Legal Theory

Course Requirements

Students must successfully complete 24 credits to earn the degree. Eight credits will be awarded for participation in the compulsory Legal Theory Thesis Seminar and the completion of the thesis. Generally, students must register for at least two colloquia over the course of the year, but this requirement may be waived by the program director in appropriate cases. All students will design their course of study in close consultation with the program director. This is intended to ensure that students craft a program of study that is both relevant and valuable to the student’s background, interests, and professional goals. Students are encouraged to enroll in courses designated as “Legal Theory” in the course schedule.


Students will write an original scholarly work on a particular topic in legal theory. There is no required length; the requirement is rather that the student demonstrates mastery of a particular area of legal theory through mounting an original argument. Depending on the chosen field, such theses could range from 40 to 100 pages. Supervision of individual theses will be provided by a faculty member with expertise in the relevant field. Students are required to settle on a topic, and select a supervisor, by the midpoint of the fall semester.


The following is a listing of all colloquia offered by the Law School:

  • Law and Economics Colloquium
  • Colloquium on Law, Economics and Politics
  • Constitutional Transitions Colloquium
  • Institute for International Law and Justice Colloquium
  • Law, Education and Policy Colloquium
  • Legal History Colloquium
  • Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium
  • Colloquium on Globalization, Economic Development and Markets
  • Innovation Policy Colloquium
  • Colloquium on Law, Economics and Politics of Urban Affairs

Additional Courses

Through consultation with the program director, students will be guided toward a course structure emphasizing theoretical understanding. The consultation will also ensure that the course of study is appropriately specialized or broad, depending on the student’s background and interests. Students will be able to choose courses both from NYU’s regular faculty and from Global Visiting Professors of Law who may be in residence.

Students may review course offerings for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. Classes designated by the course topic Legal Theory and Legal History may be of particular interest to you.

Courses Outside the Law School

Students are permitted to take up to six credits of courses in other graduate divisions of the University. Such courses require the approval of the program director and the Vice Dean.

Contact Information

Prospective students should direct their inquiries to the Office of Graduate Admissions and admitted and current students to the Office of Graduate Affairs.

Faculty advisement can be arranged by contacting Professor Kornhauser's assistant, Richard Kelsy:
Telephone: (212) 998-6195
Facsimile: (212) 995-4341


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