Critical Race Studies Specialization

The CRS curriculum provides a unique combination of depth and breadth. In-depth instruction in civil rights and race theory are taught by professors who built the intellectual foundations of the field. Also, courses addressing specific racial groups and other forms of social hierarchies provide rich comparative analyses. This approach helps us understand that we live in a multiracial world with intersecting and overlapping forms of subordination. 

Courses in Fulfillment of the Critical Race Studies Specialization

Overview: Students are required to take six (6) courses to complete the program, including two (2) core courses, one (1) course in comparative analysis, two (2) applied courses (one doctrine and one practice), and one (1) course which fulfills the writing requirement, in which students will complete a 35-page paper, double-spaced. This requirement is further described below under the subheading CRS Writing Requirement. The cumulative GPA within these courses must be a B- or higher in order to gain the Critical Race Studies certification. Students can use an externship in place of the applied practice course. 

Note: A course fulfilling a requirement MUST be at least 3 units.  The ONLY exceptions will be for courses fulfilling the Practice or Doctrine requirement, in which you may use two or more courses to add up to three units.  For example, you may take a 1-unit and a 2-unit course OR three 1-unit courses, all approved for the Practice requirement, to fulfill that requirement.  You may NOT use a course under 3 units to fulfill the Comparative Analysis requirement.

  • Core Courses (BOTH courses are required.) (Note that it is highly recommended that these courses be taken in the 2L year and be taken before embarking on the writing requirement.)

Course # Course Name
214 Civil Rights
266 Critical Race Theory
  • Comparative Analysis Requirement (ONE Course) (The courses below provide students with a range of opportunities to study inequality and the law comparatively. Some of the courses (e.g., immigration law) require students to analyze antidiscrimination problems outside of standard antidiscrimination legal frames (such as equal protection or Title VII jurisprudence). Other courses (e.g., sexual orientation and the law) require students to engage social categories other than race. Still other courses (e.g., Federal Indian Law) enable students to think deeply about how law structures the experiences of a particular racial group. Students are required to take one course from the list below.)

  • Applied Courses Requirement (TWO Courses) (at least one from each list) 

    The courses below provide a basis for applying the central themes in critical race theory to specific areas of the law and to practical legal settings. The courses listed in Doctrine provide students with a sound grasp of the laws and policies that govern specific areas of practice. The courses listed in Practice are designed to expose students to the practical application of laws and policies to concrete social issues and actual legal settings.

