Law and Philosophy J.D. Specialization


This specialization explores the philosophical foundations of law and often attracts students interested in graduate studies or careers in academia.

Students in the interdisciplinary Law and Philosophy Specialization delve deeply into 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. Students need not have any prior background in philosophy, but a strong interest in the subject is recommended.

  • Admission

    Any student in good standing may apply to be admitted into the Specialization. Interested students should fill out a (non-binding) declaration of intent the summer after their first year available through the Registrar.

  • Certification

    The Specialization is not a separate degree program, but rather a specialization within UCLA School of Law. A student who completes the Specialization with a B or better in each qualifying course and a B+ in the writing requirement, will receive a transcript notation indicating successful completion of the Specialization.

  • Course Enrollment Preferences

    Students enrolled in the specialization have priority enrollment for Core List courses but not for the courses on the qualifying list. The Registrar will provide pre-enrollment information for each semester.

Law & Philosophy Specialization for Philosophy Graduate Students

  • Enrolling in Law Courses

    Subject to approval by the Graduate Advisor in Philosophy, the Faculty Director of the Program, and advance consultation with the law school Registrar, philosophy graduate students in their third year or beyond who have academic interests in law and philosophy will be permitted to take up to four law school courses, including courses in first year subjects. Enrollment in any law school course or seminar will require the consent of the instructor.

    Graduate students taking law school courses may be permitted with instructor consent to write a paper in lieu of taking an exam and, in any case, would not be subject to the curve applied to law students. These courses will not, typically, be counted toward Ph.D. course requirements, although students may petition the Graduate Advisor for an exception.

    Philosophy students who complete four law school courses (only one of which may be the legal theory workshop) each for a grade of B or higher, and who write a substantial research paper on law and philosophy will receive a notation on their departmental transcripts that they have completed the specialization in law and philosophy.

  • More Information

    Graduate students interested in completing the specialization should review the law school’s offerings and email lawandphilosophy@law.ucla.edu with a copy to Tanya Kim at tkim@humnet.ucla.edu about getting permission to enroll.

Specialization Requirements for Law Students and Curriculum

To earn a specialization in Law and Philosophy, students must finish a course work requirement and a written work requirement in their second and third years as detailed below.

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