Learn Legal Studies Alongside UC Berkeley Students

During your semester-long stay with us, you'll take two 4-unit Core Courses, a 4-unit elective from our general Legal Studies curriculum and a 1-unit course that introduces you to UC Berkeley and prepares you to be a successful student.

Spring 2020 Core Courses

The Core Courses introduce you to the fundamentals of U.S. law, entrepreneurship and legal change.


LS 138

Discuss major Supreme Court decisions in relation to constitutional doctrine and public policy controversies at the time they were handed down, then place those decisions in a broader historical context. Consider the importance of the Court and the impact of its decisions.

What You Learn

  • The Supreme Court
  • Advocating for racial integration
  • Brown v. Board
  • Supreme Court Limits on Brown
  • Enforcing rights
  • Lessons from criminal constitutional law
  • Court and vote equalization
  • Voting and reproductive rights
  • Gun rights
  • Gay rights and gay marriage
  • Supreme Court influence on public policy

Professor: R. Ben Brown


Learn about the role that law plays in the construction and growth of entrepreneurial enterprises. Start by studying the theory behind entrepreneurship, paying attention to the various kinds of entrepreneurship that exist in our world and the theory and research behind the entrepreneurial venture. Then, understand the issues that arise during the formation of a startup enterprise. Learn about the the role law plays in developing business, marketing, organizational and financial plans. Then, focus on finding sources of capital, addressing the role of venture capital and public offerings. Finally, discuss strategies for growth and exit, including joint ventures, acquisitions, mergers, buyouts and liquidation.

Course Objectives

  • Analyze the conditions for entrepreneurial success
  • Demonstrate that you know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur
  • Analyze new business opportunities that exist in the marketplace
  • Distinguish between different types of innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Describe the role of law in facilitating and regulating entrepreneurship
  • Evaluate the feasibility of pursuing an opportunity that you've recognized

What You Learn

  • Foundations of entrepreneurship
  • Ideas and opportunities
  • Intellectual properties and other legal issues for the entrepreneur
  • Intellectual property transaction issues
  • Business plans
  • Financial plans
  • Funding your venture
  • Managing growth

Professor: Sonia Katyal


Learn about the processes, practices, quirks and expectations that guide student life at Berkeley so that you can succeed.

Professor: TBD

Spring 2020 Electives

Specialize your learning with an elective in business law, constitutional law, criminal law, immigration law, intellectual property law or international law. By taking an elective, you'll explore the brand impact of legal ideas and institutions through the lens of economics, history, philosophy, politics, psychology or sociology.


LS 170

Examine the nature and extent of crime in America and the uses and limits of the criminal justice system in dealing with it.

Discuss competing explanations of the causes of crime, and assess strategies for crime prevention and control, both within the criminal justice system and beyond. Take an in-depth look into the criminal justice system, including:

  • the police
  • constitutional rights and the exclusionary rule
  • role of the defense attorney and the prosecutor
  • bail
  • trial
  • guilty plea
  • sentencing and corrections
  • penalty of death

Professor: Elizabeth Pacheco-Tejada


LS 190.4

Get an overview of international human rights, including:

  • the field's historical and theoretical foundations
  • the jurisprudence of international human rights
  • empirical insights from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, history and anthropology
  • emerging trends in human rights practice

Professors: Alexa Koenig and Eric Stover


LS 132 AC

Study how the laws of immigration and citizenship have historically included some communities and excluded others through both explicit racial bars and formally neutral requirements. Discuss contemporary immigration and citizenship law, and its role in shaping the borders of our national community today. Focus on such topics as admissions, substantive grounds for removal (exclusion and deportation), the treatment of undocumented immigrants, asylum and refugee policy, and the law of citizenship.

What You Learn

  • Origins of Federal immigration law
  • Deportation
  • Racial Restrictions on Naturalization
  • The Bracero Program and Japanese American Internment
  • National Origins Quotas and Repeal
  • Admissions Today
  • Removal grounds and procedure
  • Control of migration and crime and immigration
  • Undocumented immigration
  • Asylum
  • Immigration and the War on Terror
  • Citizenship acquisition and loss
  • Birthright citizenship

Professor: TBD


LS 147

Learn about the application of economic principles to law, law enforcement and related public policy. You'll study contemporary policing issues, the prison-industrial complex, the wars on drugs and on gangs, and the impact of terrorism and gun control, among other topics.

