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M.A. in Law, Justice & Culture

Offered On Campus and Online

The M.A. in Law, Justice & Culture is an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree focusing on law in relation to culture, society, politics, and power in U.S. and international contexts.

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The M.A. degree:

  • Can be completed in person on campus or entirely online.
  • Offers research-driven teaching by faculty with national and global expertise in their fields.
  • Strengthens skills in analytical and conceptual thinking, legal and scholarly research and writing, ethical and public interest concerns, public advocacy, and active engagement with the challenges of law and justice in the 21st century.
  • Prepares graduates for careers in research and policy, public agencies, advocacy organizations, private companies, and nonprofits, as well as law school and Ph.D. programs.

Applicants are required to submit a personal statement, an official transcript, and two letters of recommendation.

No GRE is required.

Who Can Benefit?

The M.A. in Law, Justice & Culture is designed for individuals who wish to explore critical studies of law in relation to society at any stage in their academic and professional development.

Individuals who have recently completed their undergraduate training with little professional experience may develop their academic and professional training by earning the M.A. in Law, Justice & Culture. The degree is ideal for individuals considering a J.D. or Ph.D. degree.

For recent college graduates, the on-campus master's degree provides one year of graduate-level training in sociolegal theory, methods, research, and writing prior to applying to law school or doctoral programs.

The online program is especially beneficial for individuals working outside of the legal profession—but in fields affected by the legal system—who wish to develop greater understanding of law and justice issues for professional enhancement. This includes professionals practicing in areas such as journalism, nonprofits, community organizing, advocacy, criminal justice, juvenile justice, social work, court administration, national security, probation and law enforcement, and regulatory agencies.

For individuals working inside of the legal profession, including those with a J.D., the program strengthens their skills in thinking and writing about complex social issues, advocating on social justice issues in more diverse ways, and broadening the applicability and marketability of their legal knowledge and experience beyond the legal field.

Individuals who have completed the J.D. and pursued legal careers need opportunities to further their educational training for career transitions as well as professional satisfaction. This includes individuals wishing to enter public policy, intelligence and security, advocacy and organizing, higher education, human resources, community development, and other alternative careers. It also includes professionals in career transition, such as those considering second career options after retirement.

Why Study Law and Society?

“Law and society is a vibrant interdisciplinary field,” says Dr. Haley Duschinski, Professor of Anthropology and Graduate Program Director of the master's program.

“As a law and society degree, the new M.A. program draws on the analytic, interpretive, and imaginative tools of the liberal arts to shed light on the moral and political elements on law, and its meaning and significance in our everyday lives,” she says.

“This is important training for anyone who deals with law academically or professionally – including people who are in careers that deal with law, as well as those who are considering law school or Ph.D. programs.”

The M.A. program includes core courses focusing on the theoretical traditions of law and society scholarship and the deep integration of theory and methods in this interdisciplinary field, and well as elective courses examining law from different disciplinary perspectives.

Program Overview

This innovative master's degree in Law, Justice & Culture trains students in critical analysis of law as it operates in relation to society, culture, politics, and power in specific contexts, including the United States as well as other western and non-western legal traditions. It is the first of its kind in Ohio and one of a few in the United States.

As an interdisciplinary liberal arts program, the master's degree draws on perspectives from African American studies, anthropology, criminology, political science, sociology, history, law, and women's, gender and sexuality studies.

The degree is housed within the OHIO Center for Law, Justice & Culture, an interdisciplinary teaching and research center focusing on law in relation to the social and political challenges of the 21st century. The center's faculty are leading researchers with national and global expertise on diverse forms of law in contemporary, historical, and comparative contexts.

On Campus or Online: Students may complete the program across two semesters of coursework on the Athens campus, or four semesters of entirely online coursework. The courses focus on the theoretical and methodological traditions of law and society studies; law and society perspectives across the disciplines; and training in legal research and writing.

Time to Degree

  • On campus program can be completed in one year.
  • Online program can be completed in two years.

Independent Research: All students must carry out graduate-level independent research by completing either a master's thesis or a master's research essay, with the option of a capstone research course. The program emphasizes professionalism in academic presentation and communication through its curricular and extra-curricular components.

Through the master's program, students develop their analytical and conceptual thinking, legal and scholarly research and writing, ethical and public interest concerns, public advocacy skills, and active engagement with the challenges of law and justice in the 21st century.

Career and Graduate School Preparation: The program prepares graduates for careers in research and policy centers, public institutions, advocacy organizations, private companies, and nonprofit agencies, as well as for J.D. programs, Ph.D. programs, and research positions in universities and public agencies.