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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD497 Course ID: 2574 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

The Capstone course is a senior level course designed to allow the student to review, analyze and integrate the work the student has completed toward a degree in Legal Studies. The student will complete an approved academic project or paper that demonstrates mastery of their program of study in a meaningful culmination of their learning and to assess their level of mastery of the stated outcomes of their degree requirements. Prerequisite: Senior Standing and completion of all major courses prior to enrollment. To be taken as the last course prior to graduation.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Students should expect this course to be rigorous because this is the final course within the Legal Studies degree program. Upon successful completion, the student will be able to demonstrate the following course objectives:

Examine the law’s centrality to philosophy, social science, business and public policy;

Analyze the role and authority of the judicial system in interpreting the U.S. Constitution;

Characterize how the law can infringe on personal liberty;

Evaluate how the three branches of government (including their relationships, conflicts and roles) affect modern access to justice issues;

Clearly, concisely, and thoroughly evaluate the merit of scholarly ideas about a selected narrow legal concept;

Organize legal research, analysis and writing functions, both at the personal and group dynamic levels;

Collaborate in the creation of a Class Book that synthesizes the results of applicable legal research and analysis.

Announcements: Please check your announcements frequently throughout the course. I will post an announcement each week to ensure that you know what to do. I may also periodically post additional announcements if I have information to get out to the entire class.

Syllabus: You should review your syllabus at the start, as well as periodically throughout, the course. The syllabus gives you a general roadmap of the course. You can find it posted in the “Syllabus” section of the classroom.

Assignments: This course includes two assignments. The first one, which concerns the selection of your Class Book chapter (aka research paper), is due during Week 2. The second one, which will be your submission of your completed Class Book chapter, is due during Week 7.

Note however, that you will be expected to move forward with constructing your research paper each week. Each student will discuss your progress as the subject of each weekly Class Book forum.

Citation and Reference Style: Citations allow your readers (anybody who might read whatever you write) to efficiently locate the cited source. The only authorized citation and reference style authorized in this course (and all others within the Legal Studies program) is The BlueBook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).

This book is required for this class, but you do not need to purchase it because you have access to the Bluebook online through the Online Library. Here is the link: Please be sure to click “Release Seat” when you are finished with the Bluebook, since only 100 students university-wide may use the online Bluebook at any one time. If you have problems accessing the Bluebook, please let me know right away.

Forum Discussions: You must also participate in each week’s forum discussions. You may find them by clicking on “Forums” at the left side of the classroom screen. Then you click on the appropriate weekly forums. There are two forums each week.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Thursday each week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.

Class Book Forums: The best way to refine effectively the legal research, analysis and writing skills that you gained throughout all of your Legal Studies courses is by directly practicing them. The same is true for learning how to work productively with others on a legal team. Therefore, this course will heavily concentrate your collaborative efforts towards building the Class Book. Most of that work will take place in the Class Book forums. Unless you are told otherwise, all written work submitted in these forums must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx file).

Forum and Assignment Grading Feedback: When I grade your work each week, I will offer you specific feedback about it by returning it to you via the Forums or Assignments tabs (as appropriate). I work hard to get your work back to you as early in the week as possible because I want you to have the benefit of my feedback as you work on the next week’s goals. Please read my comments carefully and apply whatever guidance that I might give you in all of your later classwork.

Lessons: You must review the content of each week’s lesson. Because this is a Senior Seminar, each week's readings and guidance can be found in the forum discussion, not in a separate Lessons tab. This material is designed to help you along your scholarly path while you are in this course. You will have continuous access to all materials (via the Forum Discussion Descriptions) throughout the course, so you may access any of them at any time.

Tests and Quizzes: This course contains no tests or quizzes. Instead, you will demonstrate your acquired knowledge and skills through your professional contributions via both the Forum discussions and written Assignments.


Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

The University will issue final official grades. Professors have seven (7) days from the end of the course to submit their grades to the University. Students should not contact the University looking for grades until at least 30 days after the end of the course.

NameGrade %
Forum: Introduction 1.00 %
Week 1 (Virtual License Plates) 1.00 %
Forums: Class Book 24.00 %
Week 1: Table of Contents 3.00 %
Week 2: Chapter Assignments 3.00 %
Week 3: Chapter Outlines 3.00 %
Week 4: First Drafts 3.00 %
Week 5: Second Drafts 3.00 %
Week 6: Third Drafts 3.00 %
Week 7: Final Chapter Submissions 3.00 %
Week 8: Class Book Final Organization 3.00 %
Forums: Access to Justice 40.00 %
Week 1 (Forming a More Perfect Union) 5.00 %
Week 2 (Am I a Citizen of the United States) 5.00 %
Week 3 (Am I Respected?) 5.00 %
Week 4 (Where Can I Go in the United States?) 5.00 %
Week 5 (Can I Be Well?) 5.00 %
Week 6 (Can I Care for Myself and My Family?) 5.00 %
Week 7 (Can I Have an Attorney?) 5.00 %
Week 8 (What Have I Learned?) 5.00 %
Assignments Small Value 1.00 %
Week 2: Chapter Topic Approval 1.00 %
Assignment: Large Value 34.00 %
Week 7: Final Chapter Submission 34.00 %

All resources used in this course are available for free. The required resources are listed below, in alphabetical order. They may be found in the university’s library. The list is here in the Syllabus and in each week's Forum Discussion Description, but the materials are not found in the classroom.


Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979).

Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967).

Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25 (1972).

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013).

Candace H. Becket, Separation of Powers and Federalism: Their Impact on Individual Liberty and the Functioning of Our Government, 29 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 635 (1988).

Crandall v. Nevada, 73 U.S. 35 (1868).

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857).

Gideon v. Wainright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).

Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964).

Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964

Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944).

Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979).

O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975).

Olmsted v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999).

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969).

The Bluebook: A Uniform Guide to Legal Citation, 20th ed., (2015).

United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).


American Public University System, Bluebook Style, American Public University System (2017),

American Public University System, Legal and Paralegal Studies Program Guide, American Public University System (2018),

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

The Bluebook: A Uniform Guide to Legal Citation, 20th ed., (2015).

Other Resources

In addition to the required course materials listed above, the following resources (including but not limited to public domain web sites) are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address


Cornell Legal Information Institute

Library of Congress or

United Nations

American Bar Association (ABA)

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Author: No Author Specified
Book Title:Bluebook: Uniform System of Citation, 20th ed. - - e-book available online, please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Author:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Unit Cost:$41.30

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.