Law & Philosophy Program

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About the Law and Philosophy Program

Overview

UCLA’s Law and Philosophy Program is a rich collaboration between UCLA Law and the University’s internationally renowned philosophy department.

UCLA Law offers a broad range of resources for law and philosophy students, including a rich curriculum that explores the nature of law and legal systems and the theoretical underpinnings of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional, criminal and contract law. Our Law and Philosophy Reading Room Collection provides an extensive selection of academic works and a quiet space for reading and philosophical conversation. The Program also sponsors events throughout the year. Our Legal Theory Workshop, a yearly graduate and law student conference, and the bi-annual Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy bring prominent speakers to campus from across the academic world.

For those J.D. or philosophy graduate students with deep interests in the intersection of law and philosophy, the Program offers a specialization in Law and Philosophy, a four-course program permitting extended study of theoretical questions about the law. For students planning to dedicate their careers to research and teaching, we offer the opportunity to pursue a joint J.D./Ph.D. degree.

The Program regularly offers two postdoctoral fellowships for researchers who have already completed a J.D. or a Ph.D. and are planning to pursue an academic career in philosophy of law.

Degrees and Specializations

Interdisciplinary Specialization in Law and Philosophy

UCLA School of Law has a unique interdisciplinary specialization in law and philosophy. The specialization is designed for UCLA School of Law students who want to supplement their legal studies by exploring the philosophical foundations of law. The specialization is especially relevant to students interested in further graduate studies or exploring a career in academia. The specialization will expose students to material on the nature of law and legal systems, and on the theoretical underpinnings and justifications of particular doctrinal areas such as constitutional law, criminal law, and contract. More information on the interdisciplinary specialization.

Joint J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Philosophy

The UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Department of Philosophy offer a joint JD/PhD program for exceptionally talented and especially committed students who hope to dedicate their careers to research and teaching in law and philosophy. Admission is extremely competitive, and very few students are admitted. It would be highly unusual for more than one candidate to be admitted in a year, and it is possible for no candidates to be admitted in an admission cycle.  More information on the joint degree program.

Courses

Core Courses:

Law 217. Introduction to Legal Philosophy – Nayak-Young  (strongly recommended) (Fall 2014)
Law 928. Religious Liberty – Sager (January term)
Law 551. Seminar: Philosophy of Punishment – Dolinko  (Spring 2015)
Law 524. Legal Philosophy: Toleration – Munzer (Spring 2015)
Law 555. Legal Theory Workshop - Greenberg (strongly recommended - may be taken twice but only counted once toward the fulfillment of the Core List requirement)  (Spring 2015)
Philosophy 166. Philosophy of Law – Dover (strongly recommended) (Winter quarter, 2015) (This course is not part of the standard Law School curriculum and hence not subject to priority enrollment.  Interested students should contact the instructor in the fall to request enrollment and notify the faculty Director.  Be aware that the course runs on the quarter system and starts in January term, running for 10 weeks.)

Other Qualifying Courses:

Philosophy 257. Philosophical Topics in Legal Theory – Work and Its Legal Regulation (Winter quarter, 2015) (This course is not part of the standard Law School curriculum and hence not subject to priority enrollment.  Interested students should contact the instructor in the fall to request enrollment and notify the faculty Director.  Be aware the course runs on the quarter system and starts in January term, running for 10 weeks.)
Philosophy M257. Law and Morality in the Workplace – Nayak-Young (Winter quarter, 2015) (This course is not part of the standard Law School curriculum and hence not subject to priority enrollment.  Interested students should contact the instructor in the fall to request enrollment and notify the faculty Director.  Be aware the course runs on the quarter system and starts in January term, running for 10 weeks.)
Law 266. Critical Race Theory – Harris (Fall 2014) 
Law 546A/B. Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property – Nimmer (Fall/Spring) (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 566. Laws of War and War(s) on Terror – Bali (Fall) (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 616.  Theories of International Law – Steinberg (Spring)
Law 642.  Property Theory –Dagan (February 2015)
Law 648. Law and Economics Workshop – Grady/Stremitzer (Spring) (if student writes a philosophically informed, theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval)
Law 653. Seminar: Advanced Critical Race Theory – Carbado  (Spring)
Law 655. Seminar: Feminist Legal Theory – Olsen  (Fall)

Perspectives Courses (Perspectives Courses may be counted toward the Law and Philosophy Specialization if the student undertakes to write a philosophically informed theoretical paper with the instructor’s approval; students may do this on their own or by adding an additional unit of independent study, assuming an appropriate work product. The Perspectives courses listed below are especially suitable for such purposes and specializers may gain priority enrollment to them.)

