Saint Louis University

Course Descriptions

The following is a list of courses both in the pre-law department and other departments that students can chose from to complete their pre-law studies. The courses are subject to change and may not all be offered in both the fall and spring semesters. Please refer to the pages describing the secondary major in legal studies, minor in legal studies and the Pre-law Scholars Program for the exact list of required classes for each of those programs. The course descriptions below contain a link to a past syllabus for each class.  Please note, however, that the syllabus for each course will most likely change from semester to semester. 

Accounting Philosophy
Communications Pre-Law Studies
Economics Political Science
Educational Leadership Psychology
English Social Work
Health Information Management                            Theology
History Theater


ACCT 220: Financial Accounting
An introduction to financial reporting of results of operations, cash flow and financial position of corporate entitles through general-purpose financial statements. An emphasis is placed on the real world environment of business and the use of financial accounting information for management decision making.


CMM 305: Argumentation and Debate
Basic concepts and practical application of the role of argument in day to day communication. Students learn to identify, analyze, and criticize arguments and will gain experience in creating, presenting, defending and refuting arguments in oral and written form.

CMM 409: Theories of Persuasion
Focuses on contemporary persuasion theory and research. Covers a variety of perspectives on the subject, such as motivation theory, social judgment, social movement and advertising campaigns. The approach helps demonstrate how theories of persuasion can help guide the practice of human communication.

CMM 442: Freedom of Expression
This course introduces students to issues of free expression and First Amendment law and their manifestation in the legal system, particularly the U.S. Supreme Court. Broadly put, the course analyzes the history, political and philosophical arguments, legal cases, and controls associated with communicating freely.


ECON 190: Principles of Economics
Analysis of how individuals, firms and nations make choices given limited resources; determinants of decision making in market economies; the political economy of income, employment and inflation in the aggregate; the role of government and the Federal reserve.

ECON 412: Law and Economics

Educational Leadership

EDL 101, J1 or J2
This course is preparation for student adjustments to university life. Students will determine their learning style, study skills and university resources. Sections J1 and J2 are for the pre-law scholars and students and are taught by faculty at the Law School.


ENGL 302: Rhetoric Reasoning and Law
This course is preparation will introduce students to advanced methods of argument, persuasion and deliberation. It will be especially useful to students studying law, professional writing, communication, political science and philosophy. 

ENGL 393: Special Topics: Law and Literature
This course includes literary works that lawyers and judges have found interesting and worthwhile. These works should also have value for students in a pre-law program.

Health Information Management

HIM 310: Medico-Legal Aspects
Legal terminology and procedures; the court system; liability of health care facilities and providers, health care legislation and regulation, including confidentiality, policies and procedures for the control and use of personal health information.


HIST 339: History of English Law
Introduction to fundamentals of English law-terminology, concepts and historical development.

HIST 370: U.S. Constitutional History
This course examines the origins, drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution and its subsequent history as revealed in landmark Supreme Court decisions and in constitutional crisis from Nullification to Watergate. Attention will also be given to the growth of American law and the development of the legal profession.


MGT 218: Legal Environment of Business I
Introduction to the U.S. legal system and to specific areas of the law such as torts, contracts, the law of agency and business organizations. The course also covers American public law affecting businesses, including securities regulations, antitrust law, consumer protection, employment and environment law. Global and ethical issues are considered throughout.

MGT 428: Legal Environment of Business II
Advanced course for students (1) desiring to expand their knowledge of the legal and ethical environment of business and of issues in business law or (2) preparing to take the CPA examination. Topics covered include negotiable instruments, secured transactions, debtor-creditor relationships, property law, trusts and wills, business associations and other special topics such as accountants' liability and international legal problems. Prerequisite: MGT-218.

MGT 330: Negotiations and Conflict Resolution

MGT 424: Legal Issues in Sports and Entertainment

MGT 425: Intercollegiate Athletics


PHIL 433: Philosophy of Law
This course undertakes a critical survey of the major Western conceptions of the nature of law and examines the relationship between law and morality.

