Law, Public Policy and Human Rights

The goal of the Nexus in Law, Public Policy and Human Rights is to provide students with the tools necessary to form a deep understanding of how complex relationships between local and national political processes both create public policies and shape legislation and its interpretation. This Nexus provides students with both an academic and experiential lens. Students will choose courses from several departments including politics, economics, history, and sociology in order to examine how both law and public policies are imbedded in much larger social, historical, and economic realities.

Track Chair

Professor Jon Western
International Relations 


Courses may be chosen from the list of faculty-approved courses for your Nexus track, in consultation with your academic advisor and the Nexus track chair. You are not limited to the courses on these lists, however. If you identify another Mount Holyoke or Five College course relevant to the Nexus track, you can ask permission of the Nexus track chair to allow you to count the course toward your Nexus.

Example Program

Hannah wants to be an immigration lawyer. She fashions her academic path by starting with Politics 247, International Law, and Sociology 230, Sociology of Immigration. She lands an internship with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition in Boston the following summer. As she deepens her commitment to immigration issues, she volunteers at Nuestras Raíces as part of a community-based learning experience. Nuestras Raíces is a grass-roots organization that promotes economic, human, and community development in Holyoke, Massachusetts, through projects relating to food, agriculture, and the environment. Over the course of her studies she enrolls in first COLL 210, Ready for the World and then COLL 211, Tying It All Together. She works closely with the College’s prelaw advisor to prepare for the LSAT and plan her application strategy. As her capstone course, she takes Politics 353, The Politics of Work.