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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

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  • SPA Justice,Law / Criminology
    202-885-2948
    Fax: 202-885-2907
    jlc@american.edu
    Ward, Room 270

    Anna Castro,
    Administrative Assistant

    Eric Fleddermann,
    Assistant to the Chair

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BA in Law and Society

The BA in Law and Society, with concentrations in the humanities or social sciences, is an interdisciplinary program that examines the role of law in relation to social, political, and economic institutions. The complex relation of law and justice, broadly conceived, is the central consideration in this program of study. Drawing on the social sciences and humanities, this curriculum offers an historical and international perspective of legal issues.

Admission to the Program

New freshman and transfer students are admitted through the Office of Admissions. Current students who wish to transfer into the department or develop a double major should have a grade point average of 2.50 or higher and the approval of the undergraduate academic advisor.

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses maybe taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 54 credit hours with grades of C or better

Course Requirements

  • JLC-101 Introduction to Law (3)
  • JLC-201 Philosophical Problems in the Law (3)
  • JLC-110 Western Legal Tradition 2:1 (3) or JLCR-202 History of International Thought and Law (3)
  • JLC-203 Law and Social Theory (3)
  • JLC-307 Justice, Law, and the Constitution (3)
  • JLC-402 Comparative Systems of Law and Justice (3) or  JLCR-411 Topics in Legal History (3)
  • One of the following courses in Legal Process:
    • JLC-104 Intro to Systems of Justice (3)
    • JLC-200 Deprivation of Liberty 4:2 (3) 
    • JLC-225 American Legal Culture 2:2 (3) 
    • JLC-310 The Legal Profession (3) 
    • JLC-342 Judicial Administration (3) 
    • JLC-343 Issues in Civil Justice (3)
  • •One of the following courses in Justice and Public Policy:
    • JLC-103 Critical Issues in Criminal and Civil Justice (3)
    • JLC-205 Introduction to Criminology (3) 
    • JLC-215 Violence and Institutions (3) 
    • JLC-245 Cities and Crime 4:2 (3) 
    • JLC-309 Justice and Public Policy (3)

15 credit hours in either the Humanities or Social Science concentration:

Humanities Concentration (15 credit hours) 

• Three courses from the Legal Theory cluster; one course from the Law and Social Science cluster; and one additional course from either area:

Legal Theory Cluster

  • JLC-308 Justice, Morality, and the Law (3)
  • JLC-410 Topics in Legal Theory (3)
  • JLC-530 Concepts of Punishment (3)

Law and Social Science Cluster  

  • JLC-333 Law, Psychology and Justice (3)
  • JLC-352 Psychiatry and the Law (3)
  • JLC-412 Topics in Law and Social Science (3)
  • JLC-535 Gender and the Law (3)

Social Science Concentration (15 credit hours)

  • JLC-280 Introduction to Justice Research (3)
  • Two courses from the Law and Social Science cluster; one course from the Legal Theory cluster; and one additional course from either area:

Law and Social Science Cluster  

  • JLC-333 Law, Psychology and Justice (3)
  • JLC-352 Psychiatry and the Law (3)
  • JLC-412 Topics in Law and Social Science (3)
  • JLC-535 Gender and the Law (3)

Legal Theory Cluster  

  • JLC-308 Justice, Morality, and the Law (3)
  • JLC-410 Topics in Legal Theory (3)
  • JLC-530 Concepts of Punishment (3)

Electives

15 additional credits from courses offered by the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology, or from the following courses offered by other departments:

  • ANTH-215 Sex, Gender and Culture 3:2 (3)
  • ANTH-431Taboos (3)
  • ECON-100 Macroeconomics 4:1 (3)
  • ECON-200 Microeconomics 4:2 (3)
  • ECON-317 Political Economy (3)
  • ECON-320 History of Economic Ideas (3)
  • ECON-325 Social Choice and Economic Justice (3)
  • GOVT-303 Ancient Political Thought (3)
  • GOVT-305 Modern Political Thought (3)
  • GOVT-321 Congress and Legislative Behavior (3)
  • GOVT-335 Democratization, Participation, and Social Movements (3)
  • GOVT-352 Law and the Political System (3)
  • GOVT-455 Equal Protection (3)
  • HIST-451 Era of Revolution and Constitution (3)
  • PHIL-105 Western Philosophy 2:1 (3)
  • PHIL-221 Philosophy, Politics, and Society (3)
  • PHIL-235 Theories of Democracy and Human Rights (3)
  • PSYC-205 Social Psychology 4:2 (3)
  • PSYC-215 Abnormal Psychology and Society 4:2 (3)
  • PSYC-240 Drugs and Behavior 5:2 (3)
  • SIS-308 Introduction to Peace and Peace and Conflict Resolution (3)
  • SIS-321 International Law (3)
  • SIS-322 Human Rights (3)
  • SOCY-350 Social Problems in a Changing World (3)
  • SOCY-351 Race and Ethnic Conflict: Global Perspectives (3)
  • SOCY-372 Law, Rights, and Society (3)

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major.

Combined BA and MS in Justice, Law and Criminology

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor's/master's programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs. 

The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master's degree requirements.

Bachelor's/master's students must complete at least 24 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor's degree is earned and maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs.

This program allows students to complete the BA in Justice or BA in Law and Society and the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology.

Requirements

• Undergraduate students with majors in justice, law and society, or related disciplines apply to this program through formal application no later than the last undergraduate semester. Admissions decisions are based on the normal MS standards and procedures of the school.

• All requirements for the BA in Justice or BA in Law and Society.

Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level course work to satisfy the requirements for both degrees.

All requirements for the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology, including a minimum of 24 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master's degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master's program.