Requirements: Law and Society


Kenyon's concentration in law and society is an acknowledgment of the increasing importance within the best liberal arts institutions of programs that emphasize the study of law, legal institutions and the legal profession. This program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive, coherent curricular structure within which to examine a plethora of law-related issues that emerge across disciplines and, if not to find the correct answers, to ask appropriate questions.

Students pursuing a concentration in legal studies ponder the relationship between law and human behavior, and the role of law in society. They focus their work in three primary areas: philosophies of law, law as a social institution, and law and government. The program prepares students to undertake directed research in socio-legal studies under the mentorship of Kenyon faculty.

The Kenyon College faculty voted to change from Kenyon units to semester hours. This change will go into effect for all students who start at the College in the fall of 2024. Both systems will be used throughout the course catalog with the Kenyon units being listed first.

The Curriculum

Students begin their exploration of law in society with LGLS 110 (Introduction to Legal Studies) and conclude it with LGLS 410 (Senior Seminar in Legal Studies), which encompasses a directed research project within a selected theme or topic.

"Introduction to Legal Studies" is a survey course that exposes students to a variety of disciplinary approaches to the study of law and legal phenomena. It is intended ordinarily for students who have attained at least sophomore standing and have had some exposure to the social sciences, usually through an introductory course. In lieu of the introductory course, concentrators may substitute a first-year seminar or another such course when approved by the chair or director of the program. The "Senior Seminar in Legal Studies" is open to juniors and seniors who have taken "Introduction to Legal Studies" and at least two other courses counting toward fulfillment of the concentration requirements (or to students with permission of the director).

Requirements for the Concentration

The Law and Society Concentration requires students to complete five courses of specified law and society coursework. These courses comprise the following:

  • LGLS 110: Introduction to Legal Studies or First Year Seminar
  • One semester course in a philosophy-of-law subject area (philosophy, political science or history offerings)
  • Two courses in two different departments examining law as a social institution
  • LGLS 410: Senior Seminar in Legal Studies

Like many interdisciplinary programs that offer a relatively limited number of cognate courses each year, the majority of courses taken to satisfy the law and society requirements will be offered through one or more contributing majors and programs at the College.  The division or department in which the courses are offered isn’t important; whether the course will count will depend solely upon whether there is sufficient content about law-related, law-based, or related phenomena to justify its inclusion.  Similarly, courses taken while studying off campus must meet this threshold. No more than two such courses taken off campus can be considered. The program encourages its students to study abroad and recommends that students take courses that explore and reflect upon international and global legal institutions and cultures.

Courses approved for fulfilling requirements of the concentration can be found on the program’s webpage or by contacting the director.