related forms of legal and social subordination along other axes of identity. Students are required to take one course from this list.)
Course # Course Name
M267 Federal Indian Law
M315 Asian American Jurisprudence
316 Disability Law
318 Law and Sexuality
325 Public Benefits Law and Anti-Poverty Policy
329 Women and the Law
M382 Federal Indian Law II
417 Special Topics in Family Law - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Families with Children
436 International Migration
532 Youth and Justice
542 Comparative Sexual Orientation Law
586 Special Topics in CRS - Arabs, Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans and the Law
592 Sexual Orientation Workshop
612 Medical Ethics, Reproduction, and the Law
617 Special Topics in Family Law: Children of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Parents
619 Environmental Justice Law
624 Legal Philosophy-Feminist Contributions
625 Community Lawyering and Low Wage Worker Organizing
627 Commodification, Law & Public Policy
637 Good (Native) Governance
645 Race Conscious Remedies
653 Advanced Critical Race Theory
655 Feminist Legal Theory
658 International and Comparative Women's Human Rights
661 Latinos and the Law
663 Transnational CRT: Racialization and Positive Action Around the Globe
672 HIV/AIDS Law and Public Policy
M675 LGBT Law and Public Policy Research
  • Applied Courses Requirement (TWO Courses) (at least one from each list) 

    The courses below provide a basis for applying the central themes in critical race theory to specific areas of the law and to practical legal settings. The courses listed in Doctrine provide students with a sound grasp of the laws and policies that govern specific areas of practice. The courses listed in Practice are designed to expose students to the practical application of laws and policies to concrete social issues and actual legal settings.

  • CRS Writing Requirement

    Students may use any of the courses listed above or any of the seminars listed below to fulfill the writing requirement. However, the course or seminar may not be used to fulfill another Specialization requirement at the same time. In other words, there can be no double-counting of a single course to fulfill two requirements within the Specialization. The paper must be at least 35 pages long, double-spaced and related to a topic relevant to the Specialization’s course of study. The CRS paper can be used to fulfill the law school’s writing requirement.

  • As an alternative to writing a paper within an approved course or seminar, students may enroll in a minimum of three (3) units of Independent Research (Law 340) under the supervision of a UCLA faculty member and produce a paper that meets the same standards as stated above to fulfill this requirement. This includes Law Review Comments written as part of Law 341. If the faculty supervisor is a Core CRS faculty member, no pre-approval is necessary; however, the supervising faculty must be notified that the paper is being written to fulfill the CRS writing requirement. If the supervising faculty member is NOT a Core CRS faculty, pre-approval is REQUIRED. To obtain pre-approval, the student must submit a description of the writing project to the CRS program director by the end of the fourth week of the semester in which the paper is to be written, indicating how the project will engage race/racism or employ critical race scholarship or concepts in its analysis.


    1. Please refer to the Course List to determine which of the courses listed above will be offered during the current school year.
    2. The course requirements list is reviewed and updated on a periodic basis by the CRS faculty.  You are required to complete the requirements as they were published when you elected into the Specialization.  However, you may petition to have a course meet certain requirements, when changes have been made after you elect into the Specialization.
    3. In limited instances, the CRS faculty directors will consider a student’s petition to have a course not listed on the requirements page count towards certification. You should send an email to the program director and cc the faculty director, citing the language of the requirement on this page, describing how the course meets the requirement, and attaching course syllabi or relevant materials. We will typically respond to your email petition within three (3) working days.