Legal Studies

In Legal Studies, you’ll develop the critical and analytical thinking, writing and reasoning skills necessary to examine all perspectives on issues. Our students study topics like ethics, conflict resolution and social justice to understand the profound effect of the law on people’s everyday experiences. Combined with a required second major and advising from attorney faculty members, you’ll be prepared for law school or a legal career such as a mediator, court reporter or claims examiner.

The Legal Studies Major

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In recognition of the fact that the law has a profound effect our everyday experiences as members of a democratic society, the Legal Studies program at Roger Williams University is designed to provide students with education in the law and the American justice system. The undergraduate study of law provides students with the foundation necessary to engage in the democratic process and political debate, to understand and appreciate the significance of our liberties, and to engage in civil discourse about the changing circumstances and challenges that face our society and our world.
The academic focus in this program is on the development of a student’s capacity for critical thought, analytical reasoning, and scholarly writing. The Legal Studies degree prepares students who are interested in entering the legal field immediately upon graduation with the skills and knowledge that would be of benefit to any number of employers in the public and private sector. The Legal Studies program also provides students with the kind of analytical skills, writing proficiency, and academic discipline necessary to future success in law school or in pursuing a graduate degree.

The goals of the program include:

  • Incorporating an interdisciplinary approach to the undergraduate study of the law through a dual major requirement within the College of Arts and Sciences, and through “required support courses” from other academic disciplines within the University;
  • Preparing students for further graduate study by creating a centralized and structured program that provides education, advisement, and guidance to law school candidates;
  • Prepare students wishing to pursue careers in the legal profession or other related occupations such as arbitrator, mediator, patent agent, title examiner, legislative assistant, lobbyist, political office holder, corporate executive, journalist, educator, abstractor, claims examiner, compliance and enforcement inspector, occupational and safety health worker, social worker, legal psychology expert, and jury consultant;
  • Enhancing and enriching the total educational experience by helping students from all academic disciplines develop critical thinking and reasoning abilities, a sense of justice, and an appreciation for the role of the law as an important tradition in Western thought.
The Legal Studies Program incorporates a secondary major requirement within the Bachelor of Science program, which ensures an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law at the undergraduate level. Undergraduates who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies must complete the University Core Curriculum, the Legal Studies course sequence, and the course sequence for a second major of their choice within the College of Arts and Sciences. Students who are planning to pursue law school are strongly advised to discuss their choice of second major with their advisor. Students currently earning an undergraduate degree may enroll in the program as a Legal Studies major at the discretion of the appropriate deans.
The Legal Studies Program offers many innovative approaches to legal education, including:
  • the use of computers and computer databases including Westlaw, Lexis, and CD ROM collections;
  • internship programs with law firms and government agencies;
  • participation in the Mock Trial program using the University’s law school facilities;
  • membership in the RWU Pre-Law Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, International Law Fraternity;
  • participation in community service projects promoting service to others and commitment to promoting access to justice.
Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies must satisfy the University Core Curriculum requirements, 11 required major courses, three required courses from other departments and the requisite courses for a second major in the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences.

Requirements in the Major

LS101The American Legal System 
CJS204Constitutional Law 
LS209Legal Methods I 
LS215Legal Methods II 
CJS320Crim./Civ. Proc. In U.S. Courts 
LS345Ethics and Professional Responsability 
LS425Senior Thesis in Legal Studies 
LS449Legal Studies Practicum 

Elective Requirements
Any three additional Legal Studies courses

Requirements in Other Departments

POLSC100American Government and Politics 
Any 300+ level writing course

Requisite Courses for Second Major in the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences.

Note: The Legal Studies Major is not approved by the American Bar Association and is not intended to prepare students to work as Paralegals.
Note: The Legal Studies Program is not affiliated with the Paralegal Studies Program offered through the University’s School of Continuing Studies. Continuing Studies students in the Paralegal Studies Major cannot satisfy Program degree requirements by taking Legal Studies Program courses in the day division.

The Legal Studies Minor

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The legal studies minor is designed to provide students with exposure to the study of law. This minor is not available to students enrolled as legal studies or criminal justice majors.

Requirements in the Minor

LS101The American Legal System 
LS209Legal Methods I 
CJS320Criminal and Civil Procedure in the US Courts 

Any three additional legal studies courses at the 200 level or above

Note: The minor in legal studies is not approved by the American Bar Association and is not intended to prepare students to work as Paralegals.

Baccalaureate / Juris Doctor

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Outstanding students who qualify for this special program may be able to complete all requirements for a baccalaureate degree and the Juris Doctor degree in six years.


Full-time students who matriculate at the University in their freshman year and who maintain superior academic records with outstanding academic averages and superior scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) may apply to the Roger Williams University School of Law in their junior year. All undergraduate graduation requirements, excluding all Legal Studies requirements with the exception of LS 101 and either LS 209 or LS 215, should have been completed or the courses for completion should be in progress. The Legal Studies major will be completed using courses taken during the first year of law school. Students must have completed a minimum of 90 credits toward the undergraduate degree prior to beginning law school in the fall semester. After commencement the graduation coordinator will confirm that a minimum of 30 credits were successfully completed in the Law School. At that point the undergraduate degree will be posted.


  • A student must have earned at least 90 credits in three years of study at Roger Williams University before beginning at the School of Law.
  • All Core Curriculum requirements and major requirements must be met within those 90 credits.
  • The student’s cumulative grade-point average must be at least 3.0 with no grade lower than a C (2.0).
  • The student must score significantly above the 50th percentile on the LSAT.

In completing the first year of work in the School of Law, a student in the Three-Plus-Three program must pass all law courses with a grade-point average of at least 2.0. It is mandatory that all non-law academic work toward the combination degree be completed before any work in law is undertaken.

Those interested in pursuing the Three-Plus-Three Program must contact the Dean of Admissions at the School of Law and the Dean of the School of Justice Studies, no later than the end of the freshman year. This program is not available to transfer students.