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This article argues for the need to build legal competency in the discipline of criminal justice and criminology through incorporating law courses in its PhD program curriculum, whether as black letter law (i.e. criminal law, criminal procedure, courts), sociology of law, or socio-legal studies (i.e. law and society courses). Through requiring law courses as a necessary and integral part of the curriculum, and recognizing the mainstream impact of these courses, the discipline stands to enrich the field of legal studies in criminology and criminal justice. The discipline’s need and demand for law trained tenure track faculty with PhD credentials can only be met through consistent law course offerings.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Criminal Justice Education on February 3, 2015, available online:

Claire Angelique R.I. Nolasco, Rolando V. del Carmen, Kevin F. Steinmetz, Michael S. Vaughn & Aneta Spaic (2015). Building Legal Competency: Foundations for a More Effective Criminology and Criminal Justice Discipline, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 26:3, 233-252, DOI: 10.1080/10511253.2015.1006648