What You Learn

  • Game Theory
  • Prisoner's Dilemma
  • Rational Crime Model
  • Economics of crime and criminal justice
  • Crime control
  • Contemporary policing issues
  • Prison-Industrial Complex
  • Labor market impact of crime
  • Economics of prostitution
  • Economics of the porn industry
  • Drug war costs
  • War on gangs
  • Political economy of terrorism
  • Gun control issues
  • Control of organized crime
  • Corruption and economic development
  • Hate crimes

Professor: David SundingDavid Sunding


LS 174

What role do cultural, economic and political attributes of nations play in the design of their legal systems, and what are the powers and limits of law in affecting societal changes? We use Israel as a case study for these questions as the country offers intriguing insights about the process of constructing democratic institutions, the interplay between politics and law, and the broader role of constitutional law in state-building.

What You Learn

  • Constitutional challenges in Israel and beyond
  • The roles and perils of constitutionalism
  • Judicial review
  • Comparative constitutional law
  • Israeli constitutionalism
  • Constitutional rights and the limitation clause
  • Boundaries (territory, central and local)
  • Immigration
  • War, terrorism and the rule of law
  • Speech and the political process
  • Nondiscrimination (gender and sexual orientation)
  • Multicultural accommodation
  • The welfare state
  • State, family and morality

Professor: Martin Shapiro


LS 123

Explore different data sources that scholars and government officials use to make generalizations and predictions in the realm of law. You will also get an introduction to critiques of predictive techniques in law. Apply statistical and Python programming skills to examine a traditional social science data set ("big data" related to law) and legal text data.

Course Objectives

  • Use common statistical and computational techniques to analyze different types of data (traditional survey data, big data and text data) related to law
  • Critique the use of data and predictive tools in socio-legal processes, including the identification and punishment of crime

What You Learn

  • Data types
  • Functions in Python
  • Collection and cleaning of traditional survey data
  • Summary stats
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Estimation and uncertainty
  • Correlation
  • OLS regression
  • Regression and causal inference
  • Predicting recidivism
  • Mapping
  • Structured social data prediction
  • Predictive instruments
  • Machine vs. human predictions
  • Machine-learning models
  • Modeling risk
  • Litigating predictive models
  • Surveillance, selection and the ratchet effect
  • Computational text-analysis techniques
  • Text as social-science evidence
  • Ensemble methods

Professor: Jonathan Marshall


LS 190

Learn about the impact of famed Indian lawyer and nationalist leader Mahatma (M.K.) Gandhi, particularly his philosophy of nonviolent truth-force and his skillful legal-disputation techniques. Study Gandhi's influence on the formation and development of modes of peaceful protest and non-harmful activism for human rights and justice in the United States' Civil Rights movement, as well as that in South Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Australia.

Course Objectives

  • Explore the basic theories and practices related to Civil Rights internationally
  • Study Gandhi's praxis of nonviolence and the Indian struggle against colonial England and the oppressive hands of the Black Letter Law
  • Examine the ways in which groups around the globe encountered and fought against all types of discrimination in employment, education and the basic rights of citizenship
  • Study the wider global impact and application of nonviolent protests for justice in today's postcolonial and post-secular freedom struggles

What You Learn

  • Slavery and post-slavery freedom fighters (Africa, U.S., Europe, Mexico)
  • Early African-American civil rights movements
  • African Americans visiting India, Gandhi and Mysore (1936–1950)
  • The birth of nonviolence in South Africa
  • Civil disobedience and Gandhian ethics
  • Passive, active, violent and nonviolent resistance strategies and applications
  • Ideals and practices of pacific resistance and nonviolence in Western traditions
  • The politics of nonviolence
  • Critical decade for Civil Rights development in the U.S.: 1950s–1960s
  • Freedom Riders and Black Satyagraha
  • Martin Luther King Jr., nonviolence years (1956–1968)
  • Militant violence vs. nonviolent activism
  • Women behind the scenes of Civil Rights Movement
  • The relevance of Gandhi globally
  • Internationalization of nonviolence
  • Violence and nonviolence in the Arab Uprising

