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/Certification/Enrollment Preferences

  • 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.

Specialization Requirements

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.

          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.

For detailed information on completing the specialization, current UCLA School of Law students can visit the Law and Philosophy Specialization site on MyLaw. A list of Law and Philosophy courses for the year is available for those unable to access MyLaw.

To discuss the specialization, students may contact Faculty Director Seana Shiffrin at shiffrin@law.ucla.edu or the Law and Philosophy Program Manager, Rachel Estrada, at estrada@law.ucla.edu.

An information session on the Law and Philosophy Specialization will be held for students on Thursday, April 10, 2014. Please see the MyLaw calendar for details.