For information on our partnership with the Jack Miller Center and the John Templeton Foundation, click here.


About the Program

The Center for Legal Studies at Northwestern University provides an environment where scholars and students combine the study of legal issues with the methodology and perspectives of the social sciences and humanities.

Undergraduate Study

Legal Studies offers undergraduates the chance to engage in exciting, critical work with professors from all over Northwestern, the Law School, and the professional world, with courses in a variety of innovative topics. Recent favorites include American Lawyers: Demystifying the Profession; International Human Rights; Legal and Constitutional History of the United States; and Race, Politics and the Law.


Are you an incoming First-year student? Take a look at our First-Year Focus page.

Graduate Study

At the graduate level, Legal Studies provides programmatic content for Graduate Fellows in Legal Studies (GFILs) which include JD/PhD students, PhD students who entered graduate school with JDs earned elsewhere, and graduate students in a variety of disciplines (economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, theater, and English, to name just a few) interested in the interdisciplinary study of law.  Together with faculty, GFILs attend significant lectures and events, graduate students and faculty participate in regular reading groups and writing seminars.


News & Bulletins


Please note that our offices have moved! Come find us on north campus at 620 Lincoln, just upstairs from Northwestern Career Advancement.


Applications for the Legal Studies Adjunct Major are NOW OPEN!  If you’re interested in applying to the major, the applications are due MONDAY, MARCH 2nd!


Students interested in the major are encouraged to join us for a Legal Studies Meet & Greet, on Monday, February 23rd (4-6pm, Scott Hall #212).

Check out our 2014-15 Yearly Courses! This Winter, classes include Law & Society (Legal_St 206), Constitutional Law (Legal_St 332), Paupers, Prostitutes, & Politics (Legal_St 376), and more!


Prof. Heather Schoenfeld's 2013 article on incarceration earned prizes from the LSA and ASA! Read more about it here.


Click here to read Legal Studies Director Laura Beth Nielsen's op-ed, "Facebook is Not the Government." And read  her op-ed on skateboarding here.


Prof. Shana Bernstein wrote an op-ed on Civil Rights for the Austin American Statesman; read it here.

Listen to Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen on NPR's Life of Law Podcast.

Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen's editorial "Democracy at Stake" is currently on the PBS website.



Upcoming Events

Legal Studies GIFLS/ABF Grad/Faculty Reading Group
February 10, 20155:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Legal Studies Meet & Greet for Students interested in the Adjunct Major
February 23, 20154:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

For general inquiries:

Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen
Program Director
620 Lincoln #204
Winter Office Hours: 
Tuesdays 9am - 12pm

Prof. Joanna Grisinger

Director of Undergraduate Studies
620 Lincoln #201
Winter Office Hours:
Tuesdays 12pm - 2pm

Ann Kelchner

Program Assistant
620 Lincoln #206
Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM


Legal Studies Photos

January 16, 2015