department of political science

Law and American Civilization

Academic Opportunities

Students are encouraged to apply for a Law and American Civilization internship, which is one of the capstone options (the last six credits). Interested students must register for LWAC 497, Practicum in Law and American Civilization. They will have to obtain a special code from the Political Science administrative assistant because the course is open only by permission to those majoring in LWAC.

The office maintains a list of potential contacts for students to inquire about placements. These include placements in lawmaking such as the Maryland General Assembly and the legal profession, such as law offices, or judges’ chambers. We have also had a few placements in the executive branch of the Maryland government.

Most students prefer to see how law firms operate. They have found that the experience of interacting with practicing attorneys is invaluable largely because it helps them decide whether they wish to devote their professional career to serving in a firm. Most of the firms we have on file are smaller ones with less than 10 attorneys. The medium and large sized ones typically use law students as clerks rather than undergraduate interns.

Senior Thesis
Advanced students who are completing the Law and American Civilization major may choose to enroll in a seminar in the Political Science Department or the thesis seminar (LWAC 491). The thesis seminar allows students to choose a topic of their choice with the requirement that it must in some respect by law related. Students spend about half the semester researching their topics, compiling a bibliography, and working very closely with the instructor on a one-on-one basis.

Students must prepare their theses as the very best work they have done in college. They must write in excellent standard English with note and bibliography clearly laid out throughout. Moreover and perhaps most important of all, students must present a thesis by arguing their main idea in a manner that a reader will find either persuasive or reasonable.

The goal is of the thesis seminar is to engage students in a concentrated effort to prepare the best work in their college career. The instructor will urge students enrolled in the course to concentrate a great deal of their time, energy, and attention to producing a major essay that requires digging into original and secondary source material as well as interviewing several experts in the field of their topics. Most essays run in length from 35 to 60 pages, including notes and bibliography.

At the end of the semester, the students enrolled in the seminar present their findings in front of the other students in LWAC 491 as well as the seven faculty members who constitute the Law and American Civilization Coordinating Committee. Typically, lively discussion and debate follow the presentation.




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