Although the law & society major at UCSB has remained closed to new applicants since Fall 2006, a recent petition from departmental staff may change this policy as soon as next school year.

According to College of Letters and Science Dean of Undergraduate Studies Alan J. Wyner, the request is in the process of review by the UCSB Academic Senate. If the moratorium on new applicants is lifted, students hoping to study law & society may soon declare the major.

“The faculty members of the [law & society] department recommended the major be opened this coming fall,” Wyner said.

During the moratorium, all incoming freshman, transfer students and current students in other departments were barred from declaring law & society as a major.

The procedure to reopen the program requires two stages of review – one conducted by the law & society department and another subsequent evaluation from the Academic Senate.

A committee of 15 faculty members in the law & society major commenced the process of review, which entailed deliberating why the program was initially closed to new applicants as well as benefits from the major’s reopening.

According to Analyst for Undergraduate Education Debra Blake, student interest and demand for the law program never waned, but what the department lacked was resources to accommodate the growing number of students in the major.

“There’s a huge amount of interest, but there weren’t enough resources to supply the demand,” Blake said.

Blake said executive meetings are still currently underway in the Academic Senate and it is too soon to project a definite outcome.

“At this point in time, there is ongoing consultation in the Senate,” Blake said. “The decision hasn’t been made yet.”

According to the law & society department’s Web site, the interdisciplinary curriculum serves various purposes to advance a well-rounded education, enveloping such areas as philosophy, anthropology, psychology and economics. The program was established at UCSB in 1972.