PHIL 404: Symbolic Logic 
This course develops a theory of valid reasoning. The logic (and semantics) of propositions, quantifiers, properties, relations and identity are covered. It also examines the concepts of consistency, logical truth, logical form, logical equivalence, validity and related notions. The student should emerge more attuned to how deductive arguments work in actual use and able to evaluate them. Prerequisite: PHIL 105 and PHIL 205 or two mathematics course or some combination of these.

PHIL 406: Logic for the Pre-Professional 
This course is designed to provide pre-law (and pre-professional) students with a comprehensive treatment of logic, including prepositional logic, Aristotelian logic, predicate logic and theory of definition.

Pre-Law Studies

PLS 100: Introduction to Law 
The purpose of this course is to provide students an introduction to the law and legal principles. The structure of the court system, civil litigation and methods of alternative dispute resolution will be examined. Elements of the following areas of substantive law: torts, contracts, property, trusts and estates, corporations, family law, and criminal law and procedure will be examined.

PLS 105: Introduction to Legal Careers 
Students who are not able to take the pre-law section of U101 should consider this course. Students will explore the different areas of practice in law from Admiralty law to Trusts and Estates. Students will explore where these specialty areas lawyers work, who their clients are, the type of cases they handle, the daily activities this lawyer engages in, and what does the specialty lawyer find rewarding about their practice. Students will explore how people enter a particular specialty field, what skills sets are necessary for success and what classes and law school experience do these specialty lawyers recommend.

PLS 200: Introduction to Legal Research and Writing 
This course has two main objectives (1) to introduce legal research and (2) to introduce students to the fundamentals of legal reasoning and analysis. Students will be required complete a series of research and writing exercises and a final legal analysis paper.

PLS 210: Introduction to Legal Analysis 
This course is a much more in-depth exploration of the process of legal analysis. Students will engage in case briefing, statutory and regulatory analysis, and consideration of secondary sources. Several in-depth writing assignments are required.

PLS 220: Law: A Service Learning Experience 
In this course, students will engage in a service learning experience that will involve a teaching opportunity at a local inner city high school.  Students will learn about public policy and how to use the law to achieve that policy.

PLS 250: The Anatomy of a Lawsuit 
Students will study the fundamental principles of a civil jury trial from its inception through the trial and post-trial phases by following one case. The course will teach basic civil practice procedure as well as the relationship between the judicial system, attorneys and parties in a civil cause of action. Students will develop a basic understanding of trial advocacy and its place in the American system of justice.

PLS 300: Alternative Dispute Resolution 
In this course, students will study the nature of conflict and explore dispute resolution techniques that provide alternatives to litigation. The course will explore specific dispute resolution techniques including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution.

PLS 310: Introduction to Trial Advocacy 
This course teaches students how to prepare a legal case for a jury trial. Students learn the basic building blocks of a jury trial, the development of trial strategy, and the use of evidence at trial. The course focuses on advocacy techniques and the application of those techniques to the court setting. In conjunction with this course, students are required to simultaneously enroll in PLS 320: Introduction to Trial Advocacy Lab where students will use the techniques in a practical setting as members of the undergraduate mock trial teams.

PLS 340: Trial Practice Practicum Lab 
Students explore trial advocacy at an advanced level by participating in mock trial competitions sponsored by the American Mock Trial Association as both witnesses and attorneys. Students enrolling in this course must first complete PLS 310: Introduction to Trial Advocacy and PLS 320: Introduction to Trial Advocacy Lab or receive instructor permission.

PLS 350: Environmental Law 
This course will provide an overview of environmental environmental laws. The course will address the following environmental laws:  National Environment Policy Act; the Clean Air Act; The Water Pollution Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; and common law environmental remedies. Students will be taught the factual situations trigger the applications, requirements and restrictions of the laws.

PLS 375: Issues in Law 
This is a rotating course that will address various areas of law. Possible courses include multicultural issues in the law or health law.

PLS 390: Introduction to Appellate Advocacy 
This course introduces students to the role of appellate courts in the American justice system. Students learn and apply the basic elements of appellate argument including brief writing and oral advocacy. Students use a case problem to explore written and oral advocacy techniques in the court of appeals. Students prepare and present an oral argument at the end of the semester based upon the case problem.

