Honors in the Program

All Legal Studies adjunct majors and majors who (1) complete an outstanding thesis (designated a Thesis of Distinction by the Legal Studies Program) and (2) have attained a GPA of 3.5 or higher within their Legal Studies adjunct major or major may be nominated for Weinberg honors.

Students who hope to achieve honors in two (or more) majors will need to apply for dual and/or interdisciplinary honors by May of their junior year. For more information, consult the Weinberg guidelines.

Departmental Honors Guidelines

The Legal Studies Program Honors Committee will nominate students for Program Honors according to the following guidelines and in accordance with WCAS requirements.

All decisions regarding nomination for Departmental Honors shall be made by the Legal Studies Program Honors Committee. The Honors Committee is composed of the Advanced Research Seminar instructor in a given year and another professor within the Center for Legal Studies. The Director of Undergraduate Studies serves as departmental honors coordinator.

For 2015-2016 the Legal Studies Departmental Honors Committee includes:
  • Joanna Grisinger, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Center for Legal Studies
  • Shana Bernstein, Clinical Associate Professor, Center for Legal Studies

Students must have previously completed or be expected to complete the Legal Studies Advanced Research Seminar sequence (Legal Studies 398-1 and 398-2) by the end of the academic year.

Students are required to have attained a Legal Studies GPA of 3.5 or higher, computed from courses listed in the University catalog under Legal Studies and those courses which are eligible for Legal Studies elective credit.

  1. All students in the Advanced Research Seminar are required to complete a thesis of 25-30 pages in length. Throughout the seminar, students work closely with faculty and teaching assistants to develop their theses. Faculty and teaching assistants will provide feedback, advice, and constructive criticism of students’ theses to help each student complete his or her project.
  2. Students must also have completed a thesis that has been deemed worthy of distinction in order to be nominated for Departmental Honors. To achieve distinction, a thesis must present original ideas supported by thorough research of legal and/or empirical materials. A Thesis of Distinction will be determined by the faculty and teaching assistants of the Advanced Research Seminar, as well as the director of the Legal Studies Program.

A note to students completing the thesis sequence in their senior year: Students who (1) complete their thesis in the winter quarter of their senior year and (2) are deemed deserving of honors by the Legal Studies Honors Committee will be nominated for Weinberg Honors early in the spring quarter of their senior year. To be eligible for Weinberg Honors, seniors must not graduate prior to the spring of their senior year - the WCAS Honors Committee meets only in Spring, and honors cannot be awarded to a student who has already graduated. Students who have completed all their course requirements by the end of winter quarter their senior year and wish to be nominated for honors need not take any classes in spring quarter, but do need to delay their graduation date.

A note to students completing the thesis sequence in their junior year: Students who (1) complete their thesis in the winter quarter of their junior year and (2) are deemed deserving of honors by the Legal Studies Honors Committee will be nominated for Weinberg Honors early in the spring quarter of their senior year, unless they plan to graduate early. Any juniors planning to graduate in the fall or winter of their senior year may be nominated for Weinberg Honors in the spring of their junior year, but must notify Legal Studies as soon as possible.


Feel free to reach out to the Program Assistant, Ann Kelchner (legalstudies@northwestern.edu), if you have any questions about graduation dates or the Honors process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate my Legal Studies GPA?

Using the appropriate Adjunct Major Worksheet or Standalone Major Worksheet, simply add up all the grades of each of the courses you’re using towards your Legal Studies requirements, then divide by the total number of classes.

A    4.0
A-   3.7
B+  3.3
B    3.0
B-   2.7
C+  2.3
C    2.0
C-   1.7

A reminder of WCAS rules on grades: "You need to earn at least a C- in all major courses and all minor courses--including all related courses for the major--and in all prerequisites for these courses. If your major or minor is one that has prerequisites, you must earn at least a C- in these courses too."