Print/Download Page

Course Descriptons By Program

Choose a program from the dropdown below to view course descriptions

JUR300 - Classical Jurisprudence

A comprehensive overview of ancient and classical jurisprudence forms the foundation of this course. Commencing with an in-depth examination of the Plato's “Laws”, the course will delve deeply into this original contribution whereby law is considered transcendentally. From there the course moves to Cicero and his remarkable work on law and nature, his naturalism and his discourse on legal ethics and public duty. Next, the concept of justice as espoused by Aristotle is fully examined as well as other jurisprudential resources of ancient Rome and Greece.

JUR310 - Medieval Jurisprudence

The course examines the dynamic evolution of legal theory and jurisprudence from the early to latter Middle Ages. Beginning with Augustine's inquiry into the nature of free will, human action and personal responsibility, the course will then weave its way into early themes and threads of natural law tradition. Concepts of justice and injustice will be fully assessed as well as early commentary on the nature of an unjust law and civil disobedience. The second part of the course will intensely examine the jurisprudence of Thomas Aquinas especially as espoused in his Treatise on Law.

JUR320 - Anglo-American Jurisprudence

The primary aim of this course is the introduction of mainline American theories of law and jurisprudence from its common law roots to the founding period of this nation. At issue is the evolution of our current legal institutions and principles. How does a body of law and practice become fully ensconced into the dynamism known as America? How does the English system influence the American model? The course looks at legal definitions, legal procedures and processes, common law principles, the role of judge, jury and the tribunal, the pedagogy of legal education, the types of legal professions common to Western democracies as well as the development of ecclesiastical, equitable, civil and criminal systems. Finally, the course examines some of the more influential thinkers in law and jurisprudence at the time of this nation's founding including Locke, Mill and Jefferson

JUR340 - Natural Law Jurisprudence

The role of natural law jurisprudence is undeniably influential in the American experience. This course examines from whence natural law reasoning comes; its major tenets and principles; its fundamental propositions and content as well as the various schools that adhere to this form of jurisprudence. Serious attention will be given to the often distinct ideas of nature, naturalism and the natural law. Course will commence with an attentive look at Ciceronian thought on this form of jurisprudence; evaluate formulators of natural law reasoning such as Augustine, and then turn to its chief architect, namely Thomas Aquinas. Course will weigh and assess how natural law jurisprudence impacted early American foundational thinkers like Locke and Jefferson and how it's continuously courses its way into contemporary case decisions.

JUR350 - Positivism, Legal Realism and Critical Study

This course evaluates and critiques contemporary models of jurisprudence and schools of legal thought. In contrast to the natural law tradition, positivism exerts a self justification for any law simply any enactment. A close look at how positivism has inexorably changed the nature of American jurisprudence is posed and debated. In Legal Realism, the argument that law has a transcendence is fully challenged by its allocation to economic might and power. Realists argue that law reflects the power of the ruler rather than some perennial truth. In Critical Legal Studies, another school vastly distinct from ancient and medieval models emerges. Adherents to this school of jurisprudence claim law is simply a political reflection by the dominant forces.

JUR360 - Law and Economics

This course evaluates the interplay between economic impacts and legal rulemaking, promulgation, case law and decisions as well as legal institutions. Efficiency criteria act as a guide for decision-makers in formal legal institutions and the course weighs diverse factors that seek to measure the economics of law and jurisprudence. This methodology is employed as it applies to tort, property and contract, criminal and antitrust laws. Specific case studies that evaluate the economic impacts of law and legislation will be considered.

JUR370 - Law and Religion

The course delves into the role religion has played in the development of the Western jurisprudence and its corresponding legal systems. The course will more narrowly analyze constitutional implications of the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. A variety of judicial, historical and theoretical readings will be assigned to illustrate historical tensions between law and religion in the United States including, but not limited to, the establishment of religion in early America; the role of religion in the abolitionist movement; government aid or endorsement of religion in education; and government intervention in family medical decisions as well as consent or coercion in public employment as regards abortion.

