Undergraduate Certificate in Law & Society


The Law & Society Certificate allows students who have an academic or pre-professional interest in legal education, socio-legal studies, criminology, and law-enforcement the chance to explore legal phenomena from different disciplinary perspectives. Instructors are drawn from the fields of anthropology, economics, Hawaiian studies, history, law, philosophy, political science, sociology and criminology, and women’s studies.

This certificate program provides an opportunity for Arts and Sciences undergraduates to complete their Option 2: Depth requirements. It is designed to provide a multidisciplinary framework to enhance studies within cultural and social science fields.

Completion of the Certificate

Step 1:

Entry Requirements: You should have an interest in the study of legal phenomena and have a GPA of at least 2.5. You should also inform one of the advisors of your desire to enter the certificate program.

Step 2:

Sign up to become a member of the listserv by emailing:


This list makes it possible for you to recieve important paperwork and updates about the Law & Society program. Make sure to inform your advisor that you are pursuing this certificate. We also have an optional Facebook fan page which can be found by clicking UH Manoa Law and Society

Step 3:

Coursework: You will need to take the core course and complete a total of 15 credits with a GPA of 2.5 or greater, distributed as follows:

  • The core course, Law, Politics and Society (POLS 374/SOC 374), is required. (3 Cr.)
  • At least 9 units from eligible upper-division courses (300—400 level).
  • At least 6 credits from eligible courses marked with an asterisk (see list below).

Step 4:

Portfolio: Upon completion of the requirements you will need to submit a portfolio of course essays to one of the advisors and complete an evaluation form.

Step 5:

Fill out the completion form, aquire the proper signatures, and submit it to the Political Science Department, Saunders Hall Room 640. You will be given your certificate at that time.

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Core Courses

  • POLS 374/SOC 374 Law, Politics and Society

American Studies

  • AMST 365 History of American Workers
  • AMST 431/HIST 477 American Labor History
  • AMST 435 History of Crime and Punishment*
  • AMST 436/WS 436/POLS 368 Gender, Justice and Law*

College of Business Administration

  • BLAW 200 Legal Environment of Business

School of Communications

  • COM 451 Communications and Law


  • ECON 476 Law and Economics*

Ethnic Studies

  • ES 340 Land Tenure and Use in Hawai‘i
  • ES 410 Race, Class and the Law

Hawaiian Studies

  • HWST 440 Mahele Land Awards
  • HWST 445 Hawaiian Institutions
  • HWST 495 Kumu Kanawai: Western Law and Hawai‘i*
  • HWST 496 Kanawai II: Practical Application of Rights*


  • HIST 475 Constitutional History of the U.S.*
  • HIST 477/AMST 431 History of American Workers


  • PHIL 317 Critical Thinking: Pre–Law
  • PHIL 318 Philosophy of Law*

Political Science

  • POLS 317 International Law
  • POLS 367 Disability Law and Politics*
  • POLS 375 Constitutional LawI*
  • POLS 376 Constitutional LawII*
  • POLS 377 Topics in Law and Politics
  • POLS 393 Advanced Topics in Law, Policy, and Society
  • POLS 436/AMST 436/POLS 436 Gender, Justice and Law*
  • POLS 368/AMST 436/WS 436


  • SOC 231 Introduction to Juvenile Delinquency*
  • SOC 333 Survey of Criminology*
  • SOC 335 Survey of Drugs and Society
  • SOC 336 Deviant Behavior and Social Control
  • SOC 431 Analysis in Criminology/Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOC 432 Analysis in Corrections*
  • SOC 435/WS 435 Women and Crime*

Women's Studies

  • WS 435/SOC 435 Women and Crime*
  • WS 436/AMST 436/POLS 436 Gender, Justice and Law*

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Please refer to this checklist to make sure you have taken all of the required courses.

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Prof. Jon Goldberg-Hiller
Political Science


Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller is Professor of Political Science. His recent research explores the mobilization and countermobilization of rights in various empirical contexts including the recognition of indigenous peoples and the politics of same-sex marriage. He also researches at the intersection of philosophy and law. He is the author of The limits to union: same-sex marriage and the politics of civil rights and is completing a new manuscript called The Legal Aesthetics of Civil Rights, or, How to do things with equality. He is presently the co-editor of the Law & Society Review along with David Johnson.

Prof. Katharina Heyer
Political Science


Katharina Heyer is Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department where she teaches classes in disability law and politics, social movements, Constitutional Law, and sociolegal studies. Her research investigates the globalization of disability rights: the spread of a U.S.-inspired civil rights model of disability to countries across the globe. To that end she is completing a book manuscript, Enabling Rights: the Disability Revolution that traces the movement of American-style disability rights regimes into European and Asian contexts. Her research also explores the issue of physician-assisted suicide (“Rejecting Rights” in vol. 54, 2011 Studies in Law, Politics and Society), prenatal testing, and patients' rights.

Prof. David Johnson


David Johnson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai‘i and co-editor, with Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, of the journal Law & Society Review. Johnson teaches in the fields of law & society and criminology, and he does research about crime and punishment in Asia, focusing especially on Japan. Two of his publications are The Japanese Way of Justice: Prosecuting Crime in Japan (2002), and The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia (with Franklin Zimring, 2009).

Pre Health/Pre Law Advising Center: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/pac/

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What Questions Animate Law and Society?

Here are a few:

  • How does a social complaint become a legal matter?
  • How do juries decide the price of civil justice?
  • What is the consequence of free or affordable attorneys for the poor ?
  • In what ways is law biased towards men?
  • What helps explain the incarceration rates in different countries?
  • Why do so many criminal cases end in plea bargains?
  • What is justice and how is it codified?
  • How have colonized people accepted and rejected Western law?
  • What can we learn about law from film and television?
  • What explains Americans’ change attitudes towards capital punishment?
  • Who polices the police?
  • Is mediation a more effective way of achieving justice than going to court?
  • What shapes beliefs that Americans are sue-happy?
  • How do judges interpret the law?
  • What inspires social movements to use the law for social change?
  • Are human rights instruments enforceable?

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