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. 

Note: A course fulfilling a requirement MUST be at least 3 units.  The ONLY exceptions will be for courses fulfilling the Practice or Doctrine requirement, in which you may use two or more courses to add up to three units.  For example, you may take a 1-unit and a 2-unit course OR three 1-unit courses, all approved for the Practice requirement, to fulfill that requirement.  You may NOT use a course under 3 units to fulfill the Comparative Analysis requirement.

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
  • 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.

Practice (choose at least ONE Applied Course from this list)
Course # Course Name
376 Law and Dissent
380 State and Local Taxation
409 Leadership and the Law
431 Immigration Court Practice
503 Current Topics in Criminal Law
541 Problem Solving in the Public Interest
548 Legal Analysis
579 Empirical Legal: Studies Research and Composition
608 Intersection of Law, Health, and Public Policy
613 The Criminal (in)Justice System
619 Environmental Justice Law
625 Community Lawyering and Low Wage Worker Organizing
708 Civil Rights Litigation Clinic
712 Street Law - American Legal Education
713 Interviewing and Counseling: HIV Clinic
715 Criminal Defense
717 International Human Rights Clinic
726 Appellate Advocacy: Practice and Procedure
728 Tribal Legal Development Clinic
729 Tribal Appellate Courts Clinic
730 Veterans Community Legal Clinic
735 Asylum Clinic
739 Community Economic Development Clinic
750 Youth & Justice Clinic
754 Criminal Justice Reform Clinic
757 Insurance for Litigators
762 Appellate Advocacy: Moot Court Competitions
771 Sentencing Advocacy Workshop
773 Immigrants' Rights Policy Clinic
783 Family Law Practice: A Non Litigation Approach
835 Pay or Stay: An Exploration of the Bail System in America
904 Lawyer as a Peacemaker
908 Suing the Police
924 Advanced Legal Writing: Criminal Pretrial Motions
926 Rebellious Lawyering
927 International Human Rights Clinic
952 Re-envisioning the Lawyer's Role: Trauma Informed Lawyering and Restorative/Transformative Justice
972 Negotiation Theory and Practice (J-Term)
  • 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.