UCLA School of Law has a unique interdisciplinary specialization in law and philosophy. The specialization is designed for UCLA School of Law students who want to supplement their legal studies by exploring the philosophical foundations of law. The specialization is especially relevant to students interested in further graduate studies or exploring a career in academia. The specialization will expose students to material on the nature of law and legal systems, and on the theoretical underpinnings and justifications of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional law, criminal law, and contract.
Any student interested in philosophical issues related to the law may pursue the specialization (unless that student is subject to special requirements as a result of academic performance in the first year or thereafter). Students need not have any prior background in philosophy, but a strong interest in the subject is recommended.
Admission. Any student in good standing may apply to be admitted into the Specialization. Interested students should fill out a (non-binding) declaration of intent the summer after their first year available through the Registrar.
Certification. The Specialization is not a separate degree program, but rather a specialization within UCLA School of Law. A student who completes the Specialization with a B or better in each qualifying course and a B+ in the writing requirement, will receive a transcript notation indicating successful completion of the Specialization.
Course Enrollment Preferences. Students enrolled in the specialization have priority enrollment for Core List courses but not for the courses on the qualifying list. The Registrar will provide pre-enrollment information for each semester.
To earn a specialization in Law and Philosophy, students must finish a course work requirement and a written work requirement in their second and third years as detailed below.
Course Work Requirement:
Students must complete four qualifying courses (of at least two semester units each) with a grade of B or better in each course.
At least two of the courses must come from the Core List. (These lists may be updated by the faculty affiliated with the Center as new courses are added.) Courses on the Core List will be frequently offered. They will usually be taught by members of the faculty who have special expertise in the area of Law and Philosophy, drawing on foundational materials and methodologies of the subject.
The other two courses may come from the Core List; from the Other Qualifying Courses List; or students may petition the Faculty Director of the Program to have other relevant courses or independent studies counted toward the specialization.
Courses from the Core List need not be taken before other qualifying courses. Coursework need not be complete before the student tackles the written work requirement.
Other Qualifying Courses:
*Offered during the 2012/2013 academic year
Other Relevant Courses/Independent Studies:
In addition to the courses from the Core and Qualifying Lists, a variety of other courses may be of interest to students pursuing the specialization. Interested students might combine these courses with an independent study focusing on philosophical issues raised by the course or, depending on the syllabus and course requirements, may consult and petition the Faculty Director to count the course directly toward the coursework requirement. Courses not on the Core or Qualifying lists can only be counted by such a petition.
Law School Courses - Other law school courses from time to time will have a strong emphasis on theoretical issues. Visit the UCLA School of Law schedule and course description pages for more information. Some Law 561. Perspectives on Law and Lawyering Seminars may be of particular interest to students in the specialization.
Some Perspectives instructors may be willing to sponsor a connected independent study involving sustained writing that would, by petition, qualify for credit toward the specialization.
Philosophy Courses - Students are encouraged to petition to apply to count up to two graduate courses offered by the UCLA Department of Philosophy toward the coursework requirement. Advance approval from the instructor and the Faculty Director of the Program must be obtained. Any such courses taken will count towards the two outside courses permitted pursuant to the Law School’s Summary of Academic Standards. Offerings vary from year to year. Courses numbered in the 240s and 250s are likely to be most relevant. Visit the Philosophy Department website for further information on courses.
Independent Study - Students may also petition to take an independent study (Law 340) in lieu of a course. The independent study would be taken in conjunction with or subsequent to taking a non-listed law school course; the independent study would focus on the philosophical issues associated with the non-listed law school course. Students might take an independent study with an interested faculty member on philosophical issues associated with any legal area (tax, evidence, civil rights, remedies, etc.). For instance, a student might do an independent study with a faculty member on the philosophy of torts after completing the first year torts curriculum, or might do an independent study about philosophical issues underlying evidence concurrent with taking an evidence course.
Written Work Requirement:
To earn the specialization, students must also complete a substantial research paper (20 to 35 pages) on a topic in law and philosophy with a grade of B+ or better.
You may have written a qualifying paper for a class, seminar, or independent study already or you may have plans to do so in conjunction with a course in the spring. You may, however, have written a paper for another class that is on the right topic but is not sufficiently developed to meet the substantial work requirement. It is entirely permissible to develop or extend work done in a prior class, but, if you do so, the research paper must involve sufficient new work in the form of a substantial development, revision, and extension. The final product should be of a form that would suffice to satisfy the Law School’s Substantial Analytic Writing requirement.
Not every paper written for a Law and Philosophy course will meet the qualifications for the specialization research paper requirement, so students should check with the Faculty Director if they have any questions about the suitability of the paper they plan to submit. Notice that papers must be on a topic in Law and Philosophy.
Due Date: Papers intended to satisfy the specialization research requirement must be submitted for review by the faculty director along with the Writing Requirement Form. For students who complete the specialization research requirement prior to spring of their 3L year, it would hasten certification of the degree if they turned in their papers for review by January 14, 2013. For students who will complete the requirement during spring of their 3L year, papers must be submitted for review by the faculty director no later than June 10, 2013. Note that the paper must already have received a grade of B+ or better to be considered for this requirement.
Written Work Requirement Form
To discuss the specialization, students may contact Faculty Director Mark Greenberg at email@example.com or the Law and Philosophy Program Manager, Rachel Estrada, at firstname.lastname@example.org.