Introduction

When students declare Law & Policy as their major, they must ask an affiliated faculty member to become their major advisor.The following faculty members are currently able to serve as advisors to Law & Policy students:

  • Neil Diamant, Professor of Asian Law and Society; Walter E. Beach ’56 Chair in Political Science
  • Kathryn Heard, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Katie Marchetti, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Kristine Mitchell, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies
  • Sarah Niebler, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • David O’Connell, Associate Professor of Political Science

The Law & Policy program is designed to help students develop complex problem solving skills in an interdisciplinary context so that they can address contemporary policy problems that are framed by ethical norms.

Law & Policy majors develop and learn to apply these complex problem solving skills in areas where law and policy intersect. Majors study the structure of the legal system (POSC 248, The Judiciary) and its philosophical underpinnings (LAWP/PHIL 255, Philosophy of Law). Law & Policy majors also take two law electives, one policy elective, and a law-related internship, which must be approved by the student’s Policy Studies advisor.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

The following six courses are required of all majors:
POSC 120: American Government
ECON 111: Microeconomics
ECON 228: Economic Analysis of Policy
LAWP/POSC 248: The Judiciary
POSC 220: Constitutional Law I, OR, POSC 221: Constitutional Law II
LAWP 400: Senior Seminar

In addition, the major has the following requirements: 
ELECTIVES (6):
1 empirical social analysis elective
1 ethics elective
2 law-related electives
2 policy-related electives

TRANSCRIPT NOTATION INTERNSHIP
Must focus on policy and law

Suggested curricular flow through the major

Students are advised to take POSC 120 Intro to American Government, and ECON 111 Introduction to Microeconomics, in their first year at the college.Both courses are prerequisites for upper-level requirements.

In a student’s subsequent years, they should work carefully to complete the remaining required courses and electives.Individual students will progress differently through the major, depending on when courses are offered, when they declare their major, and what other academic goals they might be pursuing.Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisors on course planning since some required courses, like LAWP/POSC 248 The Judiciary, may only be offered once a year.

In order to pick empirical social analysis, ethics, law, and policy elective courses, students may use Banner and search by attribute to find what options are available any given semester.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete their internship requirement by the Fall of their senior year.It is not advisable to wait until the final semester to begin planning an internship.

Finally, prior to their senior year, students should discuss how they plan to take the senior seminar, LAWP 400.There may only be one seminar offered in a given year, and therefore students must build their senior year schedule around it.

Additional questions about major requirements should be directed to the program’s coordinator.

Honors

To graduate with honors as a Law & Policy major you will need to conduct some original research and produce a thesis that meets the standards set by the department faculty.  LAWP projects must be a defense or a critique of a policy outcome that is legally related.  You must have an overall Grade Point Average of 3.4 or better to proceed with an honors proposal.

Students wishing to pursue honors should discuss their plans with the department chair early in the fall semester of their senior year.  Students writing a thesis should enroll in POSC 490 Senior Thesis during the spring semester of their senior year.  Permission of the instructor is required for enrollment in this course.  The application for class admission will be a 2-3 page proposal and will be due at the end of November of the Fall semester.

Gaining admittance to the thesis-writing class does not guarantee honors, but, instead, honors will be awarded to the students whose completed theses exhibit extraordinary merit at the end of the spring semester.

Internships

Law & Policy is one of eight academic programs that currently requires a registered internship/experiential component.  This requirement is fulfilled through Dickinson’s Internship Notation Program (INP), or by means of participation in a semester based program like Dickinson in DC.

Created by the faculty in 2007, the Internship Notation Program (INP) is the college’s official program to recognize an internship experience on the academic transcript.  The INP curriculum and policies are grounded in the principles of good practice established by the Society for Experiential Education (SEE), internship program standards from the Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS), and prior Middle States guidance for the assessment of student learning.

Internships that will meet the Law & Policy major requirement must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Students must register their internship before they start.  Students should submit the INP registration form in the Forms section of their Gateway account.  Note that the INP curriculum and assessment runs alongside the experience, and cannot be completed retroactively.
  • Internships may run in the Fall, Spring, or summer.
  • Internships should be a minimum of 80-hours & 8-weeks within one academic term (whether Fall, Spring, or summer).
  • Internships can be remote, in-person, or hybrid.  Guidelines will be provided for remote or hybrid experiences.
  • Internships can be paid or unpaid.

Between 2012-2023, 65% of all Law & Policy students completed their internship in the summer.  However, excellent quality internships are also available in the local area.  Carlisle is the county seat and the state capital, Harrisburg, is only 17 miles away.  Dickinson alums willing to serve as mentors and internship site supervisors are well placed in both locations.

Students participating in the Dickinson in DC program will not need to register their internship with the INP; they will work with Amity Fox and CGSE to apply for the program.

The INP team can help guide students through the process of finding and registering an internship.Email intern@dickinson.edu for more details.

For examples of recent internships Law & Policy students have completed, see the following:

LAWP Internships

 

Co-curricular activities/programs

Many Law & Policy majors participate in Dickinson's very successful Mock Trial program.  For more information, contact mocktrial@dickinson.edu.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Law & Policy students are encouraged to study off-campus for at least part of their junior year. Students may be able to study off-campus for the entire academic year with careful planning and close consultation with their advisor.   

Students may particularly wish to consider the Dickinson in D.C. program.  The Law & Policy internship major requirement can be fulfilled through participation in this program.  The Dickinson in D.C. program utilizes Dickinson’s partnership with the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS) Consortium to offer credit-bearing internships.  Students participating in this program intern for four full days a week, while also enrolling in a two-credit independent study with a Dickinson faculty member to incorporate their internship learning into their academic major, as well as two one-credit LCWS courses in a variety of subject areas.

To learn more about this program, visit the Dickinson in D.C. website.

Other programs that are particularly well-suited to Law & Policy students include Dickinson in Bologna, Dickinson in England, as well as the college’s partner program in Copenhagen.