Legal Studies

Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law, principally by philosophers but, from the twentieth century, also by social scientists. Scholars of jurisprudence, also known as jurists or legal theorists, hope to obtain a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.

Modern jurisprudence began in the 18th century and was focused on the first principles of the natural law, civil law, and the law of nations. General jurisprudence can be divided into categories both by the type of question scholars seek to answer and by the theories of jurisprudence, or schools of thought, regarding how those questions are best answered. Contemporary philosophy of law, which deals with general jurisprudence, addresses problems internal to law and legal systems, and problems of law as a particular social institution as law relates to the larger political and social situation in which it exists.

This article distinguishes three distinct branches of thought in general jurisprudence. To begin with, ancient natural law, as a major branch and theory of jurisprudence, is the idea that there are rational objective limits to the power of legislative rulers. The foundations of law are accessible through reason and it is from these laws of nature that human-created laws gain whatever force they have. Secondly, 'clarificatory' or analytic jurisprudence rejects natural law's fusing of what law is and what it ought to be. It espouses the use of a neutral point of view and descriptive language when referring to aspects of legal systems. It comprises different theories of jurisprudence. For example, legal positivism, holds that there is no necessary connection between law and morality and that the force of law comes from some basic social facts. And legal realism argues that the real world practice of law is what determines what law is; the law has the force that it does because of what legislators, lawyers and judges do with it. Thirdly, normative jurisprudence is concerned with "evaluative" theories of law. It deals with what the goal or purpose of law is, or what moral or political theories provide a foundation for the law. Besides the question "What is law?", it tries to answer what the proper function of law was, or what sorts of acts should be subject to legal sanctions, and what sorts of punishment should be permitted.

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Matching Legal Studies Colleges

University of California-Berkeley
Four or more years; Public; $39,516 average out-state tuition; $11,502 average in-state tuition
Kaplan University-Davenport Campus
Four or more years; Private for profit; $13,356 average out-state tuition; $13,356 average in-state tuition
American Public University System
Four or more years; Private for profit; $6,480 average out-state tuition; $6,480 average in-state tuition
Arizona State University-Tempe
Four or more years; Public; $26,684 average out-state tuition; $10,104 average in-state tuition
University of Pennsylvania
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $47,416 average out-state tuition; $47,416 average in-state tuition
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Four or more years; Public; $13,920 average out-state tuition; $6,530 average in-state tuition
University of California-Santa Cruz
Four or more years; Public; $39,516 average out-state tuition; $11,502 average in-state tuition

Scholarships for Legal Studies Majors

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Academic Excellence Scholarship

Michigan State University - College of Law

Up to $25,000 Varies See Details

Academic Excellence Scholarship

Michigan State University - College of Law

award

Up to $25,000

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Alumni Merit Scholarship

Michigan State University - College of Law

Up to $17,500 Varies See Details

Alumni Merit Scholarship

Michigan State University - College of Law

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Up to $17,500

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Sono Osato Scholarship for Graduate Studies

Career Transitions for Dancers

$5,000 Varies See Details

Sono Osato Scholarship for Graduate Studies

Career Transitions for Dancers

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$5,000

deadline

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Selected Professions Fellowship

American Association of University Women Educational Foundation

Up to $18,000 December 01, 2019 See Details

Selected Professions Fellowship

American Association of University Women Educational Foundation

award

Up to $18,000

deadline

December 01, 2019
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Byron Hanke Fellowship

Community Associations Institute (CAI) Research Foundation

Up to $5,000 May 01, 2020 See Details

Byron Hanke Fellowship

Community Associations Institute (CAI) Research Foundation

award

Up to $5,000

deadline

May 01, 2020
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Taft, Stettinius & Hollister Founders Scholarship

University of Cincinnati College of Law

$2,500 Varies See Details

Taft, Stettinius & Hollister Founders Scholarship

University of Cincinnati College of Law

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$2,500

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William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

$2,000 Varies See Details

William and Effa McMeans Scholarship

University of Iowa, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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$2,000

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Thomas F. Caldon, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Calvin College

$2,000 Varies See Details

Thomas F. Caldon, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Calvin College

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$2,000

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Karlin Law Scholarship

University of Kansas School of Law

$2,000 Varies See Details

Karlin Law Scholarship

University of Kansas School of Law

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$2,000

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Arts and Science Alumni Affiliate Scholarship - Oakland University

Oakland University

$2,000 Varies See Details

Arts and Science Alumni Affiliate Scholarship - Oakland University

Oakland University

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$2,000

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