Group of three happy multiethnic students looking at camera.


Student engagement is a key component of the Program’s academic focus.  In addition to course offerings and programming engagements, we provide research assistantship opportunities, student mentorship and advising, research grants, and an annual writing prize to recognize student excellence in academic research and writing.


Course Offerings 2023-2024

Islamic Law and Human Rights
Fall 2023, Salma Waheedi

This course will offer students the opportunity to engage with current and emerging debates on Islamic law and human rights. After a brief introduction to Islamic law and its historical development, we will examine legal and practical human rights question at the intersection of Islamic law and its interpretation and application within contemporary Muslim states. Through a number of case studies, will also engage in a critical examination of different modes and discourses of human rights advocacy across diverse geographic locations and human rights themes. Topics to be examined include religious freedom, gender and women’s rights, criminal law, and freedom of speech. Students will also discuss and critique the different strategies employed by local, regional, and international human rights advocates in approaching human rights questions involving religious belief and practice.

Law, Human Rights, and Social Justice in Israel-Palestine

Spring 2024, Salma Waheedi

This course offers a thoughtful and nuanced exploration of questions of human rights and social justice in the context of Israel-Palestine. We will discuss a range of themes and controversies, including the right to self-determination; Israeli and Palestinian nationhood and statehood; refugees and migration; Israel’s control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; economic and social justice; and gender justice. We will ground our discussion in a human rights framework, focusing on the interrelation between law, power, and the lived experiences of Israelis and Palestinians. Readings will include international legal instruments, domestic legislation, court decisions, and works by authors from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Students will be encouraged to employ a reflective and critical approach to the study of law and social justice and to engage constructively with historical and contemporary debates.

Animal Law
Spring 2024, Kristen Stilt

This course will introduce students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals (“animals”), including companion animals, farm animals (with a particular focus on factory farms), animals used in the context of entertainment (such as zoos and aquaria), animals used in scientific experimentation, and wild animals. The course will focus mainly on the U.S. but will also include some attention to the laws of other countries and to international law.

The course will also engage with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law—why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of “animal rights” and “animal welfare”?

Writing Group: Law and the Anthropocene
Fall 2023 – Spring 2024, Kristen Stilt

Ways in which law is part of the problem or part of the solution in our planetary crisis. Students enrolling in Fall-Spring groups are required to submit a signed Writing Group Registration Form to the Registrar’s Office. Group meets for six sessions throughout the academic year.

View past offerings of the Program on Law & Society in the Muslim World.

Writing Prize

The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School will award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law Student writing the best paper on the topic of law and society or law and social change in a Muslim majority or minority context. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year at Harvard Law School.

View past recipients of the Program on Law & Society in the Muslim World Writing Prize.

Research Opportunities

The Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World provides paid research assistantship opportunities for Harvard Law School students interested in the Program’s work. We particularly welcome applications from students interested in pursuing research related to law and social change, human rights, gender, minority rights, LGBTQ issues, constitutional law, international law, and related fields. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in learning more about student research opportunities for students.

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J.D. Admissions at Harvard Law School

The applications are available through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Admissions decisions are based on the totality of available information about each applicant, and a careful evaluation of the candidate’s past accomplishments and future promise. We have no mechanical shortcuts or substitutes for careful consideration of each applicant. Learn more about J.D. Admissions at Harvard Law School.


LL.M. Admissions at Harvard Law School

The LL.M. (Master of Laws) program is a one-year degree program that typically includes 180 students from some 70 countries. The Graduate Program is interested in attracting intellectually curious and thoughtful candidates from a variety of legal systems and backgrounds and with various career plans. Harvard’s LL.M. students include lawyers working in firms or NGOs, government officials, law professors, judges, diplomats, activists, doctoral students, business people, and others. The diversity of the participants in the LL.M. program contributes significantly to the educational experience of all students at the School.

S.J.D. Admissions

Harvard Law School admits approximately 10 to 12 applicants to S.J.D. candidacy each year. Students who have not received an LL.M. degree from Harvard or another leading U.S. law school are virtually never admitted to S.J.D. candidacy. Students who have received an LL.M. degree from another leading U.S. law school are only rarely admitted directly to S.J.D. candidacy. Applicants interested in the S.J.D. program ordinarily must first apply to and successfully complete the Harvard Law School LL.M. program. Successful completion of the Harvard Law School LL.M. program does not, however, guarantee admission into the S.J.D. program.