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JD Concentration



The law and religion concentration contains two possible tracks: (1) a practice track and (2) an academic track. The practice track emphasizes the skills and knowledge relevant to practicing law with a specialization in law and religion. The practice track prepares students to litigate cases that involve religious freedom questions, to represent and advise religious organizations, to practice religious arbitration or within religious legal systems, and to work in legal advocacy with or on behalf of religious communities. The academic track emphasizes the skills of academic research and writing.  The academic track prepares students for teaching and scholarship in the legal academy and for PhD or SJD study in the areas of law, religion, theology, or associated fields. 

Applying for the Concentration

JD students apply for the concentration during the spring semester of their first year or fall of their second year. The application process includes submitting a statement of interest, a resume or CV, and an unofficial transcript to the concentration advisor, CSLR Executive Director Whittney Barth, at Selection to the program will be based on demonstrated interest, experience, and proficiency in the area of law and religion.


Required Courses (6 credits)

  • Law and Religion: Theories, Methods & Approaches
  • First Amendment: Religious Freedom

Religious Legal Systems (2–3 credits)

  • Canon Law
  • Christianity and Law
  • Indigenous Legal Systems
  • Islamic Law
  • Jewish Law

Law and Religion Elective (2–3 credits)

  • Canon Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • History of Church-State Relations
  • Indigenous Law
  • Islamic Finance
  • Islamic Law
  • Jewish Law
  • Religion, Culture, and Law in Comparative Perspective
  • Religious Organizations Law
  • A seminar in law and religion
  • A course from another division approved by the concentration advisor

Capstone (1–3 credits) [choose one]

  • Seminar in law and religion
  • Externship with a law and religion advocacy or litigation organization, or a small firm specializing in religious organizations law
  • Internship with a law and religion advocacy or litigation organization, or a small firm specializing in religious organizations law, followed by 1 credit of directed study with a faculty member

Thesis (optional)

  • Students pursuing the academic track are encouraged to write an original thesis on a subject of their interest under the supervision of a faculty member for 3 hours of graded directed research credit. The thesis should be written in the final year of coursework.

Recommended Courses

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Arbitration
  • Asylum Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Constitutional Litigation
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Human Rights Advocacy
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Land Use and Zoning
  • Nonprofit Law
  • Roman Law