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B.A. in University Studies in Society, Ethics, and Law (SEAL)

Society, Ethics, and Law (S.E.A.L.) is a university degree that has been designed for students who are interested in pursuing law school, or developing a highly transferable skill set that is useful to non-profits and businesses alike. To this end, S.E.A.L.’s curriculum is primarily guided by the published recommendations of the American Bar Association (A.B.A.). While the A.B.A. does not recommend nor require any particular major, it does encourage prospective law students to i) pursue opportunities (courses and experiences) that cultivate a specific set of skills; ii) obtain experiences that “can help [them] hit the ground running when [they] become a lawyer; and iii) develop “a broad understanding of history, including the various factors (social, political, economic, and cultural) that have influenced the development of our society in the United States.”1

The requirements for this University Studies degree reflect the A.B.A.’s recommendation. Under the broad themes of Society, Ethics and Law, the degree requires classes that contribute to a broad understanding of philosophy, politics, economics and history. Specifically, S.E.A.L. requires that students complete 24 hours of major requirements, a minor in Philosophy, and a second minor outside of the Liberal Arts. In addition to obtaining a broad understanding of society, ethics and law, the degree requires that students pursue experiences and opportunities that typically cultivate the A.B.A’s recommended skill set:

  1. Problem Solving involves “courses and other experiences that will engage [students] in critical thinking about important issues, challenge …  beliefs and improve … tolerance for uncertainty and criticism.”1
  2. Critical Reading involves “close reading and critical analysis of complex textual material.”1
  3. Writing and Editing involves “preparing original pieces of substantial length and revising written work in response to constructive criticism.  […] Language is the most important tool of a lawyer, and lawyers must learn how to express themselves clearly and concisely.”1
  4. Oral Communication and Listening involves “the ability to speak clearly and persuasively… and excellent listening skills.”1
  5. Research involves “undertaking a project that requires significant library research and the analysis of large amounts of information obtained from that research.”1

The study of philosophy lends itself to the development of the five recommended skills. To this end, the required minor in Philosophy provides an opportunity to cultivate these skills.

Students are strongly advised to take philosophy courses over and above the minimum requirements for a minor, including independent studies and honors research courses.



Components of the SEAL Degree:

The specific components of this degree program are:

  1. A minor in Philosophy (5 courses)
  2. A minor from another department (typically 5 courses)
  3. Courses on the theme “Society, Ethics, and Law”, which are drawn from long lists of options. The breadth of offerings enables students to follow themes of special interest to them (such as race, gender or ethnic studies, or environmental issues). A list is provided below, but since there are frequently updated, be sure to consult the catalog as well.
    • Society focus: 6 hours
    • Ethics focus: 6 hours
    • Law, Regulation and Policy focus: 6 hours
    • Experiential and Supplemental Studies: 6 hours.
      • This includes a required internship for 0 to 3 hours.
      • Students should use these hours to deepen their skills in a particular area, such as advanced study in a foreign language, additional courses that will hone their communication skills, undergraduate research, or further studies in one of their minor fields.
  1. SEAL majors are also required to use PHIL 240 as one of their core Math requirements.

Resources for Students in SEAL:

B.A. in SEAL Degree Plan Worksheet – students entering A&M in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022

B.A. in SEAL Degree Plan worksheet – students entering A&M in Fall 2022

Course Options & Titles by Focus Area