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About Legal History

The study of legal history occupies an important place in the Law School’s curriculum. Recent, current, and future offerings include courses on the history of the common law, constitutional history, American legal history, European legal history, Chinese legal history, the history of the administrative state, the history of criminal procedure, the history of property, and the history of the laws of war. Faculty from the Yale Department of History offer further courses in South Asian legal history, the legal systems of antiquity, and more. Seminars and lectures by outside scholars supplement the regular curricular offerings. An informal legal history program brings together students and faculty interested in legal history; it includes students and faculty from the Law School and the Yale Department of History as well as from elsewhere within and outside the University. The Law School also encourages advanced study and original research in the history of law. A few students pursue the joint J.D.-Ph.D. program in History or in American Studies.

Joint Degrees

For more than three decades, the Law School has had one of the United States’s premier programs in the joint study of law and history. Its graduates are leaders in the field, teaching and writing in leading American institutions. Students interested in pursuing a second degree can petition for joint degree status at the Law School as early as the spring of their 1L year.

Learn more about joint degrees