Law and Society

Law and society is a sociology major emphasizing concepts, theories, and research methods as applied to the study of law and law-related structures and processes. Coursework encompasses a variety of areas including deviant behavior, juvenile delinquency, the role of law in society, family law, and the sociology of police. These areas of study are intertwined with other crucial sociological concerns such inequality, power, social organization, social psychology, social change, race, gender, culture, and communication.

Points of Pride

  • Faculty are currently engaged in funded research totaling over $1 million.
  • The sociology department is home to the Social Research Institute (SRI).
  • Purdue has a student chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, a sociology/law and society organization.
  • Students interested in legal professions and occupations are encouraged to join the Purdue Pre-Law Club.
  • Law and Society majors may pursue a service learning course in their third or fourth year.


  • Attorney
  • Public administration
  • Law enforcement (local, state, or federal)
  • Probation officer
  • Investigator
  • Business (various)
  • Graduate school

Plan of Study

Law and Society majors must earn a "C-" or better in any course used to fulfill a major requirement, including prerequisites.

Double majors in Law and Society and Sociology are NOT allowed.

PREREQUISITES: For this major, the student must establish credit in the courses listed below. He/she may include them as part of the school core, or may take them as electives.

SOC 10000 Introductory Sociology (Ind. & Society)
SOC 22000 Social Problems (Social Ethics)

A. All of the following courses (15)

SOC 32400 Criminology
SOC 38200 Intro to Statistics in Sociology (Statistics)
SOC 38300 Intro to Research Methods in Sociology
SOC 40200 Sociological Theory
SOC 41900 Sociology of Law

See Plan of Study for selection of courses in sections B and C.

B. FIVE or MORE of the following coures, at least two of which must come from Column ONE and THREE from Column TWO (15-16)

Column ONE (at least 2 courses)

SOC 32600 Social Conflict & Criminal Justice
SOC 32700 Crime, Deviance, & Mass Media
SOC 32800 Criminal Justice
SOC 35200 Drugs, Culture, and Society
SOC 35600 Hate and Violence
SOC 42100 Juvenile Delinquency
SOC 42300 Field Practicum in Sociology and Law and Society(4)
SOC 42600 Social Deviance and Control

Column TWO (at least 3 courses)

SOC 27500 Social Gerontology
SOC 31000 Racial & Ethnic Diversity
SOC 33400 Urban Sociology
SOC 33800 Global Social Movements
SOC 33900 Intro to the Sociology Developing Nations
SOC 34000 General Social Psychology
SOC 35000 Social Psychology of Marriage
SOC 36700 Religion in America
SOC 36800 Religion in Social Context
SOC 37400 Medical Sociology
SOC 41100 Social Stratification
SOC 42900 Sociology of Protest
SOC 45000 Gender Roles in Modern Society
SOC 51400 Race and Cultural Minorities
SOC 52000 Work in Contemporary America
SOC 52500 Social Movements
SOC 53100 Community Organizations
SOC 56700 Religion in Social Context
SOC 56800 Religion and Society
SOC 57000 Sociology of Education
SOC 57100 Health and Social Behavior
SOC 57200 Comparative Health Care Systems
SOC 57300 Human Side of Medicine
SOC 47400 Soc. Org. of Healthcare

C. At least ONE of the following courses (3)

COM 21000 Debating Public Issues
HIST 38200 American Constitutional History
HIST 38300 Recent American Constitutional History
PHIL 11100 Ethics
PHIL 12000 Critical Thinking
PHIL 15000 Principles of Logic
PHIL 26000 Philosophy of Law
POL 14100 Governments of the World
POL 22200 Women, Politics, & Public Policy
PSY 35000 Abnormal Psychology

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan of Study

Print Honors Plan of Study

Department of Sociology

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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