Doctrine (choose at least ONE Applied Course from this list)
Course # Course Name
201 Constitutional Law II
202 Constitutional Criminal Procedure
211 Evidence
212 Federal Courts
216 Administrative Law
220 Introduction to Federal Income Taxation
230 Business Associations
260 Labor Law I
261 Employment Law
263 Employment Discrimination
267 Federal Indian Law
270 Public International Law
273 International Human Rights Law
282 Education Law
285 Local Government Law
286 Land Use
290 Environmental Law and Policy
295 Advanced Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
299 Federal Criminal Law
301 Art & Cultural Property
312 Professional Responsibility: Transition to Practice
316 Disability Law
317 Family Law
321 Legislation and Regulation
331 Immigration Law
338 Islamic Jurisprudence
363 Tax-Exempt Organizations
380 State and Local Taxation
383 Political Asylum and Refugee Law
389 Prison Law and Policy
429 Capital Punishment in America
432 International and Comparative Sports Law
443 Comparative Environmental Law
464 Trafficking in Human Beings: Law and Policy
467 Human Rights Law Beyond Borders
558 Political Crimes and Legal Systems
571 National Security and Civil Liberties
629 Topics in Post-Conviction Law & Policy
639 Political Asylum
640 Higher Education: Law and Policy
660 Cities in Distress
667 Voting Rights
668 The 8th Amendment Prohibition on Cruel and Unusual Punishment
670 The Sociology of Law
671 Comparative Education: Law and Policy
841 Client-Centered Elder Law
941 Law of the United States-Mexico Border
Practice (choose at least ONE Applied Course from this list)
Course # Course Name
376 Law and Dissent
409 Leadership and the Law
431 Immigration Court Practice
541 Problem Solving in the Public Interest
548 Legal Analysis
608 Intersection of Law, Health, and Public Policy
625 Community Lawyering and Low Wage Worker Organizing
675 LGBT Law and Public Policy Research
708 Civil Rights Litigation Clinic
712 Street Law - American Legal Education
713 Interviewing and Counseling: HIV Clinic
715 Criminal Defense
717 International Human Rights Clinic
726 Appellate Advocacy: Practice and Procedure
728 Tribal Legal Development Clinic
729 Tribal Appellate Courts Clinic
730 Veterans Community Legal Clinic
735 Asylum Clinic
739 Community Economic Development Clinic
750 Youth & Justice Clinic
754 Criminal Justice Reform Clinic
762 Appellate Advocacy: Moot Court Competitions
771 Sentencing Advocacy Workshop
773 Immigrants' Rights Policy Clinic
783 Family Law Practice: A Non Litigation Approach
792 Immigrant Family Legal Clinic
793 Human Rights in Action: Collaborative Grassroots Lawyering in Honduras
798 Mock Trial Competitions
835 Pay or Stay: An Exploration of the Bail System in America
904 Lawyer as a Peacemaker
908 Suing the Police
924 Advanced Legal Writing: Criminal Pretrial Motions
926 Rebellious Lawyering
927 International Human Rights Clinic
952 Re-envisioning the Lawyer's Role: Trauma Informed Lawyering and Restorative/Transformative Justice
972 Negotiation Theory and Practice (J-Term)
977 Advanced Topics in Trial Advocacy
  • CRS Writing Requirement

    Papers used to fulfill the CRS Writing Requirement MUST be at least 35 pages long (when double-spaced) and related to a topic relevant to the CRS Specialization's course of study. NOTE: The CRS paper can be used to fulfill the law school's writing requirement (and/or the writing requirement for another specialization). However, the course or seminar used to fulfill the CRS Writing Requirement may not be used to fulfill another CRS Specialization requirement at the same time. In other words, there can be no double-counting of a single course to fulfill two requirements within the CRS Specialization.

    You may fulfill the writing requirement in the following ways:

    1. Any Course or Independent Research with CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty Member

    Students may use ANY course taught by a CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty member to fulfill the writing requirement with the approval of that faculty member. As an alternative to writing a paper within an approved course or seminar, students may enroll in a minimum of three (3) units of Independent Research (Law 340) under the supervision of a CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty member and produce a paper that meets the same standards as stated above to fulfill this requirement. This includes Law Review Comments written as part of Law 341. You MUST inform the faculty member that you intend to use the paper to fulfill the CRS Writing Requirement. If approved by the faculty member, no other approval is necessary. List of CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty Members.

    1. Pre-approval for Course or Independent Research with non-CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty Members

    For courses or independent research with non-CRS Core or Affiliated Faculty, pre-approval is REQUIRED. To obtain pre-approval, the student must submit a description of the writing project to the CRS Program Director by the end of the fourth week of the semester in which the paper is to be written, indicating how the project will engage race/racism or employ critical race scholarship or concepts in its analysis. Please contact the CRS Program Director should you have any questions.


  • Notes:

    1. Please refer to the Course List to determine which of the courses listed above will be offered during the current school year.
    2. The course requirements list is reviewed and updated on a periodic basis by the CRS faculty.  You are required to complete the requirements as they were published when you elected into the Specialization.  However, you may petition to have a course meet certain requirements, when changes have been made after you elect into the Specialization.
    3. In limited instances, the CRS faculty directors will consider a student’s petition to have a course not listed on the requirements page count towards certification. You should send an email to the program director and cc the faculty director, citing the language of the requirement on this page, describing how the course meets the requirement, and attaching course syllabi or relevant materials. We will typically respond to your email petition within three (3) working days.