Apply to the LSJ Major

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Application Information

The department seeks to admit students who: (a) are capable of succeeding in LSJ coursework; (b) display a clear understanding of, and connection to, the department; and (c) can contribute to a dynamic learning community, in some cases by providing a unique perspective based on their life experiences.

LSJ accepts applications during Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. Applications are always due by 4pm on the second Friday of the quarter. The application is in a Microsoft Form - you must be logged into your UW email address to access the application. Please contact LSJ  Advising Office ( if you have any questions.  

The application will contain the following items:

  1. Complete Personal Information
  2. Complete Additional Academic Information
  3. Upload your optional hardship statement
  4. Upload your personal statement in PDF format
  5. Upload your unofficial transcript in PDF format

Given the recent concerns of COVID-19 and its effect on higher education institutions, the LSJ Department has adapted its undergraduate admissions policy for LSJ courses where an S grade was earned during a designated UW Extraordinary Circumstances Quarter (ECQ): Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Autumn 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Winter 2022. An S grade will not negatively impact a student's application. To be eligible for admission to the LSJ Department, at least one (1) LSJ course must have a numerical grade (4.0 scale).

Personal Statement

Preamble: Although we wish we could accept all interested students into our major, LSJ is a capacity-constrained department. In this context, we want to identify students we can best serve and who will flourish in LSJ. In order to do this, we need to learn about you and why you want to be an LSJ major.

Prompt: In a single essay of no more than 750 words, please explain why you want to major in LSJ. Be sure that your essay addresses each of the topics listed below. Please note that some of these questions may overlap and you do not need to repeat yourself or address them in any particular order.

  • What makes LSJ a good fit for you given your interests?
  • What do you hope to learn and/or experience as an LSJ major?
  • How have your prior experiences (classes and/or personal experiences) helped you prepare to be an LSJ major and to participate in LSJ discussions and activities?
  • If accepted to the major, how would you apply what you learned as an LSJ major after graduation? (This could be done in your work/career, your family, your community, your activism, or elsewhere).

Optional Hardship Statement (250 words): Describe any personal or economic hardships or barriers and explain how they directly affected your ability to be successful in college, as reflected in your transcript. As hardships may occur throughout your life, be specific about when you encountered these hardships and how long they lasted.

Apply Now 
Due April 5th at 4pm


LSJ Major Application Workshops

If you are a prospective student and planning to apply in the next application cycle, attend an admissions workshop, please view available times below:

Admissions Workshops:

Wednesday, February 21st | 9:30AM-10:30AM PST | Smith Hall M261 (LSJ Conference Room) 

Monday, March 4th| 1:00PM-2:00PM PST | Smith Hall M261 (LSJ Conference Room)

Friday, March 29th | 11:00AM-12:00PM PST | Smith Hall M261 (LSJ Conference Room)

Monday, April 1st | 1:00PM-2:00PM PST | Smith Hall M261 (LSJ Conference Room)


Prerequisites for the Law, Societies, and Justice major

**The following requirements became effective Winter 2023**

To be eligible to apply to the Law, Societies, and Justice major (LSJ), students must meet the following prerequisite criteria, including minimum grades and the successful completion of prerequisite coursework.

  1. A minimum cumulative UW GPA of no less than 3.0.
  2. One course from the UW English Composition list (5 credits).  
  3. Two courses from two different LSJ Core Categories (10 credits), although more courses are encouraged.  LSJ Core courses lay the foundations for understanding how law interacts with human society and institutions on a local, national and global level.  Because of the uniqueness of the LSJ major, taking two of these core classes is a vital tool for helping students understand the educational goals of this major before applying. 

These LSJ Core classes should all be considered “introductory.”