Professor: Purushottama Bilimoria


Although everyone agrees that law promotes some values, what these values are is often unclear and controversial. In this seminar, you will examine a number of values that have been advanced within the liberal tradition—specifically welfare, autonomy and dignity—and consider their potential role in shaping or explaining a wide range of legal issues. You will learn about these values in the context of the two main strands in liberal moral theory—utilitarianism and Kantianism—and consider the meaning of these values and their interrelationships.

Take a look at law from inside and outside the practice. Discuss the distinction between natural law and positivism, and the relationship between law and morality. Conversely, adopt an internal perspective by focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of substantive legal areas, such as criminal law, constitutional law and contracts.

Professor: Meir Dan-Cohen


LS 105

Criminal law raises fundamental theoretical issues that have occupied philosophers over the years. This is not surprising in light of the obvious proximity between the enterprise of using state coercion to punish the guilty on the one hand and central concerns of moral and political philosophy on the other. In this course, you'll explore such philosophical perspectives on important aspects of criminal law.

What You Learn

  • Principle of legality
  • Utilitarian and Kantian perspectives
  • Justifications of punishment
  • Capital punishment
  • Harm principle and its limits
  • Protected values
  • Responsibility and mental states
  • Justification and excuse

Professor: Meir Dan-Cohen


LS 179

Examine Constitutional decision-making in a number of countries based on selected high-court opinions.

Professor: Martin Shapiro


LS 102

Examine the American social institution of urban policing by looking at the social, economic and cultural forces that pull policing in the direction of state legal authority and power. Learn how policing shapes and is shaped by the urban landscape. Study topics such as:

  • what is policing and who are the police
  • surveillance and technologies of social control
  • the privatization of policing, including corporate policing
  • the forces that shape policing agencies and personnel
  • changing personnel and organizational styles of urban law enforcement
  • law enforcement abuse of state authority
  • policing urban youth in schools and on the streets
  • post-9/11 policing

Professor: Richard Perry


LS 109

During the first half of the course, you examine core concepts and doctrines of Anglo-American criminal law in a critical law and society fashion. You then address recurring conceptual controversies in thinking about crime in the U.S. since the 18th and 19th centuries. Focus your studies on recent developments in criminal law and consider emerging theoretical frameworks to understand these recent developments.

Professor: Richard Perry


LS 133AC

Explore the relationship between social movements and the law by focusing on the movement for immigrant rights, increasingly led by undocumented activists. You will question how legal action—statutes, regulations, judicial decisions, and policies and practices of enforcement at both state and federal levels—has helped form this social movement its influence and transformation of the law.

Professor: TBD


LS 158

Look at the relationship between legal institutions and rules on the impact of developing countries. You examine efforts by national leaders, international organizations, foreign-aid agencies and NGOs to "reform" law to promote development, along with the resistance and unplanned consequences that often ensue.

Professor: Bruno Salama


LS 161

Examine concepts that form the basis of the Chinese legal system, traditional theories and institutions of pre-1911 society. You also study the expression and rejection of the traditional concepts in the laws of the Nationalist period and the People's Republic.

Professor: TBD


LS 185AC

Take a critical look at prison or mass incarceration, both across the globe and in contemporary United States. Compare and contrast terms such as freedom and slavery, citizenship and subjugation, marginalization and inclusion.

Professor: TBD


LS 190.1

Since Marbury v Madison—when the Court determined that it would be the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution and seized the authority to overturn acts of the other two "separate but equal" branches of government—the Court has employed various theories to validate and invalidate acts of the federal and state legislative and executive branches of government. As the composition of the Court changes, some of the accepted constitutional principles has been modified. Examine historical trends that emphasize Court decisions, addressing the expansion and limitation of certain individual rights and liberties, and the conflict between individual liberty and non-discrimination laws.

Professor: Alan Pomerantz

Courses subject to change.

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