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.