The Civil Rights and Racial Justice graduate certificate directly prepares students for a career in civil rights and racial justice law, focuses their education on issues in race and the law and anti-subordination, and seeks to address structural racism by studying its causes and effects. 


The Civil Rights and Racial Justice Certificate can be completed through a focused but flexible range of coursework. The certificate requires a participating student to earn no less than 92 semester hours of course credit for graduation (as contrasted with the usual 89 semester hours), and to earn at least 18 of these semester hour credits in the area of civil rights and/or racial justice.  The certificate may be completed within the normal three year law degree period if a student takes a somewhat heavier than average load in each semester after completing the first year of law school.

Minimum Grade Point Average

A student who satisfies all of the course requirements for this certificate program would be awarded the certificate if the student earned a grade of at least a C in each required course. A student who satisfies all of the course requirements for a certificate program would be awarded the certificate “with honors” if the student earned at least an A- average in courses designated by the student as satisfying the certificate requirements. 

Required Courses and Credits

After completion of the first year of law school study, students are required to select from the following courses to meet their 18 credits. However, consistent with other certificate programs, a student may seek permission from the faculty advisor of the certificate program to receive certificate credit for one other course (including a clinic) not listed below, upon a showing that the course/clinic will meaningfully focus on civil rights or racial justice law. Law students who wish to participate in the certificate program should consult the Law School Registrar and the certificate faculty advisor to discuss the certificate requirements, plan their schedule and obtain approval for any non-specified electives courses in advance of taking such courses for certificate credit. 

Core Courses
Choose one:
American Indian Law I
Civil Rights
Criminal Procedure: Adjudicative Process
Employment Discrimination
Seminar: Special Topics in International Law (Global Critical Race Theory Subtopic) Immigration Law or International Human Rights
Specialized Elective Course
Choose from the core course list or from the following courses: 1
American Indian Law II
Trademark and Unfair Competition Law
Cultural Property Law
Disability Rights
Domestic Violence
Environmental Justice and Law
Seminar: Funding Climate Action
Employment Law
Federal Courts
First Amendment
Foundations of International Legal Thought
Indigenous Peoples in International Law
Labor Law
Seminar: Law and Politics Colloquium: Race in America
Poverty Law
Refugee and Asylum Law
Regulation of Financial Institutions
Seminar: Citizenship and Equality
LAWS 8505
Seminar Speech, Religion, and Equality: Constitutional Values in Tension
Seminar: Criminal Law in Context: Legal and Social Images of Victims and Perpetrators
Seminar: Advanced Criminal Justice
LAWS 7525
Seminar: Critical Theory Colloquium
Seminar: Gender and Criminal Justice
Seminar: Class and Law
Seminar: Problems in Constitutional Law (civil rights focus)
Seminar: International Human Rights (cannot be counted if non-seminar version is also taken)
Sexuality and the Law
Clinical and/or additional practice requirement as a capstone project, students are required to complete one of the below clinics or externships (or another clinic/externship approved by the faculty advisor)
American Indian Law Clinic
Criminal and Immigration Defense Clinic
Criminal Defense Clinic
Externships/Additional Practice Opportunities
Consistent with the limitations on practice hour credits, participants could dedicate 2 credit hours toward the Certificate credit requirements or the Capstone requirement using the following:
Externships in the field of civil rights, racial justice, international human rights, or American Indian/indigenous peoples law and policy. These placements could be at agencies, non-profits, or law firms focusing on this field, such as the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the EEOC, or could include acting as a research assistant for a professor.