Law 561A Sec 5: Mind in the Law:  New Developments in Psychology that Everyone, Especially Lawyers, Should Know –Greenberg
Law 561A Sec 2: The Laws of Plato - Bray and Zasloff
Law 561A Sec 10: Access to the Courts –Shiffrin

Other courses and methods of fulfilling the specialization:

Independent Studies: In addition to these pre-approved courses, students are encouraged to enroll in independent studies with faculty members to do research and writing on theoretical issues concerning the law.  Such independent studies may be done in conjunction with a course. In addition to the myriad philosophical issues concerning first year subjects such as contracts, torts, criminal law and constitutional law, many courses easily lend themselves to supplementary theoretical investigations, including but not limited to Tax, Remedies, Con Law II, Evidence, Family Law, Legal Ethics, and Copyright.  These are merely examples and students are encouraged to design independent studies about philosophical issues concerning any area of interest.  Students interested in using an independent study to fulfill a specialization requirement should locate a willing faculty member and also consult the Director of the Program.  Students wishing to take more than the standard allotment of independent study units may petition the school to do extra independent study units to facilitate completion of the specialization.

Other graduate courses:  Students are encouraged to petition to apply to count up to two upper-division or graduate courses offered by the UCLA Department of Philosophy toward the course work requirement. Advance approval from the instructor and the Faculty Director of the Program must be obtained.  Offerings vary from year to year. Courses numbered in the 240s and 250s are likely to be most relevant. Visit the Philosophy Department website for further information about courses.  http://philosophy.ucla.edu/courses.html  

Courses are on the quarter system which starts and stops at different times than the semesters.  In addition to those listed above, relevant courses offered this coming academic year include:

Philosophy Courses:

Philosophy 127. Philosophy of Language – Kaplan (all year)
Philosophy 129. Philosophy of Psychology Bracken (Winter) and Burge  (Spring)
Philosophy 153. Normative Ethics – Cross (Fall) and Julius (Spring)
Philosophy 154B. Moral Responsibility and Freedom of the Will – Hieronymi (Winter)
Philosophy 155. Medical Ethics (Hughes)
Philosophy C156. Political Philosophy  - Shiffrin (Winter) and Julius (Spring)
Philosophy 246. Ethical theory - Julius (Winter)
Philosophy 248. Problems in Moral Philosophy – Hieronomyi (Fall)
Philosophy 247. Topics in Political Philosophy – Herman and Shiffrin (Spring).

Other law and graduate courses:  Many additional courses at the Law School and in the Philosophy Department, depending on their contents and readings, offered this year may be applied toward the specialization by petition. For example, students might consider taking Advanced Academic Legal Writing and writing a philosophical paper for the seminar. Visit the UCLA School of Law schedule and course description pages for more information. To gain credit by petition, students may be asked to submit a syllabus to show the course qualifies as a law and philosophy course and they may be asked to write their final paper on a theoretical subject (subject to instructor approval).

Further information about the requirements for the specialization is available on the Law and Philosophy Specialization MyLaw page. Students are also encouraged to contact the Faculty Director, Seana Shiffrin to discuss the specialization.  She may be reached at shiffrin@law.ucla.edu or 310-206-5464.

Post Doctoral Fellowship

The UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Department of Philosophy offer one to two year postdoctoral research fellowships to recent law school graduates or Ph.D.s in philosophy. The fellowship is under the auspices of the UCLA Program in Law and Philosophy. Fellows are usually asked to teach two courses in the first year and one course in the second year of the fellowship, attend and assist with the planning of Law and Philosophy events, and otherwise participate in the law school and philosophy department communities. The bulk of his or her time is devoted to independent research. Candidates should have a strong interest in a career involving teaching and research in law and philosophy. Typical candidates will have a post-graduate degree in law (J.D., LLM or S.J.D.) and/or a doctorate in philosophy.

The application process for the Law and Philosophy Postdoctoral Fellowship is currently closed. We plan to conduct another search in 2015 for the fall of 2016. Please check back again in fall 2015 for updated research fellowship application information.

The Legal Theory Workshop series, which is offered regularly throughout the year, brings prominent speakers from other universities. Students are encouraged to attend.

Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy

Save the Date for the 2015 Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy

The Fourth Herbert Morris Lecture in Law and Philosophy will take place on Friday, February 20, 2015. The lecturer is Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, appointed in the Law School and Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago.

The Lecture is in honor of UCLA's Professor Herbert Morris, an eminent emeritus member of both the Law School and the Philosophy Department, for his contributions to the field of legal philosophy and for his contributions to the campus as a professor, dean, and interim provost.