Law Justice and Social Change Minor

For students with a deep interest in learning more about law, justice, and social change, the Department of Sociology offers a minor. The Law, Justice, and Social Change minor offers students a coherent curriculum that emphasizes the ways that legal and other social institutions reproduce and exacerbate social inequalities, and how social groups seek to challenge such institutions in ways that produce fundamental social change. A wide range of courses develop students' knowledge in criminology, law, social movements, human rights, and more.

The minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change will offer students :

  • An understanding of theoretical perspectives on justice and on the connection between law and society.
  • Frameworks for thinking about legal compliance, deviance, and resistance.
  • Perspectives for thinking about the relationship between “law on the books” and “law in action.”
  • Tools for thinking about the relationship between law and social change.
  • What it means to “use” law in contexts outside the courtroom, including in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social movements, mass media, prisons, and health care settings.
  • Understandings of the law in international contexts and in regard to human rights issues.
  • The foundation of theory, methods, and substantive knowledge necessary to develop informed perspectives on criminality, crime policy, and the social consequences of legal punishment.

The minor serves students with a wide range of goals: those intending to go to law school, those interested in grassroots social change, those interested in careers in criminal justice or public policy, and those generally interested in the scholarly understandings of law and society.

Minor Requirements

Prerequisite Course

Before declaring the minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change, students must complete on introduction to sociology course. The following courses fulfill the prerequisite: SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology; SOC 102: Introduction to Sociology: Special Topics; SOC 195: Honors Introduction to Sociology; or SOC 300 Principles and Problems of Sociology. The credits from the prerequisite course cannot be included in the 15 credits required to complete the minor plan. Students must take the introductory course and earn a grade of at least a C- before declaring.

Required Courses

To complete a minor in Law, Justice and Social Change, a student must take at least 15 credit hours from any combination of relevant courses earning at least a C- or better in each course:

  • SOC 225: Project Community in a Criminal Justice Setting
  • SOC 270: Gender and the Law
  • SOC 350: Human Rights and the United Nations
  • SOC 354: Law and Society
  • SOC 368: Criminology
  • SOC 461: Social Movements
  • SOC 465: Sociological Analysis of Deviance
  • SOC 476: Sociology of Bioethics
  • SOC 489: Community Organizing and Social Change
  • appropriate topics in SOC 295, 395 (Independent Study), 495

Credit/Plan Exclusions

A maximum of 6 credits in the minor plan may come from Experiential Learning or Independent Study style courses.  These include but are not limited to (SOC 389 and SOC 395).

The department will allow up to one course with significant sociological content related to Law, Justice, and Social Change from other LSA departments or transfer institutions to be included in the minor plan. Students interested in petitioning to include a non-SOC course in their minor plan should email their request to socadvisor@umich.edu and include a complete course syllabus.

Students majoring in Sociology with a subplan in Law, Justice and Social Change are not permitted to also elect a minor in Law Justice and Social Change. Students minoring in Crime and Justice (Residential College), or Community Action and Social Change (School of Social Work) will not be permitted to also declare the Law Justice and Social Change minor. 

I have questions about my progress in the minor.

If you have questions about your major or overall degree progress, you can use the My LSA Audit Checklist tool to get a snapshot of your degree progress, broken down into requirement groups. 

If you have more questions about your progress with sociology major requirements after you review your audit checklist, schedule an advising appointment If you have questions about your LSA or distribution requirements, you should call 734-764-0332 and make an appointment with a general LSA advisor at the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center.

Minor Requirements Checklist (PDF)