Major Overview

You’ll find yourself at the interdisciplinary crossroads between Law and History as you examine how law, in its many forms, has contributed to shaping society, be it through domestic and international court systems or the methods employed by citizens to resist unjust laws. You will study the evolution of laws and cases revolving around such crucial issues as the death penalty, criminal justice, hate speech, transgender rights, and immigration. You may enroll in this major as an informal pre-law major or to complement other areas of study.


The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • You will gain fluency in legal issues and reason.                   
  • You will understand connections between law and history.
  • You will develop an interdisciplinary understanding of law and its social impact.
  • You will integrate law into the liberal arts curriculum.

Learning Environment

In keeping with our University’s commitment to a liberal arts education, we support the ideal of law as a “liberal profession”, wherein free thinking, academic mastery, and intellectual rigor are encouraged through a multitude of disciplines. In small seminars you will be asked to contemplate historical and contemporary cases, engage in mock trials, and share what you learn and discover with students and professors who hail from around the world. You will also be exposed to readings that relate to the many relevant disciplines that make up the major, including History, Literature, and Sociology. 

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.

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With the three courses that you choose from one of the following seven disciplines, you’ll be able to take a different critical approach towards your degree, thus allowing you to uncover interdisciplinary nuances and new distinctions within both history and law.

You can choose from Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Economics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology and Sociology.

See all Major Electives

Core Courses

The History, Law & Society core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the fundamentals of History, Law & Society will help pave the way for your successful completion of other History, Law & Society courses.

HI2020 The Historical Foundations Of Law

This course is designed to introduce students to the historical foundations of legal thought and to cultivate literacy in legal reasoning. The course provides an essential resource for our future global citizens by exploring key legal texts, histories and cases and familiarizing students with the historical origins of key contemporary legal issues.

HI2030 Intro. To History, Law & Society

What role does law play in shaping society? How have courts shaped society, both domestically and internationally? What strategies have people taken to resist unjust laws? Students engage in weekly moot courts that survey gripping historical and contemporary cases, including fugitive slave laws, the death penalty and criminal justice, hate speech, transgender rights, and issues relating to immigration, including asylum and deportation. Readings come from history, literature, sociology, and legal opinions. By the end of this course, students will be able to apply critical approaches to the law to contemporary issues; perform a mock trial, from start to finish; and write persuasive and analytically rigorous papers that demonstrate interdisciplinary thinking.

HI3050 History Workshop

The History Workshop is a course in the historian's craft that will give students an opportunity to learn about the discipline of history. Students learn how to pose researchable questions(problematiques), to gather evidence, and to present their findings before an audience of their peers in a seminar setting. May be taken twice for credit.

HI4050 History, Law, And Society Capstone

In this two-credit capstone course, seniors draw upon previous coursework in History, Law, and Society. They cultivate new skills to present key questions and dilemmas. Students can choose from several forms of public exhibit, including a sequence of podcasts, visual exhibit, website, collection of nonfiction pieces, or video. Students are encouraged to do interviews or oral histories to strengthen their final project. This course is structured as a workshop that allows students to receive feedback and polish their work. Students will present their project at the end of the semester to the broader AUP community. Prerequisites: Senior standing, HI/LW 2030, HI/LW 2020.