JUR380 - Rights, Just Action and the Responsible Citizen

Course examines the idea of a legal “right”. What are the bases for these sorts of rights and how can these rights be justified are the essential queries. If rights can be properly defined, the course then defines how these rights play out in human action. Course evaluates how a legal right may or may not be consistent with traditional and contemporary notions of justice and just action. As corollary, the evaluation prods the perennial question whether a legal right may or may not be just and uses theories of justice to reach that conclusion. Finally, after considering the nature of a legal right and just human action, the course considers how individual citizens may live consistently with these notions of a legal right when others may or may not agree with that right.

JUR390 - Virtue and Law

If the primary aim of law is to make the human actor good, then the connection between virtue and law is undeniable. That is the chief end of this course- to study and critique how law and lawmaking should propel individual citizens to a productive and virtuous life. Course commences with an examination of how early thinkers, such as Plato and Aristotle, saw this correlation and moves to the present where various thinkers still see the complete integration of law and the virtuous human life. Various modern problems, whereby law fails in this task, and promotes vice instead, will be scrutinized.

JUR400 - Law, Conscience and Personal Integrity

How law and conscience depend upon one another is a primary aim of this course. Put another way, can law be always obligatory or binding on a party who may or may not disagree with the end and aim of a particular law? Can an unjust law be forcibly applied to a person who clearly objects? In this course, the idea of the law's binding force, as applied to personal conscience, is weighed heavily. How conscience reconciles with a particular law inevitably becomes a problem of personal integrity and character. The final portion of the course will analyze how personal integrity can be challenged by the application of laws and provides an ethical framework for a reconciliation of these two competing forces.

JUR410 - Legal and Moral Ethics

A seminal question in the history of jurisprudence is: whether there is a connection or interplay between law and morality? This course looks closely at the problem from two perspectives. First, how does a lawyer, judge, or a lawmaker maintain an ethical compass and how do professional associations groups seek to instill an ethical and moral approach in its members? Second, the more theoretical problem, of the two, is whether the law can ever identify a common morality upon which a law and a legal system can be built. How moral positions, such as same sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and the like, can be compatibly assessed in light of law and jurisprudential theory rest centrally in the course purpose.

JUR420 - Research Methods in Law and Jurisprudence

This course is designed to teach students to use a law library, perform legal research, analyze legal problems, and write a legal memorandum. Students are taught to locate and use both primary, secondary and CALR legal research sources to solve legal problems, including federal and state cases, digests, statutes, regulations, treatises, encyclopedias, law reviews, citators, and practice works. Course also focuses on materials both unique and essential to the field of jurisprudence.

JUR430 - Legal Writing

Course serves as an overview of legal writing techniques. Aside from the historic expectations on the quality and style of writing exposition, the course examines the more typical legal writing products, including but not limited to: research papers and memoranda, case briefs and legal opinions. Writing projects will gradually increase in length and complexity; and participants will be expected to hone these research and writing skills both individually and in groups. Course will culminate in the preparation of significant memoranda.

JUR440 - Legal Advocacy and Persuasion

Course covers two essential skills in the world of jurisprudence: persuasive writing and oral advocacy. Course coverage includes audience identification and assessment, techniques of factual integration into arguments, the methodology of legal writing as persuasion, as well as stylistic suggestions on clear and lucid legal exposition. In addition, the course considers how to argue with authority in legal document by using precedent and aligned legal authority. In the area of oral argument, the course provides a host of opportunities for legal oratory including tribunals and hearings, staged appellate experiences, hypothetical representation and other oral argument. Specific techniques regarding oral persuasion in legal advocacy will be stressed.

JUR499 - Senior Thesis

The course is the capstone of studies in jurisprudence and is required for all senior level students. Thesis construction requires significant research and writing. Course requires that the student work with a faculty member on a mutually agreed upon thesis topic and completes an approved written thesis. Work involves advanced literature search, composition of a scholarly product ,oral presentation and defense, and production of a bound written thesis. Prerequisite: Senior standing in jurisprudence and consent of Instructor/Chair of the Department required.