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Law and the Legal System

The focus of this concentration area is on the application of social science methodology to better understand and evaluate legal rules and institutions. The emphasis is on the economic, political, philosophical and other social forces affecting the development of the law, and the effects of laws on society's welfare.

Students may also want to review courses listed in the graduate Legal and Regulatory Intervention Concentration.

Advisors: Bruce Cain, Lawrence Friedman, Bruce Owen, Joan Petersilia, A. Mitchell Polinsky, Jack Rakove

Below is a list of suggested courses. The list includes classes that students have taken in the past to complete this particular concentration, as well as additional classes that may be considered toward this topic. Students may choose to take other courses, though all concentration courses must be discussed with and approved by the faculty adviser whether or not they are on the suggested list. Students may also propose directed reading, Overseas Studies (BOSP), and Bing Stanford in Washington (BSIW) courses.

American Studies



Health Research and Policy

  • HRP 209. Health Law: The FDA
  • HRP 211. Law and the Biosciences: Neuroscience

Human Biology

International Relations



Political Science

  • POLISCI 114D. Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
  • POLISCI 120C. American Political Institutions in Uncertain Times
  • POLISCI 122. Introduction to American Law
  • POLISCI 124R. The Federal System: Judicial Politics and Constitutional Law
  • POLISCI 124S. Civil Liberties: Judicial Politics and Constitutional Law
  • POLISCI 131L. Modern Political Thought: Machiavelli to Marx and Mill

Public Policy


Stanford in Washington

  • SIW 104. Congressional Oversight and the Press
  • SIW 106. Criminal Justice Policy
  • SIW 107. Civil Rights Law