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.

Fall 2019 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

Fall 2019 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 100

Understand law as a cross-disciplinary field that is influenced by the humanities and social sciences. Gain a comparative and historical introduction to the diverse forms, ideas, institutions and systems of law. You'll learn about the theoretical issues and cross-disciplinary scholarly methods of understanding questions of law and justice.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the law in the broadest sense
  • Learn both normative and positive approaches to law, legality and justice in scholarship and in concrete institutional forms
  • Become familiar with legal studies' disciplinary intersections, conflicts and convergences
  • Understand empirical-quantitative, experimental, ethnographic-qualitative, logical-analytic, archival and narrative learnings
  • Study the emergence and functioning of core legal institutions, emphasizing courts, governmental agencies and regulatory bodies, and non-state entities such as law firms and law schools
  • Become familiar with the continuing development of the legal profession in its diverse forms of knowledge and practice
  • Understand the conceptual structure of law and legality

What You Learn

  • Foundational concepts, methods and frameworks
  • Legal and social-scientific conceptions
  • Modern legal culture and legality
  • Socio-historical foundations of American legality
  • Individual rights
  • Law and society
  • Legal institutions and roles
  • Due process and procedural legitimacy
  • Courts and process
  • The lawyer profession
  • International and domestic law after World War II

Read more about previous student projects that explore how law works in society, politics and the economy.

Professor: Richard Perry


LS 103

Peoplehood encompasses the ideas, identities and institutions that define political membership. Learn to explore, discuss and better understand the relationship between peoplehood and politics. Look at contemporary law and politics in the United States with an eye toward how current law and politics is rooted in history and how it compares to elsewhere.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the relationship between law, politics, society and economy
  • Learn about the connection between historical change and legal change
  • Identify the role of law in the processes of social integration and social discipline
  • Understand the distinctive elements of legal ordering in the modern West

What You Learn

  • Citizenship and race-making
  • Counting and categorizing race
  • Explaining racial inequality
  • Racial discrimination at the individual and institutional levels
  • Racial prejudice in the electoral arena
  • Racial profiling
  • Crime and punishment
  • Reparations
  • Illegal, undocumented immigration and pathways to citizenship
  • Grassroots mobilization and protest politics
  • Race and political parties
  • Identity and representation
  • Race and voter mobilization

Professor: Christopher Tomlins


LS 160

Punishment as a legal institution is a part of state power and must be understood to address multiple concerns and audiences. Explore the roots of penal change in the economically advanced countries since the 18th century. Pay special attention to California's penal crisis in the early 21st century and compare it to trends in the rest of North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the different social purposes that punishments generally and historically serve
  • Identify the social meanings punishments produce and engage
  • Describe the salient features of specific penal practices, such as public scaffold execution or penitentiary-style incarceration
  • Understand the state and social institutions and forces that influence or are influenced in the penal field and derive power from that field.
  • Know the development history of the United States' current penal practices and what alternatives have been tried or untried in the past
  • Draw on empirical and normative scholarship about punishment in the United States and other societies

What You'll Learn

  • Punishment and social theory
  • Punishment, solidarity and civility
  • Punishment and social control
  • The birth of the penitentiary
  • The death penalty in an age of (global) abolition
  • The American way of death
  • The modernization of capital punishment
  • Proposition 34 and the future of capital punishment in the U.S.
  • Capital punishment in India
  • Health and humanity of prisons
  • Prison labor
  • Prison discipline and rehabilitation
  • Mass incarceration
  • Soviet to Russian prisons
  • Drug policy and mass incarceration in Thailand
  • Secured housing-unit prisons
  • Mass incarceration and chronic illness
  • Human rights and the future of imprisonment
  • Life without parole in Europe and the U.S.
  • Restorative justice
  • Monetary fines (and their equivalents)

Professor: Richard Perry


LS 106

Explore philosophical themes about the law and its relationship to morality:

  • What is law?
  • Does its claim rest only on social processes or does law necessarily embody moral claims?
  • Do we have an obligation to obey the law?
  • What are the moral limits of legal punishment?

Sharpen your skills in practical reasoning through the analysis of logical argument.

Professor: Christopher Kutz


LS 107

Study major perspectives in social and economic thought, such as:

  • natural law
  • natural rights
  • laissez faire
  • possessive individualism
  • contractualism
  • pluralism
  • social equality

Understand these topics as they affect contemporary discussion of higher law, fairness, civic competence and distributive justice.

Professor: Sarah Song


LS 110

What are human rights? Can human rights be considered inalienable when history reveals the denial of the rights? What are the barriers to achieving universal human rights? What do human rights campaigns tell us about the solutions to achieve human rights?

Explore these issues through the indigenous context by surveying the cultural, political and legal statutes of indigenous peoples both in the U.S. and internationally. Explore what is needed to achieve rights and reconciliation by focusing on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Finally, take a critical look at the bias and cultural injustices that can underlie policies to stifle progress. Discover the successes of those who persevere to achieve human rights and justice.

Professor: Elizabeth Pacheco-Tejada


LS 119

Get an introduction to the important aspects of philosophical and constitutional thought of classical Athens. Pay particular attention to:

  • accounts of the origins of the Athenian legal system
  • criticisms and defenses of the democracy
  • arguments about the nature of justice, law and legal obligation
  • the context of the Athenian way of organizing trials, taxation and administration

Professor: Kinch Hoekstra


LS 140

Explore the relation between property law and limits of liberty in different cultures and at different times. You will learn about:

  • theories of property law
  • slavery
  • clash between aboriginal and European ideas of property
  • gender roles and property rights
  • common property systems
  • zoning
  • regulatory takings
  • property on the Internet

Readings will include legal theorists, court cases and historical case studies.