Category 1: 

  • LSJ 200 (Introduction to Law, Societies, and Justice) OR LSJ/POL S 363 (Law in Society)

Category 2: 

  • LSJ 320/POL S 368 (The Politics & Law of International Human Rights) OR LSJ 321/ANTH 323 (Human Rights Law in Culture and Practice) OR LSJ 322/JSIS A 324 (Human Rights in Latin America) OR LSJ 329 (Immigration, Citizenship, and Rights)

Category 3: 

  • LSJ/JSIS B 366 (Comparative Law and Legal Cultures) OR LSJ/POL S 367 (Comparative Law and Courts)

Note: Students must have all prerequisite requirements completed and graded in order to be considered for admission.


LSJ Admissions Rubric

The LSJ admissions committee will use the following criteria to assess applications to the major, with the understanding that the first two rows will be weighted most heavily:



Fit of learning goals with LSJ curriculum

Congruence between student interests/questions and questions/topics covered in LSJ courses

Ability to contribute to diversity and wide-ranging discussions

Relevance/diversity of life experiences and courses taken

Relevance of prior/preparatory experiences

Degree to which the applicant is well-informed about, and ready to thrive in, LSJ courses

Fit of long-term goals with LSJ curriculum

Degree to which LSJ is well-suited to prepare students to achieve their long-term goals

All applicants will receive email notification of their admission decision by the Friday of the 5th week of the quarter in which they apply.  Students admitted to the major will attend the LSJ New Major Workshop, during which the necessary paperwork to formally declare the major will be completed. Your acceptance into the major cannot be formalized unless these forms have been submitted. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How competitive is LSJ?

Answer: Applicants admitted to LSJ are usually strong students, but what makes a student strong is rather complex. Because this is an academic program that explores law in social science perspectives, students should show particular aptitude in social science courses. They should also be able to communicate clearly and concisely, and show an interest in the academic topics and social issues discussed in LSJ classes. Admission is based on a student’s academic record and his/her essay. The number of admitted students varies by quarter, based on the characteristics of each applicant pool and the number of students the program can admit. All students who have completed the minimum requirements and who are interested in the major are strongly encouraged to apply.

LSJ is competitive because we cannot admit all who seek to pursue the major. Students are welcome to apply up to two times, but in deciding a second submission should have a parallel plan in case they are not admitted to LSJ. The best plan will vary depending on student interests, but it should be a major that has either open admission or minimum requirement admission.


I am transferring to the UW from another institution, how can I improve my chances of getting into LSJ as a major?

Answer: The first task is getting into the University of Washington so that you can complete the last prerequisite course(s) before applying to the major. When applying to the university, you should certainly mention your interest in this major, even if you still have prerequisite courses to complete. The Admissions staff knows that one of the LSJ prerequisites has to be completed after being admitted, so not having it completed will not keep you from getting into UW.

Transfer students who are admitted to LSJ usually have good grades, but they also show a genuine interest in the study of law and justice. Our program is built on the research and scholarly goals of our faculty rather than on a certain career field. As a result, any evidence of commitment to the academic field carries more weight than a student’s wish for a certain career after college.


I am not yet an LSJ major and I am about to register for classes. What classes will be the best choices now?

Answer: It is fine to take LSJ classes before being admitted to the major. Students should try to give preference to the classes in the LSJ Core Course list over those in the subfields. The Core Courses are meant to ground the knowledge covered in more detail in the subfield courses, so taking them first improves your chance of doing well in the upper level coursework.

If you are looking for non-LSJ classes that will complement your LSJ studies, consider taking classes that explore a part of the world you know nothing about. You might also consider a class that expands your knowledge of modern history, politics, international relations, philosophy, geography, culture, gender, race, or ethnicity.


Do you have a graduate program in LSJ?

Answer: The Law, Societies, and Justice Department does not offer graduate degrees, however, we do have a Graduate Certificate. The details of which are available under the Programs and Courses tab on this website.


Connect with us 

LSJ Summer Advising Office Drop-In Hours via Zoom 

1:30pm - 3:00pm MONDAY & TUESDAY


Zoom Link