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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

Coopersmith Career Consulting | Evaluated Learning Experience

Philosophy of Law (REL-450)


Varies (self-study, self-paced).

Various; distance learning format.

June 2024 - Present. 

Instructional delivery format: 
Online/distance learning
Learner Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the learning experience, students will be able to: develop the ability to critically evaluate and compare various legal theories, including natural law, legal positivism, and critical legal studies, and understand their implications for contemporary legal practices; investigate the complex relationship between law and morality, assessing how different philosophical perspectives address issues such as justice, rights, and ethical obligations within legal contexts; enhance skills in interpreting key legal concepts such as justice, rights, duties, and legal reasoning, and apply these concepts to real-world legal issues and case studies; critically examine the structure and functioning of legal institutions, exploring how philosophical principles can inform critiques of legal systems and practices, and proposing potential reforms; and synthesize diverse philosophical perspectives on law to develop a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of legal systems, considering historical, cultural, and social contexts in the analysis.


Philosophy of Law is an undergraduate course that focuses on the fundamental questions and theories surrounding the nature, purpose, and functioning of laws. Students explore the philosophical foundations of legal systems, the relationship between law and morality, and the concepts of justice, rights, and duties. Through critical analysis of classical and contemporary texts, students examine various schools of thought, including natural law theory, legal Positivism, and critical legal studies. Key topics include the definition and purpose of the law; the distinction between law and morality; the nature of legal reasoning and interpretation; the concept of justice and its application in legal contexts; the role of rights and duties in legal frameworks and the critique of legal institutions and practices. 

Credit recommendation: 

In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category OR in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in Philosophy, Law, Criminal Justice, or Sociology (6/24).