Professor: R. Ben Brown


LS 145

Use the concepts and tools of economics to analyze problems in law, focusing on contracts, property, tort, and legal process. Then apply your analysis to a broad array of legal issues.

Professor: Bruno Salama


LS 151

Contemporary political philosophy has been increasingly interested in how concepts of the self relate to various aspects of our social and political life. These issues have an important bearing on legal theory.

Law is shaped by certain assumptions about the nature of individuals and collectives, while it also actively participates in forming the identities of persons and in structuring collective entities such as families, corporations and municipalities.

Explore some theoretical approaches to this relationship between law and the different social actors that it governs.

Professor: Meir Dan-Cohen


LS 159

Focus on the legal regulation of sexuality, and the social and historical norms and frameworks that affect its intersection with sex, gender, race, disability and class. You will critically examine how the law shapes sexuality and how sexuality shapes the law.

Our subject matter is mostly constitutional, covering sexuality's intersection with privacy, freedom of expression, gender identity and expression, equal protection, reproduction, kinship and family formation, among other subjects.

You will study case law, legal articles and other texts (including visual works) that critically engage issues of sexuality, citizenship, nationhood, religion, and the public and private spheres domestically and internationally.

Professor: Sonia Katyal


LS 164

Investigate the role of law and legal institutions in shaping and defining racial minority and majority communities. You will discuss the definition and meaning of race in U.S. society and critically examine the connection between law, race and racism, both in the historical context and in modern society.

Professor: Trina Thompson


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 190.1

Examine key issues of politics through the close reading of a number of literary works.

Professor: Martin Shapiro


LS 190.2

Look at the evolution of the Supreme Court's treatment of conflicts between individual liberty and governmental mandates of equal treatment.

  • Examine the historical legal, social and cultural acceptance of unequal treatment of people based on certain inherent characteristics, including race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity
  • the Court's support of governmental mandates of equal treatment and equal access to private and governmental opportunities at the expense of certain individual liberties and freedoms.
  • Explore the current trend permitting individuals and governmental institutions to “opt out” of existing non-discrimination and equal treatment laws based on newly developed constitutional theories
  • Court-supported limitations on governmental “compelled speech” and expanded First Amendment protection of “sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions”

Professor: Alan Pomerantz


LS 190.3

Discuss various texts that cover a wide range of issues in legal theory.

Some of the readings look at law from the outside, posing the question, “What is law and what is the source of its authority? The answers proposed concern the distinction between natural law and positivism, and the relationship between law and morality.

The other set of readings adopt an internal perspective, focusing primarily on theoretical underpinnings of substantive legal areas, such as criminal law, constitutional law and contracts.

You will identify salient ideas and values that shape legal discourse and inform legal policy.

Professor: Meir Dan-Cohen


LS 190.4

From the Grammys to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. From tech moguls to NFL players. From quiet #MeToo posts to #WhyIStayed tweets. From rappers to our neighbor, stories of intimate partner violence permeate our society. How has the U.S. legal system responded to this violence? What are the best legal responses? Who decides? Are even the best laws the best response to such violence?

Investigate the phenomenon of intimate partner violence (also known as family violence or domestic violence) by studying:

  • empirical evidence
  • theories of violence
  • the disparate impacts of intimate partner violence on different communities
  • the connection between intimate partner violence and gun violence
  • the effects of intimate partner violence on individuals, families and communities

Assess and analyze the responses by the United States legal system (and lateral/alternative systems) to this persistent and prevalent social problem.

Professor: Mallika Kaur


LS 157

The Syrian Civil War, the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, the North Korea nuclear crisis, the war against the Islamic State, the conflict in Ukraine, the refugee crisis in the European Union and the issue of climate change are just a few of the events that demonstrate the tension in the relationship between international law and foreign affairs that you will explore during this course.

This introductory course in international law and international relations starts from the assumption that these two fields cannot be adequately understood in isolation. The central goal is to give you a wide range of analytical tools in order to see foreign policy in a holistic way: to put forward arguments like international lawyers while developing the ability to view the bigger picture of world politics and to critically and strategically reason like political scientists interested in foreign policymaking.

Course Objectives

  • Gain a general introduction to international law
  • Learn the various theoretical perspectives in international law and international relations to show why and when states have incentives to comply with international law
  • Understand the general principles and sources of international law
  • Explain the relationship between international and domestic law and politics, with a special emphasis on U.S. doctrine and practice
  • Explore the tension between international law and international relations by examining a variety of specialized areas, including international trade, human rights, environmental issues and armed conflict.

What You Learn

  • International law and international relations disciplines
  • Perspectives on international law and international relations
  • Agreements and law compliance
  • State as international actor in international law
  • International organizations as actors of international law and politics
  • Sources of international law treatises, customary law, soft law
  • International courts and tribunals
  • Relationship between international law and domestic law
  • The use of force, humanitarian intervention and R2P
  • International criminal law and criminal court
  • International humanitarian law
  • Armament and disarmament
  • International human rights
  • International trade in the shadow of law and power
  • International environmental law
  • Future of international law and international relations

Professor: Dr. Ivana Stradner

* Courses subject to change.

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