Courses of Study 2022-2023 
    Jun 19, 2024  
Courses of Study 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Law and Society

In the College of Arts and Sciences .


Co-directors: R. Lieberwitz (ILR), 361 Ives Hall,; Julia Markovits (Philosophy), 220 Goldwin Smith Hall,; and E. York Cornwell (Sociology), 390 Uris Hall,


Law & Society Minor

The Law & Society minor provides an opportunity for focused study of the interaction between law and society from an interdisciplinary perspective predominantly rooted in the social sciences and humanities: anthropology, comparative literature, economics, government, history, philosophy, psychology, science and technology studies, and sociology.

The Law & Society minor is open to all undergraduates. Though many of those who register for the minor have intentions of going on to law school or a law-related profession, Law & Society is not designed as a minor only for students interested in entering law school. The best candidates for the Law & Society minor are students interested in broader relations between legal institutions and historical and contemporary societies. This broader topic is, and should be, of interest to many students, regardless of whether they intend to enter the legal profession. A large selection of courses and on-campus events is available for completing the minor. The benefits of a student’s participation depend on the particular courses and events selected, and the effort and interest invested.

Basic requirements for the minor:

To allow sufficient time for a coherent program of study to be developed and completed, students who have an interest in the Law & Society minor should register using the online Registration Form before the start of the second semester of their junior year. Under extenuating circumstances, late registrations may be accepted at the discretion of the directors, but only if the registrant has a plan already formulated for completing the minor’s requirements. Late registrants can use the standard online registration form, which will also serve as their completion plan.

  • Successfully complete 5 courses from the Approved Course List which groups courses from a wide variety of disciplines across the social sciences and the humanities into five categories.

Below is a sampling of courses within each category.

Category 1: Legal Institutions

HIST 1600 - [History of Law: Great Trials]  

GOVT 1313 - Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics  

ILRLR 2010 - Labor and Employment Law  

GOVT 3032 - [Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.]  

LAW 4131 - The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law  

Category 2: Law and Policy

SOC 2220 - Controversies About Inequality  

GOVT 3121 - Crime and Punishment  

NTRES 3311 - Environmental Governance  

PAM 2300 - Introduction to Policy Analysis  

SOC 2208 - Social Inequality  

Category 3: Law and Social Structure

LAW 4051 - Death Penalty in America  

PAM 3250 - [Neighborhoods, Housing, and Urban Policy]  

ILRIC 4330 - Politics of the Global North  

PAM 2030 - Population and Public Policy  

GOVT 3012 - [The Politics of Poverty in the U.S.]  

Category 4: Law and Culture

GOVT 4021 - American Conservative Thought  

INFO 4200 - Information Policy: Applied Research and Analysis  

AEM 2350 - Introduction To The Economics Of Development  

LAW 2650 - Psychology and Law  

ILRLR 4075 - Values, Rights, and Justice at Work  

Category 5: Law and Ethics

PHIL 2410 - Ethics  

BSOC 2061 - Ethics and the Environment  

INFO 1200 - Information Ethics, Law, and Policy  

PHIL 2430 - [Moral Dilemmas in the Law]  

ILRLR 3830 - Workers’ Rights as Human Rights  

Wild Card Option

PHIL 2990 - Foundations of Law and Society  may be counted toward any category. This course is a “wild card.”

Courses should be 3 or 4 credits, taken for a letter grade (B- or better to count, starting with Spring 2020 semester courses), and cover at least 3 (of 5) categories, with no more than 2 courses in any one category or department. (NOTE: All ILR courses are considered as one department.) Crosslisted courses can be counted as any of the departments in which they are crosslisted.

At the discretion of the Law & Society directors, permission may be granted to substitute an appropriate course that has been:

  1. accepted from another educational institution toward the student’s degree program (1 course maximum)
  2. taken as part of a semester abroad program
  3. recently added to the Cornell curriculum

Petitions for course substitutions must be submitted prior to the student’s final semester using the online Course Petition Form.

At registration, students are included in a listserve to receive information about events approved for credit. After each of the two events attended (by the end of the semester in which the event occurred), an event report form must be submitted to receive credit.

Students are expected to keep track of their courses taken/events attended. When all five courses have been completed or begun, the Certification for Graduation Form needs to be submitted so that the student’s official record can be updated to show the 5 courses to be counted. (NOTE: If the two events have not yet been attended, “TBD” can be entered on the form.) This form is REQUIRED for you to complete the minor and have the minor designation added to your transcript.

More information and required forms can be found on the Law & Society minor web page.

The Law & Society minor is administered by Ethics and Public Life (EPL), a program of the Sage School of Philosophy. For more information, consult the web site or contact the EPL Program Assistant at 218 Goldwin Smith Hall,, (607) 255-8515.