Minor: Law, Justice, and Social Change

Sociology : Contact Information +

3001 LSA Building | 500 South State Street | (734) 764-6324 (phone) | (734) 763-6887 (fax) | www.lsa.umich.edu/soc | e-mail: sociology.department@umich.edu


Academics and Requirements


Sociology Advising

A department advisor is available to students for one-on-one appointments to discuss the choice of sociology as a major (or minor), assist in course selection, and advise on co-curricular opportunities and career preparation. Students can schedule an advising appointment by calling the department at (734) 764-6324 or using the online appointment scheduler at www.lsa.umich.edu/soc. Students can also email socadvisor@umich.edu with questions.

Students wishing to pursue a minor in Law, Justice, and Social change must develop a specific plan for its completion in consultation with the department advisors. Appointments are scheduled online at: www.lsa.umich.edu/soc/undergraduate/advisingandprogrampolicies

Special Department Policies 

Students must earn at least a C– in the  prerequisites for the major (or minor) and in all courses they plan to include in the plan for the major (or minor). Courses elected as pass/fail may not be included in the plan for the major (or minor).

The department expects that at least 18 of the 33 credits required for a sociology major be completed with Department of Sociology faculty on the UM–Ann Arbor campus. The research methods and sociological theory courses must be taken in residence on the UM–Ann Arbor campus.

Credit Limits and Exclusions. A combined total of eight INDEPENDENT or EXPERIENTIAL credits may be included in the plan for the major. This includes SOC 225 (and 389), 321, 324, 394, 395, and 396. There is an additional limit on SOC 225 (or 389) credits; only four credits of SOC 225 (or 389) may be included in the plan for the major.

Sociology departmental information +

Sociology is about people and their patterns; it seeks to understand and account for the complexities of human interaction and patterns of social life. It focuses on relations among people, groups, organizations, classes, cultures, and society. Sociology scientifically explores and analyzes issues vital to our personal lives, our communities, our society, and the world. In short, it involves all aspects of human experience and activity. Almost any aspect of how human beings gather together in groups, organizations, and societies can be studied within sociology. The study of sociology provides fascinating and distinctive perspectives on the social world. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: crime and delinquency, family dynamics, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, or global issues of peace and war. Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field with broad implications. Students interested in learning more about the sociology plan for the major or intending to declare a major in sociology should attend an information meeting for prospective majors on one of the dates posted on the department's website.

Special Opportunities. The Department of Sociology offers a wide range of special opportunities for undergraduates to actively engage in the design of their education. These include: major advising, service-learning through Project Community, independent studies with faculty, facilitation of Intergroup Dialogues, the Honors Program, SURO (Sociology Undergraduate Research Opportunities), writing competitions and awards, and a department-supported student organization, the Undergraduate Sociology Association.

Project Community. A number of sociology majors participate in Project Community (SOC 225: Practicum in Sociology), an experiential learning and community service program. Students earn academic credit by reflecting sociologically on their volunteer experience in education, criminal justice, public health, and community organizing settings. Roles open for student volunteers include those of tutors, referral service workers, health care assistants, patient educators, prisoner and youth advocates, and recreational or artistic workshop leaders. This course is an ideal experiential complement to the academic instruction provided by the department. Students, assisted by trained undergraduate coordinators and graduate student instructors, gain useful skills and contacts while serving the needs of the community. Project Community administration is organized by the Ginsberg Center for Community Service. Students can find more information about Project Community at www.lsa.umich.edu/projectcommunity.


Law, Justice, and Social Change Minor (Fall 2014-Current)

Effective Fall 2014-Current

A minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change is not open to those electing a minor in Crime and Justice (Residential College). Students electing the Law, Justice, and Social Change minor may not declare a minor in History of Law and Policy.

Sociology has long served students interested in sociology; some of these students have deep interests in law, justice, and social change and advocacy. This minor offers those students a coherent curriculum that emphasizes the ways in which legal and other social institutions reproduce and exacerbate social inequalities, and the capacity of social groups to challenge such institutions in ways that produce fundamental social change. Students may select from a wide range of courses in which they will explore knowledge in criminology, law, social movements, and human rights.

This minor is intended for those students who have interests in law and/or social change, and for non-majors who are eager for the perspective that sociology brings to their understanding of law and justice. It offers students:

  • An understanding of theoretical perspectives on justice and on the connections 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 actions”.
  • 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.

Prerequisites to the Minor

 One of SOC 100, 102, 195 or 300.

Students must earn at least a C- or better in the prerequisites to the minor and in all courses they plan to include in the minor. Courses elected pass/fail may not be included in the minor.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 15 credits from any combination of the courses listed below.

Students must earn at least a C- or better in the prerequisites to the minor and in all courses they plan to include in the minor.

  • SOC 204  – International Migration and the Politics of Membership in a Globalizing World 
  • SOC 270 / WOMENSTD 270 – Gender and the Law
  • SOC 350 – Human Rights in the United Nations
  • SOC 368 – Criminology
  • SOC 354 – Law and Society
  • SOC 461 – Social Movements
  • SOC 465 / PSYCH 488 / WOMENSTD 465 – Sociological Analysis of Deviance
  • SOC 476 – Sociology of Bioethics
  • SOC 489 – Community Organizing and Social Change
  • SOC 225 (or 389)* – Practicum in Sociology (Project Community at a criminal justice site)

Students may also include the following courses with appropriate topics as approved by the department advisor:

  • SOC 295 – Topics in Sociology
  • SOC 394 – Undergraduate Research 
  • SOC 395 – Independent Study
  • SOC 396 – Undergraduate Internship
  • SOC 495 – Topics in Sociology

The department of Sociology will allow one course with significant sociological content related to Law, Justice, and Social Change from other LSA departments or from transfer institutions to be included in the plan for the minor.

Students interested in petitioning to include a non-SOC course in their minor should email their request to socadvisor@umich.edu and include a complete course syllabus.


A maximum of 6 credits in the minor may come from experiential learning or independent study style courses. These include (but are not limited to) SOC 225 (or 389) and 395.


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