I. Foundational Courses

These courses provide a breadth of exposure to criminal law topics. The concentration requires that students take all three of the following courses, which are also required for the diploma privilege:

  • Introduction to Substantive Criminal Law
  • Introduction to Criminal Procedure (a.k.a. Criminal Justice Administration)
  • Evidence

II. Advanced Courses

These courses provide for intensive learning experiences about substantive areas of criminal law, the processes of lawyering, and exploration of lawyers professional responsibility to clients. Students must take a minimum of 15 credits in this category distributed among at least two courses, one of which must be experiential, such as clinical courses.

Elective Courses in Law

  • Selected Problems in Constitutional Law: Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments
  • The Role of Police in a Free Society
  • Special Problems in Criminal Justice Administration: Sentencing & Corrections
  • Special Problems in Criminal Justice Administration: Wrongful Convictions
  • Special Problems in Criminal Justice Administration: Victims in the Criminal Justice System
  • Legislation & Regulation
  • Mental Health Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Defense Function: Hanging out a Shingle (Criminal Practice)
  • Human Trafficking
  • Forensic Science
  • Lawyering Skills: Death Penalty
  • Advanced Criminal Procedure: Representing the Criminal Appellant (course component of Criminal Appeals Project)
  • Special Problems in Criminal Justice Administration: Federal Criminal Appeals (course component of Federal Appeals Project)
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice (course component of Prosecution & Defender Projects)
  • Defense Function (course component of Defender Project)
  • Prosecution Function (course component of Prosecution Project)

Elective Courses in Other Departments

(up to 6 credits can be counted toward concentration; most courses required permission of instructor to enroll):

  • Political Science 319: Terrorism
  • Psych 411: Psychology of Juvenile Delinquency
  • Psych 411: Neural Basis of Cognitive Control
  • Soc 441: Criminology
  • Soc 446: Juvenile Delinquency
  • Soc 496: Policing
  • Ed Psych 506: The Education & Psychology of Forgiveness
  • Soc Work 523: Family Violence
  • Soc 578: Poverty and Place
  • Soc Work 646: Child Abuse and Neglect
  • AfroAmer 671: Criminalizing Blackiness: Race & Imprisonment in America

Experiential Learning Requirement

Remington Center Projects

  • LAIP (Legal Assistance to Incarcerated People Project)
  • Criminal Appeals Project/Federal Criminal Appeals Project
  • Innocence Project
  • Family Law Project
  • Restorative Justice Project
  • Oxford Federal Project
  • Federal Appeals Project
  • Prosecution Project
  • Defender Project

Economic Justice Institute Projects

  • Government & Legislative Law Clinic (counts if 50% or more of the works relates to criminal law or criminal justice system actors and institutions as certified by supervising attorney)
  • Immigrant Justice Clinic 


  • DOJ Externship Project (if placed in a criminal justice unit)
  • Law Externship Course (if placement is focused on criminal law or criminal justice, including law enforcement and community supervision)

III. Community Engagement and Service Learning

Although not required to earn the concentration, students are encouraged to enrich their educational experience through community service and policy engagement. Listed below are community organizations that serve those involved in the criminal justice system as victims or offenders, or returning to the community after serving a criminal sentence.

  • Madison Urban Ministry (offers a number of re-entry programs)
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA)
  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services
  • Rape Crisis Center
  • Rainbow Project
  • Voices Beyond Bars
  • Parental Stress Center Dane County (hosts parenting classes and offers therapy groups for perpetrators and survivors of family violence and familial sexual abuse)
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Dane County
  • The Beacon (day shelter for the homeless)

Additional Requirements

GPA Requirement: To obtain the criminal law concentration, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in all concentration-eligible classes.

Honors: Students earning a 3.5 cumulative average in courses fulfilling Criminal Law Concentration requirements (foundational and elective courses combined) will receive Honors in the Concentration.  If you believe you qualify for honors in the concentration, you need to submit along with your transcript a calculation of your GPA in the courses fulfilling the concentration, showing that your cumulative GPA in those courses is 3.5 or higher.

Applying for the Concentration Certificate

In the last month of the final semester, any student wishing to obtain a concentration certificate should email the following to Professor Klingele (cecelia.klingele@wisc.edu):

  • an unofficial transcript with all concentration-eligible courses highlighted;
  • a calculation of the student's GPA in all concentration courses to-date; and
  • a permanent mailing address to which the student's certificate should be mailed (typically, 8-10 weeks after graduation)

Questions with respect to the above Concentration requirements should be sent to Professor Cecelia Klingele at cecelia.klingele@wisc.edu.

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