Critical Race Studies J.D. Specialization

The Critical Race Studies Specialization attracts top students committed to advancing new ideas for racial and social justice.

The Critical Race Studies J.D. Specialization deepens our understanding of race and provide tools and strategies to further civil rights and human rights across the globe. In particular, the specialization trains students to both analyze how the law and legal institutions erect racial hierarchies and how to dismantle those same hierarchies. The CRS specialization is appropriate for law students who seek further understanding on issues of inequality and race and the law.

Alumni of the Critical Race Studies program have found that the critical analysis skills that they gain through the specialization are applicable to a number of fields. While many alumni work in areas directly related to racial and/or social justice, our graduates’ careers have included work in public interest organizations, corporate law firms, academia, government agencies and more.

Areas of Focus

Critical Race Studies

As the first program of its kind in the nation, we prepare students for impactful careers in racial justice advocacy.

Learn More
Centers of Excellence

Critical Race Studies

Led by renowned scholars, this program is the premier setting for studying the intersection of race and the law.

Learn More

Enrolling in the CRS Specialization

  • Prospective J.D. Students

    Prospective students can apply to the program through the general UCLA Law School admissions process. Under “programmatic contribution,” you may list Critical Race Studies. We recommend that you detail your relevant background in the area as well as how you imagine a Critical Race Studies specialization will impact your law school and professional career. Your statement can include relevant coursework, research, extracurricular activities, personal and professional experiences. As the application form has limited space, you may append additional pages as necessary. Please note that the CRS statement is not the same as a diversity statement.

  • Current J.D. Students

    If you did not apply to the program through the general admissions process, you may enroll at the end of your first year of law school. In the spring semester, the Critical Race Studies program will hold an information program, where we will discuss the specialization requirements as well as the application form.

    You may also contact for more information and to be placed on our student mailing list at any time during the school year.

  • Transfer Students

    To enroll in the CRS Specialization, please email as soon as possible. Transfer students are also entitled to priority enrollment in the core courses. However, since transfer admissions decisions are made after UCLA Law first-year students have elected into the specialization, you may not be able to exercise priority enrollment options in the fall semester of your second year. To increase your options, please be as diligent as possible.

  • LL.M. Students

    Candidates for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at UCLA Law may apply for Specialization in Critical Race Studies. Please contact the CRS program director for more information.


The CRS curriculum provides a unique combination of depth and breadth. In-depth instruction in civil rights and critical race theory are taught by CRS core faculty, including several professors who built the intellectual foundations of the field. In addition, courses addressing specific racial groups and other forms of social hierarchies are part of an overall approach that helps us understand that we live in a multiracial world with intersecting and overlapping forms of inequality and subordination. Please contact the CRS Program Director should you have any questions about these requirements or the ways that you can fulfill them.

See All
May 22, 2024

Kimberlé Crenshaw sits down for a Q&A with NewsOne about the 'true essence' of Critical Race Theory

Read More
Apr 22, 2024

Historic gift to Critical Race Studies program advances Latinx legal scholarship

Read More