PLS 400: Capstone Course Pre-Law Students
Comparative Legal Systems
Students will study various legal systems: religious, civil, common law and international. They will examine issues and compare and contrast different legal treatments of these issues. Students will be required to write a 15-20 page paper in the course. 

PLS 405: Foundations of Law 
This course is open to Pre-Law Scholars. Pre-Law students who have a GPA of 3.6 or higher can petition the course instructor for inclusion in the course. This seminar is designed to provide pre-law students an opportunity to critically examine public perceptions and expectations concerning the legal profession, basic concepts of justice, the rule of law, the judicial process and the nature of contemporary law study. Through readings, discussion topics, media reports and guest speakers, we will explore the manner in which lawyers serve, and sometimes struggle to serve, values important in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. A final paper and class participation are major determinants of the grade.

PLS 410: Legal Internship 
Interns work in private legal service agency and federal, local and state judicial systems. In selecting their internships, students are directed by the Pre-Law program and the political science department. Ideal for students interested in a legal career. You can find more information on securing a legal internship here.

Political Science

POLS 110: Introduction to American Political Institution 
This course serves as an introduction to the basic American political institutions.

POLS 211: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 
This course is an examination of the civil liberties accorded to the American people under the United States constitution.

POLS 220: State and Local Politics
This course includes state and local political institutions and practices in the context of the American federalism. Emphasis is placed on procedural and policy differences as well as political issues in state, regional and local governments. 

POLS 317: The Legislative Process 
Structure, role and procedures of national lawmaking body, presidential leadership, congressional offices, committee system, investigating committees, party discipline, rules, proposals for change, comparative practices in Great Britain and state legislatures.

POLS 342: Administrative Law 
This course addresses legal issues concerning public administrative agencies and their relationships with other governmental institutions, private corporations and the general public. Topics such as sovereign and limited immunity, primary jurisdiction and exhaustion, standing and ripeness, estoppel, and discretionary justice will be considered.

POLS 364: International Law 
This coourse covers the nature of the international legal system; the application of international law, its sources, major legal issues and how the system copes with them; state territory; nationality and jurisdiction; international agreements; state responsibility; and international claims.

POLS 372: Renaissance and Modern Political Thought 
Topics course in renaissance and modern political thought, topics vary by semester.

POLS 380: Structure of Poverty 
This course examines the theoretical and empirical literature on the social, political, and economic structures that produce and perpetuate cycles of poverty. Students will get a first hand view of the structure of poverty as they engage in service learning projects at the well-established, nonprofit organization, Queen of Peace Center.

POLS 393: The Politics of Crime and Punishment
This course examines topics in the theory and practice of crime and punishment in contemporary America from the perspective of politics and political thought. The aim of the course is to explore the difficulties and complexities of the ideas of crime and punishment as they operate on a practical level. 

POLS 410: Judicial Review in American Democracy

POLS 412: Civil Rights: A Moot Court Seminar

POLS 493: Special Topics
The political science department typically has one or two courses a semester that touch on special legal topics. These courses change from semester to semester.  Below are examples of past special topics courses.
Syllabus: Seminar in American Political Thought
Syllabus: Constitutional Theory and Development


PSY 448: Psychology and Law 
Examines laws, the legal system and legal processes from the perspective of principles in psychology, as well as the use and effect of psychology in the formation and implementation of laws; and examines the influence of law on social science research and medical/mental health professions.

Social Work

SWRK 302: American Social Welfare System 
Examination of the evolution of the governmental and voluntary system of social welfare. Values and political factors in the shaping of social policy. Contribution of and response by social policy to poverty and vulnerable groups in society. The use of systematic models of policy analysis.

SWRK 703: International Social Work 
Cultural and legal studies of the countries of Ghana, India and Mexico are provided on a rotating basis.

SWRK 711: Social Work and Law 
Provides the social work student with an understanding of how the law operates, how law impacts social work practices, what skills the social worker must possess to successfully use the law on behalf of the client, and how lawyers and social workers can work together as client advocates.


THEO 361: Social Justice 
This class focuses on Catholic social teachings. Current social issues will be considered in light of these teachings.


THR 254: Voice and Diction
Course objectives include an increased awareness and understanding of the student's particular voice, increased confidence and self-knowledge as a performer, and releasing physical tensions that inhibit vocal performance. 

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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