Constitutional Studies minor

About the Constitutional Studies Minor

Nothing has done more for justice in the modern world than the development of the rule of law under constitutional principles. But for constitutional governments to secure the common good, thoughtful and educated citizens must possess certain virtues; they must understand and be able to implement, defend, and, if need be, reform constitutional institutions. The Constitutional Studies minor seeks to nurture such citizens, thereby contributing to the University’s mission to pursue truth and to nurture a concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.

Building on courses across the College of Arts and Letters and the Law School, the Constitutional Studies minor is designed to encourage students to confront fundamental questions concerning justice, the rule of law, and human flourishing. From a variety of historical, cultural, disciplinary, and philosophical perspectives, constitutional studies courses ask questions such as:

  • What is the proper relationship between government and civil society, between law and moral principles?
  • What are the philosophical foundations of human rights and constitutional democracy?
  • What principles of justice can or should lie at the foundation of a constitutional republic?
  • What are the proper relationships between church and state and religion and politics, and how do these relationships reflect the more basic relationship between faith and reason?
  • What are the moral, social, and political conditions necessary to sustain America’s experiment in constitutional government?
  • What is the nature of international law and how are international norms created and maintained?

Constitutional Studies minors receive invitations to participate in extracurricular events associated with the Potenziani Program in Constitutional Studies, the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and Public Life and the Law School’s Program in Constitutional Structure and Design.

What's New with Our Faculty?

Patrick Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include ancient and modern political thought, American political thought, American constitutionalism literature and politics, and religion and politics.

In this video, he discusses his research interest in the ways that the American Constitution establishes not only a system of government, but also a distinctly American way of life.


See the courses that are available for the Constitutional Studies minor.

Download an overview of the Minor!